Legislative crowdsourcing : Agile Democracy's break through this year

Agile Democracy made its first entry in Europe in 2013. It's still without a name, but you could easily recognize its characteristics, as well as the limits of current initiatives using the Manifesto for the Agile Development of Democracy as a check list. 

Here is a selection of initiatives showcased end of November 2013 during the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg.

Let's start with two models in which crowdsourcing is used in law-making in Finland.

On the Open Ministry online platform citizens propose petitions online. According to the Citizens Initiative Act those petitions have to be discussed in the Parliament if they gather 50,000 signatures in 6 months. Apart from gathering signatures, Open Ministry drafts the actual bills based on petitions with volunteer lawyers and other experts.
In another Finnish model, crowdsourcing is applied in law-making process in first mapping problems regarding the law and then finding solutions to those problems. Crowdsourcing as problem solving is used in off-road traffic law preparation on an online platform with gamification features such as gathering points and badges. The project is a pilot project of the Finnish Ministry of Environment and the Committee for the Future in the Finnish Parliament.

I would like to mention also Parlement & Citoyens, an online platform since Feb. 2013 used for collaborative law-making with elected representatives, and which enjoy our attention. Parlement & Citoyens allows to everybody to participate to the law-making process with members of french parliament registered on the platform.

The World Forum is showcasing also a panel about alternatives to representative democracy. A session is focused on the "liquid democracy" concept, as used by Pirate Party.

Bringing new forms of participation to the political scene is the aim of liquid democracy. The German pirate party experiments with different materialisations of the abstract concept of liquid democracy to explore the possibilities of Internet-based political discussion and decision processes. This is not only inside the organisation itself but also for including and servicing civil society or regional institutions. A key aspect is the integration of formerly divided concepts of representational and direct democratic participation and features of social internetworking of the participants.

We can as well pay attention to the following sessions, which illustrate more specifically some steps of the Agile Democracy processes :
Puzzled by Policy (PBP) aims to strengthen citizen voices through an engaging and easy-to-use eParticipation platform to learn about and discuss important policy issues such as immigration - an area that directly impacts often hard-to-reach and socially exclude groups within society, and yet rarely incorporates their voices. PBP combines innovative and interactive online tools to engage citizens in the immigration and policy-making process. An immigration profiler helps users learn more about immigration issues and shows them where they stand in comparison to other stakeholders and users. The profiler can be embedded on any website/blog/social-media site. There is also a discussion forum, which enables citizen deliberation. Summaries of this participation are then passed onto interested policy-makers, who in turn provide feedback on the comments, increasing citizens influence on decision-making.
Loomio is an online platform for community governance and collaborative decision-making, developed by a co-operative social enterprise in Wellington. More than 3,000 people in hundreds of groups in more than 20 countries are already using Loomio as early adopting beta-testers. Users range from businesses to community organisations, software projects and social movements, to local and national government organisations. In New Zealand, Loomio is working closely with local government, providing a tool for large-scale citizen collaboration with Wellington City Council.
Tavaana is Iran's pioneer e-learning institute for civil society. Tavaana – meaning ‘empowered' and ‘capable' in Persian – was launched in 2010 with a mission to support active citizenship and civic leadership in Iran through a multi-platform civic education and civil society capacity building program. Tavaana bridges the worlds of live, interactive e-learning with broad-based public education for democracy. Tavaana has successfully trained over 1,800 Iranians in live e-classrooms on topics ranging from digital safety to trauma healing to women's rights and has distributed learning resources – including e-books and manuals, translations, video and podcast lectures, and case studies – to thousands more. Tavaana's television programming reaches over nine million Iranians each week.

As a conclusion at this step: 
the french Constitution (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, Article VI) clarifies: "The Law is the expression of the general will. Any Citizens have the right to contribute personally or by their representative, to its making. (La Loi est l’expression de la volonté générale. Tous les Citoyens ont droit de concourir personnellement, ou par leurs représentants, à sa formation)". The Charter of Fundemental Rights of the European Union is only claiming that "it is based on the principles of democracy". A great social progress will have been made the day the equivalent of french Article VI will have been added to the Charter.

1 commentaire: