Lourdes Muñoz Santamaría. Parties. PSC BCN: network party, open party
Political parties do have to change, but they have to keep their ideology and the focus on the common interest.
But it is true that we are in a change of paradigm and a change of era. And thus institutions have to change, especially to be able to understand the needs of people and provide valid answers. To do so, politics have to be much more participated. And social-democracy is speciallly fit to lead this transformation, as they believe in serving people from the power of institutions.
There is a problem when people, as individuals, have taken up web 2.0 and social networking sites as multi-purpose tools, but institutions have not. Partly because the paradigm of sharing is not in the ADN of most institutions.
Indeed, sharing relies heavily on access to information and access to knowledge.
The idea behind the open party is to apply to a party the concept of open governance that applies to governments. That is, openness in decision-making, access to information, participation, engagement, etc.
The main reasons to carry on this project is, above all, conviction. The necessary reformation of the PSC-Barcelona was not only about content, but also about forms.
And this change is especially about changing all the processes. Smoothly, so that no-one is left behind, and everyone can have a chance to learn the new ways.
One of the debates just before the project was whether the party needed a “cyberpartisan” or a “web 2.0” initiative. But the party decided that people were not “normal” vs. “digital”, but a single one: so, the idea of the open party is that it will cut across all sections and initiatives.
Principles of the network and open party:
- Transparency: all decisions, all debates are open. All the information required for participation is openly available.
- Virtual participation is an effective right. Deliberative democracy, e-voting. There is too much distance between “liking” a status in the party’s Facebook page and participating in a local meeting of the party. These two worlds have to be bridged.
- Project-based work, instead of department-based work. This enables people to participate in whatever their interests are, without having to participate on a binary basis: all or nothing.
- Adequate the party to the society.
- The conviction that the public space has changed, and thus have changed the roles of political intermediaries, media, the way the public opinion is made up and shaped.
- Increase the possibilities to commit with a party, with a specific initiative.
- Combine openness in deliberation with spaces of privacy that enable consensus and negotiation, without entering into opacity.
- Build a deliberative democracy.
- Stablish more ways of direct relationship with the elected representatives.
Roger Vilalta: are big traditional parties still on time to retune with the citizenry? Or is everything already lost? Lourdes Muñoz: this is certainly the question. What is clear is that things will never be the same. An obligation for the party is to do this reform well and quick. And just hope that the new procedure will attract if not new people, at least the ones that left.
Marta Berenguer: does openness represent a chance to break the discipline of the party? Lourdes Muñoz: a debate has to be as open as possible, but the final position has to be unique. Thus, party discipline is good not to mislead the voter and to have a higher negotiating power [note the Spanish context to frame this answer]. What fails, thus, is not party discipline, but the internal dialogue and debate.
Joan Carles Torres: is it to believe initiatives as such, or is it just make up and marketing? The problem is that transparency has become a cool trend that everyone seems to be embracing. So, can politics be transformed with initiatives like this? Lourdes Muñoz: it is true, it is difficult. But we have to begin somewhere and this is one way to do it. Let us just hope that it works, that it can spark a change from within.
Q: what can guarantee that transparency and participation will actually be enabled? Lourdes Muñoz: there are no guarantees. This is just a beginning, a new way to try to transform how the party works on its inside (especially) and towards the outside (in more general terms). There are three problems to be addressed: learn how to facilitate; how to identify the relevant stakeholders; how to put the decisions made into practice.
Post democràcia, partit obert, by Lourdes Muñoz Santamaría.
Institutions of the Post-democracy: globalization, empowerment and governance (2013)
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2013) “PostDem (IV). Lourdes Muñoz Santamaría: Parties. PSC BCN: network party, open party” In ICTlogy,
#118, July 2013. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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