Ismael Peña-López, UOC/IN3
Towards a new citizen democracy
Mar Cabra, Fundación Civio
The Power of Data
Data empowers citizens.
It is now possible who donates to political parties, who is lobbying, what are the expenditures of a government and in what is the money expended, what are the e-mail accounts of our elected representatives, it is now possible to access data and registries for free. But this is not happening in Spain.
There is no word for accountability in Spanish (just approximations). And this shapes mindsets. We have to raise awareness that accountability exists as a concept. Spain is the only big country in Europe without an access to public information law. Such a law is much needed in Spain.
Some initiatives of Fundación Civio:
- Tu derecho a saber
- Data journalism or, better put, database-based journalism, analysing huge amounts of information and present them in an understandable way: España en llamas
- Dónde van mis impuestos
Opening data can even be good for business: euroalert.net reuses public data and generate profits for the entrepreneurs that built the site.
Francisco Jurado, Democracia 4.0
In 2006, a pregnant congresswoman implied that the law had to be changed so that she could vote electronically from home. There also is a right to petition to question political representatives about issues of importance.
Democracia 4.0 asks for the possibility that anyone can vote what is being discussed in the Parliament, directly, electronically, and substracting the proportion of one’s vote from the elected representative’s. Because citizens do not vote: the elect the ones that will vote in their names.
Such a system has to be open, hosted in public servers, guarantee the vote, be accompanied by discussion fora (it is not only about voting, but about discussing too), simulations should be possible, clear and sufficient information, and easy participation.
Democracia 4.0’s model corrects politics based in competition, leaks of sovereignty, is based on liberal principles. It implies the end of block politics, it allows for timing and accountability and transparency. The model shifts from dis-representation to the distribution of power, avoiding the distortions of the “man in the middle”. It also enables the veto of the citizens to certain policies.
With new methods of participation we are not substituting democracy and politics with another “thing”, but strengthening it.
Santiago Cirugeda: It would be interesting to also evaluate the citizens, especially citizen organizations: how much they have been subsidised, how much they lobby (and win), etc. On the other hand, how do we evaluate these citizen initiatives that aim at another kind of democracy?