Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pirates and Occupiers


Pirate party
The Occupy Wall Street mob continue to confound analysts. The latest is a piece that sees the major learning from the occupiers the use of social media.

That, I'm afraid, is already old news. If you needed OWS to alert you to the capacity of social media to whip up a storm, then you've been living under a rock.

The piece ends "The greatest irony would be businesses learning from the protesters and becoming more effective." He states this because as far as he understands OWS is;

A “hashtag revolt”. It’s a description that goes to the heart of their lack of specific demands as they huddle around pizza boxes, sleeping bags and dress up as zombies to challenge the influence of corporations on government and the growing income gaps in society.

I continue to be bemused by the thought that OWS has no "specific demands" and that they are inherently anti-business or capitalism.

They are people who are trying to tell us that capitalism and democracy are both broken, and they are broken because both have allowed power to become concentrated. They don't want them replaced - they want them fixed.

A counterpart to OWS has been the European development of the Pirate Party, which has recently started to achieve electoral success.

The German Party has its foundations in a libertarian approach to the Internet. One of the things that this approach reveals is a faith in crowd-sourcing, of commons, ultimately of co-operative endeavour. As a group they have a particular stance on how the question of intellectual property should be dealt with. They have more faith in the co-operative rather than property rights approach.

The other initiative they have is "liquid democracy" which is an attempt to combine representative and direct democracy. Rather than electing one person to represent you on everything you get to vote for different candidates for different things. So, say, you like Liberals to manage the economy but the ALP on social policy you give the Liberals the right to represent you on one and the ALP on the other.

The concept has merits - and would work better if we moved to the idea of members of parliament having a vote equal to the size of their electorate (or number of people who preferred them in a multi seat electorate)rather than just one vote.

You could then envision a multi-member electorate of three members each of whom has a different numbers of votes on different issues. It is the kind of innovative idea that can come from applying 21st century technology to democracy.

Unfortunately the Australian party is not that well advanced.

I won't, however, be holding my breath expecting anything similar from those trying to "renew" the ALP.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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