CyberParty conference – May 13th 2016, King’s College London
Bios and abstracts
Andrew Chadwick is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London and CoDirector of the New Political Communication Unit, which he founded in 2007. Since the late 1990s he has authored numerous publications on digital media and politics. His books include The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 2013), which won the Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association’s Section on Information Technology and Politics; The Handbook of Internet Politics, coedited with Philip N. Howard (Routledge 2009); and Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2006), which won the American Sociological Association Outstanding Book Award (Communication and Information Technologies Section) and is among the most widelycited books in its field. At Royal Holloway, by whom he has been awarded two Teaching Excellence Prizes, he teaches courses on the Masters in Media, Power, and Public Affairs. Andrew is co- editor, with Jennifer StromerGalley, of Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Parties and Election Campaigns, a 2016 special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics. His website is at http://www.andrewchadwick.com and he tweets from @andrew_chadwick
They’re Parties, But Not as We Have Known Them: Digital Media and (Dis)organizational Renewal
“The role of digital media practices in reshaping political parties is driven by an ongoing tension between centralized hierarchical control and decentralized horizontal interactivity. The overall outcome for the party as an organizational form is highly uncertain. Growing evidence from the United States and Europe contradicts predictions of the “death” of parties and suggests instead that parties may be going through a longterm process of adaptation to postmaterial political culture. Digital media foster cultures of organizational experimentation and a partyas- movement mentality that enable many to reject norms of hierarchical discipline and habitual partisan loyalty. This context readily accommodates populist appeals and angry protest—on the right as well as the left. Substantial publics now see election campaigns as another opportunity for personalized and contentious political expression. In some cases parties are being renewed from the outside in, as digitally enabled citizens breathe new life into an old form by partly remaking it in their own participatory image. Particularly on the left, the overall outcome might prove more positive for democratic engagement and the decentralization of political power than many have assumed.
Cristian Vaccari is Reader in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London and Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Bologna. He studies political communication in comparative perspective and is the Principal Investigator of a comparative research project on the role of social media in citizens’ and politicians’ practices of political communication in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom (http://www.webpoleu.net/). His latest book is Digital Politics in Western Democracies: A Comparative Study (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He tweets as @25lettori.
Cyberparties in Western Europe
Cyberparties are important elements in a growing and sustained trend across Western Europe that has seen electoral volatility and party system fragmentation increase dramatically in the last decade. Political parties and other institutions of representative democracy have struggled to maintain a solid grip on increasingly complex, fragmented, and changing societies, where new cleavages and demands emerge more frequently and are articulated more effectively thanks to, among other things, developments in technologies of communication and political mobilization. This raises the question of what role cyberparties are playing: are they articulating a common core of demands that other parties are failing to credibly address, and are they doing so in similar way across different European democracies? This talk will use survey data from the 2014 European Election Study to compare the policy positions of voters who see themselves as likely to support the Pirate Party in Germany, the Five Star Movement in Italy, and Podemos in Spain. The data highlight both similarities and differences between supporters of the three parties when it comes to their and the parties’ ideological positioning as well as their preferences on various policy issues. These preliminary results indicate that these parties are still to a substantial degree responding to particular contextual conditions and policy demands in the countries where they compete electorally rather than articulating recognizable cleavages that can be observed across countries.
Bernardo Gutierrez is a Spanish-Brazilian journalist, writer, researcher and activist. He writes about techno-politics, free culture, networks and social movements. He is part of el Buen Conocer / FLOK Society team in Ecuador and the author of the techno-political research about Latin America of OXFAM. He works in the Participation Lab of MediaLab Prado, inside Madrid’s City Hall Participation Area. 2. title and 150 words abstract of your presentation
Party‐movements, network parties and citizen overflows
The party shape seems to be outdated. The presentation will focus on how networks and interconnected protests are reshaping parties. From Partido X, to Wikipolítia (Mexico) or Podemos, parties are looking for a new way of behaving. In Spain, after 15M, the so called municipalism was a quite important turning point for parties, with the birth of BarcelonaEnComú or Ahora Madrid. The presentation will pay attention to the citizen overflows that made taking power possible in Spanish municipalism.
Jodi Dean teaches political and media theory at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. She is the author or editor of 12 books, including Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies, Blog Theory, The Communist Horizon, and Crowds and Party.
Communicative Capitalism as the Limit of Democracy
Participatory media offers quick, easy, universal democracy: anyone with a mobile phone or access to the internet can make her voice heard. Ideals of equality, inclusion, and participation are practically realized through global telecommunication. I designate the convergence of capitalism, digital networks, and democracy communicative capitalism. In communicative capitalism, the values heralded as central to democracy take practical, material form in networked communications technologies. Because contemporary capitalism is communicative, democratic rhetorics of equality, inclusivity, and participation strengthen the hold of capitalism in networked societies. When communication is a primary component of the production and circulation of capital it loses its capacity to function as a primary means for the rule of the people. Democracy is the ambient milieu of inescapable participatory media and thus unable to express the people’s desire and need for economic basics like healthy food, viable shelter, livable income, and an education that enlarges and excites. I thus have two main points: 1. That “democracy” – realized in networked communications fails to register a break in the present, fails to name an alternative, and is thus politically inadequate to contemporary challenges, 2. That the practices and technologies that materialize democracy decrease the efficacy of critique and increase inequality. A politics adequate to the present must be a divisive politics that targets and defeats this capitalist base. It must be a communist politics.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir (born 17 April 1967) is an Icelandic politician, poet, and activist. She is currently a Member of the Althing for the Southwest Constituency, representing the Pirate Party, having been elected at the 2013 election. From 2014 to 2015, Birgitta served as the rotating chairman of the Pirate Party. Since April 2015, the Pirate Party has topped the polls in Iceland ahead of the 2017 parliamentary election. In February 2016, she announced that she would be standing for a third term as, according to Iceland Review, “she feels it’s important for the party to have someone on board experienced in working with the ministries and the inner political structure to ensure the effectiveness of the party.” In April 2016, following calls for Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s resignation in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, Birgitta said that the Pirates were ready to form part of a new government in the event of a snap election. According to recent polls, the Pirates are currently Iceland’s most popular party, with varying support ranging from 36%43% support from voters.
Richard Barbrook is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Westminster. In the early 1980s, he was involved with pirate and community radio broadcasting. Having worked on media regulation within the EU for some years at a research institute at the University of Westminster, much of his material was published in his 1995 book Media Freedom. Working with Andy Cameron, he wrote The Californian Ideology which was a pioneering critique of the neoliberal politics of Wired magazine. His other important writings about the Net include The HiTech Gift Economy, Cybercommunism, The Regulation of Liberty and The Class of the New. The Media Ecology Association selected Imaginary Futures as the winner of the 2008 Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book of the Year in the Field of Media Ecology. In 2014, his book about Situationist gaming was published: Class Wargames: ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism.
The Digital Bill of Rights
“In the 21st century’s information society, personal freedom is now threatened by the intrusive attentions of both authoritarian states and monopolistic businesses. If liberty and democracy are to be enhanced within the Net, what is now required is an energetic public debate over how to construct a new constitutional settlement which nurtures today’s collective forms of digital citizenship. Political movements need take this into account when determining their own handling of the data generated by activists and supporters alike. The sharing of information over the Net is a premonition of the democratisation of the whole productive process. If they are to contribute to this collaborative endeavour, everyone must have access to the knowledge and technologies which will be used to build the emerging network society. Like its liberal and socialist predecessors, this new dispensation should be guided by its own rules of the game. The creation of a Digital Bill of Rights codifies the mutually agreed principles for regulating individuals’ online activities in the common interest. By collectively defining a new vision of cybernetic citizenship, this generation can make its own worldhistorical contribution towards building a truly human civilization. The better future must be anticipated in the troubled present. Let’s seize this opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life!”
Davide Barillari defines himself a political hacker and a gamechanger. In 2013 Davide was the presidential candidate of the Lazio Region for the Movement 5 Stars, and today is elected in the Lazio Regional Council, as spokesman of the citizens. He is a member of the Commission of Health and Social Affair and Commission for media pluralism. In his “previous life”, he was a computer systems engineer, and worked in the heart of the computer centers of the biggest Italian companies on behalf of a multinational company, IBM. Character inconvenient to the traditional union as well as the company, is among the organizers of the first virtual strike in the world of Second Life, and it ‘was awarded by the French Senate as “NetXplorateur of the Year 2008”. His biography tells of a real political and social gamechanger: founder of a node of the italian nonprofit network, founder and elected member in the first board of directors of Agices (Italian General Association of Fair Trade), founder of a local Emergency group (pacifist ngo), founder of two Gas (ethical purchasing groups) in Milan and Rome, founder and president of a historical nonprofit fairtrade organization for 10 years. International observer for human rights in Chiapas, Davide participated as representative of the world of associations to the various editions of the World Social Forum.
Francesca Bria is a Nesta Senior Project Lead in the Nesta Innovation Lab. She is the EU Coordinator of the D-CENT project on direct democracy and social digital currencies and the she is the Principle Investigator of the DSI project on digital social innovation in Europe. She has a background in social science and innovation economics and an MSc in E-business and Innovation from the University College of London, Birkbeck. Francesca is a member of the Internet of Things Council and an advisor for the European Commission on Future Internet and Smart Cities policy. She is also a member of the EC Expert Group on Open Innovation (OISPG) and a member of the European Research Cluster on the Internet of Things (IERC). – See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/users/francesca-bria#sthash.aWfMfFJF.dpuf
Stefano Bory is a sociologist of cultural processes. Senior Researcher at the University Federico II of Naples and Associated Researcher at the EHESS of Paris, his work investigates media, social imaginaries, narratives, emotions and social bonds in contemporary world. His current works try to reconsider the web as a new category for social bonds, focusing on digital loving relationships and on new social imaginaries of webcitizenship.
Connective and collective forms of M5S political actions in Italy. Or “how can the Net become institution”?
Considered as the most important populist movement of recent Italian history, the M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle 5 Stars Movement) is the third and maybe the second most voted political subject of the country. Raised by a grounded process, assembling a large and heterogeneous but actually critical multitude of people strongly indignant about Italian parties corrupted policies. This wide and queer collective subject defines itself as a “non ideological movement”, with a “non statute” written online by “normal citizens”, devoid of a seat and refusing every kind of leadership inside. At the beginning, more than ten years ago, the Movement was the expression of extra- parliamentary territorial actions, organised and prepared by small groups formed by related and well connected local actors. Becoming an institutional political force (with members of parliament, senators, mayors and European deputies), the M5S faced the need to define different forms for various structural/organisational improvements: election nominations, political program writing, national decisionmaking, and systems of policy control. In such a context, M5S has always considered the Net as the only solution for defending its wideopen philosophy of citizen’s participation in institutional policy. However, nor without contradictions.
Sofia de Roa
Sofía de Roa is a spanish journalist. She studied Political Campaign at Ortega- Marañon Institute, and Digital Citizienship, Culture and Comunication at Madrid’s Media Lab Prado and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, to research on how to improve the democracy at political parties, allowing public scrutiny and participation, by introducing new forms of internal operation. In particular, she suggests to implement a Quality Indicators System, a method promoted from Asociación Calidad y Cultura Democráticas. She participated at 15M Movement and municipalist proyect Ganemos Madrid. Currently, she works at Podemos, developing the transparency system. Some publications: “Movimiento 15M:¡ Cuidado que viene el ciudadano!.” Más poder local 6 (2011); “Actúa: 12 llamadas a la acción frente a la crisis económica, política y social”. Debate (2012) ARTAL, Rosa M., et al.
Transparency and Democratic Culture
The talk will discuss the establishment of a democratic “Quality Indicators System”, ad hoc (Sistema de Indicadores de Calidad democrática, in spanish). This is a proposal whose body of knowledge has been developed by Asociación por la Calidad y Cultura Democráticas (Association for Quality and Democratic Culture, in english), an association born at 2012. This is a method wich facilitates the identification of aspects that could be improved, to what extent could be done and according to what timetable for action. We want transparency, but to use the data not only to check the past or facts from the current moment, if not to focus on the future, to build new knowlege and to facilitate the analysis to establish a secure way to plan, step by step, how we are moving forward to achieve our objectives. The application of this method, and understanding Democracy as a process, will force, in practice, the consolidation of a democracy that everyone can play (identify), touch (materialize), practice (conduct collaboratively) and measure (evaluate). By committing publicly to fulfilling this agenda of continuous improvement (and showing the progress through indicators), the party will be ready to win the trust of their members, their potential voters and citizens in general. It is a powerful tool for analysis and planning, not to be used daily, but to take advantage of it as a method and management style, of complex human organizations, as indeed are the political parties. Understanding Democracy as a process, not a state of perfection that, once reached, could cause us satisfaction of a job well done. The ultimate aim is to explore the odds, to multiply the synergies with all tools already offered, to rebuild trust among representatives and represented, to make a narrow collaboration between citizenship and political parties, to keep people involved in politics, to monitor the performance of policy measures, and finally but not least, to return the prestige and the credibility of political activity.
Arnau Monterde holds a PhD in Information and Knowledge Society by the Open University of Catalunya. Since 2011 he is the coordinator of the project Tecnopolitica in the research group Communication Networks and Social Change at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (UOC) in Barcelona. He is part of the research network Datanalysis15M and he investigates the emergence and evolution of network movements and their relation with institutional changes in the network society from an interdisciplinary perspective. He is also conducting some research and projects about digital participation, selforganization, citizen autonomy and common democratic prototypes.
Transparency, openness and internal democracy in Barcelona en Comu
In the last 5 years we have witnessed a deep transformation of politics in several countries. Most of them has been driven by citizen movements characterized by a high level of mobilization and multitudinous participation with a wide social support, an intensive uses of network technologies and a huge innovation in collective organization and action. In Spain, 5 years later of the explosion of 15M movement, some emergent electoral initiatives have born and some of them have arrived to the government in many important cities of the country. These local initiatives have in their principles the transparency, the openness and the internal democracy. At the same time they have innovate in the way they have created their electoral lists, program and their funding, being also close to the previous movements in which these initiatives have based. Their arrival to the government, one year ago, has allowed to translate an initial main goal as the real democracy is, to specific politics, and many initiatives on this direction has been developed in Madrid or Barcelona through open digital participation platforms. The Barcelona experience is an interesting example based on the principles of open participation, transparency and traceability and its platform has allowed a high level of social involvement and an integration of onlineoffline and personalcollective participation. But this kind of platforms are not isolated initiatives, is part of a network of many cities which has been sharing practises, free software, strategies and knowledge to improve the democratic participation and the citizen leadership, being also a great opportunity to go further in the consolidation of networks for real democracy in a context of deep political changes in Spain.
Francisco Jurado Gilabert is a columnist for CXTX.es and Eldiario, a lawyer, and researcher at the Institute of Government and Public Policy (IGOP) of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. He is specialised in the fields of technopolitics, legislative processes and representation. He is an activist vitally involved in the movements that have characterised the Spanish body politic since 15 May 2011: Democracia Real Ya, #OpEuribor and Democracia 4.0. He is author of the book Nueva Gramática Pol’tica (New Political Grammar) (2014) and a member of the parliamentary group of Podemos in Andaluc’a.
Marco Deseriis is an Assistant Professor of Media and Screen Studies at Northeastern University. Titled Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), Deseriis’ first monograph is a genealogy of experiments in shared pseudonymity from the early nineteenth century to the age of networks. His current research project, which is funded by a European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship, explores the question of scalability of direct democracy through an analysis of the political values embedded in decision- making software such as LiquidFeedback, Loomio, and AdHocracy, and the uses of such software in technoparties such as Podemos, M5S and the Pirate Parties.Deseriis is also the coauthor of Net.Art: L’Arte della Connessione (Shake, 2008), the first Italian book on Internet Art, and his writings have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Theory & Event, Radical History Review, Journal of Critical Communication/Cultural Studies, Mute and Subjectivity.
Graduated in Business Administration and a postgraduate degree in European Studies at the ULB in Brussels. Back in Madrid after 12 years of work experience in the UK, Germany and Belgium to set up the finances and transparency area at Podemos. Miguel has worked in many domains from waiter in England, Scotland practices in an online marketing startup, to an internal consultant job in Germany, developing and implementing a management system for two subsidiary companies in France, Sweden, Finland. With German well learned, he moved to Belgium to study a master’s degree while learning French. In Brussels Miguel worked 41⁄2 years as programme manager in an international organization sponsored by the UNFPA promoting rights and sexual and reproductive health and ensuring political support for development cooperation in 30 European countries. Since 2011 he took part in many actions of the 15M movente and since 2013 worked as campaign manager and independent researcher, specializing mainly in transparency. In 2013 he was coauthor of the book “What do we do with the financing of parties” and in April 2014 appeared before the Constitutional Committee of Congress as an expert on party financing and corruption. From September 2014 Miguel has been working in Podemos, proving every day that it is possible a more transparent, open and shared management of finances. Elected Member of the Parliament of Madrid in May 2015 now intents to bring this transparency to the institutions. Spanish is his mother tongue and speaks fluently English, French and German.
A Framework to Analyse Net Parties
Faced with the methodological challenge of how to investigate what we call “net parties” (horizontally organized parties that aim for direct input of citizens in policy-making using digital tools), we developed an analytical framework for assessing the structural conditions for deliberation compiled along dimensions based on the literature on deliberative democracy. Our framework consists of the following dimensions: Structure and Functionality, Accessibility and Transparency, Hybridity and Coordination, and Outcome and Accountability. This scheme can serve as a guide as well as a monitoring device for evaluating the actual practice – offline and online – of parties that claim to engage in citizen deliberation.