The Conversation

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

A few months ago, some people were having a conversation about democracy. They had this very particular idea of democracy: all people have the same value as humans, the same right to live and to decide about their future. This people had joined DiEM25 thrilled with the idea of democratizing Europe, but soon realised that the movement was not exactly organized along the lines of what they would call a perfect democracy. It had its good points, good intentions, its flaws and virtues, but it could be improved. They knew for a fact that other people in DiEM shared their feelings, and decided to expand the conversation and find out what other people thought about democracy in DiEM25.

Thus DiD was born. A few of us got together and started sharing our views on how DiEM25 is run. If there is something we almost unanimously agreed upon, is that the quality of internal democracy could be significantly improved. Your opinion should count as much as that of any CC member if this were what we call a true democracy, one in which all members have the same value, and the same right to decide about the direction in which DiEM25 should go. When I get to this terrain I always make emphasis in my gratitude to the initiators of the movement, who have the merit of having generated this incredible momentum. That doesn’t stop me from asserting that the movement needs to be thought all over for its own good. If you think about it, it would have been an amazing achievement to hit bang on target at the first attempt, considering the circumstances that surround the birth of DiEM25. A fully democratic movement cannot be born it its final state. Its members have to democratically construct its organization principles.

So the conversation started inside DiD. We quickly found out that there are things we agree and things we disagree about, but that we could concentrate on the fact that DiEM25 internal democracy needs some work. However, we may think DiEM25 democracy can improve, but over 90% of the membership approved the Organization Principles. That seems pretty legitimate to me, although I was against them. Quite obviously the structure of the organization does not aim to support our definition of democracy and we wondered why so many people, including some of us, did vote Yes to the OP. Did we really think about the consequences of the resulting structure? Could we have known that things were going to turn the way they have, for good or for bad? But that is all talk about the past. The important question now is if you think they can be improved. What do you think of the above definition of democracy? Should we all be equal in rights? Or not? This is the conversation that DiD wants to have now with the rest of DiEM. And that is not an easy task.

In our meetings we are happy to see as many as eight or ten people. We decide very important things, such as what we call a consensus, and how many days do we need to approve something. It is so boring! But it needs to be done, because otherwise DiD could not speak with one voice, a voice that undeniably belongs to DiD. But because we do all the boring stuff, every time we sign with the three letters we know their use is legitimate. DiD has a voice, and that voice has the legitimacy of internal democracy.

Now that DiD has a voice, it can strike the democracy conversation with the rest of DiEM25. Slowly bur surely more people take part on DiD, and more will come, and the group size will hit its maximum effective size, ant the conversation will stop flowing. That is always the problem of democracy, we are too many to talk to each other and reach agreements. This is why we choose representatives. We talk among ourselves but let them decide on our lives, because we do not know how to organize ourselves so we can truly be equals. But the conversation must never stop, it needs to grow because it is the seed of democracy, its very essence.

When DiD grows, we will have to break up somehow to rekindle the conversations, but we will break up to construct again. We split the rock to generate building blocks. Those different groups must all be taking part in the same conversation. A conversation where other similar networks, individuals or DSC’s must be welcome, a conversation in which all can take part. How this can be achieved must be the subject of much thought and experimentation, and will be the issue of another post in this blog in the near future, but let us stick to the essence and leave the details for some other time, however important they may seem now.

The Conversation that DiEM25 will then have with itself will be, to start with, about how to find out “what do we all think”, which words express our position as a group, what are the methods which we are going to use to give DiEM25 a truly legitimate voice. We must undergo that boring process of defining quorum, consensus, majority, legitimacy, and lay the basements for a future legal certainty. We must agree on a working definition of democracy. Only then, when the DiEM25 becomes the result of a permanent exercise of democracy will it have a voice of its own, it will become a subject and will make sense to say that DiEM25 “has decided” to become a party or that DiEM25 “has chosen” not to do so. It is not as a result of a yes or not vote, but as a result of a great conversation, probably followed by such vote, how important issues must be decided.

Now, once DiEM 25 finds is true voice, it will be in a position to strike THE CONVERSATION with the rest of Europeans. We can ask, for example, what do you think of DiEM’s idea of democracy? What is your idea of democracy? The conversation will then grow, some people will join DiEM25 and other people will organize themselves in order to take part in the conversation as a group. They may replicate our organizational methods, they may improve them or find new original ones, but if they are going to have the democracy conversation they will normally find democratic methods to organize themselves. No mater what, the most important issue is that THE CONVERSATION keeps growing, includes as many groups and individual as possible, from all countries, ethnical backgrounds, ages, genders, orientations, colours, believes, income and educational levels, and different tastes for ice cream. Only then will it make sense to ask ourselves the question:

What do we do with Europe?

We are so alike, it is almost boring. If you do not believe me, ask an American, an Asian or an African. Listen to what they have to say. I definitely would not put the outer boundaries of my homeland one centimetre shorter than the outer EU boundaries. Certainly my idea of home goes beyond, but I can tell you that before we can be sisters of the rest of the people on planet earth we need to understand we are sisters among ourselves.

So, let us have THE CONVERSATION. Do we want a world in pursuit of equality, or do we want a world on acceptance of extreme inequality? Do we want democracy or not? What does Democracy mean for you, for me, for us?

Salud, Paz y Democracia.
Pj

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