This post only expresses the opinion of the author (Wessel)
We have arrived at a pivotal moment in DiEM25’s history, a crossroads. On the 20th of October, we face a deadline for sending in proposals to the DiEM25 membership that will shape its future: should DiEM25 become a transnational party or not?
Notwithstanding the good intentions of the people who put this initiative on the table, I will present a compelling case for all DiEM25 members to vote NO in the upcoming vote on electoral expression of the movement.
This no-vote does not represent an unwillingness to consider the means of electoral expression. Rather, it represent a gentle, compassionate, but firm disagreement with the way in which the DiEM25 membership is confronted with the upcoming vote, its organisation and its time-frame. This, in line with DiEM25’s philosophy of constructive disobedience.
I would therefore present two options for alternative campaigns and the reasons behind these campaigns: one for a NO vote, and one for a NO, Unless vote (which would practically be a counter-proposal to the CC’s proposal).
1. Case for the NO vote:
(Discuss the NO vote here on the DiEM25 forum: https://diem25.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=176&t=14953)
The reasons why DiEM25 members should vote NO in the upcoming vote are the following:
(1) The vote has been set up in an unfair way
Even though the vote makes all proposals formally equal (each proposal has the same chance to be accepted, on paper), the vote is unfair from the very start. No alternative proposal has the capacity to engage in a consensus process similar to the CC’s, nor has it the capacity to reach out to as many people as the CC’s (note that the CC’s proposal is already being spread in the media: https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diem25/diem25-detailed-proposal-on-creating-electoral-wing)
(2) Accepting the CC’s proposal means saying goodbye to DiEM25 the movement
The CC’s proposal, notwithstanding its rhetoric, calls for a de facto abolition of DiEM25 the movement. This is the case because DiEM25’s current leadership (the CC, in conjunction with the VC and the DSCs and members) will politically control the “electoral wing” of DiEM25: the nation-based parties. There will therefore be no real separation between DiEM25 the movement and DiEM25 the transnational party.
(3) In the current voting system, NO seems to be the only viable alternative
Given (1), the current voting system of two rounds leads to the very likely outcome (due to reasons of exposure of different alternatives) of the CC’s proposal and the NO-vote “winning” the first round. Without a proper campaign behind it, the NO-vote is doomed to fail in the second round. Not seriously considering the NO-vote therefore leads to the almost automatic adoption of the CC’s proposal.
(4) The grassroots have not been seriously involved in setting up the vote
There have been many initiatives to set up a constructive dialogue to address the concerns many DiEM25 members have with the current move towards becoming a transnational political party. An open letter by a number of DSCs was send and people were making efforts to put together open fora such as the DiEM Cafe. This, to make sure as many as possible voices would be heard before organising a vote. A No-vote would therefore be a strong message to the CC that for further initiatives towards electoral expression, the grassroots should be much more involved.
2. Case for the NO, Unless proposal
(Discuss the NO, Unless proposal here: https://diem25.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=176&t=14954)
I would argue that the DiEM25 membership should not engage in drafting a huge list of alternative proposals, but rather to come together to collaboratively express the conditions under which a proposal for a transnational party might work. These conditions should be discussed out in the open (on the forum, on Mastodon, and other DiEM25 channels).
The reasons for a NO, Unless proposal are:
(1) it mitigates the risk of a “pick and choose” strategy of the CC to adopt some amendments into their proposal and leave others. Rather, we want to express that there are a number of conditions “sine qua non” for making the decision towards a political party.
(2) A “NO, Unless” proposal could put forward the condition that DiEM25 the movement be kept in tact and it would spell out what this would mean.
(3) A “NO, Unless” proposal could demand for a clear spelling out of the mandate involved in the vote towards a transnational party. If we vote “yes” to the CC’s proposal, it is not at all clear what kind of mandate is given to whom. We could state that each proposal should involve “actions on the short- medium, and long-term” as conditions for them to be valid.
(4) A “NO, Unless” proposal could slow down the process towards a transnational party for the sake of involving the grassroots in the way in which this should be organised.
(5) A “NO, Unless” proposal, if collaboratively drafted and widely discussed, could be a viable alternative to the NO vote and would therefore stand a chance of winning the first round of the voting. In the second round, it would be a constructive alternative to the CC’s proposal.