Why DiEM25 members should vote NO in the transnational party vote

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.


Democratically yours,





DiEM25 democracy survey

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

It is quite obvious that the people who make DiD are strong supporters of a type of democracy in which people have a say all the time. Some people call it grassroots democracy, other people participative democracy, others direct democracy. The ideas is to have a society where citizens are not just voters, but rather decision makers. You name it. However, as I mentioned in my last post, it may well be that other diemers have different opinions, and this is what we are about to find out.

Within DiD, there are several running projects, and many ideas for many more. In particular, we are now working on an internal survey to be distributed to all DiEM25 members. Our objective is to get a feel of what we, in DiEM25 as a whole, think about democracy. What we expected from DiEM25 before we joined, what we think we have, what we would like to have.

We are well in the way to have this survey ready, but presenting it all diemers and collecting the responses for further analysis, is one of our next big challenges. If you have any ideas on how to go about it, or you want to collaborate in the project, you are most welcome.

It may be important to point out that DiD is not a closed group, you may come and go as you please. You can participate in one project and forget about the rest, or just join the online meetings discussions, or drop by for a political debate chat.

It’ll be good to see you around.

Salud, Paz y Democracia

Initial voting procedures

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

In a recent post we made public a document written by DiD about how we feel about DiEM25’s position on the Italian Constitutional referendum. The text is signed DiD because it was approved in a meeting and then submitted to an approval vote by all active members. However, it was also agreed that this text should be sent to all DSC’s and to the CC but we have not done that. Why? Well, we are learning.

Talking about this topic with other DiD members it has become apparent that not everyone felt part of the process. Obviously there are two sides of the issue. The first one is if DiD has managed to communicate in a sufficiently effective way with its members the action that has been started and the procedure to approve or reject such an action. The second is personal commitment.

Irrespective of how much information someone receives, if there is no motivation for action, no action will follow the invitation to take part. However, a decision cannot be considered legitimate unless ALL stake holders have had a real chance of being part of the process. I.e. the key to a healthy democratic process is information. Only a well informed individual can decide when and how his or her input is required from her or his part. The democratic subject is a well informed individual.

Although there were implicit procedures in the way the the text on the Italian issue was drafted, edited and approved, we consider that being our first action it requires to go through the right channel. This channel, however, did not exist before, so we had to create it, we had to make a decision on how we make decisions. What sequence of procedures legitimates a DiD action? DiD, for the time being, has no representatives or elected roles and has no intention of having them. DiD has to make decisions, DiD has to elaborate documents, approve documents. When can those decision and documents be signed by DiD? In particular, we have concentrated ourselves on the writing and approval of texts.

The following steps have been agreed upon to start this process:

1) proposal for a topic of a text in meeting – voted upon

2) working on the proposal – dynamic document for a set time (announced by e-mail how long the document is open for work)

3) text posted in voting channel and voting, with exact deadline will be announced by e-mail

4) voting options should include an option “further discussion is needed”

5) decisions should also be announced by e-mail

As you see, it is not rocket science, but it is our decision, to it is worth gold.

Now, this mechanisms is not final, and the text above is just a draft (1), which everyone in DiD has been invited by mail to work upon (2). Once the writing up period is concluded everyone in DiD will be invited by e-mail to vote on the text (3) before a given deadline, one of the voting options will be “further discussion is needed” (4) and the result of the vote will be communicated by mail to all DiD members (5).

We have not addressed the majority issue. Do we need consensus? Do we need a half plus 1 majority? How do we interpret in democratic terms the numerical result of the vote?

Using this procedure, this provisional voting mechanisms, we have put the original text on DiEM25’s position on the Italian referendum back on the drawing board. One thing is for sure, we are making democratic progress.

Salud, Paz y Democracia.

How does DiD work?

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

We are slowly starting moving, although we are not necessarily moving slowly. Just to keep informed anyone interested in our activities, I am happy to announce that we are already set up to start producing, to start doing useful work. We have tried to do everything respecting everyone’s view on both how we should work and in which direction. Let me present in this post how we work so far. We question our methods constantly and things are certainly going to change in the (near) future.

DiD meets every two weeks on line, using the Mumble platform, and we have started recording the sessions. These meetings run on a collaborative agenda in which everyone can propose topics. So far we have never had problems working like that, the meeting chair person has the responsibility of finalizing the agenda and this role is up for grabs. Whoever wants to take it is invited to do so. After the meeting minutes are written, we add a short version and hang both in the meetings page of this blog. We will soon make the recordings available in that same page.

We meet on Tuesday’s at 7pm CET, and are held in English, but we can arrange other meetings at other times and in other languages if people are interested. French, German, Spanish and Finnish are good candidates so far.

Between meetings we discuss the meeting topics and other stuff on the slack channel, and we share online documents (Titanpad) which can be edited by anyone in the group. Mind you, some of our members do not take part in the meetings, but are very active on the online discussions. Once a document has been finalized (deadline set in the meeting is achieved) we close the document and open an round of approvals. Everyone can vote for, against or blank on the document, or parts of it. So far we have always arrived to consensus on the approval of documents and ideas, but this may change, and we will have to see what to do about it. I personally think, and other share my view, that if consensus is not achieved we should go back to the start, at least three times, but we have not achieved a resolution in this point.

Once the document is approved it goes to the blog and becomes public. Most of our work will have to do with communication, sharing our views with other DiEM25 members, and everything we do as a group will be made available. Transparency is a must for us.

Now, you may wonder WHAT we do? Right? So many procedures and “bureaucracy” need a raison d’être. Well, using this methodology we have finally agreed on our aims, which is no small achievement. You can see if this is something that would interest you and you may be interested to take part in. If so, you are invited to join us.

Salud, paz y democracia.

The road to the goals of DiD

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

DiD has started moving, and is doing so with a lot of energy. We already have some infrastructure for internal conferencing, we have set up this blog, our slack channel, we already have regular meetings (biweekly for now), and plans for the future, but most important WE ALREADY DISAGREE with each other in a fantastically healthy way. So, in order to start playing the game of democracy we thought it would be good to agree on something and we thought that having common goals would be a good place to start.

On our last meeting (Oct 11th 2016) we set for ourselves the task of reaching an agreement on this topic and, in order to do that we opened an online document prior to the meeting where everybody was invited to post their opinions on the issue. At the beginning of the meeting every person present was invited to make a proposal for our common goals.

It became quickly apparent that it was not going to be difficult to reach an agreement, because although different people thought of different aspects of democracy, it all sounded quite well to all of us. However, nothing is easy if you want to do it right and we were aiming for nothing else but consensus. Mind you, that was never decided, that is what we were doing spontaneously. You can read the full meeting minutes here if you are interested, but you can find below the five points which we agreed upon.

  1. Engagement with Diem25 members
  2. Democracy + subject to change
  3. Review the organizational principles to respect what the grassroots level believes is democracy
  4. Set up a dialogue with the CC
  5. To experiment with the new tools of democracy

These five sentences made sense to us at the time, but in order to avoid misunderstanding they need to be spelled out and shaped. It was agreed that they where to be developed by one of us and shared with the rest for editing. Once a more elaborate expression of the document was attained, with contributions from different members we started a vote on the document. Just now we are at that stage. In the final approval process.

How are things going to work if there is no consensus? Will we go back to the document and revise it? Will we use half + one democracy? I am very interested in the outcome, not so much because of the document itself, but because this documents has started the search for internal democracy in DiD. We cannot strive to promote internal democracy in DiEM25 if we don’t function in a democratic. We, who have the time for democracy, should strive for democratic perfection, whatever that is decided to be.

Once the “official” goals (should I say “goals agreed upon”?) have been approved by the group they will be available in the blog. Until then, my dear democrats.

Salud, Paz y Democracia

Democracy in DiEM25

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

Diem 25 is one of the most ambitious political projects we will ever have the chance to take part in. The objective of Diem25 is to pursuit a very simple but radical idea: Democracy. This movement, however, is born in the eye of the hurricane. Never like today since the second world war, has the concept of democracy been under such a tremendous pressure to yield. Never in the last seventy years had democracy actually handed over so much of the power of the European states to the decisions of a powerful few. For this reason Diem25 is born in a hurry and has massively approved a set of Organizing Principles which, according to the founders of this blog, leave some room for improvement.

The method used to elaborate and approve the existing OP’s does not respond to our high expectations of a purely democratic organization. We feel the preceding debate was not sufficiently open, was not totally public, and that there was very little debate after the first draft was issued. There was too short a time to discuss the draft among the different people involved in the movement, located in different countries and speaking different languages, there should have been more effort put into making this debate take place. Furthermore the second draft submitted to vote, was produced by the authors of the first one who, full of good will but without in any way involving the people who make Diem25, decided how and which of the objections to the first document should be taken into account for the second and final.

However, this post is not the place to analyse what has happened or how it should have happen. That may be addressed later, if at all. One of the demands expressed by the DSC’s in the feedback to the first draft OP’s was that these principles were to be revised periodically, and the authors of the document have been wise enough to understand that democracy is about change, and finding new and better ways of organise ourselves. This blog is about finding those ways. Our aim is to develop a brand new set of principles which articulate this movement for democracy, which are the result of a truly democratic exercise.

DiEM25 is in a hurry, as members of DiEM25 we share the urgency of our task. Democracy, however, is not in a hurry. And in the pursuit of democracy we cannot be in a hurry either. Democracy needs time. Even if it must be able to produce emergency plans which enable the system to react hastily, those plans must be slowly drafted and agreed upon by all the stake holders. Otherwise, we are not talking about democracy. We may set ourselves a practical objective, such as to be able to propose, two years from now, to the rest of the DiEM25 membership a new complete set of OP in the making of which they will have had the chance to participate. The failure to do so, however, will not stop us from fighting for democracy inside and outside DiEM25.

This blog is just one of the tools which as DSC Democracy in DiEM25 we are planing to use in the pursuit of our goals. The contents of the posts will include, but not be limited to: the values that the OP 2.0 should endeavor to share and defend, possible structures for DiEM25 which will ensure those values are respected, ways to communicate in order to generate a fruitful debate across language and geographical barriers, practical means to take frequent democratic decisions using the means provided by ICT… etc.

Finally, it is important to note that YOU are invited to participate in this blog. Not only posting comments, but also by writing articles and posts. We will decide in the future, all together, how this blog is to be administered, and used, but until then, consider this as your space. The usual expectations are set about civility and we will not do with insults of any kind. We will not censor anything as long as it is expressed in a constructive inoffensive way. Be reasonable but please take part, get your need of democracy come out, get it out of your chest. We are all waiting for your contribution.

My wishes to every one out there:

Salud, Paz y Democracia (Health, Peace and Democracy)