Democratic control of information channels.

You have an idea and you want to share it with the world. Internet allows you, in theory, to send it to everyone as a private message so you make sure they know that your idea is there. If everyone does the same we would all be flooded with message coming from everywhere. Most of them undesired. Information becomes invisible, intractable, useless, there is too much of it.

If I want to know what you think, I subscribe to your channel, you subscribe to mine, we talk to each other, the information is useful but incomplete. We do not know what is happening in the greater world. There must be channels to which we can tune in and listen to what is happening, to what people have to say, and the contents of those channels MUST NOT be controlled by a few people who can decide what we hear about and what we hear about it.

As a practical example we have the general mailing list of DiEM25. This is a powerful tool who is now controlled by the CC. It makes sense to look after it, not to let it become a spamming machine to serve personal interests, but it also makes sense that there are mechanisms to let the grassroots talk to themselves and use it. If a sufficient number of members agree that an issue should be shared with the rest of DiEM, it makes sense that it is indeed shared with the rest of DiEM. What does “sufficient” mean?

Well the answer can also be customized by each member, because the technology allows for it. We could have a model by which members could subscribe to communications backed by X number of members, or by members of such country, or by members of N different countries, or coming from a particular group, such as, for instance, the CC.

Now, once the message is sent, there is no need for all subscribers to get all replies. The message could immediately become a thread to which interested members could subscribe or not. It should be able to subscribe conditionally. If there are more than N responses, or responses from N people or responses from people from N different countries.

No person of group should have the power to control what other people say to each other. No person should stop communication among others. The use of information channels in a democratic structure must be regulated so every individual has the same level of access, and this only depends on the will of other people to spread the message.

Until we solve this fundamental problem we will have no hope of creating a large scale grassroots movement.

Salud, Paz y Democracia


My vision of DiD

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

It has become clear at this point that there are different flavors to DiD. They range in methodologies, objectives and else. However, there is a strong commonality, the desire to use this working group to improve the quality of the democracy in DiEM25. Moreover, the idea of making of DiEM25 a truly grassroots democracy or at least reduce the power of the top structures in favor of more participation is almost unanimous. DiD has certain specific aims which have been agreed upon but I have a particular vision of DiD which of course encompasses those aims but goes far beyond them. Needless to say, my vision of DiD includes my vision for DiEM25. I try to summarize it in one sentence and then develop it further.

“DiD is the tool through which members of DiEM25 can orchestrate a profound change in DiEM25 structures which will result on an expansive democratic model which can be exported to other European parties, organizations and eventually regional, national and union institutions.”

This means, DiEM25 should be the epicenter of an expansive democratic movement which must be able to reach out to the entire European population. DiD should be the epicenter of a DiEm25 internal democratic movement whose aim is to convert the later in a truly grassroots movement.

Such transformation of the present DiEM25 structures would require a new set of Organizing Principles. However, any attempt to re drafts the OP’s before the grass roots of DiEM are truly articulated and able to take decisions in an efficient and democratic fashion will fail to support a truly grassroots movement. Grassroots democracy cannot be designed or imposed from the top. Grassroots democracy is a state of organization, a living system where people make rules, use the rules, change the rules within a certain framework and methodology which they also change as needed until sufficiently stable for the amount of people who use them, the people who take part in such democracy. If there are going to be DiEM25  Organizing Principles 2.0, these must be a mere description of an existing working organization not the blue print for a top down implementation. The organization principles of a grassroots democracy can only be a statement of facts, not a project.

How do we go from where we stand to where I would like to see ourselves is the trillion dollar question. There is no final answer to the question of how do 500.000.000 people can self organize democratically, but we are much more likely to be on track if we have manged to solve the problem for 5.000.000, for instance. In turn, how to solve that problem will be much easier if we have managed to have a self organizing group of 5.000  individuals. Let us say this is my vision of DiD’s role. Did should engage in the conversation about internal democracy with as many DiEM25 members as possible. The rules of this conversation will have to be modified as the number of participants change, and those rules mus be decided and approved by the group at any time. DiD itself does not need to grow. Only the conversation must grow.

For the conversation to grow organically it must involve a continuous revision of our methods, but also a steady work from our side in order to ensure that we live up to our own expectations. The dues payed to democracy will diminish as the size of our democracy grows, but now that we are few, a significant effort is required to move forward. There are three pillars of democracy upon which we need to build:

1.- Legitimacy
2.- Transparency
3.- Separation of powers


Our continuous discussion on what are the methods that make a DiD resolution legitimate must be translated into written rules and conditions. We have already started this process, but further procedures must be established for the different types of actions that DiD shall take as a group. These procedures must be drafted, discussed, approved, modified, which means a lot of work.


All of our work must be available to anyone who is interested in taking part in the game of democracy, which potentially includes everyone. Total transparency is demanded from whom expects total transparency. I personally believe we are in the right track, but we have not yet specified and approved which are the processes which guarantee we are totally transparent. Once we agree upon them we will need to establish who is responsible for carrying out such tasks. More work to be done.

Separation of powers.

Although we are so few, and there is little power to be separated in DiD, we need to start taking into consideration this critical issue.  Democracy’s corner stone is separation of powers and we have very little idea of how a grassroots judicial system could look like, and how can it be made effective. It would be wise starting thinking about it now, from the very beginning, so it is inbuilt in the system and not superimposed on it.

Thus, I believe there is a lot of work needed to make the miracle of democracy possible, but I see a very clear path which stems from groups such such as DiD. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of groups which are now working on this same objective in Europe and beyond. Our aim is not to build our own little perfect democracy, but share with all of them, inside and outside DiEM25, our knowledge and our troubles, our solutions and our failures, in order to finally unite with them first in a truly paneuropean democracy and later we will see.

Salud, Paz y Democracia

Is DiEM25 a grassroots movement?

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

One of our colleagues in DiD recently asked herself if we are not being naif expecting to find grassroots democracy in DiEM25. As she rightly points out there is nothing in the manifesto about grassroots or direct democracy. As far as the movement goes, establishing democracy in Europe refers to having all decision power centres respond to the mandate of the European parliament. The question of how that parliament is elected, and if that parliament is the result of a truly democratic exercise or it is just the democracy lookalike we are used to today is nowhere to be found in the founding principles of DiEM25. Furthermore, the nature of internal democracy in DiEM25 is not questioned either. With respect to my own idea of democracy, DiEM25 organization still needs to improve its organisation and communication methods, even accepting this is not a grassroots movement.

She is probably right thinking “have we just interpreted our hopes of «authentic grassroots democracy» into DiEM25” and we are probably naif thinking that DiEM25 as a movement will actually fight to achieve high standards of internal democracy, never mind grassroots democracy. (NOTE from June 20th 2017: DiEM25 has now taken a very clear direction towards the grassroots movement DiD originally dreamed of. May be it was always the case but our perception was not accurate. However, may this post remain here to remind us how, one way or another I have felt that the work of DiD has changed from demanding internal democracy to actually help to build it with the help of all other existing institutions like the CC and AP)

She is probably right, but I see it in another way. I agree with her on her observation, I just prefer to dream on.

Because Europe is not democratic, to the point that the President of the EU helps organising legal schemes for the powerful to still taxes from us, the powerless, DiEM25 stands up to change that, and we are naif enough to think we are going to change things. We who are not satisfied with the nature of democracy in DiEM25 are naif enough to think we can change that. Or not?

We, in DiD, must reach out to other diemers. We must find out what they think of the nature of democracy in DiEM25, we must find out if they are happy with the OP, we must find out if they are interested in a truly grassroots movement. May be they are not. May be the majority of DiEM25 is happy with the way things are. May be the majority of the Europeans is happy with corporate tax evasion (Believe it or not many Irish people will defend the government helping Apple legally and illegally stealing tax money from the European and Irish people). If such is the case we will have to accept we are a minority who have an idea of democracy which does not correspond to the world we are living in. We may have to accept that diemers do not want grassroots democracy.

However, if we find out that most of the them agree with us, then we are not naif. Then I do not care less what the OPs say about internal organization: I only care about how the DiEM25 members actually want to organize themselves, and if that is in a truly grassroots democratic movement, then that is what DiEM25 must be. And shall be. If we manage to make the people of Europe understand that their future and the future of the continent may be in their hands and they do not need to relay on the political elites, then, that is the way it will be. Call me naif, but I shall not stop until a reach the conclusion that I cannot change the world. And that is not going to be tomorrow.

Salud, Paz y Democracia


The state of democracy

This post only expresses the opinion of the author
When you think of graphite and diamond you are talking about one and the same thing: A solid in which the same carbon atoms bound in a certain geometry or structure which is sustained by certain forces, and which required certain energy to be put in place.  
When you think of a dictatorship and democracy you are talking about one and the same thing: a society in which the same humans relate to each other according to a certain structure, which is sustained by certain forces, and which require certain energy to be put in place.
If we carry this model forward we would observe that in order to create diamond, a very stable state, we need to invest a lot of energy. That means reaching stability may be very costly. When crystals grow they do not only need a physical model, a seed crystal, which shows the way forward to other atoms. They aldo need a certain amount of energy for each atom to be incorporated to the grid. Similarly, a seed democracy may show the way for other individuals to organize themselves, but exporting a living democracy from a samll group to a whole society is going to require a certain energy to overcome social inertia.
I am inclined to think that true democracy is the most desirable state of human society. I am tempted to say that it would be the most stable as well. May be it is not. What is absolutely certain is that facing the problem of democracy today we need to deal with two different issues: structure and energy.
  • Structure refers to the design of democratic mechanisms: communication, debating and voting schemes and tools.          
  • The energy of a state of democracy refers to the actual effort made by citizens to         take part on the system. The total energy is roughly dependent on the number of people taking part.
Designing the tools requires a huge amount of thought, energy and effort, but we may consider that the total amount of human power invested would be small compared with the total energy of the system. Five people making perfectly democratic decisions have no strength, five million do, but in order for those five million to feel bound by the democratic deal, by the new social contract, a significant part of them must be involved, in one way or another in the decision making process. A significant number of people must be active in the exercise of democracy in order to keep it alive.
Everyone must feel part of the network, every atom must be able to feel its own significance in the crystal, every person needs to know that her or his opinion matters. Else we are just talking of isolated individual, carbon atoms in a gas container, colliding with each other in a random way. The state of democracy disappears.
What does this mean for us the fighters of democracy? It means we have to work in two directions. The structure of a truly democratic system must be laid out and the number of people taking part in the fight must be increased. Recruiting members for the democratic experiment is essential for two reasons:
  • Even if we were perfectly democratic in our internal proceedings this would  not         change at all the system in which we have to live, the outside world.
  • The tools for large scale democracy cannot be put to a real test unless they are         used by millions of people simultaneously.
However, none of the goals can prevail over the other. If in the search of a perfect structure we do not expand its range of influence, we will have a perfectly useless democracy. If in the struggle to expand the reach of democracy we introduce faults or cracks in the seed crystal, these will be amplified as the system grows. However, the good news is that once a state of democratic is stablished, a more democratic one can substitute it and this will certainly happen with less effort, but for this to happen there must always be a group of idealists asking to revise and improve the system, turn graphite into diamond. Today, DiD is one of those groups.
Salud, paz y democracia.

WHY democracy?

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

This may seem a very silly question. Most people agree, we need democracy. Democracy is “good”. Some people even go to war thinking they do it for the sake of democracy. People actually die for democracy, but WHY democracy? Why REAL democracy and not just a democracy make believe?

It is an unquestionable fact that we live in a world where few people have great power and possessions, and other people have very little or nothing at all. This means that the powerful can (and do) use their power to retain or increase their power at the cost of the powerless. This may be or not be a result of biological evolution but thousands of years of history seem to indicate that this pattern is not likely to spontaneously change tomorrow at two o’clock in the afternoon.

We, the powerless many, need to find ways of counteracting the power of the few and that power resides in our unity. We work “their” land, run “their” factories, pay them interest in the money we borrow from them to buy from them our house, which we have built. Nevertheless, we have very little power to decide how the world we make is run. Why? Because we are not united, because we do not live in a real democracy.

Democracy is not an agreement about what type of economy we should live in, neither about whether public health and education should exist or not and to what extend. Democracy is just an agreement about how we should decide those things together. Democracy does not mean that you have to be busy in politics every day, or every week, or every month, or even once every four years. Democracy means that, if you have an opinion on a certain issue that affects you, your opinion will be taken into account inasmuch as the opinion of any other stake holder. You can always be loyal to a fully transparent system where you see your opinion taken into account. You can always be loyal to other human beings if you are bound to them by as system which guarantees that they are loyal to you. You can unite with your equals. True democracy is human unity, mutual respect and the consciousness of a common destiny.

In an apparently democratic system where only a few elected people make decisions, only if those few are pure, brave and honest, can you expect them to take decisions directed to benefit the powerless many, because the powerful few will always find how, legally or illegally, the decisions of the few can be influenced, be it by threat or reward. The  powerful few can buy the elected few but they can never buy the powerless many.  Everyone has a price, and a few million euros can buy almost any living soul, but in order to buy off five hundred million Europeans you need much more. If the world’s few are willing to buy off the eight billions inhabitants of the world and make us all happy in order to stay in power, I don’t think I would be writing about this. Democracy would not be necessary. Not so urgently necessary at least.

Salud, Paz y Democracia


WHAT is democracy?

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

Whether a decision is taken democratically or not, is not so much a result of how many individuals participate in the decision taken, but, rather, depends on whether there was a previous, population-wide agreement as to which persons should take the decision.

For instance, in a representative democracy, a very reduced group of people (the Parliament and the Government) are granted the power to take decisions. The previous existence of a social agreement, such as a Constitution, confers the decision-taking process democratic legitimacy.

In such a case, however, it is the democratic character of the Constitution itself what determines whether decisions taken by the Parliament or Government are democratic in essence.

Moreover, once a decision-taking system is in place, it is very difficult to modify. Such modifications generally require an across-the-board national mobilization which is very unlikely to occur. A full-fledged revision of an established system is utterly unlikely. In particular, the power of the individuals who “rule” the system (and the media) is a great hindrance to any change that could increase its “democratic quality”.

For this reason, the cornerstone of a democratic system is its birth: the process by which the people (the demos) agrees on the method to be used in the making of decisions.

It is essential that the new-born system ensures that the connection between the people and the decisions taken by the system is not broken. At any point in time, everyone in the system should be able to say without a trace of doubt: “I may not agree with a particular decision, but I truly believe that this is what most people want, and hence I accept it.” That is democracy for me.

DiEM25 has recently adopted a new set of Organising Principles which have been approved by a majority of the movement. I believe that, on spite the majority support that they gathered in the referendum, they are not the result of a truly participatory exercise. The main reason for this being is that we DON’T KNOW how to do it. Hence in the sense that we specify above DiEM25 could be a much more democratic institution, and although this point will be argued in later posts, we feel the need to find out, from scratch, how diemers would like to organize themselves.

It is essential to guarantee that DiEM25 is democratic at heart, that everything we do is the result of a democratic process. If we cannot make of DiEM25 a profoundly democratic organisation, we will be in no position to dream of democratising Europe.

In order to guarantee this, we need the common will to develop and use the right algorithms to ensure a democratic decision-making process. We must use those mechanisms to slow cook a new set of organizing principle. It may well be that those OP 2.0 are exactly the same as the OP recently approved by a large majority of DiEM25, but it may well be that what people in DiEM25 actually need and desire is very different. Let us find out.

Salud, Paz y Democracia