Internal DiEM25 Survey: Results & Conclusion

This post only expresses the opinion of the author (Lea)


  1. COMMUNICATION

How do members feel about the internal communication in DiEM25?

Members of DiEM25 seem to be neither very satisfied nor dissatisfied with the given communication system – an average of 55,38 % can be stated as the level of content there. The communication from the CC is thought of being less satisfying – the average here is 52,69 %. Results state that topics currently discussed (71,54 %) & their timely communication (61,73 %) functions fairly well in the eyes of the members. Less so the communications before internal referenda (56,73 %). Even lower (56,35 %) is the average result to the question if members do find it easy to follow what it going to happen next in DiEM25.

Do members feel that DiEM25 could improve by a restructuring of the internal communication?

Accounting to the answers given to the question “How could DiEM25 improve its internal communication?”: Yes.

How do members think the internal communication in DiEM25 could be improved?

The two options given got quite differing results: 33 voices can be counted on behalf of the implementation of a fully employed communications team for which the voters would be willing to donate. 74 voices were raised in favour of a direct communications channel from the DSC’s to the CC. 25 members specified their vote (abstract see below):

  • A change in communications platforms

→ Forum is not user friendly, it needs more structure

Homepage should become better structured (e.g. avoiding a plurality of other sources), more user friendly (e.g. better advertisement of the location of meeting minutes) & more interactive (e.g. easier ways to communicate & discuss, up-down voting of proposals)

  • Custom communication tools should be considered as part of the change in the communication structure

requirements of such tools would be: encryption (e.g. Protonmail), proof of receipt (e.g. in e-mails), transparency (e.g. Loomio, liquidFeedback), user-friendliness, allowing of continuous updates

tools that are of particular interest & importance: a collaboration tool for the co-writing of texts, a platform for day-to-day communications, a platform for online meetings/assemblies

open topic teams

  • Communication platforms for consultation & discussion should be reduced to one or two at the most

simplification, usability & directness are the goals

  • Contents ought to be focused & relevant

e-mails/messages in general shouldn’t make it unnecessarily hard to filter out relevant information

the misuse of the official mailing lists for purposes other than those established should be prevented

  • A volunteer communications team (costs reimbursed) should be set up
  • Potential conversational partners should be made known

the interlocutors of “domains” (com, volunteers, events, etc …)

a list of discussed issues including contact persons & dates should be established & regularly updated

a list of contact details of Diem25 members should be communicated

  • Communications between CC, VD & DSCs have to be improved

between CC & DSCs communication should take place on a regular basis (e.g. every CC member joins at least one online DSC meetings per month)

between VC & DSCs the communication should be increased

there should be more cross-DSC communication (e.g. for discussing politics & DiEM25 policies)

  • More events to inform & debate should be organized
  • The used language should not be English alone
  1. TRANSPARENCY

Do members feel that DiEM25 is a internally transparent movement?

For a movement whose first & ongoing campaign was/is about transparency 58,06 % as an average result to the question “How would you rate transparency within DiEM25?” are not that much & should be far from satisfying.

More than half of the questions concerned with information gathering & processing (how decisions are made in DiEM25, how members can take part in the decision making process, how policy papers are being drafted, how to find documentation about the activities of the CC) didn’t even get an average of much more than 55 % (50,77 %, 55,58 %, 55,34 %, 50,87 %) – meaning, members couldn’t find the information easily or often didn’t know where to find it. And how policy papers are being drafted seems to be a bit of a question mark for quite a lot of members.

The other two questions (currently discussed topics, the perception of the public availability of DiEM25 procedures) barely cross the line of 60 % (62,31 %, 61,37 %). This shows clearly the intimate connection of questions about transparency & communication.

Do members feel that DiEM25 could improve by a re-evaluation of internal transparency?

In the survey results statements that transparency & openness are prerequisites for communication & voting tools were made, so: Yes.

How do members think the internal transparency in DiEM25 could be improved?

The members who took the survey where with an average of 74,56 % in favour of having access to detailed minutes in comparison to access to audio recordings (63,50 %) of the CC meetings. One member suggested that the minutes could be send my e-mail.

The quite high 83,30 % show their preference to being informed about the decisions of the VC. That is probably a result of the fact indicated by one member that “there’s not enough information on the VC available to state whether or not more influence from its part would be beneficial”.

An average of only 43,88 % were given by members to the question if they were aware what influence the members of the Advisory Panel have.

  1. DEMOCRACY

How do members feel about the internal democratic structure in DiEM25?

The question about how satisfied members are with the degree of internal democracy within DiEM25 shows a result of an average of 63,65 % of satisfaction. Given this we might have to remind ourselves that democracy has to be learned, that it is not something that comes natural to our species – yet.

How do members perceive the role of the CC? Are members satisfied with the way the decision making process works right now in DiEM25 concerning the CC?

There’s obviously a great wish for more & better communication between the CC, coordinators, DSCs & members. Single members who are not organised but also many members who are organised in DSCs feel a degree of hierarchy unfolding in DiEM25 that does not go well with their expectancy of a democratic grassroots movement. This impression is heightened by the feeling that decisions are being made without them even knowing about those until afterwards. For single members this instance is even more grave because information & requests to participate which go out to DSCs won’t reach them in most cases. The CC as a decision maker, manager & core team of DiEM25 seems not to be a problem for most members. The problem is obviously one of communication, consistency & transparency: transparent communication along with participation & in complete accord with predetermined principles are the core foundation of democracy.

I think it is positive that there is a core team that draws up policies and acts as representatives of the movement: it is not necessary to put each of their decisions to the vote, as long as the aims remains loyal to the founding DiEM25 document. More important is that local DiEM25 chapters have a relative freedom to interpret and apply these policy proposals etc. The assembly is a good model for involvement, but not for overall decision making: we need not to talk democratically, but act democratically. (quotation)

How do members perceive the role of DSCs?

The general perception seems positive. Nonetheless there were two rather negative comments in the survey which I felt should not be excluded: One member thinks the “Berlin centre [I gather this refers to the DSC Berlin] acts too much like a politburo”. Another claims that spontaneous collectives and such are inferior to online groups in effectiveness and productivity, that physical meetings are time consuming, non ecological, undermined by the laws of possible behavioural manipulation & leave no time to “sit on a thought” before one expresses a vote or an alternative on a given matter.

Are members satisfied with the way the decision making process works right now in DiEM25 concerning the DSCs?

The decision making process in the DSCs of the members who did the survey is viewed as being made quite democratically (83,85 %), the satisfaction with the way decisions are made in their DSCs is accordingly high (82,50 %). Although there was voiced by one member a wish for the establishing of proceeding rules for DSC meetings so they can become more productive.

Do members feel that DiEM25 could improve by a re-evaluation of its structure?

Accounting to the question if the members thought DiEM25’s actions & goals would benefit from a change in internal structure, this is answered quite positive with an average of 70,71 %. But there are counter voices too:

Further internal transparency and direct democracy I’m afraid will proof counter-productive: in many grassroots movements the obsession with their own internal structure stops them from looking outward. The DiEM25 manifesto is what guides us, we do not have to go over the decision making structures time and time again. Lets achieve democratic results for the public at large, rather than debate internally. What would be important is to have a DiEM25 co-presidency, of both a man and a woman. Their has been a lot of critique of the lack of gender balance in the leadership. (quotation)

It might be true that an obsession with its internal structure can lead to the petrification of a movement. To most members though it seems highly problematic that a movement which proclaims that democracy & transparency are two of its main principles lacks itself in both. A manifesto is only one side of the coin – the “what” – the other side is the “how” & therefore an internal debate about structure, democracy & transparency is essential. And of course DiEM25 has no president – at least not officially. If it had or had anything like it (which is to be debated still) the proposal makes sense of course.

How do members think the internal democratic structure in DiEM25 could be improved?

The two options given got the following results: 42 voices were raised on behalf of more direct member referenda (e.g. before the start of a new campaign) & 74 voices were raised in favour of regular surveys on the future strategy of DiEM25. 24 members specified their vote (abstract see below):

  • To be clear: It’s not about changing entirely the current way in which DiEM25 operates!
  • What is of a big concern for many members right now:

DiEM25 is increasingly run by caucus & luminaries

too much weight is ascribed to individual people instead of the community

  • Therefore it should be outlined in a precise & transparent way

who & what is a regular member

that members forming the CC, VC, AP & PNCs are regular members

the allocation of tasks of the CC, VC, AP, PNCs, their assistants & the Volunteer Coordinators

  • A place for national coordinations should be set up

national structures should be created, controlled by the CC but with periodic elections so as to avoid personalities in decision-making

more multi-regional centers (6-7) as nodes for center-peripheral communications should be created

regional structures should be strengthened

  • Creation of a congress
  • Creation of more paid full-time jobs in DiEM25

would allow a more outspoken criticism of the internal structures

  • more grassroots involvement & influence
  • Communication between CC, VC, AP, PNCs, DSCs & members has to be improved

platforms & tools have to create & support more efficient channels for the horizontal & vertical communication

regular updates on the activities of the CC with the possibility of input by the DSCs should be established

crowdsource initiatives could activate collective knowledge & skills

methods to promote movement wide proposals have to be found

a way in which to apply a consensus method movement wide has to be found

organised discussion on the OP on a platform different from the Forum (e.g. Loomio)

more space for discussions between DSCs from different countries should be created

more political-ideological discussion is needed

participatory processes should go beyond referenda

  • Elections / Referenda

voting procedures should be developed & surpass a YES/NO-basis

on every ambiguous matter there should be a voting procedure by all members

referenda must come after discussions

consultation periods with members prior to decisions (like is being done currently on our “political” direction) should be understood

deadlines should be preceded by broader time intervals for discussions / earlier announcements of campaigns should be mandatory

PNC’s should be democratically elected

  1. MOVEMENT OR PARTY

Do members feel that DiEM25 is generally operating as a grassroots movement?

Most members obviously had a high expectancy (84,85 %) of DiEM25 being a grassroots movement when they joined it. Their general feeling of DiEM25 operating like a grassroots movement is quite low in comparison (56,54 %). 64 voices were raised in favour of more influence of the grassroots, but only 14 for more influence of the VC.

DiEM needs more grassroots activity and mobilization. It does not have many members, members aren’t active (e.g. only 2000 votes on the position to the French elections). Sometimes it feels that everything is centered around big conferences, rallies and idelogical speaking events. (quotation)

Do members think that DiEM25 should become a political party?

The approval of the question if DiEM25 should become a party amounts only to an average of 59,03 %.

  1. THE FUTURE

Should DiEM25 focus on specific pillars of its progressive agenda for Europe?

The question if DiEM25 should in the future focus on specific pillars of its progressive agenda for Europe got quite a high result of an average of 77,58 %.

One member pointed out that “a definition of 3 or 4 strategic points for the future & an extensive internet consultation on them is necessary”.

On which pillars should DiEM25 set a stronger focus in the eyes of the members?

In the ranking of pillars that should get a stronger focus The European New Deal (71 voices) & Democracy (70 voices) stand out. (One member wrote that “a realistic well measured financial-economic plan should be established as soon as possible”.) They are followed by Green Investment (49 voices), Future of Labour & Transparency (48 voices both). At the rear end there is found the pillar concerning Refugees & Migration (40 voices).

  1. CONCLUSION

In general there seems to be quite a bit of dissatisfaction with how things are set at DiEM25 right now. This concerns internal structure, communication & transparency & thus affecting the perception of DiEM25 as a movement based on democracy.

On the other hand a lot of earnest & active thinking & working on these topics in search of concrete & practical ideas about how things could be changed for the better is obviously taking place. This can be seen as proof that many members (still) perceive the approach of DiEM25 to the challenges & problems for Europeans right now as a valuable & promising one.

Since the survey was taken a few months ago the circumstances have changed a bit. The announcement to go political in Berlin on May 25th startled many members & made internal issues even more obvious than before. That can be perceived as a positive outcome for it challenges all of DiEM25s members to work even harder on the issues that form its base & are part of its manifesto.

But Berlin also brought new input with the notification of our 7th pillar. Questions about communication, transparency & democracy are discussed with even greater intensity & acuteness than before. The search for other, better, transparent, effective & user-friendly communication tools has made progress.

Lastly the election of 6 new members to the CC has a potential of changing things also. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all 6 members of the CC that are proposing to step down will & need to be voted out of the CC. But the fact that it’s happening opens new space for discussion & activates forces that were sleeping or sleepy until now.

Lea Wimmer

Hannover, July 18th, 2017

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