[pp.int.general] 'Liquid Democrazy': Pirate Party Sinks amid Chaos and Bickering

David van Deijk davidd at piratenpartij.nl
Sun Feb 24 12:23:34 CET 2013

Eduardo Robles Elvira schreef op 24.02.2013 11:07:
> On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM, Nicolás Reynolds
> <fauno at kiwwwi.com.ar> wrote:
>>> 2. Maybe we are really trying something impossible by fighting the
>>> 'iron law of oligarchy':
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy - maybe we 
>>> should
>>> accept it as a reality, analyze it and try to make it a smaller 
>>> effect
>>> it instead of trying to have politics completely democratic.
> Hello:
> I'm Eduardo, one of the (founding) members of the spanish pirate
> party,

I'm davidd. I was copresident of PPNL during last dutch elections.
We have had lots of bickering too.

> The wikipedia page about it [1] is a very interesting
> read, thanks Zbigniew.

thanks Zbigniew.

> I feel the pain misunderstood leaders of the german
> pirate party as I felt it when it happened to some of the leaders in
> the long wars of the spanish pirate party. The pressure they must 
> feel
> right now is quite hig, for you know liquids are incompressible.
> Liquid democrazy is a nice term for this, congrats to the person who
> coined this term.

I have felt the same. Quoting from the spiegel:

"I'm not out to get power. I have no mandate, no salary. I'm also 
to eventually step down. And still people accuse me of being 
and of not listening to the party's base."

I have literally wrecked my personal life to get the pirateparty
off the ground. Working a full time job, doing the pirateparty stuff on
the side. Yet getting accused of corruption, incompetence, being power
hungry, all of the above.

Outside people and new pirates seem to hold the board to a different
standard. They compare us to political parties that have overpaid
boards with lots of power and lots of paid workers.

Its not that i did not listen to the party base. The board just doesnt
have the power these members expect. In the pirateparty the board can
not say: "you three people will now do X". We rely on volunteers that
we have to recruit to do X. So if X did not happen, it was not because
the board did not listen to the person suggesting the board should do
X, but because the board could not find volunteers to do X.

To make matters worse, if you reply as a board member: "the board is 
going to do this but you can find your own volunteers" You get accused
of being a totalitarian dictator. No, it is because i did not want to
be a dictator that i say this to you.

It's almost impossible to not get accused of being a dictator that
doesnt listen and doesnt want to do anything. especially when you
take into account the people that just call you such names to get
you to do one thing or another.

I could stand these accusations and namecalling, it gets harder when
nobody is balancing it with compliments, it gets way harder when you
organise democratic input meetings and nobody shows, because at the
same time someone else organised a "the board dont listen" meeting
because they did not read the announcement of the boardorganised
meeting. That really happened, i organised a meeting where only
4 people showed up, while a meeting that was planned for the same
time to bitch about the board had many attendees. The person
organising the other meeting apologised for it afterward, but it shows
how impossible it can be.

It is easy to jsut blame the leaders if the pirateparty fails, or
accomplishes less than people wanted it to accomplish. But you can not
strip the leaders of power, and at the same time blame them for
everything that happened or did not happen. Remember if you blame them,
you inadvertently are saying they _should_ grab more power. (exceptions
do exist). And vice versa: if you accuse them of powergrabbing, you
are saying they dont bear responsibility for the area. (exceptions do

Which one do you want?

The board can not magicly generate a 100% consensus out of thin air.

> 1. Transparency. This avoids corruption, because political corruption
> is kind of the opposite of transparency. Transparency  means a lot of
> things: it should be transverse at all representative layers,
> obligatory for those that represent us, but also people should keep 
> an
> eye and organize, because "given enough eyeballs, all 
> bugs/corruptions
> are shallow" [3].

Making it transparent can not force people to look. Just like having
access to sourcecode of software can not make people stop complaining.
YEs they could change it themselves, but they rather bitch about it and
have you fix it.

> 2. Self-determination/federalism/individual free will. We don't like
> to be told what we can or can't do: we believe in free will. Even in
> groups, individuals are the ones that ultimately take the decisions.
> With our free will we choose to organize in groups, so it's a matter
> of sense that with the same free will we can choose to leave that
> group and join another one or create one ourselves. This is the
> principle of federalism or self-determination, and it's also the same
> principle behind liquid democracy. This means that we need to give
> back power autonomy to small communities.

Ah ye old centralised vs decentralised debate.

centralists: "but why do all the work 10 times over"
decentralists: "why give all that power to a distant bureau that doesnt
know the situation on the ground overhere"

> --
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_corruption
> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus%27s_Law
> [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divide_and_conquer_algorithm
> [4] http://www.democracy-international.org/book-direct-democracy.html

Thanks Eduardo for your nice email. Thanks others for contributing.

Met vriendelijke groeten,
David van Deijk.
Kandidaat Tweede Kamer 2012,
Ledenraadslid 2013-
Piratenpartij Nederland
David.van.Deijk at piratenpartij.nl

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