Day One: The group exploring the Reichstag and German politics....
- Dinner Speech
The Evolution of Democracy – How Will Political Participation Look Tomorrow?
Craig Calhoun Designated Director, London School of Economics and Political Science, London
- Craig Calhoun said that civil protests had to overcome their skeptical attitude towards institution building. Without institutional structures they wouldn’t be able to make their issues heard and to shape social change.
Day 2: Theorizing about participation...
- Panel Session 1
New Forms of Democracy – Benefiting the Minority at the Expense of the Majority?
Anke Domscheit-Berg: “The future of government is transparency. As a result, secrecy and corruption will have a harder time in digital democracies. Ideally, open government happens top down. Governments who don’t open up will be made transparent bottom up.”
John Kornblum: “Community organizing helps to increase transparency and provides the possibility of participation, and thus empowers citizens to decide their own fate. It is not about minorities. It's all a question of empowerment only.”
Sudha David-Wilp: “Within the current US political system, the lack of bipartisanship and will to cooperate leads to political apathy and distrust of government in the American electorate.”
Panel Session 2
The Professional Citizen – An Equal Partner in Business and Politics?
Marianne Wellershoff argued that employees who profit directly from the financial success of their company as shareholders were more motivated and entrepreneurial. While they can vote for representatives, employees of Der Spiegel news magazine are not involved in business decisions.
David Howard: “The level of exposure caused by the demand for transparency and direct communication through e-mail, phone, fax, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication poses a tremendous load on elected officials, which makes it even more difficult to do the job well.”
...and getting in touch with local initiatives.
- How to Include Minorities in Participatory Processes
Community Platform Wedding Moabit: “Wir sind da!”
- John Kornblum: “Community organizing is a slow revolution, a grassroots level empowerment, on the basis of talking.”
New Methods and Techniques of Participation
Liquid Democracy e.V. / Petition Committee
- Surprising information: the high workload of the members of the Petition Committee, the relatively high success rate (about 40% are debated in parliament, 5% of petitions are successful) and the fact that the implementation of e-petitions did not lead to an increase in the overall number of petitions.
As for Liquid Democracy, participants gained insights into the application of the participation software which is not limited to political purposes. Another interesting fact is that, in Germany today, two participation tools compete with each other, representing two different ideas of political participation.
- Initiating Active Engagement