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Text "Blueprints for a Global Participatory Society" for "Global Direct", 2014
Global Direct aims to inspire a vision of a global civilization, through creatively structuring participatory governance.

Today, global networked connectivity has enabled new forms of participatory societal organization. However, there are still a lack of prototypes for models that can efficiently work towards a new type of autonomous global democracy.

Issues such as economic volatility and inequality, energy and natural resources, environmental protection and climate change, as well as mass surveillance impact people globally. Meanwhile, the cross-border flow of individuals, goods, finances and information inevitably accelerates. Within this context, the need for democratic global governance is critical, as everyone should have a say on global issues in proportion to the degree in which those issues affect them.

In this project, globalization becomes an opportunity for autonomy and setting of people’s agenda beyond the limits imposed by local authorities and politics, while decentralization allows independent self-management within local communities. The new center of this proposed system is ethical and cultural and becomes the ultimate universal reference for everyone’s common interest.

For illustrating this idea, the artwork is presented as a creative political program that structures global direct democracy through the opportunities offered by distributed network technology for participatory decision-making, transparent accountability and civil awareness.

The origin of this work was initiated from research into modern state’s systems, which provided the material to redesign the actual organograms of parliaments, courts, and other governmental bodies. This research into political science informed the drawings of new organograms which outline ideas for a possible participatory, decentralized and globalized political system.

The drawing of blueprints with the flowchart paradigm mimics actual systems that illustrate legislative, judicial and executive decision-making flows, as well as other specific sectors of governance. The diagrams also visually recall algorithm design and network architectures, suggesting governance as a decentralized and efficient system which improves through collaborative efforts within an open and transparent process.

The diagrams of Global Direct illustrate potential alternatives ranging from social identification within the nation-state to specific areas of governance, within a network of relationships and influences from the local community to global level. These flowcharts show how networks of ordinary people can administer self-governance via consensus-building and deliberative protocols within a framework of democratic checks and balances. For instance, the diagrams indicate forms of participatory legislative and judicial systems in which policies can be created, revoked and enforced democratically by the collective voice and will of everyone without governmental or corporate interference. These models would indicate an alternative to the current representative political structures, which oftentimes possess corrupted, authoritarian and repressive traits.

The lobbying of multinational firms and degraded democracies coupled with the misuse of technology and mass media, leads to individuals, municipalities, and small businesses losing control of their power and democratic rights. This situation creates increasing discontent and a demand for new forms of political culture development that transcend the ideologies of the past century. A political shift can be driven by technology and connectivity and potentially empower society to administrate and fund itself autonomously. In fact, Internet society now possesses more expansive tools and knowledge, enabling productive collaboration, transparent social accountability and democratic free speech which directly facilitates radical democracy.

The decentralization of power through the paradigm of the network would yield social architectures that autonomously manage local needs and would enable collaboration on global issues through independent digital social network platforms. Instead of the current centralized power of governments and companies, we will see several types of autonomous networks working together for the health and benefit of the whole organism. Networks of active cells collaborating as independent social structures can be the archetype of equilibrium and self-governance for every community and the entire planet.

Global Direct deploys alternatives to the current political and socioeconomic landscape and encourages creative thought about alternative models based on individuals collaborating through global networks. Ultimately, the artwork may be considered a political manifesto to inspire future political trends and organizations through an unconventional and creative reorganization of society.

Essay by Paolo Cirio
2013-2014

Quotes

"There is something to be said for the ponderous nature of the nation-state in the modern age. When we’re so well connected, when our communication systems are so robust, capable. Do we really need the massive sprawling super state to represent our interests? When you look broadly at governance as a challenge around the world, small states and governments are typically more representative of their populations because you can access these officials, you can talk to them, and they don’t have a tremendous amount of resources separating them from you. We do need more accessible government, we don't need tremendous concentrations of power into a tiny amount of hands - the 99% vs. the 1% problem - whether it's in business, whether it's in the government."
Edward Snowden, "A Conversation Across Cyberspace" at Personal Democracy Forum, NYC. 2014

"The public is very smart if you give it a chance. If people think their voice actually matters, they'll do the hard work, really study their briefing books, ask the experts smart questions and then make tough decisions."
James S. Fishkin, Time magazine interview about Deliberative Opinion Poll, 2010.

"The second superpower, emerging in the 21st century, depends upon educated informed members. In the community of the second superpower each of us is responsible for our own sense-making. We seek as much data—raw facts, direct experience—as we can, and then we make up our own minds."
James F. Moore, "The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head", Extreme Democracy, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard. 2003

"If we take back agency, and bring ourselves closer to managing our affairs for ourselves, then something else may also come about: We may find a fulfillment and satisfaction, and perhaps even a meaning, which so often seems elusive in the contemporary circumstance."
Carne Ross. "The Leaderless Revolution". 2011.


Bibliography

Open Source Democracy.
By Douglas Rushkoff. 2003. Demos. ISBN: 1841801135

The Frontiers of Networked Governance.
By Gabriel A. Huppé, Heather Creech, Doris Knoblauch. 2012

Leaderless Politics.
By Jonas Staal, New World Academy. 2013. ISBN: 9789077288207

Radical Democracy and the Internet.
By Lincoln Dahlberg, Eugenia Siapera. 2007. ISBN: 9780230007208

Open Government. Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in
Practice.
By Daniel Lathrop, Laurel Ruma. O'Reilly Media. 2010

The Leaderless Revolution. How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century.
By Carne Ross. 2013. ISBN: 9780452298941

Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century.
By Chris Spannos. 2008. ISBN: 9781904859789

Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies.
By Oliver Ressler. 2007. ISBN: 978-3865881236

Keywords
Decentralization, Participation, Deliberation, Transparency, Accountability and Openness in governance. Open Source Governance, Open Data, Electronic Voting, Emergent Democracy, Online Consultation.

- Download this essay in PDF


- Watch the video statements for the artwork by Ethan Zuckerman, Douglas Rushkoff, Carne Ross, Oliver Ressler, David Moore, Smári McCarthy, Michel Bauwens, Simona Levi, Jon Lebkowsky, Gabriella Gómez-Mont, Carola Frediani, Daniele Archibugi.

Related texts
- Press Release, 12th Nov. 2014
- Interview Afterimage, U.S., 2015
- Global Direct quotes video statements

- Direct Democracy, panel at LF, 2014
- Text "Performing Change", 2013
- Text "Social Algorithms", 2011



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