Knowledge and democracy come from simple things

Knowledge is power says one sentence attributed to Sir Francis Bacon. While is almost certain that he didn’t said that, the wisdom included in it is no less valuable or true. And when power (kratos) is given to the people (demos) we have democracy.

This article is about a simple piece of paper that makes all the above true.  As you found out from the press or the articles preceding this on, at the Bundesparteitag, the German Pirate Party debated fiercely on online General Assemblies and online voting.

But how can be a debate held with more than 1000 people in the same space, whatever the size of the room? The German pirates did it.

Every participant had a chair, a space on a table, a cable connection to high speed Internet, an agenda and a speaking system that allowed views to be expressed on the issues.

But for me as a guest there, the tool that I found most interesting was a colored sheet of paper: A4 format, folded in three and printed on both sides.

This is the first page:

Page 1


It clearly explains for what is it used, what it contains and gives an explanation of symbols that can be combined to express a possible structure for online votes.

The second page looked like this:

Page 2


It codifies the possible alternatives, it describes those using short titles and it explains them using the symbols form the first page.

This simple piece of paper had two effects:

1.       It gave power to those present, the power coming from knowledge expressed in an easily understandable way, the power to construct ideals and thoughts.

2.       Kept the debate structured in a way that showed that direct democracy is not anarchy and can provide results, given the right tools are used.

In my opinion, the 2013 Bundesparteitag showed that the German pirates have much more to say and show to the world. Their will to participate, the will to find innovative ways to lead a debate and reach the best outcomes are well served by their tagline Ich Bin Motiviert and German people will better listen to the pirates as they have something important to say.

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I have an idea for a webpage app in swedish that aims to do precisely the same thing this piece of paper do - to educate the general populace on different topics using the power of swarms and community, and to give the general populace a way to easily find out the pros and cons on complex issues.

However, too much else going on right now. Need to solve those before I can attempt this. Still, yes, very accurate viewpoint.

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