Liquid Democracy

Jan Van Opstal Public Seen by 23
Thesis: The concept of Liquid Democracy is hardly known to the voters. Since this is possibly the most important theme for the Pirates, we have every interest in presenting this concept clearly to the voters. Several methods can be used for this. Creating a Dutch wiki page. Debate (s) in the public space. (Ghent Festivities - Universities - Website) 
Can we work on this together?

Christophe Cop Wed 3 Mar

Simple proposal: We collect all the links to good explanations (in German, English,...)
And we add Dutch (or French) Subtitles.

This will fetch us quite some things to share with little effort.


https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=liquid+democracy (add self)


Lander Meeusen Fri 12 Mar

Good idea! I would work on this during some online meetings. We can look for volunteers in our broader following to help us with this.

If possible, I would try to get some Belgian actors to dubb the video's


Lander Meeusen Fri 12 Mar

I would like to talk about our own liquid organisation. I always found the slogan "Our method is our programme." very powerful. So can we create a formal, liquid system within the pirate party to show people how it can actually work? What it can look like?


Christophe Cop Fri 12 Mar

Well, we used the principles of liquid democracy when we made our statutes (back in 2012 - 2014) :
Everybody could propose to put things on the statutes, and propose amendments.

During the GA's, people could delegate their vote to someone (if the person couldn't be there), due to practicalities, we restricted the maximum number of votes a person could have to 2 (him/herself + 1 delegate), because some pirates asked to a lot of "not so active" pirates, to have their vote, and come with a dozen of votes (this was also voted to have this change. In small numbers, and without a member list, this was necessary to do so).
Before the vote, there was still time for people to argue why to adopt or reject the proposal (though briefly, I think 30' per speaker per proposal). But even so, it did take multiple meetings to come to the final statutes.

We also explored some online tools (a german tool, a tool designed by the ghent pirates: "get opinionated"). Currently, we still use Loomio.

our online, permanent assembly does provide most options. I don't know if and how I can delegate my vote (per topic to a different person), but given the low number of active participants, it's a bit in dis-use.

So: we used liquid democracy for our statutes, but since there has been no effort to follow the procedures the last years or initiatives that require voting during a GA (the last one was in Mechelen, 2017 or 2018 I think, where there was disagreement on the role of the VZW/ASBL or if it was needed at all).

Using it again is possible, though for most cases the 3 pirate rule seems to work, and the crews pretty much decide internally how to steer and organise themselves.
The Antwerp Pirates, for official decisions, still require a crew meeting (where the proposal is discussed and decided by the crew). Given that the group is small, the need for very formal procedures is low, so decision by agreement is most often the case.


Lander Meeusen Fri 12 Mar

Can I find the statutes somewhere? I looked on the wiki, but I don't see them.


Renaud Van Eeckhout Fri 12 Mar

Here are the statutes (different versions) : https://wiki.pirateparty.be/Statutes

For the tool @Christophe Cop mentioned (GetOpinionated), I remember that there was no framework around it. So basically a voting tool, but... without any effect on reality. There was a missing piece in the process, which made the tool practically useless (it doesn't mean it's a bad tool, just a tool that didn't have a purpose).


Renaud Van Eeckhout Fri 12 Mar

I don't think that a liquid democracy tool would be helpful for PPBe currently, we're too few anyway for that. Also, it's a voting tool (which creates winners/losers, majority/minority) while our practice despite all our struggles is more focused on consensus.

But maybe I can suggest another idea that could be also used as an electoral argument someday? For the elections 2019, in Liège we had the plan to go to the elections with a program on our core issues (which means that if we have someone elected, they would already know what to vote/support in the Parliament), and for the other issues we would let the citizens decide through direct democracy aka a liquid democracy tool. We didn't go deeper than that principle as we ended up on Mouvement Demain's list instead of our own, but I think you get the idea. So maybe it's something we could dig deeper, make it more concrete (at least on paper) so that for next elections, this tool could be used.