5th Open Source Government Session

Date: 20 August 2017

Time: 15:00 – 18:00

Location: MAMA office
Facebook event

The following text unfolds the session by a timely order.

 

Recap:

  • Sense of Accountability
  • Trust of people and citizens
  • Pirate parties – Sweden and Iceland after the financial breakdown. Indian anti-corruption movement and Aam Admi (common man) Party reference
  • The terminology and the Core Group
  • Diverse models of Democracy
  • Bottom-up hierarchy (network) – Regional > National > Global
  • Core Action Groups who have equal power
  • A minority-majority voting system that makes sure the majority does not dominate the minority
  • Smart Contract – Using the idea to secure OSG legislative process
  • How to pass a referendum so that people can vote without getting confused and how to break down the question to people to make them understand
  • Jury Duty
  • City Hall Meetings; even people who cannot be there in person can engage, plus people are more expressive and courageous behind the computer
  • Sortition and Lottery system for voting
  • Lobbying. Example: Gay rights movement lobby
  • Transparency of open source
  • Legislation and Implementation linked together to make everyone do their job properly without the need of any enforcing law
  • Reward system to encourage participation
  • Mahalleh – localization into the house, street, community (Mahalleh). Caring for the neighborhood and having a say in your neighbors’ matters.
  • How big or small the scale of open source will be
 

Why Open Source Government (OSG) came into being:

Open source is when the information is there for everyone to access, examples are Blockchain and Wikipedia. The concept is to improve the 800-year old representative system of parliament, as it is now outdated and needs to be updated into a more direct democracy by everybody, not just confined to the representatives. OSG sessions took place at different places, discussing various disciplines, looking for members from diverse disciplines (sociology, law, eco, politics, etc.) as it is a vast project requiring immense knowledge.

Short-term Goal:

Prepare a proposal, blueprint or organizational chart for open source system/society. We can then apply it to a small institution, school, prison, refugee camp or some other place to see the outcomes.

 

Identifying our Resources and Objectives

Initially, we need to have smaller more realistic goals instead of ambitious ones. The project shall be managed by a core group of people, the members, who have some project management skills. They will develop the blueprint, which will enlist; our resources, who we are and what are our goals and then later on all the information will be shared online.

 

Some doubts and questions by the present members

It was suggested by one member that the idea of open source government is totally utopic. Open source itself originated in the virtual world, which contains layers that not everybody understands. Trying to solve everything virtually did not seem like a good idea. Questionably, what exactly are the issues that we are trying to solve? How to make sure everyone will participate and act responsibly? If we have an active group and an inactive group, then the decisions are again made by the active people who may again turn into the elite. The basic blueprint would clarify many such questions. Bitcoin, for example, was once a virtual currency, today more people are accepting it as a means of trade. But one member suggested that even if something gains enough popularity (like Bitcoin), people in power can easily shut it down by making it illegal. So how do we manage to make the transition in power happen.

Following this discussion, two of the members debated weather members of a society should feel responsible for the others or not. One argued that we are a community and responsible in the social environment, while the other said if there is a public duty, there should be enforcement, therefore open public involvement is a myth. However, the group agreed that education might overcome that.

 

Tools for OSG to be Applicable

Decision-making is imperative. Whether if it is a project or simply open source sessions, everyone should put forward their suggestions. By far, the sessions are not very clear with their objectives, therefore we would need,

  1. Clear definition of Politics
  2. Define the project itself. For it to be operating, we must know what it is so that we have a direction. Members should note down the mission, outcome, goals, etc.
  3.  The community of OSG should be distinct from the end-users. It is important to recognize who will be the members, and facilitate their collaboration for OSG to continue to flourish while focusing on community building aspects.
  4. Allow communication
  5. For every session, the members must do their homework to avoid time-waste for recaps

The group then took a break

 

Value notions and common questions within the group

  1. The minority should be able to speak for their rights
  2. City of Rotterdam as a great example for practicing such ideas
  3. Open Source “Government”, or “Governance”? It’s about governmentality
  4. What is collective thinking? It is important that the questions are raise by the group and not a single person as the initiator
  5. What is the “research question” of this project, in reflection to real life.
  6. Apply the OSG structure more realistically on a smaller level
  7. Managing tools – an Executive institution to see how the democracy works.
  8. Find the right people in city hall to participate and maintain accountability to ensure responsibility for actions
  9. Engage with the city-hall and then better on the ground in the neighbourhoods, to listen about the hot discussions to have more reach to real issues
 

Democracy and confusion:

If in OSG people will have a say in the decision-making but experts will make final decisions. How is this democratic? That is the thing about democracy, it is not clear, it is confusing.

Several examples were given about how to make it possible for the OSG to travel and find its way into the city hall of Rotterdam, while some members were more trying to find out what the corpus of the project has to offer.

 

Next Session:

  • Discuss how to get people more involved in politics, with respect to neighbourhoods and the fact that Rotterdam consists of 60% of clusters of different minority ethnics, who do not usually partake in decision-making
  • Does having people involve into voting process, solve the problem of democracy?
  • Social media and its role in making people more politically aware
  • Talk about already practicing open-source decision-making examples
  • Zoom into the current OSG blueprint and see how can we add more functional detail to it
 

 

City of Rotterdam

During the session, time after time members discussed the city of Rotterdam as an example. They suggested reaching out to the city hall to ask for assistance, as well as to see what problems are out there. Also it was mentioned several times that the majority of people (which are different clusters of minorities) do not engage in decision-making.

Audio recording from session 5