The (failed?) promise of digital democracy

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The (failed?) promise
of digital democracy
Political participation platforms are becoming commonplace within political parties.
But they have yet to result in scalable direct democracy. Unless the dice were loaded
from the start?
Common positions have always been the glue holding political
parties together. But where meetings and rallies used to be
essential, the digital era has been shaking things up: a growing
number of political parties across Europe – such as Podemos
in Spain, the 5 Star Movement in Italy and the Pirate Party in
Germany – have been empowering their members like never
before with online, direct democracy platforms.
At first glance, these platforms are essentially tools that can
help improve internal party democracy while allowing for clearly
defined visions and objectives. But is it really that simple?
“Software is too often seen as a value-neutral and transpar-
ent means, just waiting to be used. The goal of SCALABLE
DEMOCRACY (Can Direct Democracy Be Scaled? The Promise of
Networked Democracy and the Affordances of Decision-Making
Software) was to demonstrate that each of these software or
participation platforms embeds a set of political values and
assumptions about democracy, which will necessarily shape
the nature of the decision-making process,” explains Dr Marco
Deseriis, project coordinator.
CORDIS Results Pack on elections and democratic participation
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