Last November Kyopol Assoc. participated at the World Forum for Democracy organized by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In its Lab on Digital Local Democracy we presented our project to create CitYsens, a local civic networking system that promotes effective and empowering citizen participation.
Here is a video that summarizes our participation in the Forum (includes English subtitles for the Spanish parts) .
(On our YouTube channel you can see, by the way, a video series including our first presentation and our final statement, as well as the first and second Q&A rounds. It is also possible to see the video of the full workshop -134 mins)
Our stay in Strasbourg has been a bittersweet experience, in fact.
The Forum was a great event which cost about one million euros and was attended by over a thousand participants from over 100 countries . Many initiatives and projects that use information technology to improve democracy were presented in its workshops. We were also able to present CitYsens, request support for our crowdsourcing campaign and interact with many individuals and initiatives working in the field of e-democracy. This all was good .
However, the forum also showed the theatrical and rhetorical zeal that most institutions have toward democracy.
Thus, the forum provided numerous examples of the shortcomings of current democracy: an obsession with senseless voting exercises, manipulated elective processes, focus on media personalities and, as a a final touch: the video of the session on transparency was censored in a truly “dictatorial” style because one of the presenters mentioned names and examples… that the organizers of the forum apparently did not like.
Unfortunately there was, as you see, a lot of hypocrisy and theater.
By the way: although the forum gathered a lot of people with a very high purchasing power and also, supposedly, a very high democratic sensibility… our “desperate” call for support for our crowd-funding campaign to build CitYsens certainly fell on deaf ears. Truth is we did not expect much, but got even less.