Tag Archives: Politics

Visualizing Slovenian coalition agreement

With the election of new Slovenian prime minister we also got formal release of a Coalition agreement. Since it’s a 72 page document, I was wondering what keywords would stand out. Here is the result:

Pogodba za Slovenijo 2012 - 2015 - word cloud (top 80 words)

While we’re at it, we can also take a look at the coalition agreement that Pozitivna Slovenija prepared. As we run them through the same process, we get:

Koalicijska pogodba - Pozitivna Slovenija - 2012 (top 80 words)

 

A few words on how to reproduce this:

  • Grab your favorite OCR software and convert scanned PDF into .docx
  • From Word save it into .txt file
  • Lemmatize the words so you normalize all the grammar rules
  • Apply stop-words (in this case mostly: ministrstvo*, vlada, slovenija*, ..)
  • Drop the resulting text into wordle.net

 

Use of wikis for political participation > Three initiatives in Spain – Enric Senable Hidalgo [Wikimania 2008 notes]

Those...Image by fataetoile /Cinzia via Flickr

What is political participation:

 

  • Collaborate for a common constructive objective
  • Practice and defend freedom of speech
  • Freely meet and engage with people and causes
  • Discuss in order to obtain census
  • Engage in non-economic initiatives
  • Consume with responsibility
  • Watch the watchers
  • [and much more..]

 

Voting from time to time is also a form of political participation.

 

What’s the political participation with involvement of ICT?

 

 

  • New ways/tools of interaction
  • New public spheres for discussion
  • New and easy platforms for publishing

 

This can lead to

 

 

  • Identity empowerment (Castells)
  • More critical and self-reflective culture (Benkler)
  • Networked individualism (Wellman)
  • Smart mobs (Rheingold)

 

Example: “pasalo!” (pass it on)

 

As a response of 11th of March 2004 bombing in Spain, there were big demonstrations. Vast majority of people were summoned through a viral SMS and/or word of mouth.

 

E-participation

Formal/accepted/tested:

  • Official web pages
  • Online administration
  • Online petitions
  • Electronic votes
  • Referendums/polls

 

Civils/grassroot organisations:

 

  • News
  • Forums
  • Mailing lists
  • Chats
  • Chain emails
  • SMS
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Social networks
  • 3D worlds
  • Wikis

 

Interesting problem of electronic voting: it requires electricity. This can be a real problems in some parts of the country.

 

 

Coordination: Vivienda digna (Street demonstrations for a decent house)

 

Origins started in an email chain message. Calling for a sit-in demonstration, positive demonstrations. Wiki of a famous blogger hosted the content and it was increased and more detailed crosspostings.

There was organical growth of related issues:

Open lists (organizing other places, blogs, press, logos, etc.)

Collaborative creation of content (manifestos, SMS messages, safety measures, legal issues)

It was a successful use of wiki and impact on public propaganda. But it failed to change the political decisions.

 

Memory: Lo prometido es deuda (A promise is a promise)

Similar to Wikiquote, but the objective is exclusive to find and archive campaign promises.

It got coverage in all major online Spanish newspapers.

It was a successful use of a wiki. It had impact on public opinion. Yet it did not impact political agenda.

 

Modify: Wikiconstitucion (Altering a common text)

Objective was to let anyone alter the original constitutional text, even for vandalism.

First two months: daily changes to the more controversial issues (crown of Spain, Spanish military forces, official languages, autonomous regions)

Progressive inactivity and finally closed due to massive spam.

It was partly successful use of Wiki, but it didn’t have impact in public opinion or a political agenda.

Zemanta Pixie

Lessig’s new CC and Slovenia

Lawrence Lessig, founding father of Creative Commons, announced his new initiative – change-congress.org. It’s an idea to promote basic reform of United States Congress and fundamental principles that in reality steer it – corporate money. The campaign is using basic technological tools like Google Maps mash-up, together with Wiki’s and pledges to start building public awareness and help keeping track of who said what and how they kept with their promises.

This is an idea that I’m  deeply excited about. Even though hanging US congress does not affect me, I love it for the meme it brings to the world. As with Creative Commons that started as US initiative and then with time ported to most of the World countries, it brings the hope, as collateral damage, also to countries like Slovenia.

While I am not a lawyer or a political scientist, I like to think myself as a hacker and with that it makes me want to build similarly inspiring things in my local environment. It also allows me to take a look what other fellow hackers built and then start asking locals here, how this ideas map to our situation?

My call out to Slovenian and also Europeans (regarding the EU legislation) that are more intimate with political scene:

  • what is our equivalent regarding US PACs and lobbyists?
  • do we have “earmarks” problem?
  • what are local initiatives for more transparent parliament?
  • and how do we compare regarding the public funding of elections?

(adopted from C-C.org)

With some help of a local groups like e-demokracija.si or kiberpipa.org, we could firstly map in a wiki-like the differences and then start forming local issues. Hopefully with time people won’t think anymore that our Slovenian government is fully corrupt and bad because thee will be full transparent accountability that is not felt right now.