Personal Democracy Forum at Barcelona

I am fellow at the Personal Democracy Forum Europe. The  PDF Europe will take place at Barcelona 20-21 November 2009. I was happyly surprised when I first knew about PDF, which happened while I was living in Berkeley in the fall of 2008. I founded the format quiet in the trend of other events in USA (where even hackers meet in big hotels with fees and people ask you if they have to pay to attend whatever even), but was very curious about the content.

Create spaces (and this one was created in 2004!, much before Obama effect) to specifically address the issue on how technology is and could change politics is something to celebrate. Academia is much more begind. Considering for example that only until this last summer  (2009) the European Council of Political Research (main conference on political research in Europe) didn’t dedicate a section to politics and internet!

However, I am less convenced on some of the decisions in the migration of the PDF to Europe and particularly Barcelona. Why to make it (more when it is about a forum on changing politics) in a luxurious building (Torre Algar)? Plus an entrance cost of 350 euros (or 250 reduction)  is too much for the overall wage in the Spanish State. Even among professionals of the area or researchers (where the precarity means  “milenauristas” or worths).  I couldn’t afford to attend the PDF if I wouldn’t be grant as a fellow. I also think a more “contamination” of the program from the vibrant transformation sphere at Barcelona would benefit it. In Barcelona things can be done in other ways (and the is an illustration of it). But let’s see, I am curios to see what emerge in the discussions which include:

  • Pan-European politics: Can the internet connect the dots?
  • New possibilities for collaborative government
  • Using the internet to open up politics outside the parties
  • Transparency and participation: What is real e-government?
  • What should European politicians and parties learn from the Obama victory?
  • Using social media to transform the relationship between voters and their representatives
  • State of the art politech: how to use mobile, video and social networking to advance your cause
  • New media vs traditional media: how to navigate the new environment

I am particularly interested on see a cross discussion between the Europe approuch  regarding democratic transformation (with the keyword PARTICIPATION: increase channels for citizens participation in the decision-making) and USA approuch (with the keyword TRANSPARENCY: open up the data generated by the public administration and goverment to citizens, to know what is going on (particularly regarding lobbies and organic correcption) but also for citizens engagement in  the data systematization to sustain claims and increase goverment efficiency). They are not the same but an hybridism between the best of each could result fruitfull.

Take a look at the web: