[governance] Re: [IRPCoalition] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Fri Oct 24 14:19:42 EDT 2014

As I pointed out in an earlier message MSism as presented bears absolutely no relationship to Participatory Democracy, in fact it is exactly the opposite—rather than extending or broadening the opportunity for effective participation MSism restricts this by putting the condition of “stakeholdership”.


Participatory democracy is a process emphasizing the broad participation <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participation_%28decision_making%29>  of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems. Etymological roots of democracy <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy>  (Greek demos <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/demos>  and kratos <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BA%CF%81%CE%AC%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%82> ) imply that the people are in power and thus that all democracies are participatory. …

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities.

It seems to me that decision making a la MSism by self-appointed elites (corporates, their governmental allies and whomever else they choose to participate) hardly qualifies as “creat(ing) opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to decision-making”.



From: Jeremy Malcolm [mailto:jmalcolm at eff.org] 
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2014 11:13 AM
To: michael gurstein; governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [governance] Re: [IRPCoalition] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations


On 24/10/2014 11:03 am, michael gurstein wrote:

As you and perhaps everyone well knows I have for several years both via these email lists and my blog been asking for a definition of “MSism”, each time getting a reply somewhat parallel to Gene’s trivial response “Yes, I am very busy making public declarations as appropriate on important matters.  And I'm sure I and many others will address this issue when we see the right time and place to do so.” 


And I realize how important you are and how valuable your time is but surely since this has been a dominant meme and priority initiative for you and other elements of CS for several years some type of definition would be appropriate and surely sometime over those last few years there would have been a “right time and place” to give that definition!

That's why I set up a fluid working group under Best Bits to develop such a definition, but there was not much participation (or maybe the LiquidFeedback software was too complex for people to be comfortable using):


So far, FWIW, this is the definition that has most support (Avri wrote it):

Multistakeholderism: study and practice of forms of participatory democracy that allow for all those who have a stake and who have the inclination, to participate on equal footing in the deliberation of issues and the recommendation of solutions. While final decisions and implementation may be assigned to a single stakeholder group, these decision makers are always accountable to all of the stakeholders for their decisions and the implementations.

with the following definitions of some included terms

Equal footing: 

The recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all stakeholders, on the basis of equality and without discrimination, of the freedom to participate in multistakeholder processes. In Internet governance this is in line with stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, which should be interpreted in a flexible manner with reference to the issue under discussion. As with UN representation by governments, where all are equal regardless of size or wealth, contributions should be judged on their quality, and not by the number of people that a representative may claim. Notions of equal footing must take into account all aspects of capacity to participate, and must strive to enable full participation through capacity building and development agendas.


A term borrowed from Project Management.

” Loosely defined, a stakeholder is a person or group of people who can affect or be affected by a given project. Stakeholders can be individuals working on a project, groups of people or organizations, or even segments of a population. A stakeholder may be actively involved in a project’s work, affected by the project’s outcome, or in a position to affect the project’s success. “

and the derivative:

Multistakeholder process:

A form of participatory democracy where any person, alone or as part of a group, can contribute fully.

Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Global Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jmalcolm at eff.org
Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161
:: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World ::
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