[discuss] NETmundial / Neelie Kroes: My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance

Andrea Glorioso andrea at digitalpolicy.it
Sat Apr 12 17:36:03 UTC 2014

Dear Milton, Avri and all,

as you might guess, it would be inappropriate for me to react on this list
to your comments on Vice-President Kroes' letter to the NETmundial
High-Level Multi-stakeholder Committee - although I do find them quite

In any case, I do want to clarify that I am taking note of all such
comments / reactions, whether shared on this mailing list or eslewhere, and
I am making sure they are known to the Vice-President and the colleagues of
the European Commission who will be accompanying her in Sao Paulo.



On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 7:04 PM, Avri Doria <avri at acm.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> On 12-Apr-14 12:52, Milton L Mueller wrote:
> > It's great that Vice President Kroes chose to address the Netmundial
> > outcome draft with a public expression of her opinion. It would have
> > been possible for her to express these opinions privately via the HLC,
> > but she allowed the broader public to participate in the dialogue by
> > making these comments open.
> >
>  I agree this is a good thing.
> >
> >
> > At a more philosophical level I also have a feeling that her view is
> > confusing or incoherent on a specific topic, namely "democratic"
> > governance. She speaks repeatedly about "democratic principles" and
> > "democratic process," as do many on this list. However, those principles
> > and processes typically are rooted in citizenship in a particular nation
> > state with its own (territorially exclusive) legal regime and rights.
> > Moreover, democracy in this sense inherently involves a single,
> > centralized government. She says this in the context of critiquing or
> > expressing reservations about "self-organization." At the same time, she
> > praises "*distributed institutional models for Internet governance,
> > avoiding centralised solutions as a default." I find these expressions
> > to be contradictory, or at least not well thought-out. Distributed,
> > networked governance is never going to be "democratic" in the classic
> > sense, and democratic governance is never going to be as distributed and
> > flexible as self-organization by engaged stakeholders. There is a
> > tradeoff here, and in a transnational context you can't really call for
> > "democracy" unless you are also calling for a centralized world
> > government. Kroes is a politician not a political philosopher or
> > theorist, but I think it's important to flag this. ***
> >
> >
> Whereas I disagree with her arguments about Democracy and the
> Multi-Stakeholder model in that I see it as a form of participatory
> democracy that includes the representative democratic ideal of the
> individual countries and the varieties of democratic self organization
> among the stakeholders to create a richer trans-national form of democracy.
> avri
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I speak only for myself. Sometimes I do not even agree with myself. Keep it
in mind.
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