[discuss] The relevance of power relationship in Ig was Re: [] NETmundial ...

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Sun Apr 20 13:25:36 UTC 2014


As requested, subject line is changed as requested. though perhaps I
went for a more neutral expression of the topic.

On 20-Apr-14 07:59, Joseph Alhadeff wrote:
> Perhaps we could rename this aspect of this thread conspiracies and 
> power?  Net mundial documents... as a thread title had a chance of 
> being useful, not shared with this current conversation....  No 
> problem if people want to have it, just under another topic header 
> please.

I think the fact that there are power inequities in Ig, as everywhere
else in society is undeniable. And it is an issue that very much
concerns me.  As does the pervasive monitoring by governments, some more
that others, of the world's peoples.

This is, for me, a critical driving reason for support of the
multistakeholder model in its various forms and instantiations. As
something that allows for greater democratic expression it gives a voice
to those with less power. Because of the multistakeholder model, we
don't need to contribute thousands of currency-units for a seat at a
fund raising event in order to talk to world leaders. Unless the world's
people acting and self-organizing as stakeholders have seats at the
table they can do nothing about the power inequities.  Sure we can stand
outside and throw virtual stones, and I admit that can feel good, but in
the long run, stone throwing usually results in greater power for the
strongest and most powerful, achieving nothing or worse for those
without power.  And sometimes, when there are not seats at the table for
all stakeholders, there is no choice in order to even be noticed.  But
that is not the case in this instance.

In Internet governance, we have seats.  We may not have the power and we
may need the alms of the supportive corporations and others in order to
participate, but we can participate and we do have an affect, and mostly
we say what we want, no matter who paid our tickets (at least that is my
perspective).  And when we are organized and not eating-our-own we have
achievements and do move the governmental-corporate coalition in a
progressive direction.  If we want more of the world's people to declare
their stake in this discussion, we need to reach out to them and bring
them in, rather than burn the table.  If we see stakeholders who have
not been "invited to the party," (there are those in all of the
communities, technical, business and civil society who feel they were
left out) we need to find ways to bring them in.

Lets remember when we can't participate because of the absence of the
multistakeholder modalities, the conversation does not stop, but rather
it goes on without us, among the rich and the powerful.  The
corporations keep funding and talking to the politicians, whether we are
at the table or not.  The multistakeholder model is the only reason
civil society gets a seat at the table and is the best chance I see for
greater democracy in Internet governance.  Once we all stop fighting
among ourselves, we might be able to give more focus to how we enrich
the non-governmental stakeholder pool involved in Ig.

And now by the grace of an unnamed group of contributors, I better go
pack so I can get to Brazil.


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