[discuss] What is MSism?

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Fri Mar 28 14:52:43 UTC 2014

Yes, to Jeanette's comments below... and to add, what also seems new is

            *the intent to formalize MSism as a method of formal decision
making in areas very much outside the narrowly technical

            *the intent to substitute this for other methods of formal
decision making

            *the presentation of MSism as an update on other forms of
decision making for example as "enhanced democracy" or "post-democratic"

            *the identification of MSism as a specific response to a wide
range of problems with current democratic processes rather than one
tool/method among many for enhancing consultative processes

            *the attempt to implement this method across the board in a
specific sphere, Internet Governance, but with strong implications of it
being applicable in much much wider spheres

            *the launching of a widely based seemingly coordinated campaign
in support of the above


In short, as Jeanette points out, the MS model of broadening the base and
methodology of consultation is a very old one, turning it into an "ism" and
a movement is something very new.


Issues of direct democracy are I think tangential to discussions of MSism
and certainly are not relevant to my broader arguments.


The simple opposition between the MS model and representative democracy is a
strawman argument. As I've said repeatedly MS processes have their place and
representative democracy has its problems particularly with somewhat complex
(technical etc.) and fast moving issue areas.


However, the attempt to stampede the world towards a radical broad scale
substitution of MSism for current democratic practice would appear to have
motives much beyond an improvement in the management of the IANA function,
for example, or responding to flaws in current democratic processes-motives
perhaps (as per the two papers I pointed to) of finding a way to formally
include global Internet corporations in global Internet decision making. 


If responding to flaws in existing practice were the only concern then the
appropriate approach would be to address the flaws rather than a complete
substitution as is evidently being promoted at least by some.


...something is happening here

But you don't know what it is

Do you, Mister Jones?







-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of Jeanette Hofmann
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 6:20 AM
To: McTim
Cc: 1Net List
Subject: Re: [discuss] What is MSism?



Hi McTim,


Am 28.03.2014 13:07, schrieb McTim:

> <cc list trimmed as per good netiquette>


> Your insistence that MSism is a new pheonomenon in IG ignores the 

> history of the past 40 years.


I'd say it is a new term for a phenomenon much older than the past 40 years.
Parliamentary hearings, for example, often follow the multistakeholder
approach. So does the German parliamentary inquiry commission. What seems
more recent is the idea to adapt this model to transnational regulation.


> It is clear that many of us (most of us I am guessing) on 1Net prefer 

> direct democracy:


Is it? I certainly wouldn't. I think it is impossible for a modern complex
society to govern itself solely through direct forms of democracy. It is not
even clear whether direct democracy would be more democratic given the
little interest large parts of society have in matters of collective


Global issues such as the management of the IANA functions will probably
never attract attention beyond a small minority. Concepts such as
representative versus direct democracy might be simply too big for the small
community dealing with this issue. Still, the future process and the
institutional architecture have to be transparent, reliable, accountable and
thus legitimate.





>  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy>


> Direct democracy (also known as pure democracy)[1] is a form of 

> democracyin which people decide (e.g. vote on, form consensus on,

> etc.) policy initiatives directly, as opposed to arepresentative 

> democracy in which people vote for representatives who then decide 

> policy initiatives.[2]



> Given that 1Net is all about MSism:


> "As part of the multistakeholder approach, /1net is hosting an open, 

> global onlineforum about Internet governance. Together, we can develop 

> a framework that will help grow and strengthen our interconnected 

> world in the public interest. "


> source: 1net.org


> I doubt that this is really open to debate on this list.


> Given my experience in MS processes (including WSIS) over the last

> decade+ it is clear to me that the MS model is one that works far

> better in protecting an open Internet than representative democracy.

> Those MS processes aren't about power, but largely about which ideas 

> are better than others (WSIS was an exception to this rule).






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