Jeremy Corbyn launches his Digital Democracy Manifesto
Published 6 September 2016 by Ewen Chardronnet
Jeremy Corbyn, the British leader of the labor party in a campaign for its reelection, has just announced his digital program. The clear favorite in the polls published a “Digital Democracy Manifesto” that caused a sensation.
The Digital Democracy Manifesto from Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British labor party, that he released to the public on August 30, promotes a series of proposals inspired from the cultures of open source and defense of digital liberties. It was written in collaboration with Richard Barbrook, from the autonomous think tank on the information society Cybersalon. Political science teacher at the university of Westminster, Richard Barbrook is the author of the classic Cyber-Communism (1999) or the more recent Imaginary Futures (2007), and leads Class Wargames, a fun-subversive collective inspired from Guy Debord’s Game of War.
Truly iconoclastic, Corbyn saw his manifesto arouse a lot of banter and criticisms among his opponents, even at the heart of his party. Yet it contains numerous original ideas that one would like to see with our French political figures in this electoral year…
Public funding for open source
Among the propositions, we will cite high speed broadband and mobile connectivity for every household, the creation of an “Open knowledge library” accessible to all, and support from public funding of the development of open source software and equipment. Corbyn also wants to guarantee the freedom of community media production, organize training for the larger public to understand and produce content, and reform the laws on intellectual property so that both producers and consumers benefit.
Platform Cooperativism promoted by the media theorist Trebor Scholtz, recorded by the Barcelona city hall among the 10 priorities for development and innovation, is highly emphasized to meet the deregulated trade of the Uber economy. The manifesto claims: “We will finance social enterprises whose websites and apps are designed to minimise the costs of connecting producers with consumers in the transport, accommodation, cultural, catering and other important sectors of the British economy. We will introduce new laws guaranteeing a secure employment contract and the inalienable right of trade union membership to everyone who earns most or some of their livelihood from digital platforms. We will apply the best practices and adopt the technological innovations of this cooperative upgrade of the sharing economy to improve the provision, delivery and utilisation of public sector services at the local, regional and national levels.”
Liberties of citizens regarding surveillance
Corbyn wants to promote a People’s Charter of Digital Liberties, “not only unwarranted snooping on their on-line activities by the security services, but also unjustified surveillance by CCTV and other hi-tech methods within the workplace.”
Likewise, Corbyn wishes to implement a Digital Citizen Passport that “will be used when interacting with public services like health, welfare, education and housing. It also can be the network intermediary with commercial providers of tangible or virtual goods. The individual holders of a Digital Citizen Passport will be able to control who has access to their personal data and for what purposes.”
Finally, Corbyn supports online massive voting systems that, according to him, constitute the future of democracy against the rise of populisms. “We will utilize information technologies to make popular participation in the democratic process easy and inclusive. The holders of a Digital Citizen Passport will be automatically placed on the electoral register of their new constituency as soon as they change their home address. We will aim to organise both online and offline meetings for individuals and communities to deliberate about pressing political issues and participate in devising new legislation. The National Education Service will enlighten the British electorate with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of digital citizenship. We will create a 21st century networked democracy where everybody can be a political decision-maker.”
Read the “Digital Democracy Manifesto”