This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2006 (Index of presentations)
The Wiki Party
|License||GNU Free Documentation License (details)|
|About the author|
|Kasper Souren was born in the Netherlands and lived in Paris, in Mali and in Peru. Currently he is travelling in North America. He studied mathematics, cognitive science, electronic music and artificial intelligence and is a hobby linguist. He fluently speaks Dutch, English, French, German, Limburgish, Spanish and Python. While working for Geekcorps Mali he founded (and funded) the Bambara and the Fulfulde Wikipedia and is administrator of several other wikis, such as the Hitchwiki (his favourite means of transport).|
Wikipedia shows that is possible to have a group of people working together on the creation of an extremely advanced source of knowledge. It might just be that the same can be applied to politics. But there's only one way to know. So let’s start a political party, based on two principles:
I’m not saying “start it today”. It’s an hilarious idea. But so is the Swedish initiative, Piratpartiet, a three-issue party, pro-privacy, anti-patent and anti-crazy-copyright-laws. Nothing else. I’m saying, let’s gather a whole lot of people first. Let them write the issues. And don’t stop. Never.
Wiki in politics
The Campaigns Wikia was founded by Jimmy Wales and "has the goal of bringing together people from diverse political perspectives who may not share much else, but who share the idea that they would rather see democratic politics be about engaging with the serious ideas of intelligent opponents, about activating and motivating ordinary people to get involved and really care about politics beyond the television soundbites." 
Dan Gillmor's We the Media is about how the blogosphere and websites such as OhmyNews are having real influence on the political landscape.
The idea is crazy. But that’s why it mights just work. Set up a wiki, let people start writing on a party program. Anyone. Of course. You can become member. But I say, you don’t have to be a member to participate.
But, to make it a bit crazier. There is need to participate in elections. And if by some miracle (and I believe in miracles) someone gets elected, this person doesn’t have any personal say. Or he will be kicked out of the party. The person should, in my opinion, try to avoid as much to actually go to the town hall, parliament. Just the bare necessity. He should just reflect the people’s wishes as visible on the party’s wiki.
Principle #2 implies that no politican (voted or not) actually gets paid. The poor folks that are elected will have to give their money to the party (as for instance happens in the Dutch Socialistische Partij), then they will get their expenses covered, and that’s it. We don’t want any professional politicians.
After the basic costs of servers and paperwork there will be quite some money to waste. This can be done in different ways.
Money for members
Instead, as a member, you will get money. If that’s legal in the respective country. If it’s not, other ways can be found. Well, and anyway, members should be incited to give their money to a cause of their choice. But not be forced to. The party needs members. The more members, in many countries, the more money the party gets from the state. The easier it will be to cover the basic costs, to do some very basic, cheap publicity.
Of course, the idea is to have parties all over the world. But it’ll probably be easier to realize in countries with many a high rate of connected households. With a high rate of literacy and higher education. But I guess getting a high rate of literacy and higher education all over the world will be one of the party’s goals.
"Could it work?"
The question is rather: why not try? I might start the party myself, some time. Though the goal of this presentation is to put this idea in the noosphere.