The best thing about building Loomio is hearing how groups are using it in their communities. It was humbling to learn about a cooperative effort between direct democracy groups in Greece, planning an ambitious experiment in citizen democracy across the country, using Loomio as their main platform. The Alliance for Direct Democracy is launching 461 Loomio groups, covering 18 federal departments, 13 regions of Greece, 23 prefectures, and hundreds of counties and municipalities. Their aim is to foster a sense of active citizenship, and cultivate meaningful democratic participation in their country.
Rebecca Chao of Tech President goes into depth about the project’s aims here: http://techpresident.com/news/wegov/24818/loomios-largest-project-yet
Coordinating the effort are Giorgio Mariotti and Chris Taklis. Chris and Giorgio answered some questions about their plans for the project:
What is the project you're planning? Who is involved?
It was an inspiration of Giorgio Mariotti. A website (www.ade.gr) that can have links to some basic tools that can achieve better communication and collaborative work as Pads, Mumble, etc and also contain pages for each municipality (also known as county) and prefecture of Greece. In each page it would be a Loomio group (embedded or link, perhaps the first) for the specific Prefecture or Municipality. In that group of X muncipality people can talk about the problems of their City (or Village) how to do it better and take decisions. That decisions could be pressure to the Mayor and City Councillors for changes for better results in that municipalities.
The people who are involved are from the Pirate Party of Hellas in the first step (the technical process) and it is going to be presented in the Coalition for Direct Democracy in Greece (CDD), that we have the same goals and we are a part of the CDD. Then members of the CDD will participate equally in other process, until it is full live to participate each citizen in Greece, if he/she wants it.
What is your vision for the future of democracy?
Our vision and target is to give the people the opportunity to participate in politics and to be active members of the community. At least for those who are interested. To achieve that, the first step is the citizens of the country may have the opportunity to have citizen's initiative, and to suggest some subject for petition and of course the petitions. That's the first step for direct democracy and better results what people want for the country. The other steps will come later if only that 2 things in first step succeeds.
Why do things need to change?
It depends of the country. In Greece we don't have a real politician that cares about the citizens. All the decisions that take the parliament and the 300 members of it, are only for the good of businessmen and the rich people. They don't represent any more the people, and in the elections they are the same and the same again, and are elected only those who have big connections with press and businessman.
So it must change for the people. The time that we had representatives for our lives must end for good. We the people must grab the change and decide what is better for ourselves.
Why have you chosen to use Loomio? How it will be used?
We chose Loomio for the features it has. First of all is very simple platform so anyone can use it without problem. Then we like more than ever that anyone can create a new proposal. We also liked that members can say their opinion of what they vote. Also the poll pie with the percentage of how many members of the group voted can help in many ways so everybody knows how much of the percentage were the active voters…We couldn't miss of course the revisions of the main context in a discussion, which helps a lot and we know which changes have be made any time and by who member. Also we choose Loomio because it is open source, meaning new features and changes will come more sooner than a closed-source platform, and of course the participation of a whole community behind and not only few programmers which usually they can't understand the needs of the simple people which they don't know how to use in the proper way the computers and the platforms and they don't understand it.
We will use it for participation of the people in Greece to political discussions and decisions, and those decisions will be pressure for the Mayors and the City Councillors.
What would the best possible outcome look like?
If the project succeeds, it will be a great victory in every direction. We are talking about hundreds and maybe thousands of people (and even the better possible participation it would be millions of people) in Greece. There will be also victory to those who refuse to accept that there are platforms that will be used for participation of people in politics. Loomio will be known as a tool for local democracy and direct democracy.