Decidim Fest 2021
Democracy, Technology and Global Justice
Welcome to Decidim Fest 21 by
- Lucía Martín, Councillor for Housing and Rehabilitation and Councillor for the District of Sant Andreu.
- Marc Serra, Councilor for Citizenship Rights and Participation and Councilor of the District of Sants-Montjuïc.
A new edition of Decidim Fest arrives and it does so with an increasingly complex challenge: to understand the transformations of our society and their intersections with technologies from multiple perspectives. These are already everywhere, and the impacts are at many levels.
We open a three-day conference from which to think, understand and reflect on the relationship between technology and democracy, from the perspective of rights and justice on a global scale, with a 360º view: digital resistance processes and social challenges to face new forms of control, data decolonialism and algorithmic justice in the face of new forms of inequality, trans/hack/cyber feminisms, the transformations of capitalism in the digital economy, the impacts of the extraction of resources for technological production or climate justice are some of them.
Based on decidim's experience, and the principles and practices accumulated after 5 years of the project, we continue to dialogue and build for action, for the development not only of open and free democratic digital infrastructures, but also for the promotion of democratic processes for the defence of new rights in the digital era and for all processes of cooperation and social emancipation.
Dialogue with Joan Subirats
Diálogo con Joan Subirats
*Previous video of his Keynote with english subtitles
Oliver Escobar's presentation tells the story of the recent Scottish Climate Assembly, which took place entirely in the digital sphere. As well as covering the basics of its organisation, design and impact, the presentation puts this process in the context of global democratic innovation and offers reflections on the development of new civic institutions for the governance of the future.
- On the Scottish Climate Assembly: https://www.climateassembly.scot
- On the Children's Parliament: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/climate-change-for-the-climate-assembly/
- About the work of Óliver Escobar https://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/staff/oliver-escobar
*This session will be conducted in Spanish.
Speaker: Oliver Escobar in conversación with Joan Subirats.
Check her Presentation
Our so-called networked society has failed so far to transpose the logic of interconnectedness into our lives. Citizens are becoming increasingly machine-like and dependent on data, threatening the connection between humans and their natural habitats. Although most of our daily transactions are carried out through electronic devices, we know very little of the apparatus that facilitates such interactions, or in other words, about the factory that lies beyond the interface. In this talk, we will discuss the interface as a well-engineered capitalist machine that disconnects users from the material complexities of global chains of commodity and data production—and also social reproduction—with the aim of increasing economic profit. Thus, it is necessary to trace the connections that exist between things—as well as the workload involved in the basic maintenance of those connections—if the user is to fully understand the systems they operate in, in order to balance and repair the profoundly asymmetrical distribution of agency, energy, labor, time, care and resources within these planetary networks.
*This session will be conducted in Catalan. In conversation with Andreu Belsunces.
Check his Presentation
We live in a surveillance society. Advances in digital technology in recent decades have paved the way for states to surveil entire populations to an unprecedented and deeply troubling level. In the past, governments spied on specific targets, whereas today digital technology provides the equipment to spy on everyone, all the time: everyone is a suspect, no one is safe.
The Covid-19 pandemic has paved the way for the implementation of exceptional measures that pose a danger to the exercise of Fundamental Rights but that would certainly not have been possible, or would have met with more resistance in another context. The technologies that have been made available to the Public Administration, often in collaboration with the private sector, are very diverse, but they all have a common denominator: the potential impact on the rights and freedoms of the population.
*This session will be conducted in Spanish.
This presentation of Ernesto Oroza deals with popular digital practices that update, or “crack,” the cultural politics of the Cuban Revolution. To this end, we analyze three vernacular and unregulated computing protocols that have spread across the island since the first decade of the 2000s, and which are articulated as ways of making based on practices that are collectivist, anti-monopoly, and of cultural resistance, and disobedience:
- SNet (Street Net), or RoG (Red of Gamers): a system of Local Area Networks (LAN), developed by teenagers in order to game in their neighborhoods, which became an enormous, wireless urban intranet. SNet was self-sustaining and independent until it was dissolved and regulated by the state in 2020.
- El Paquete Semanal/The Weekly Package: a system of distribution, on a national scale, for a terabyte of pirated digital content. External hard drives are used for distribution; these contain series, movies, soap operas, documentaries, music, videoclips, reality shows, memes, comics, animated films, software, apps, antivirus software, language courses, magazines in PDF format, and ads.
- Revolico/The Lists: a webpage for classified ads that reorganized and proposed a new use for “the lists” (text-based documents [spreadsheets] created by workers, containing information for buying, selling, and trading products, which circulate over the state’s intranets). Revolico has an online version and an offline version, which is updated and distributed by the matrices of The Weekly Package.
The Cuban cultural production of the last two decades has been caught, pierced, and interconnected, in one way or another, by the use of these three systems. This presentation explores some of these connections.
*This session will be conducted in Spanish
In conversation Blanca Callén
- Checkmate with counter-data to colonialism and patriarchy in Latin America and the Caribbean, Eugenia D'Angelo (Spanish)
- The experience of the Latin American Transfeminist Datathon, Mailén García and Giselle Arena (Spanish)
- Algorithmic Augmentation, the dilemma of justice and fairness, Manuel Portela (Spanish)
Moderated by Guiomar Rovira
Watch her previous Keynote with English subtitles
Lulú Barrera (Mexico) is part of the feminist collective Luchadoras. Their mission? For women, young women and girls to live with joy and freedom in digital and physical public space, aware of their personal and collective strength and potential. In the following video for Decidim Fest 21, she delves into the role and use of technologies for the advancement of the feminist movement in Mexico, from the perspective of cyberfeminism and mediactivism.
At #DecidimFest21, on Wednesday 20 October at 16:50 (Barcelona time) she will hold a conversation with Javier Toret. Don't miss it!
*This session will be conducted in Spanish
Anasuya Sengupta and Paola Ricaurte will hold a dialogue together with Tayrine Dias to discuss data decolonialism. But first, watch the talks, each one of them recorded for Decidim Fest so you can prepare for the debate.
Paola Ricaurte | Previous video of her Keynote with english subtitles
- The extractivist logic that underlies the current regime of datafication, algorithmic mediation and social automation is a rationality based on the exercise of multiple violences that are masked behind narratives that advocate the possibility of an ethical exercise of technological development without attacking the roots of injustice. Extractivist violence in its multiple dimensions: dispossession of territories, bodies, subjectivity, sensibility, is what sustains capitalism, the development of modernity and hegemonic socio-technical systems. For the purposes of the logic of colonial and patriarchal capital, these models establish in the common-sense conceptions of technology as technical artifacts disarticulated from bodies and territories, as materialities that exist at the margin of people and communities. Talking about extractivist violence is fundamental, firstly, to understand and make visible the different dimensions in which the hegemonic technological model is constructed as a necro-technopolitical regime. Secondly, to explore the possibilities of accessing justice and a dignified life.
Anasuya Sengupta | Previous video of her Keynote
- Historical and current structures of power and privilege have rendered the minority majority of the world powerless and have no control over the design, architecture, governance, and curation of much of the Internet. What happens when we focus on the physical and virtual "margins" and work to decolonize the digital as practice, not metaphor?
*This session will be held in English
What is the relationship between fringe and unpopular groups on social media and how they move politics and influence the culture?
This is the starting point of Joan Donovan's talk where she dives into media manipulation, the effects of disinformation campaigns and adversarial media movements. Donovan presents us some strategies that have been used by activists as well as white supremacists using social media, how they get their political objectives into the world, how they get attention; how they find resources to carry on their politics. What can be done and what has been done historically to shut them down?
Join her at Decidim Fest to discuss how we can build a public interest internet, in conversation with Arnau Monterde, Ajuntament de Barcelona and coordinator of the Decidim project.
*This sesion will be held in english
What is meant by 'Algorithmic Justice'? Perhaps we should start by asking ourselves what 'justice' means? Can we automate processes to be fairer? To answer these questions, examples of real cases will be presented and other questions will be raised that will not leave us indifferent.
- The Challenge of Data Co-ops at Scale: Designing the Liverpool Civic Data Cooperative, Gary Leeming, Reema Patel (English)
- Tokens as a surveillance-proof businessmodel? Introducing Nym global privacy infrastructure, Jaya Klara Brekke (English)
- Using Quadratic Voting for Better Group Decisions, Alex Randaccio, Paula Berman (English)
Moderated by Ferran Reyes.
☝️ Do you want to ask a question to the speakers? Click on the title of the talk and you will be able to write your question.
Over the past decade, social media have played a key role in various international events that have marked the social, political and economic field: the Obama campaign in 2008, the Arab Spring in 2011 or the Wikileaks affair are clear examples of how social networks have influenced political situations around the world. The African continent has not been left behind, as from the Arab Spring to 2012, protests and democratic transitions have found a foundation through social networks.
In 2012, the first civic tech initiative to observe and monitor an electoral process via digital means (SUNU2012) was set up by Cheikh Fall, today President of AfricTivistes. From 2012 to 2015, more than a dozen initiatives were launched by young people to accompany electoral processes or responses to the demand for access to information.
In Africa, more and more, young people are capitalising on good experience through the creation of value communities, through innovation through civic tech as well as through capacity building in the fields of social entrepreneurship, citizenship and the use of digital tools.
Cheikh Fall in conversation with Carlos Bajo.
The platform economy is generating numerous impacts on the whole of our society. It is one of the faces of the digital economy that carries with it processes of inequality and loss of rights, both in the field of labour and in the rights associated with the city. At the same time, processes of resistance and emerging forms of social organisation are emerging, such as platform unionism as a response to the corporate platforms of the digital economy. In this roundtable we have the experience of three processes of social organisation that are born as a result of the impact of these platforms on their ways of life and work, and that not only organise themselves to defend their rights but also open the door to rethink the platforms so that they are at the service of the people and their rights.
Moderated by Efraín Foglia.
* This session will NOT be streamed.
With each passing year, the quantity and variety of mineral resources being extracted increases. All technologies require large quantities of raw materials, some of which are in very short supply. On a planet with limited resources, will there be enough to meet the demand of the world's population? Studying the consequences of excessive resource consumption through geology, mining and thermodynamics is key to trying to prevent Gaia from becoming Thanatia, a planet depleted of resources.
In conversation with Elisabet Roselló. * This session will be conducted in Spanish. It won't be streamed.
The rise of digital technologies in the new millennium has brought about a dialectical event of the first order. On the one hand, the more authoritarian structural tendencies of capitalism have been reinforced, while the exploitation derived from this system has become almost invisible thanks to the aesthetic component present in the technique. However, the last two decades of experimentation with digital tools have also revealed some cracks in the material regime that guides the world. The contours of neo-liberal ideology, and its drive to find solutions to social problems based on commodification, are more visible than ever. At least, if we look at how algorithms, big data or machine learning techniques deployed by Big Tech affect our lives. This conference tries to move along this fine line to elucidate what the alternatives and the political agenda of progressive forces can be to fight against the logics of technology companies and the capitalist system in which they operate.
In conversation with Marga Padilla.
* This session will be conducted in Spanish and it won't be streamed.
In view of the growing concern about the spread of hate speech on the Internet and especially on social platforms, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has unveiled an algorithmic protocol aimed at automating the detection of such illegal speech. It is a natural language processing system, trained on the basis of a series of keywords, which are considered to be decisive in the detection of possible hate speech.
This decision is part of a context in which the use of artificial intelligence systems by public institutions is on the rise, although it is often left out of public knowledge and debate. This paper analyses this problem from the perspective of democracy, social justice and the defence of human rights.
A first question to be assessed is how this system can affect society and, in this particular case, the fulfilment of fundamental rights such as privacy, data protection or freedom of expression. In order for this reflection to take place, it is important to demand, on the one hand, transparency about its objectives, the actors involved in its adoption, the people or groups affected, etc., and, on the other hand, the importance of establishing a social consensus on the matter.
Secondly, it is important to pay attention to the more technical aspects of this technological tool, in order to assess whether it is coherently adapted to the social reality in which it operates. This implies knowing how they are configured: on the basis of what criteria they are programmed, how they are learned, the potential biases involved, etc. In most cases, these systems operate as black boxes, preventing understanding, democratic control, and even traceability of the motives that lead to the final decision.
The algorithm included in this government protocol is a pilot test, but what will its impact be when it is put into use? In the field of freedom of expression, the companies that manage social platforms have been criticised for years for the opacity of their content moderation criteria, which are neither public nor do they respect international standards. The fact that public institutions are now trying to establish a protocol to overcome this monopoly of private companies is good news. But to prevent public tools from falling into the same problems of opacity and anti-democratic functioning that have existed up to now, it is necessary to promote free and informed citizen debate on the type of technology we want and what we want it for, and also to establish effective mechanisms for collective control and decision making.
* This session will be conducted in Spanish. It will NOT be streamed.
What if this is not even capitalism any more, but something worse? What if it is a kind of political economy based on extracting information out of everything we do? Which would mean that it is designed for the convenience of those who own the means of extracting the information, to maximize their control. This presents many problems for how individuals, communities or cities can organize their communication and connection for their own wellbeing, sharing and decision making. It may not be possible to challenge the emerging ruling class at the larger scales, given that there are powerful corporations building global infrastructures of control and extraction. But we can think about what we can do starting at the smaller scales, to create both the techniques and cultures that allow us to share our lives together.
In conversation with Alejandra López Gabrielidis.
* This session will be conducted in English with simultaneous translation service available. It won't be streamed.
This activity is carried out in the framework of the collaboration between the CCCB, UOC (through its research groups Tecnopolítica and El Vector) and Barcelona City Council.
- CoActuem: Learning processes on social support networks in mental health with digital tools and scientific methods. Franziska Peter (Spanish)
- Decidim4CS: Decidim for Citizen Science. Maite López Sánchez & Jesús Cerquides Bueno (Catalan)
- Decidim and the power of data driven proposals and debates. Olivier Schulbaum & Tayrine Dias (English)
Moderated by Pablo Aragón
- Co-creation process of the meta community from Cercles.Coop, Lorena Torró, Marta Anducas (Catalan)
- Complaints of illegal occupation of public land, Joan Maria Soler and Pere Mariné(Catalan)
- Open participation in the process of drawing up UOC's strategic plan, Aleix Martin Gomez (Catalan)
Moderated by Nil Homedes.
* This session will be conducted in catalan.
- Barcelona´s participatory budgets, Gerard Lillo (Catalan).
- Participa Catalunya: sectoral portal for citizen participation, Laura Suñé (Catalan).
- Barcelona Tomorrow: Metropolitan Commitment 2030, Luisa Pinto Rodríguez (Catalan).
- Participa 311 community: promoting the connection with the territory, Carola Castellà Josa (Catalan)
Moderated by Elisenda Ortega.
* This session will be conducted in catalan.
- Dialog Luzern, Nadja von Ballmoos (English).
- How Decidim is enabling the Conference on the Future of the Europe, Paulo Rosa (English).
- Decidim initiatives: How the French Parliament used Decidim for their e-petitions platforms, Pauline Bessoles, Virgile Deville (English).
- Decidim in the Nordics: examples of digital citizen participation in Nordic countries, Oeyvind Tanum, Sanna Ghotbi (English).
Moderated by Carol Romero
- Decidim goes to Japan: How we localized the civic engagement platform in Japan, Hal Seki (English).
- Evaluación Participativa de la Accesibilidad y Usabilidad de las plataforma Rosario Participa, Miguel Cánaves y Adriana Ciarlantini (Spanish).
- It's Our Money: Youth-led Participatory Budgeting in New York, Francesco Tena (English).
Moderated by Eva Solà
- Decidim-Gourmet & MDMA, Platoniq (English).
- Decidim.Austria & Participatory Texts, Romy Grasgruber-Kerl (English).
- Decidim & data confidentiality: lights and shadows of democratic software, Baptiste Thivend(English).
- 🦄 & 🌈 , Micol Salomone, Puria Nafisi Azizi (English).
Moderated by Andrés Lucena
The participatory platform decidim.barcelona already has 100,000 registered people, and has already accumulated around fifty participation processes and a hundred participation bodies, articulating a very important part of Barcelona's citizen participation. One of the most important processes in recent times has been the participatory budgeting of Barcelona, a process in which more than 60,000 people have participated and the empowerment of many communities in the city promoting their projects. The Barcelona Youth Forum has also recently been set up, a citizen assembly of 99 young people chosen by lottery who for 4 months will be deliberating on the main problems and challenges of the young group in the city of Barcelona.
On Friday 22nd the third edition of the Barcelona Youth Forum will take place. This visit includes the explanation and visit of the Forum where the project will be explained. The Foro Joven BCN, is an assembly formed by 99 young people between 16 and 29 years old, which is debating since July the situation of the youth of the city and that, from December, will be concretized in actions and solutions to improve the future, giving answer to the question: As a young person living in Barcelona, what would you need to carry out your life project?