Democracy in our lives
Toolkits for a more democratic world
October the 6th, 2018, 中央研究院 Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
Parti was invited at g0v summit 2018 as a speaker to talk about ‘Democracy reimagined’. The g0v summit is a biennial event which focuses on open government, open source collaboration and civic participation. It was established in 2014 by the g0v community.
At Parti, we share our knowledge with people to create a more democratic world. We do this by creating guides, For example, how to achieve better communication within your companies and organisations, how to open petitions and campaigns through our platforms.
We want people to participate in social issues which affect them, or they are passionate about. We hope to make this fun like a party! Everything we create is open-sourced.
We are now based in Seoul, but we work remotely in Korea and Japan. We plan to expand to the UK next year. We are mainly planners, writers and engineers.
Is anyone interested in Korea? Cool! Let me tell you about some recent Korean issues. He’s a member of BTS, a popular K-pop group. They made a remarkable speech about the ‘love myself’ campaign at the un assembly. The speech was aiming to instil self-belief in young people.
Another recent event was the inter Korean summit which has opened a dialogue btw the two Koreas and created a lovely mood between N.Korea and the US.
Before this blossoming peace, things were moving backwards and going against democracy. Parti was founded at the end of 2015, just before the scandal involving former President Park Geun-Hye was exposed. Her acquittance who didn’t have an official position in the government used her position to seek donations from several wealthy conglomerates (known as chaebol). Park’s official ratings were already declining because of her lack of response to the Sewol ferry sinking accident which occurred on the 16th of April, 2014.
In total, 16 million citizens went out on the street to join a protest to remove Park Geun-Hye as president. At that time, people who did not have a significant interest in politics went out onto the street to protest. There were concerts, all kinds of creative flags and posters, but absolutely no aggression or violence.
In November 2016, some of the previous Parti members suggested establishing a project party. It’s not an official political party, but they gathered together until their agenda resolved and then dismissed. Cause they think it doesn’t have to be a traditional way to restore democracy and seek a new way of politics in our lives.
One of their activities was mapping for people couldn’t be in the main protest area in Seoul. These photos(on the top right) were taken by people who wanted to show to support the protest. They were taken in Germany, Poland, Thailand and the US. For a last couple of years, it seems people have experienced that politics are approachable also digital engagement has its meaning as well.
We learn two things from the major event; one politics shouldn’t be exclusive for traditional parties or career politicians. Two, technically the 21st century is an era of democracy, but if we don’t use democratic rights actively or don’t give undivided attention to the representative, we might risk going backwards.
However, people still have a question. The political leader has been changed, but what about my life?
So, we want to help people to fill it out the answer. Let’s move on to our main hashtags on democracy. Let me introduce Jeong, one of my colleagues and loves ‘zero waste’ lifestyle. Zero waste is about sending almost nothing to lands, and minimizing what people throw away in bins. On a bigger scale, it wants to have fewer materials to recycle in the first place.
I’ve known him since 2017, one day we were at a cafe, and he suddenly took a picture. Maybe selfie with a coffee? No, it was the picture of a plastic straw he unavoidably used. Plus he started to observe what he’s consumed, took photos of plastic bags after having some snacks.
He didn’t do that alone but met like-minded people at one of our platforms, parti.xyz for democratic communication for teams. Also, they had a challenge on no waste for seven days. They had shopping with reusable bags; their life became plastic free.
As Korea became aware of plastic wastes, I believe Taiwan and other countries also have had similar movements. The community didn’t stop by changing their habits but thought they need solidarity to make a meaningful change on this matter. They started to research the status of domestic plastic usages about 28 franchise coffee shops.
It was red hot in Seoul at the initial status of their research, so people always found iced drinks, me too. The research found out that only 10% of cafes asked whether their customers would have their drinks in reusable cups. Imagine if they asked beforehand, how many plastic cups would’ve saved.
The engagement was terrific; their petition goal was gathering 1,000 people. It’s just complete within seventeen days. This petition went like this. When some people wanted Starbucks to change, their opinions directly sent to Starbucks via emails.Surprisingly, Starbucks answered that they are going to use no plastics in their shops and initialize a green policy.
Furthermore, my coworker, Jeong has his interest; also we can lead a workshop with Seoul government to drive this plastic issue seriously. We gathered 60 people who wanted to engage in local policy-making. We didn’t ask attendees to bring a perfect idea or plan but recognise they could come and talk with other people who are on the same page. So in that workshop, we made around 40 suggestions towards Seoul government, and other citizens can see on ‘democracy Seoul’ platform.
In reverse, the government became to listen more what citizens say and ask them to be a part of decision-making on a prohibition of using disposal straws at restaurants and cafes.
When he started to take a picture of plastic straws, he didn’t intend to be seriously a part of policy-making. But it naturally happened cause he found it fun, and we have an ability to resolve social issues.
Let me show you the map again. It’s our ideal ecosystem for a better democratic world.
What we do is
One. Introducing direct democracy elements through digital technology,
Two. Complementing representative democracy,
In the end, resolving conflict and drawing conversation and cooperation
On/offline communities, cooperative, executives and enterprises should simultaneously work, live and collaborate.
Parti offers four different platforms which allow you to make changes for the world around you. So feel free to check them out if you are interested in. So we do everything if it can make a world more democratic.
These four elements are our secret key driven all the activities possible. Use any platforms which suit you best. But I’d like to introduce four platforms we create and run. All platforms are open-sourced not only technical-wide but also sharing our knowledge and experience. The first version of ‘open know-how’ will be released at the end of October, so you can check it out, ‘google translate’ it and use it for free.
Once again, We are a group of democracy activists who want to make a more democratic world. If you want to catch up with us, here is a QR code you can scan. Also, there are leaflets available here in this room. If you have any further questions, ideas or just simple interests in us. Feel free to approach my colleague and me afterwards. Thank you very much.
Special thanks to 劉致昕(Jason Liu) for Chinese proofreading.