We have a decaying crisis-stricken neoliberal society that is causing an economic crisis, stagnating wages, unemployment, and labour and financial insecurity.
The neoliberal political process is fit for no purpose other than to enrich 1% of people; at the expense of the 99%.
People suffer both information exhaustion and a lack of information. We need to think, not merely take sides based on misinformation and lies.
Society needs a systemic overhaul of social structures and political institutions.
As part of that inevitable process, we need to:
The use of digital technologies to truly engage citizens is the only way to effectively achieve this.
The past few decades have seen the creation of an underclass of under-paid, under-employed, under-protected, and over-exploited people that are connected and educated.
In simple terms: a class of people who are young and broke but understand connectivity and networking.
We need social change and a fair distribution of wealth; and we also need to save the planet!
Generally, political institutions are out of touch with the mass of the electorate.
The idea is to use online digital technologies to inform and empower the ordinary citizen. AKA, members of the 99%.
To engage people in a wide range of local issues that affect their everyday lives.
In academic words: to enhance participatory representation. You may have people representing you on councils and in parliament but do they truly represent your values and interests, or do (the majority) only represent themselves and their social cliques?
We all know the answer to that.
The Digital Revolution empowers a wave of highly disruptive social transformation.
Whilst citizens rely upon leadership to give direction, that same leadership relies upon the citizens for support. Problems arise when citizens are ill-informed and separate from the ”political process”.
As a start, digital technologies are being used to:
Open up decisions relating to leadership, candidates, and policies.
Allowing online groups to bring people together to discuss and learn.
Fundraise in order to enable the group to grow and engage.
Download campaign material.
Provide online training for activists.
Well, you can. Digital Activism allows you to do just that.
We live in an age where an almost unprecedented number of critical issues need action.
For the radical changes that are needed to take place, many many more people need to take part in the process of discussion, leading to action.
The current level of interest of the majority of people in the political process is at an all-time low. The structure and operations of the political parties do not help.
Movements in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany (in particular) make far more effective use of digital technologies than most. For instance, let’s say one (or more) people would like to see change of a local issue:
But, you may say, I’m not much of an expert on the issue in-question. In that case, you could delegate your vote to someone you trust (who knows more about a topic that you). This enables a network of trust to be built, allowing more direct democracy where citizens have knowledge but representatives do not.
Digital allows the participation of the online with the offline in meetings, activities, and canvassing; Digital allows the online and the offline to be integrated into a powerful driving force, and funnelled to act as as a positive energy to re-legitimise the political process.
An excellent analysis of how the world is being changed in terms of citizen engagement is the book: The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy by Paolo Gerbaudo.
It describes how Italy’s Five Star Movement, Spain’s Podemos, France Insoumise, and Labour’s Momentum have used digital to devastating effect.
The end goal is transparency, and for citizens to follow what’s going on, in their name.
Torbay Today is the brainchild of Chris Harvey. A lifetime of watching the greed of neo-liberal institutions trash the lives of decent people, and now the planet itself, raised his passions to a point where, along with so many other people, the cry has become enough is enough!
The goal of Torbay Today is to leverage digital technologies to the max; in order to let people know what is going on and increase citizen engagement. We have barely scratched the surface.
Chris has extensive experience of the following roles: Marketer, Entrepreneur, Director, Manager (General, Financial, Product Development, Sports), Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Graphic Designer, Publisher, Telecoms Engineer, Software Engineer, Knowledge Engineer, Data Analyst, Systems Analyst, Lecturer, Researcher, Teacher, Policy Officer, and Political Educator.