Blog: Subbu's blog
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Created by Subramanya (Subbu) Sastry on Tue 25 of Jan, 2005 02:10 IST
Last post Sat 14 of May, 2005 10:04 IST
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Open Spaces & Democracy

Posted by Subramanya (Subbu) Sastry on Sat 14 of May, 2005 10:04 IST

If we are simply talking of inclusion and exclusion, then it might be useful to examine notions of democracy and notions of open space and how they relate to each other. Within a political setting, one way to view attempts to move towards 'open spaces' and 'open space processes' is as an attempt to move towards direct democracy (as opposed to representative ones) or even as a conflict between direct and representative democracy. So, success of failure very much depends on how these processes can tackle these conflicts. For example, in the WSF setting, if the IC is seen as hegemonic in certain ways, what processes need to be instituted if every participant had to be included in the decision-making?

Ultimately, everyone of us would like to be included in matters that affect us and our lives. And when decisions are made that affect us (without including us), we feel excluded. And this problem of inclusion and exclusion has only worsened with time due to the increasing intertwining of lives, an increasing globalization of the world, and a highly intricate network of influences. For example, whereas earlier, there was never a need for someone living in India to participate in the affairs of those living in the US, this is not the case now (in a manner of speaking). This was most dramatically demonstrated when world citizens wanted to have a say (a vote) in the US presidential elections and the world overwhelmingly voted out Bush.

The above is also the reason why the open space model is (and will be) challenged and stretched to its limits. Thus increasing globalization also introduces greater barriers towards the constitution of open spaces — for example, in addition to barriers that already exist in any group of people, barriers of "language" and barriers of culture come into the picture.

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