Its time to start Civil democracy

Climate change, populism, and civil war: The 2010s end on a somber note. Can you imagine there is one lever to tackle them all and make the 2020s a decade of hope? If such a lever exists: Do you support using it?

Our story is as follows: Contemporary political institutions are based on dividing society into groups. But this has become obsolete in the face of individualisation and globalisation. All the major problems that we face today result from the conflict between group-based institutions and individualistically structured societies: climate change, environmental destruction, populism and civil war all demonstrate that there is an urgent need for a new concept of democracy.

And this new concept already exists: Civil democracy is a new concept of democracy that uses digitally stored trust for a responsible involvement of civil society and ‚meta-decision freedom’ between direct democracy and civil society representation, combining the participatory chances of direct democracy and the stability of representative democracy.

In spring 2020, we will start the international campaign for a Global Sustainability Council as the first and most important application of civil democracy. And this crucial step needs your funding.

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Civil democracy needs a start

It is obvious for many observers that group-based institutions and individualistically structured societies do not really match, and the principles of Civil democracy are the logical consequence.

However, transforming these principles into meaningful action is a far more difficult task. NGOs, voters, politicians, scientists and funders are all accustomed to accepting group-based institutions as something that is quasi-natural or a matter of course. Even in the academic world it hasn’t been possible to publish our research results given the lack of an established scientific debate and the transdisciplinary nature of the project.

The project is now ready to leave the ivory tower. The Global Sustainability Council can be started with a 6-digit budget. The current stage of this pre-project follows the first steps outlined in the book Civil Democracy.

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Campaign start and action research

After 25 years of ivory tower research on the fundamental dynamics of Civil democracy, we are far from having all answers. But we have the right questions. And the next step needs to be a field experiment! Institutional theory describes the current situation as a classical lock-in in which all actors are bound to the status quo as they are unable to imagine another, better state of the world. Unfortunately, our colleagues in political and social science are no exceptions. Starting a social movement is needed to create data and to take the next step.

For the research side of the project, the current research questions is: Which NGOs and which individual political actors are able to imagine Civil democracy and to adapt to act as candidates and open actors? This research question is followed in cooperation with BA thesis pursued at Zeppelin University.

The goals for the herewith crowdfunded project are as follows:

• 30 possible GSC candidates identified (collecting consent in Q2)

• two interviews with potential candidates

• 100 NGOs identified (with coordinates) who might be able to act as Open Actors

• three interviews with NGO representatives

• a second, better video

• a clickable prototype for the Civil democracy platform, specififed for the Global Sustainability Council as first application

• a complete campaign plan, including: a time plan up to the first GSC meeting, a financial plan including cost estimation and funding plan, a second fundraising campaign, and everything discussed with experts

• establishing GSC association, including obtaining tax exemption

• GSC starter meetings in Zurich, Berlin, Cologne and at least one other city

• (optional:) finding a publisher for the Civil democracy book

• starting the second-level campaign in end-March 2020

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