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Re: <nettime> Mexico City is crowdsourcing its new constitution
Gabriela Méndez Cota on Wed, 8 Jun 2016 01:21:59 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Mexico City is crowdsourcing its new constitution


   Hi. I live in Mexico City and I've been intrigued by the relatively
   small amount of online discussion on this topic by my academic,
   middle-class peers. I've mostly read pronouncements by mainstream,
   right-wingish journalists who are always ready to disparage any
   potentially disruptive initiative. The crowdsourcing experiment is, in
   my opinion, not yet disruptive of the social order but it is
   interesting as a practical idea and could be successful depending on
   the political reality we are talking about. It's a tough one in the
   Mexican case. We Mexicans should know better than anyone that passing
   laws is one thing and social transformation is another. We've had many
   progressive laws but very little to no democracy on the ground. Right
   now we are looking into the abyss as far as the rule of law is
   concerned. The new constitution, if it ends up really including citizen
   participation (which is not yet clear), will still need to confront the
   deep-rooted (and violently enforced, when necessary) inequality,
   authoritarianism, corruption and impunity, all of which cause and block
   solutions to the urban disaster in Mexico City as in Mexico as a whole.
   The cultural differences between city and country are important, but I
   think this is a time to make political connections rather than to
   uncritically reassert urban exceptionality.

   Mexican people who are inspired by the 11M in Spain (something wider
   than Podemos) don't want to know anything about political parties,
   votes or representative democracy in general, which might explain (or
   not) their silence regarding the crowdsourcing experiment (which
   remains a governmental initiative and will, after all, be filtered and
   approved by the parliament and the usual decision-makers). The
   crowdsourcing experiment is indeed at risk of being co-opted (if it
   wasn't co-opted from the start)�by neoliberal elites who either
   benefit from the social order (businessmen), or who are (like Mexico
   City's major) incapable of solving the urban disaster caused by it.
   I say this because lately the Mexican government has resorted to a sort
   of progressive-washing (as in green-washing) in the attempt to clean
   their image and that of the Mexico brand. The president Peña Nieto,
   for instance, recently decreed the legality of gay marriage pretty much
   out of the blue (although my sceptical view may offend those who have
   spent many years in the LGTB struggle) and now his friend Mancera, the
   city's major, is doing these democratic-looking gestures as if to
   convince us that he shouldn't be as unpopular as he is. A piece in the
   Guardian gives more details of this:

   http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jun/02/mexico-city-crowdsourcing-new-constitution-change-mayor-mancera-president

   The manager of the crowdsourcing platform is, I think, someone who has
   written critically on the branding cities phenomenon, and who seems to
   believe nevertheless in the experiment as a window of opportunity for
   democracy. As someone who has spent several years trying to figure out
   what's going on here, I find it hard to be optimistic, but things are
   such that I'm desperate for anything to happen, so I'll be paying
   attention to this process and what it leads to.

   Cheers,
   Gabriela

   2016-06-06 15:31 GMT-05:00 Felix Stalder <felix {AT} openflows.com>:

     I also think this is quite something and it would be interesting to
     get some accounts of this process from people up close. Any
     nettimers in Mexico city at the moment?
<...>

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