Advocating the next step of /e-politik.de/, the cooperation with WAVE Magazine presents a great opportunity to write and debate in English. This way, discussions will become more open to a wider public, enabling people from all over Europe to debate with us. Debating in English is more than a means to an end – it is the only way to form public debate online. By Christian Miess
Discussions that take place online have to be carried out in English, at least some of them. Although it may be hard at the beginning, we have to effectively make use of new possibilities of new media. When we take a look at the bigger picture, we see that current events have been a hard test for societies all over the world. All actors domestic or international have been put under high pressure because of diverse effects of globalization, new conflicts and structural changes.
But how are these problems dealt with? And, more importantly, how do societies come to take decisions regarding all these effects? Decision makers, or in our case governments, ideally still have to refer to the general public in their respective country to legitimize their work, and ideally, public discourse is still the aim we are striving for. When open public discourse is the fabric of every democratic society, online media can be conceived of as another big open realm that can bring civic discussion to a new level. Therefore, effective e-deliberation through various means could be the one solution to the demands of a modern democracy.
e-Deliberation and Global Civil Society: The Case of Security
Let me underline my argument with a very telling example: security. The discourse on security in the context of international terrorism, what it is, what threat it poses etc., is one of the most important debates and one that will shape the world significantly for years to come. It is reflected in many ways and becomes ultimately political in the decisions taken to heighten security, such as wiretapping or eavesdropping. By definition people all over the world are subject to this matter. But at the same time civil society is left out of the debate. Governments already work very closely together, especially in regards to the war on terror. National parliaments, historically being the place where public debate is translated into terms of power, are bound to territorial constraints. Do you see the link? Territorial constraints on the one side and transnational action on the other seem to be at odds with each other.
Here, I see not only possibilities, but also an actual need for taking action. Thus, and that is important, the effects of redefining politics after the events at the end of the 20th century in a more and more interdependent world had massive impacts on the concept of how we define public debate itself. One possible answer is to write in English. This would at least be a first step. We have to understand that if we restrict ourselves to writing in German, our ideas will become irrelevant. And if there is no such thing as a wider debate, I fear that the general public and different public groups all over the world will be played off against each other because they and all topics being discussed are irrelevant, not from within but to others. This has to be changed!
The Vision: Make it relevant!
Ideas are there, they just need to be translated! I do not ask anybody to stop writing in German, but I ask everybody to at least consider leaving for uncharted territory from time to time. Although we have to deal with a lot of different systems and political ideas, we have to open up debate for people in power to react upon, as well as for a global society to emerge. I am confident that with an evolving network between different initiatives on the civic level such as „Wave“ International Youth Web Magazine we will be able contribute to civic education, thereby fostering intercultural understanding and finally ending up in intercultural debate. I hope that /e-politik.de/ can contribute to this aim and that it will be able to push forward this three-step argument which will take us all a step further to the truth.
We started well! Together with our very capable and motivated staff the ground is laid and the stage is set to step up courageously and shape the debate.
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