“The Democratic Party is at a dead end in the pre-digital age: the Internet is irritating its dignitaries”

Professor defines “I am a digital enlightenment” Mauro Caliz, inventor of political creatures (personal party, dignitaries …) and digital precursor in education with Federica, Center for Innovation, Experimentation and Digital Publishing of the Federico II University of Naples (federica.eu). Callies now runs del Mulino’s new magazine, Digital Politics Magazine, with the goal of An intellectual reflection on the platform community that changed our lives. Paying particular attention to the forms of politics: organization, communication, and leadership. The second edition, due to be released in the next few days and already online, is intended for technical parties. Marco Valproese studies the case of American Democrats, apart from the Italian Democratic Party, with which Callese knows well.

I remember you studied the DC approval system in the Salerno countryside in the 1970s. What is the relationship with digital politics?
“In 2013, after the resignation of Pope Ratzinger, a senior bishop directed a self-criticism on television. He said, in one form or another, that the Church was wrong to think that communication was a factor of our age, and communication is our age. An important director, breaking into the theological field, added that digital is God. The pandemic has highlighted the centrality of digital, and it requires us to rethink categories of thought and organize our collective and individual lives, from school to work with smart work. It affects politics, the formation and dissolution of leadership, and the functioning of democracy. The new era in which we are immersed began between 2004 and 2010. On the one hand, corporations, the giants of the web, are building new capitalism by overcoming nation-states, and on the other hand, the party machines with which consensus has been assembled are in an ultimate crisis.”

You distinguish between the instrumentalist position, the old parties using digital to modernize their institution, the constructive, the birth of new movements that view the digital as their entity, their social name.
“The state of the school is the USA. Contrary to what many in Europe and Italy insist on thinking, the United States has been the cradle of modern party machines since the nineteenth century. Now election campaigns take place online. The Democrats left with Howard Dean before the birth of Facebook, and Dean was defeated, but chosen with all his staff at the helm of the party that became president, the equivalent of our secretary. Then Hurricane Trump upended the balance of power. In Italy, it used Movimento 5 Stelle with digital Gianroberto Casaleggio as a centrally managed platform and launched a communication device like the Beppe Grillo that nobody had, surprising everyone. I’ve been wondering for years who was behind Casaleggio. I replied that there was no one. In such a fragile ecological setting, one company was enough to get into the butter.”

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In the Democratic Party, they’ve been discussing apps for years (without really doing it), digital platforms, and now there’s also Enrico Letta’s Agora. It seems to me that they failed neither in the instrumental approach nor in the constructivist approach…
“The Democratic Party has stalled in the pre-digital era. There is an abstraction of the citizen who spends all his life time on the digital and who must then participate in the life of the party at a parallel time, in a department. Of course not. If you speak the digital language, you can also connect with marginalized people. The political knot that prevents the Democratic Party from being a digital champion is centralization. Whoever controls the digital number does not deal with communications, as he is the head of the party organization, as was the case in the past. This causes resistance, upsets the network of small personalities that make up the Democratic Party. The second point is that you have to accept the participatory dynamic, it can get out of hand, and you have to know how to govern it.”

In the US with Trump, and in Italy with Salvini and 5 Stars, digital has emerged as a highway for populist parties. Now, however, the establishment is breathing a sigh of relief. Ruled by Mario Draghi, the person who has no Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account only has a phone number that very few know.
“Draghi’s case tells us one thing. José van Dijck distinguishes between connections, ‘connecting’, the relationships and relationships we weave through our will, our possibilities, our biographical paths, connection, ‘connection’ and the ability to stay in the network. They are the two levels: the actor. which moves the network and the network that builds the actor.Draghi is at the top of “interconnectedness”, no one is more “in good contact” than him, his level of specialization puts him in the club of four to five characters in the world.But if he’s going to run with one of his parties, he’s He’ll need to get into the realm of “communication”, where not to say Casalegio, but also Morrissey, is enough to make you jump in. Trump was well on the first side, “well connected” to wealth, family inheritance, affiliation to the business community and the media, but when he ran, Go to the new world, on connectivity, as Bolsonaro did in Brazil.Modi in India and also Macron in France.The five stars are the opposite case: ‘connection’ without ‘interconnectedness’, they won elections on the web without connections and skills and they paid dearly for it And now they’re trying to build a party with Conte My earrings are halfway there. If you have both workers, wear a scary car. If you only have one, you are unstable, and very fragile.”

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However, the cases you have listed show that digital elections are won but not judged.
It is not. It also rules ‘with’ digital. Think of Trump’s Twitter diplomacy, the early morning tweet of the White House that shaped the diplomatic and ministerial agenda for the day. Above all else what China does, where digital is used to power data collection, verification from the preferences of even the most remote regions, controlling and passing on their own government requests.”

What are the next frontiers?
«One is education, school and university education, where I have been working with Federica Web Learning for years. A new ruling class will be formed here, and China and India have realized that their social, cultural and geopolitical dominance is at stake. The other is the platforms that leaders have created directly, like Trump with Truth, in the face of the web giants who have kept him off the web, or nations. Each country has its own program, starting with authoritarian or semi-totalitarian.

Meanwhile, in Italy, social media has greeted the vote on Zann’s bill with bewilderment: There are digital signatures for online referendums and campaigns, but when you get to the Senate, there’s the trap, secret voting, and regulations. The institution wins by its old rules.
“It is an understandable reaction because there is no functional and intelligent channel to express the richness of what is in the network. Institutions must find a more convenient time if they are to avoid the shutdowns that occur in authoritarian regimes. We are only at the beginning. Rousseau’s direct democracy model has already faded, we are already in the age of digital democracy, which begins with individual freedom of expression. In the twentieth century there was the nationalization of the masses, and today we are in the era of the personalization of the masses. As always, the question is process control. But I am convinced that the starting point is to stand up for the new world. I am digitally enlightened.”

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