The 2017 campaign for Helsinki

I accepted the challenge to be a candidate under Meidän Lohja List for the Municipal Elections 2021 of Lohja, but I remain independent in terms of political affiliation.


I am an Architect (MSc), Civil Engineer (MSc), Enterpreneur and Researcher (PhDc).

I strongly believe in the diversity of political solutions, informing, not leading, - the wisdom of the crowds, no professional politicians and that - everyone is a politician.

STATEMENT OF PEDRO AIBEO TO YLE NEWS ON THE REMOVAL OF CAMPAIGN VIDEOS IN ENGLISH

Immediate goal

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

 

when elected, every decision that I will make will be previously voted electronically by the group of people who wish to follow me, regardless of my own personal view.

Long-term goal

END POLITICAL CAREERISM

For a truly working Democracy, we must stop politics as a career. This can be done either through technology or by rotating randomly chosen representatives from our local neighborhood - lottocracy

My name is Pedro Aibéo, a 37 year-old Portuguese Architect, Researcher and Entrepreneur, and father of two.

After 16 years of living and working as an Architect (M.Sc. TU Darmstadt, Germany) and as a Civil Engineer (M.Sc. FEUP, Porto) in 4 continents, with over 50 buildings designed and built on 15 countries, I chose in 2014, Finland to be my home and start my own architectural practice. I did so for its honest people, open society, welfare state and scale. 

These qualities cannot be taken for granted and need constant work. I have been doing my best to actively support civic movements. These go from opposing the greedy and manipulative Guggenheim project, researching at Aalto on open source buildings (Research Assistant and Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University on "Architectural Democracy"), strengthening a diverse urban culture via folk music (chairman and founder of the World Music School ry), giving shelter to politically persecuted artists (vice-chairman of perpetuum mobile ry), renovating heritage buildings into co-housing (main architect of the project svartsa skola), giving drawing classes at Kiasma, and doing public dissemination of knowledge by writing theater plays on urbanism, comic novels on mathematics and newspaper articles on international current affairs.

These efforts have been mostly Helsinki based, but my international experience gave me knowledge to apply these ideas in Finland.

 

For example, I am regularly invited to teach on Architecture and Politics at Universities in Mexico, China, Australia, Germany and Portugal and I used to write and direct theater plays at the United Nations and the Staatstheater Darmstadt on urban slavery and astronomy.

 

This work has not been easy (would be boring otherwise) especially when the language is a barrier. I grew up in a family dedicated to use barriers as an opportunity not as a problem: my Father, an Engineer, dedicated his life in creating a groundbreaking method of incorporating mental handicapped into the working life, and my Mother was a Social Worker, aiding throughout her life, people with social adaptability problems.

The recent invitation of the Left Alliance for me to be a candidate took me as a surprise, as I am a true believer of self-government, thus not advocating the outdated model of representative democracy.

 

But also here I could make an improvement. I can be advocating a better access to what is being decided in the city and offering it to the local citizens to vote on it, every day. In other words, to create the conditions to have all the population of Helsinki to be participating more actively through direct voting in all questions. 
You get the facts of the questions on your phone and vote through an app if you wish to. My opinion will count as much as of any other citizen, now, and when as a politician.

 

The wisdom of the crowd is not always the best if not done properly, but there are ways to make it work, and in any case, such changes will certainly outperform the ongoing disastrous professional politician system, proven to be no longer justified.

My task is solely to inform, not to rule.

Why is a Portuguese Anarcho-syndicalist running for the City Council of Helsinki?

Why is an architect, who has so often written negatively about voting in elections, now a candidate for the municipal elections of Helsinki?

I was challenged two months ago, by two political parties in Helsinki, to run as a candidate. This was due to my successful work against the Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki. My immediate answer was that yes, Helsinki does need to have someone to represent the growing 14% of non-Finnish, non-Swedish voters. Nevertheless, I do not believe in political representation, nor in politicians. After some thinking, and some talks with my two best existential advisers, my two kids, I came to a conclusion: "Yes, there is a way for people like me, who do not believe in slaves, thus also not in Masters, to constructively improve the current governmental form of organisation:

through Direct Democracy and an end to political careerism."

My life’s work on architecture, activism, the public understanding of science, and my research on democracy all over the world, awarded me with enough wisdom on different modes of governmental structures. I have explored many pathways to improve society and myself along with it, so this one should be taken as well.

Yes democracy is here to stay (whatever its form), not anarcho--syndicalism, but it is possible to reach levels of direct democracy so high, that the absence of power of professional politicians could be gradually dismantled. 

I proposed therefore, to make a campaign and a mandate, as an independent under the Left Alliance list, in English, based only on two goals:

 

"My immediate goal is not to represent voters but to give them direct decision power, NOW."

 

Every decision that I will make will be previously voted electronically by the group of people who wish to follow me, regardless of my own opinion. I will send them an explanation of the problem in English, on which they will vote. I will then represent the voted decision in the council and in every other meeting I attend. Even if not perfect, this method will show an important example.

"My long term goal is to bring an end to professional careers on politics."

Research shows that a diverse group of problem-solvers makes better collective decisions than a group of experts. Everyone ought to be a “political animal” and to feel included by having a real voice, daily. Therefore, we need to question the career of the politician, who is often detached of the local problems. Meaning, if I become a paid politician, my task will be successful only when I become again an amateur politician.

 

In reality, we have an outdated system of public speakers (politicians) deciding on all matters, regardless of their expertise. The result is that we spend more time talking about the politicians instead of discussing the policies. In practical terms, and in lack of a better approach, it is preferable to widen the decision making and to include the whole population. Educated citizens will know also when their voice should be heard or when to stay neutral. The citizens of Helsinki do have a great civic education in order to make asserted decisions and to avoid behaviors that are corrupting. For example, as a Civil Engineer, I will certainly be more engaged in discussions around the tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki, but I will not cast so many votes in topics I am not so related or interested about.

So, we  can gradually introduce direct democracy, either through technology (e-voting) or by gradually modifying our representative system into one where local citizens are randomly and temporarily elected for office (Demarchy). 

 

In a money-based society, everyone has a price. The old wisdom holds that power corrupts. The voters should question everything, especially me! 

Voters should develop critical thinking and analyse for themselves what is being laid out for them, just as this text here. I will do my best to be neutral, but I am as human and as prone to corruption as any other human being. 

We must not continue as spectators nor must we believe that there will be one person who will be righteous all the way through. My voice should be questioned and heard as all others should be.

 

Now, as in the movie, vote for Pedro, so you can vote every day, and not just every four years!

 

"My task is solely to inform, not to rule."

What is the press saying about Pedro Aibéo's campaign:

The Helsinki Times (in English)

Finnish press (in Finnish)

Finnish press (in english, interview by moniheli)

Portuguese press (in portuguese)

Spanish press (in spanish)

Spanish press (in english)

Russian press (in spanish)

HACKATHON ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY IN HELSINKI

OZAN YANAR REPLIES TO SOME QUESTIONS OF PEDRO AIBEO ABOUT POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT

YLE NEWS FORCES ENGLISH SPEAKING CANDIDATE TO MAKE A VIDEO IN FINNISH

DO NOT TRUST PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS

PEDRO AIBEO'S CAMPAIGN AT KONTULA ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY

NO PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY

HAVE A VOICE IN THE CITY OF HELSINKI 

PRACTICAL NEGOTIATIONS IN ARTS AND POLITICS

DIRECT DEMOCRACY HELSINKI HACKATHON

TOUGHTS ON THE APP

PRESENTATION AT MICROSOFT

1 - WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

We need to be representing the growing minority in Helsinki of non Finnish and non Swedish speaking community (estimated between 6-14%) who are voters and are being alienated from public discussion due to language barriers. In the words of James Baldwin, "People who will be denied participation, by their very presence, will wreck it".

2 - DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS?

There is no singular definition of democracy nor there is a perfect system. Democracy, as any other system of organization, needs constant questioning and adaptation. I have been working in small and large scale projects of public participation throughout the world and have been researching and teaching at Universities around the world on Architectural Democracy. I learned from that, that power (cracy)  for and by the people (demos) are easily manipulated and that scale matters. Finland can and should go for a more direct mode of democracy, for its scale, high level of education and mentality of trust and honesty. 
Please check my website to see all the projects I have been doing in this area.

3 - HOW WILL AN EVERYDAY ONLINE VOTING WORK?

We are already testing out all the different online voting tools available. There are hundreds of these out there. For example, one that has been used by the pirate party or the one used by the flux party in Australia.

We post regularly about these on our Facebook page. There, we are also testing the online voting process via Facebook's tool for it. We will decide and announce which one we will use when the elections are over. 

But in basic terms it goes like this: me, as a member of the city council, will be asked to vote. My team will translate these questions into English and post them online. Every citizen of Helsinki can log in into our app (verified log in) and vote on these questions and discuss about it online and sometimes on public gatherings. When the poll is over, I will go to the council and make the same vote as our group voting turned out to be.

We are making a customized app for Helsinki in a free and public Hackathon, join us.

4 - HOW CAN YOU MORALLY JUSTIFY VOTING FOR SOMETHING, IF IT IS NOT WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE THE BEST SOLUTION?

 

As a politician, my task is to turn citizens as much as politician as anyone else, not to turn them into spectators, thus my voice should be questioned and heard as all others.

I am not proposing a perfect system of direct democracy, but I am setting an example to question the status quo. There are certainly people more qualified to answer certain questions according to their level of expertise, but on the current system, we have an outdated system of public speakers (politicians) deciding on all matters, regardless of their expertise. We can do better than this!

In practical terms, and in lack of a better approach, it is preferable to then widen the decision making voices and include the whole population. Educated citizens will know also when their voice should be heard or when to stay neutral. For example, as a Civil Engineer, I will certainly be more engaged in discussions around for example, the tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki, but I will not cast any vote, nor will I have so much interest in following other issues which are not of my expertise nor of my interest.

5 - IF YOU ARE IN IT TO MAKE NON-FINNISH, NON-SWEDISH SPEAKING CITIZENS OF HELSINKI TO PARTICIPATE, SHOULD YOU NOT BE DOING MORE THAN JUST DIRECT DEMOCRACY?

I have lived so far in 14 countries in 4 continents, till I decided to call Finland my final home.

I know well the hardships of being an immigrant and working in a country where you cannot even understand the road signs. Yes there is much to do for foreigners in Helsinki, and if you take some time to see my work (www.aibeo.com) you will find out that I have been committed to it in a very practical and constructive way. I am, for example, the founder and the chairman of the World Music School Helsinki ry, where each month we combine two local minorities into a folk dance event with live music, and I am the vice-chairman of Perpetuum Mobile ry, taking regularly in, into residencies, artists, politically persecuted in their own countries.

I learned from my father (a pioneer in the professional integration of mentally handicapped people) a very valuable lesson: The best integration is when the minority does not feel like being one. If everywhere there are ramps and accessible toilets, everyone profits from it, the healthy and also the handicapped, elderly, injured, etc. So instead of focusing on one group and build for them a ramp beside the staircase, the immigrants, I see this campaign to serve all of the citizens of Helsinki, making ramps to serve all.

6 - HOW WILL YOU PREVENT INTERNET TROLLING FROM MAKING A MESS OF YOUR SOFTWARE DATABASE?

The solution for bad speech is not through censuring, but with more speech. Talk, talk, talk.

We need to talk more with each others about living together. We should not be talking about politicians, but on the policies themselves. We should also be talking much more with the ones who disagree with us, even trolls!!

There will always be angry comments, or disruptive behaviors in any proposed system, but that does not justify not to be implementing it. Slavery and treating women as property was considered normal for thousands of years, we changed that, as we should change the current outdated system of representative democracy.

7 - WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF AN ORGANISED GROUP OF POLITICAL RADICALS SYSTEMATICALLY TARGET YOUR DIRECT DEMOCRACY SOFTWARE AND USE IT TO PROMOTE THEIR VIEWS?

As in any group, if a person or a group of people systematically disrupts the rules of it, these should be alerted about it as much as it can be done, and in the last case, these are to be banned. Exclusion of people is always the last case scenario, so all efforts should be done to understand their reasons and to improve.

8 - HOW CAN YOUR VOTERS BE SURE THAT THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDE (ON THE QUESTIONS YOU ARE ASKING THEM TO VOTE ON) WILL BE OBJECTIVE AND NOT STEER THEIR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS?

They cannot be sure.

The voters should question everything, specially me! They should develop critical thinking and analyze for themselves what is being laid out for them. I will do my best to be neutral, but I am as human and as prone to corruption as any other human being, that is the reason I propose direct online voting and an end to professional politicians.

9 - WHO ARE YOU? :-)

please read here

10 - BY USING SUCH A SYSTEM WILL IT LEAD TO A GREAT LOSS OF EXPERTISE IN POLITICAL ORGANIZING OF MUNICIPAL MATTERS CONCERNING ITS INHABITANTS, BUT ALSO IN DRAWING FUNDING FROM INVESTORS TO DEVELOP THE CITY?

No, in fact, It will improve.

I am also an entrepreneur, and I have dealt with many governments around the world while designing their campuses or hospitals! I know very well that, to make one's project to speed up, the best way is to have a direct line with politicians. Because politicians will overcome many of the usual "obstacles".

Is this fair to others which services might be better?

Most of the funding work drawn to a city is done not by politicians, but by the system bureaucrats, who are independent of party colors. A city freed of professional politicians, would be much more fair to small enterprises who do not have that political direct line and to citizens in general. 

11 - HOW YOU INTEND TO BRIDGE THE COMMUNICATION GAP WITH OTHER REPRESENTATIVES IF YOU CANNOT SPEAK EITHER FINNISH OR SWEDISH?

Creating that situation at the city council, will be a clear evidence of the need to have translation services, not only for me, but the 14% of voters of Helsinki.

12 - I READ AN ARTICLE OF YOURS AND I DISAGREE WITH YOUR OPINION, WHY SHOULD I SUPPORT YOU?

When elected, my opinions on any matter will count as much as any other citizen. All I will do is to inform, not to rule. I will simply press the button at the city council from the results of the e-voting.

13 - IF I VOTE FOR YOU, YOU WILL REPRESENT NOT ONLY ME (AND OTHERS WHO VOTED FOR YOU) BUT ANYONE WHO, AT BEST, ARE ELIGIBLE RESIDENTS OF HELSINKI. IN THIS SETTING, I MIGHT RATHER WANT TO USE MY VOTE FOR A CANDIDATE WHO I AM SURE WILL SUPPORT THE POLICIES I AM MORE LIKELY TO SUPPORT, OTHERWISE MY VOTE MIGHT END UP BEING WASTED, RIGHT?

- think of how many policies will one be faced at on the next 4 years. How can you possibly know if your representant will match your thoughts?

- How can you demand your representant for liability in what he/she/it promised if the vote is secret?

 

- think on how often a person changes, and politicians, being absorbed into a sea of influence, will change their views constantly, how can one trust in such an outdated system?

Why I need your vote:

I am the only one saying that access to information is vital. The meeting minutes need to be translated every time, so everyone has access to information. Even if the vote you cast will not be what is voted at the end, you know that there is one person making sure everyone is informed. How can we have a democracy where 15% of us do vote but do not understand what is being talked?

 

This all aside, why I need your vote now, is to set an example that democracy needs constant reevaluation of its methods. Representative Democracy is an old system invented in the 12th century by a 17 year old king. We need to set an example, even if small, your vote will make a difference.

Contact us for questions or to join the team:

pedro@aibeo.com

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