Corbyn’s digital democracy manifesto promotes co-operative ownership of digital platforms

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to launch a digital revolution by fostering the co-operative ownership of digital platforms. Mr Corbyn, who is currently being challenged for the...

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to launch a digital revolution by fostering the co-operative ownership of digital platforms.

Mr Corbyn, who is currently being challenged for the party’s leadership by Owen Smith, launched his digital democracy manifesto on 30 August in London. The manifesto includes provisions for a national investment bank and regional banks to help finance social enterprises whose websites and apps are designed to minimise the costs of connecting producers with consumers, in transport, accommodation, culture, catering and other sectors of the economy.

“We will introduce new laws guaranteeing a secure employment contract and the inalienable right of trade union membership to everyone who earns most or some of their livelihood from digital platforms,” reads the document.

“We will apply the best practices and adopt the technological innovations of this cooperative upgrade of the sharing economy to improve the provision, delivery and utilisation of public sector services at the local, regional and national levels.”

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Speaking at the launch of the manifesto, Mr Corbyn said his campaign’s phone canvasing app had been inspired by Bernie Sanders’ similar approach in the USA.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the UK's Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the UK’s Labour Party

“My leadership campaign is leading the way in harnessing the advances of new technology to organise political campaigning like we’ve never seen before,” he said.

“The creativity of the networked young generation is phenomenal. We have thousands of young volunteers on our campaign taking part in this digital revolution.

“We will channel this new energy and creativity into Labour’s general election campaign whenever it comes. It’s in this way that Labour can get back into government.

“Labour under my leadership will utilise the advances of digital technology to mobilise the most visible general election campaign ever. There is also a clear need for more online democracy and our manifesto today sets out how Labour would democratise the internet in order to rebuild and transform Britain, so that no one and no community is left behind.”

The manifesto incorporates provisions for supporting local broadband and mobile access co-operatives through a national investment bank. Communications regulator Ofcom would also play a role by coordinating the private telecoms companies’ contribution to the project.

Apart from placing a stronger emphasis on co-operative models, the manifesto also includes commitments to a universal service network designed to bring high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity for everyone, particularly remote communities.

Mr Corbyn called for an open knowledge library as a free-to-use online hub of learning resources as part of his proposal for a national education centre.

The Labour leader has also unveiled plans for a digital citizen passport to provide people with a secure portable identity for using online public services.

In addition, he has proposed a public consultation to draw up a people’s charter of digital liberties to “enhance the online rights of every individual” and enable co-operative creativity.

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