Re: Poor Julian
But I'm not sure I can agree with you on the idea that all decisions should be come to at open meetings. If you had infinite time for the meetings to happen, if everyone was equally intelligent and well informed, if everyone was of roughly equal ability as speakers, and if the options are reasonably limited - only then will you get reasonable democratic results that way. However you're more likely to end up with either paralysis, or rule by the most persuasive speakers. See Athenian democracy for an example.
Here you're talking practicality rather than principle. My point was specifically about an ideal democracy, not a real-world one. In a real-world democracy, yes, some people will be better informed or more persuasive -- those are the people who will likely be "running the show", either in open meetings or in the subgroups. And that's not a problem, provided it's all done above-board and accepted by the majority of the party. Again, that's not what seems to have happened here.
Finally on this point, I think we do have a much better ability to all be well-informed and participate in the discussions, thanks to technology like the internet. We don't have to have physical meetings or create and mail huge stacks of paper documents. One would think the Wikileaks party, being built by an organization used to using internet technologies for collaboration and dissemination of information, would have taken full advantage of these opportunities, but again, that doesn't seem to be the case.
There needs to be a reasonable balance between transparency and effectiveness. Someone's got to sit down and do the research and policy leg-work. Also if you've got a party of a few hundred people, with a few hundred different opinions you're never going to get anywhere. Which is why all parties become coalitions of groups.
For the most part, I agree with this. But those groups don't have to be secret or exclusive, which is apparently what happened here. They can be open functional groups rather than power blocs. The key pieces which needs to be as open and democratic are possible are the governance structure and the assignment of authority/responsibility. Once those become closed, corruption is almost guaranteed.