Thursday, August 25, 2005

DFNYC Research And Advocacy Group


I look forward to our meeting on the 31st. This kind of activism speaks to me. I am not "just a writer," or "just a thinker." I have been at the very forefront of electoral politics at times in the past. But for now all my political energies go to the movement for democracy in Nepal. And my personal career focus is on entrepreneurial stuff. But there is no curing a political animal. And even to entrepreneurship what I take to the table is vision and group dynamics. And the process of crafting legislation is of major corporate interests to me. As you can see, there is a lot of inter-connectedness. And DFNYC has been homebase of sorts to me in this chosen city of mine. The city's social progressive thrust speaks to me very personally. And DFNYC sits atop it.

"Where there is no vision, the people shall perish."

I am really interested in "the vision thing," as Bush 41 puts it. I think there are two aspects to it: the vision, the tools.

Vision is of central importance. And I took a first bite at it here: The Three Pillars (October 25, 2004). I feel the need to elaborate on that theme.

I first want to talk about the tools. Actually it is one tool: blogging! Oh my god, there is nothing like it. Fast forward backwards to the Howard Dean 2004 campaign. If Dean's 600,000 core supporters were all avid bloggers with the blogging tools available for free today - text, links, audio, video - old media would not have had the option to massacre the campaign. Dean's famous I Have A Scream speech, it beats me to this day as to how anyone could have been offended. I don't get it, I never did. I don't know if it is cultural because I grew up in a culture where people are loud, quick to celebration, where people wear colorful clothes, and I mean primary colors, not the American mainstream drab.

But imagine if only 20 people in that room that day were video bloggers, and online people had the option to watch the entire thing, the party in the foreground with all its noise: things might have turned out to be different. I am an avid video blogger myself.

This is really powerful stuff, because campaigns spend more money on TV ads than on any other thing. What a waste! Imagine if the next progressive presidential campaign has to spend NO money on TV ads! What then? Does that make us super competitive?

Every volunteer should be a blogger. I recommend Google's Blogger. Other than that Google is the sexiest company on the radar right now. One, when you blog at Blogger, the Google search engine immediately indexes your stuff, and that makes all the difference, since search engines are the most used "road signs" today. And there is a search engine just for your particular blog in the top left corner. That is the sexiest thing about Blogger. Links are copy and paste. I recommend you insert Google ads onto your page. Blooger beats Flickr when it comes to photos. Look at this cutie taken by yours truly: Flickr does not offer that large size, full screen option. Google's audio and video are both free, and you don't have to worry about memory space, it's infinite, and sure you can take them anywhere on the web, but why not keep it all in-house? And with Google's resources, they keep improving the whole thing on a regular basis. I think they should work on integrating MathML: but that is just me.

Blogging is fundamental. It means every single person is a potential media house with a potential local/national/global audience. This is huge.

But there is one thing that is more important: it is Face Time. There is screen time, and there is Face Time. Our in-house LinkUps are a great idea as are MeetUps. I think we should keep using both. LinkUps are for the veterans and the hard core. MeetUps are for the uninitiated and the casual onlookers. And both merge.

As we work on this Research and Advocacy stuff, I think we should make use of both Face Time and Screen Time. Best part about that: it keeps things really flexible. Individuals have the option to give as much or as little time as they want without feeling they are missing out on things because they did not show up for all the events. And I don't believe we ought to duplicate stuff. That is where links come in. If there are progressive think tanks that have done good work on specific issues, we should just link to those articles from our blogs. And we should link to each other's blogs. That's another thing that is good for your blog in the search ecosystem: the more sites and blogs that link to you, higher up you show.

Once we have this basic frame, then we can start talking. I feel like I have already made my main points online. So for me Face Time is more about listening to others. But you don't want me to get started on the talking thing. My blogs are proof I am on the verbose side.

For now, of the Three Pillars, I would like to focus on just the first one.

Democracy is a simple concept: it is one person one vote. And America does not have it.

I think I invented the concepts of total, transparent democracy and non-violent militancy.

Methods
  1. Total, Transparent Democracy: All political deliberations are to be posted and archived online as all votes that make decisions when consensus might not be possible, all expenses the same. Political parties are publicly funded based on the principle of one person, one vote.
  2. Non-Violent Militancy: To never resort to violence, but to use words like they were bullets, to use organizational acumen like knives, to use communications technology to the maximum, to use money with utmost efficiency, to always know the importance of message, to make the best use of dialogue and coalitions, and to use the state apparatus to great effect once acquired.
This is from my Nepal blog. But it can be applied anywhere, I think.

Just look at New York. Not far north from here in Boston several hundred years back a group of concerned people started a revolution with the slogan No Taxation Without Representation. That revolution founded a country called America. But in New York 40% of the people who pay taxes can not vote because, err, they are not "citizens." That has got to be offensive. The Mayor takes your money, but he does not need your vote. How ridiculous is that?

Maybe the idea of voter registration should be abolished. Instead there should be voter lists prepared by the state in a scientific manner to make it as inclusive as possible. All you got to do is show up at the polling booth. And there should be a law saying noone should have to wait more than half an hour at the polling booth. Right now they make people in the poorer districts wait hours. Is that a deliberate discouragement? I think so. That is racist.

Electoral votes should be abolished. Let the president be directly elected. How is that for democracy?

For the Nepal situation, I have suggested totally taking money out of politics. I think that could work wonders here too. (Proposed Constitution)

Let the country be divided into 100 constituencies of near equal populations for the seats in the Senate. No need to take consideration of state boundaries. They are imaginary anyways.

Lack of statehood for DC is an obscenity. If DC can represent the entire country, it itself needs to get represented in the Congress.

I think we could talk of several more specifics like that, but the concept is rather simple: one person, one vote.

So two words: blogging and democracy. That's what I want to touch upon right now.

Some Deaniac is getting into the White House in the 2010s. I think it is going to be Obama: the greatest political event of 2004. What do you think?

2 comments:

Diamond Dealer said...
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