Winning — and running — the Presidency as a participatory democracy

Winning — and running — the Presidency as a participatory democracy


This election is historic, it's the beginning of a long tipping point where networked citizen involvement in the election marks the start of large scale participatory democracy. This year is comparable to 1787, when the Founders defined our system of representative democracy.

As more of us get Net access, we're getting the tools for the kind of representative democracy the Founders envisioned. Whoever wins the Presidency will be faced with an electorate that is genuinely empowered. (There's still a digital divide issue, slowly being addressed.)

Barack Obama has signified his commitment to a role for American citizens in his election and his presidency, and he's following through with his commitment. (more below)

John McCain, who I admire, seemed to start with a similar vision, but has recently committed to sharing the current Administration's view of democracy: "The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up." (video here). (Note that he's now hiring people with a record of deceptive campaigning; check out the first link.)

1. The financial contributions of ordinary citizens, including myself, constitute the best of Americans demonstrating their dedication to shared values. It's the most genuine, honest form of public electoral financing. Given the choice between genuine, grassroots electoral financing, and a coercive, tax-based publich financing, the grassroots approach is the one consistent with American values.

So, the factual perspective is that Obama honored his commitment to honest public financing by refusing taxpayer based public financing. However, swiftboaters have aleady used this material for deceptive advertising. Additionally, commentators who don't understand participatory democracy have misinterpreted it.

2. Many parts of the FISA Amendment Act are subject to debate. However, in America, no one should be above the law, including telcoms who may have broken the law.

It should be noted that the Qwest case established that illegal wiretapping started well before the current Adminstration was interested in counterterrrorism, and that intelligence specialists have stated that current FISA mechanisms are effective. One might observe that Ronald Reagen never broke the law in this manner to fight Communism.

I feel Obama has the right position, and is also listening to the grassroots efforts opposing amnesty for illegal activities on the
part of the telecoms.

3. After the inauguration of President Obama, real change will be facilitated by the evolution of the grassroots network into an effort for participatory governance. This is a matter of considerable discussion, but some concrete examples include:

— transparency: all governmental work should be disclosed in an easily accessible manner. If we all can see how the sausage is made, at least it could be made increasingly better. Naturally, there will be sensitive matters which should not be disclosed. (credit to Jeff Jarvis.)

— customer service and accountability: the success of city customer service call centers, that is, 311 systems, should be expanded to all government operations.

— speaking truth to power: the current Presidency illustrates the danger when the executive is isolated from the reality of his actions, that is, when kept in a bubble. The grassroots network could be used to provide an alternative means of letting the President really know what's going on.

The participatory movement and concrete efforts like these are the kind of change people talk about.




I Hope That Craig Newmark Is Right

by Stowe Boyd, Reston Craig Newmark make the case that Obama might actually be willing to change the business of politics once elected: [from cnewmark: Winning — and running — the Presidency as a participatory democracy] […] After the inauguration


Wow. Craig. How naive can you be? Obama is about to vote for telecom immunity tomorrow. The Democratic-led House has voted for every war appropriation Bush asked for.
The "people" no longer control this government. Nobody is "empowered." Wake up.


"The participatory movement and concrete efforts like these are the kind of change people talk about." Inspiring words…


I have formed a progressive political party where people can participate in the legislative process every day. I call this party the Liberal Democratic Party of the UNited States. We do not charge dues and we do not handle money. We provide telephone campaigns where people can petition some of the corporations that have taken over the legislative process, for the legislation that they shut us out from.
See our political party web site at


Our Mission
We join together to use our purchasing power to leverage power away from the corporations that give money to regressives in both the Democratic party and the Republican party and we call these companies on the telephone and politely pressure them to talk to congressional leaders and the President and get our progressive legislation enacted and until the progressive legislation gets enacted into law we refuse to buy their products. Imagine thousands of party members calling these companies demanding progressive legislation and you will see positive results.
Important: Since we do not run candidates, please continue your membership in the party you have chosen but you can also join our party by merely making these phone calls. We charge no party dues and we do not handle money. You don't even pay anything to make these toll free calls. What appears more easier than that? You, the party member spread the word about this web site and the telephone campaigns on and off the internet.
The success of this party and these telephone campaigns will depend on you. If you make these phone calls and you get as many people as you can to make these calls these telephone campaigns will succeed. I hope we can get tens of thousands of people to make these calls. I encourage you to copy the text of these campaigns and place them on your web sites.
Have you had enough of petitions, rallies, and protests that have not worked to end war, and to get needed legislation enacted into law? The Republican party and their conservative members appears insulated from the public and unresponsive to the public. However their contributors do not appear insulated from the public and can collapse under pressure to a withering telephone campaign threatening mass boycotts of their products until they get their friends at the GOP to do what we want. Simply silently boycotting these companies will not do enough. You need to get as many people as you can to take the political fight to these companies that aid the Republican party.
Please make these 4 phone calls and get as many people as you can to make these phone calls today to get the following progressive legislation enacted.
Please send me a message after you make these phone calls. Please encourage others to add me as a friend on here.
Call Republican contributor Rite Aid Pharmacies at 800 325 3737 and tell the person that you want the Rite Aid CEO to get the congress and the President to enact HR 676 single payer universal health care and repeal Medicare Part D and place the drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80% of the cost of drugs with no extra premiums, no extra deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and remove the means test for Medicare Part B and until that happens, you won't buy ANYTHING from Rite Aid.
Call Republican contributor Wendy's restaurants at 800 443 7266 and tell the person in that you want their CEO to get the congress and the President to enact a $10/HR MIN. WAGE into law and until this happens you will not go to a Wendy's Restaurant.
Call your local Exxon/Mobil gas station and tell the manager that you will not get your car repaired there, nor will you buy gasoline there until their parent company sets their price so that they can sell you gasoline for $1.75 a gallon. Then only do business with other gas stations. We will no longer stand for $4 a gallon gasoline.
Call GOP contributor and war contractor General Electric Corporation at 800 386 1215 and tell the person, that you want the GE CEO to get Bush to end the war in Iraq and then Bush resign with Cheney and until that happens you will not buy any GE products and that you will tell your friends. Then call a local appliance store that sells GE products and tell the person you will not buy any GE products from their store until they can convince the GE CEO to convince George W Bush to end the war.
Kentucky Residents:
Call General Electric Appliances Corporation in Louisville
at 502 452 4311 and other appliance stores that sell GE
products and demand that they get Senator Mitch
McConnell to get an end to the Iraq war and for Bush
and Cheney to resign and until that happens you will not
buy any GE refrigerators, stoves, televisions,
dishwashers, ovens, lightbulbs, etc. Get as many
Kentucky residents to make these phone calls.
After you make these calls you can also call Mitch McConnell's office and tell his office that you have called GE in Lousiville and won't buy their products until Mitch McConnell gets an end to the war and gets Bush and Cheney to resign.
General Electric Appliances
9500 Williamsburg Office Plaza
Louisville, KY 40222
tel: 800 626 2000
tel: 502 452 4311
502 452 4313


Hi Craig,
As is basically the rest of the world, I'm a huge fan of yours and what you've done to make my life better/easier/more fun/more profitable, etc.!
I have a little commentary that I do on internet radio called "Finger on the Pulse" — basically talking about cool things that not everybody understands. The producers asked me to talk about Craigslist on the air because I talk about it all the time to them when we aren't on. Here is the link to the piece:
I'm wondering if I might be able to talk to you a little more about this at your convenience?
Thank you!

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