Thursday, March 16, 2006

Introducing the Demosphere Manifesto

Paramendra Bhagat and I have written a proposal for an international digital network to support democracy movements. Since we like neologisms, we are calling it the "demosphere," that is, an online network of democracy supporters and local activists. Local activists would become "bridge activists" (thanks for the bridge idea, Hoder), linking democracy activists in other countries and democracy supporters on the internet with activists on the ground in their particular country. (We see bloggers as being key bridge activists.) The demosphere would also connect democracy activists in different nations with one-another, creating peer-to-peer democracy networks.

I have included some highlights from our "manifesto" (we wanted to be dramatic) below. The entire document is on a wiki (this is a collaborative project) : http://demologue.wikispaces.com/Demosphere+Manifesto. A printable version is available here.

Preample

....we work to identify individuals and groups in and from those countries that are working towards establishing democracy.... After identifying these activists we use digital technology - websites, e-mail, chat rooms, online forums, blogs - to connect these activists with one another. One country group learns from another, there would be cross-pollination in terms of learning strategies,techniques. Greater knowledge will lead to more productive action and spead the pace of democratization around the world.

Article 1: Bridge Activists

...Bridge activists are a link between the knowledge and political experience available on the internet and local activists working on the ground. In this way, the leap can be made from the grassroot to an international digital democracy network in a single step, through a single type of activist.

Article 2: The Blogosphere

What is this international digital democracy network? It is the Demophere. It is an informal network of blogs, websites, and digital citizens who support democracy and want to empower local democracy activists. It is a digital ecosystem....

Article 3: The Role of Bloggers

Some of the most powerful bridge activists in this movement will be bloggers.... A blogalaxy has many individual and group blogs all interlinked to each other through blogrolls, RSS feeds, e-mail lists. These blogalaxies can be a foundation from which the demosphere will grow.

The demosphere will be in the background. Screen time will always be secondary to face time. The most difficult work will be done in the organizing among those that might not even be online....

Article 4: Access

...not everyone has to come online, not everyone has to blog. There might be language and financial barriers to going online. This is where bridge activists comes into play. People and groups who cannot or do not come online have access to bridge activists who are online and connected, inside and outside the country.

Article 5: Diasporas

Diasporas are also important because expatriates will be key bridge activists.... Expatriates have the money and the internet access that result from their membership in the diaspora, as well as an intimate knowledge of the local conditions in their home country.... "Brain drain" was a colonial term. We are all global citizens.

Article 6: The Boundary Concept

Another problem arises. There are countries, like China, that seem to be able to control even the internet. ....According to this concept, we organize from outside the boundary. In addition, local activists organize clandestinely from within the country. If that organizing is fierce enough, and the temperature is raised, ultimately the boundary will melt...

Article 7: Action

What will the actions of the demosphere be?.... Certainly, some fundraising will occur, channeling money from the diaspora and the democracies to effective, credible, and accountable grassroots activists on the ground....

The network may also act as an advocate...

We might also, through blogs, publically debate opponents of democracy....

We have to create organizations and umbrella organizations among the diaspora....

Article 1: The Goal

....The goal is the establishment of democratic governments throughout the world...

The message is peace and equality. The message is dignity and pride. You organize to achieve them when you do not have them. The demosphere supports this struggle....

categories: the demosphere_, redefining democratization_


Comments:
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I'm pretty sure the folks at www.demosphere.net published a draft of their demosphere manifesto quite a bit earlier than you fellows. Not that they would be against what you've written, in fact you'll find they probably will support your endeavours, however in my mind they have preminent domain over the name of their manifesto.

You should make contact with the admin of that project, and see if maybe you might join forces or some such thing.
 
I am more than happy to discuss this with demosphere.net. To me the moost importat thing is the idea, not what it is called.
 
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