I first came across the term by way of Mary Joyce, currently in Morocco, giving time to the democracy cause there, a Fulbright Scholar who decided to stay on a little longer. (Mary Joyce) This was for the manifesto we co-authored: The Demosphere Manifesto. She introduced the term. I expanded on the democracy message in the manifesto here: Democracy Spreading Mechanism.
But then I am thinking, the concept of Bridge Activists could as well apply for the democracy message right here in America. Take a look at this proposition:
DFNYC, 100,000 Strong, Scalable Organization.
For this model, I have had people say, but what about people who are not online, who don't have email accounts, who will not blog, which is the vast majority of people. I think my suggestion is the 10-10-10-10-10 pyramid. Ideally each participant would blog, true, but they don't have to. That is the one voice concept. (The One Voice Concept, One Blog One LinkUp One Atom)
The 10-10-10 pyramid model is about weaving every single person into a one person, one vote, one voice net. This is about creating basic social, political units, 10 strong. This is about empowering the people, about creating the power structure, bottom up.
The one voice concept makes sure everyone gets heard before the consensus or the vote mechanisms take decisions and decide on collective positions.
But there is this important feature called the Vertical Degrees Of Separation that contributes to unity and efficiency. This will be an important contribution because groups that the Democratic Party usually tries to represent tend to be relatively powerless, and powerlessness leads to infighting, which leads to powerlessness.
What is the minimum requirement for someone to participate in the 10-10-10 model? Show up for meetings. You don't have to email or blog, but you do have to show up for meetings.
The Leader of the basic 10 strong unit would act as the Bridge Activist who will blog on behalf of the group. The more enterprising among them might even manage to give voice to those who for some reason can not make it to the meetings, or are reluctant starting out. A Leader could pay visits to people who they want seen heard.
The One Voice concept is powerful. It is almost like the right to vote. The internet makes it possible for people to have voices.
Another tool of empowerment in this model is Cross Tabbing. Once you participate in the 10-10-10 model, you do not have to stick to the pyramid structure. You can reach out to like minded, like interested people across geographical barriers. There might be only 10 Desis in some small town in Kentucky, but those 10 Desis could cross tab and become part of the larger nationwide Desi network. (blac, Pan American Desi Caucus: Brown Is Beautiful) And because the One Voice technology has text, audio and video features, people could really make themselves heard. You could have a parallel blac national pyramid, city to county to state to national. The backbone pyramid and the blac pyramid would co-exist. Right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right.
The tools are all available online for free. When you really spread around the one voice concept, you elevate the national conversation across the policy spectrum.
Money, Message, Organization. The costs come down drastically. The debates stay alive at all levels. The organization is transparent and strong as steel. (Money, Message, Organization)
Blogging is a powerful political tool. (Blogging Is Scalable Media)
The idea is to elevate and expand the democracy. The innovation is bound to spill over to both sides, and might as well. At least then we will be having honest, creative, forward-looking debates. The politics of soundbits and personal destruction will become less possible. Democracy will become more productive.
And at the policy level, it is about applying the Spectrum Concept. (The Spectrum Concept: Wide Applications) I think it is a great tool to handle the hot issues, but also policy issues in general. You make even your opponents feel heard. And you build your winning coalition. And you don't feel the need to reign in those at the cutting edge, pushing the boundaries.
On The Web
ORGANIZE TO WIN - A GRASSROOTS ACTIVISTS HANDBOOK
GRO! Grass Roots Organizing
Network-Centric Advocacy: Grassroots Organizing in the Age of ...
MyDD :: Grassroots Organizing at its Finest
Politics and Technology: grassroots organizing
Democracy Now! | Political Activism or Grassroots Organizing? A ...
Barriers To Grassroots Organizing : Advocacy: Maine Children's ...
Welfare Organizing at the Grassroots | ColorLines | Fall 2000
Grassroots Solutions | What We Do
Common Ground Common Sense > Grassroots Organizing
|14:48||Dishnet Wireless Limited, India|
|14:52||Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, United States|
|14:58||Williams College, Williamstown, United States|
|15:36||Level 3 Communications, Orlando, United States|
|16:03||Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York, United States|
|16:21||University of California, Berkeley, United States|
|17:04||US Coast Guard, Washington, D.C., United States|
|17:33||University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, United States|
|17:44||NTL Internet, Leeds, United Kingdom|
|17:53||Telia Stofa A/S, Denmark|
|18:01||Türk Telekom, Turkey|
|18:33||Government New Zealand, New Zealand|
|18:59||United States Southern Command, United States|
|10:49||Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom|
|11:58||NextGenTel AS, Norway|
|12:15||AEI Internet Inc., Canada|
|14:29||Comcast Communications, Nashville, United States|
|15:12||Northwestern University, Evanston, United States|
|16:01||Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark|
|16:04||State of North Dakota, United States|