Overview of EconomicDemocracy.org projects and other pieces:

  1. Media: Transforming the Media Landscape

  2. Funding: Achieving Financial Robustness for Grassroots Projects and Institutions

  3. Transforming the Economic Landscape: Building "What comes after corporate capitalism" and causing "Corporate Power to wither away" as two sides of the same coin. [NEW: See also the Alternatives to Wall Street project]


  4. Online tools: uPangea: Universal Profile And Networking: GEography and Affinity, "Rethinking decentralized activism" etc.

I)Media: Transforming the Media Landscape

0. What is EconomicDemocracy.org's "Transforming the Media Landscape" vision all about? Outlines the mission and vision and strategy, in a light, chatty, even humorous Q/A format. Focus on the Media projects, though it is mentioned that other areas exist.

A. "Reclaim the Media!" is a call for action and a motivation for the main piece (B. below) why "pressuring/trying to force corporate media to change," while a reasonable thing to engage in to an extent, is not the main strategy to take. Why we need to build out own democratic mass media. We already have democratic ("alternative") media -- we need to add the "mass" part, in terms of reaching millions.

**B. "The Revolution Will Be Webcast" was the first Strategic Vision and Proposed Project of EconomicDemocracy.org Originally titled: "Electronic Activism Revisited: The Revolution Will be Webcast" is was billed as the first major followup to Harel's two part (1992/1993) "Electronic Activism" pieces which were circulated around the world in the early 90s as a call to action and "how to" reference guide for activists.

Harel asserts that existing and rapidly emerging technologies allow for the possibility -- if we seize the opportunity and work together -- to truly reshape the media landscape and to build Democratic Mass Media.

Also note: a full 9 years before the 2009 push for "publicradioplayer.org", the Webcast article's proposals included back in 2000 pursuing and developing exactly that type of simplified interface, for the likes of DemocracyNow (and spoke with a producer there, with initial interest, on their part, but it got lost in the shuffle)

C. "Synopsis of Webcast article"

This much shorter piece should probably be read before B. It gives an overview of the "Webcast" article (don't be misled by the choice of 'sexy' words; it's about much more than webcasting). It debunks "anti technology" criticism. And critically, it explains why changes which are "qualitative, not just quantitative" are possible with the strategies outlined in Webcast.

*D. "CounterSpinner"

Note: This article was 'ahead of its time' (and thus now technologically 'not up to date') back around 2001 when originally written as a followup to the The Revolution Will Be Webcast vision. While the tech-details of CounterSpinner are not up to date, the specific 10-point action plan still offers an outline of how to pursue the Webcast vision today.Also note: a full 9 years before the 2009 push for "publicradioplayer.org", the Webcast article's proposals included back in 2000 pursuing and developing exactly that type of simplified interface, for the likes of DemocracyNow (and spoke with a producer there, with initial interest, on their part, but it got lost in the shuffle)

A specific 10-point action plan in followup to the Webcast article (pun in title is based on the corporate Spinner.com, combined with the progressive media watchdog group FAIR's (fair.org) "CounterSpin" radio show.

II. Funding: Achieving Financial Robustness for Grassroots Projects and Institutions

Item D. "CounterSpinner" has key elements relating to funding of internet and non-internet based radio stations.

Since the "Webcast" article is about technolphilia, it has two threads of analysis: First, explaining the very promising possibilities that technology offers; secondly, Webcast analyzes what additional hurdles lay ahead, because technology alone won't be enough. Obviously organizing and people-networks are an ingredient, as well. One other key piece Webcast mentioned, was the need for funding for on-going creating of content for out media.

**F. "On Funding: Helping Put the Movement on Solid Financial Ground" (~11 pp.)

Quicker read: Dan Bashaw's summary of my fuller piece above: read about Thresholdware! Then delve deeper into fuller "On Funding" project proposal and framework.

Newest: 1-piece single article on Thresholdware

New! The full activist strategic vision essay "On Funding" is
summarized/overviewed in two quick, short pieces by Dan Shaw:

  • "ThresholdWare" (A translation into Italian )

  • ThresholdWare II: "Queue|Cue the Revolution!"

  • After reading the above 2-part overview, read the full original piece "On Funding" by Harel B.

  • Starting with an analysis of why the powers that be have fought so hard against certain elements of Ralph Nader's PIRGs, we conclude that "overhead matters" even more than we often realize. Through a hypothetical case study and other examples, we explain why current fund-raising methods are inadequate and antiquated.

    Further, we show how one overarching philosophy and specific implementations can both enhance prospects for fund-raising for grassroots organization, and at the same time, increase the level of democracy and democratic participation as projects are proposed, planned, and carried out. Intelligent and interactive voting, alongside interactive donations, are discussed.

    One side bar, "Not Too Complicated, Redux: Take a Page from Labor Organizing!" reminds us that the basic ideas are not really "techie" or "too complicated" since they are essentially refinements of established tactics in labor organizing. Another side-bar suggests other applications and connections, and is titled "Application to Draft Resistance and the Withering of the State"

    In the concluding section, we state that the movement must think deeply about these ideas because they are "a *sine qua non* [since] our ability to transition from Corporate capitalism into a democratic alternative critically depends on society having *mechanisms*, tools and technological protocols allowing for many-to-many information sharing (the internet provides the fundamental basis for this already) in a manner that additionally, seamlessly allows *financial* (and other economic) decisions which arise from the consensus goals arrived at, to be *carried out* (enacted) both democratically and collectively" This article offers an initial set of proposals towards meeting that critical goal; finally ending in a list of challenges for others to think about in terms for sub-projects and even generalizations.

    III. Transforming the Economic Landscape: Building "What comes after corporate capitalism" and "causing Corporate Power to wither away" are two sides of the same coin.

    Some of the analysis and motivation for this are in 0. "What is EconomicDemocracy.org all about?"

    G-0. Main piece: "A Workable Program for Dismantling Corporate Power" (not yet written; However a full outline of this piece, listing each section name, is at the bottom of G-1. below)

    G-1. " A Workable Transition to Democratic Retirement Systems"

    It covers how to create a non-corporate means of retirement support, and, critically, how to *transition* to it. After all, if we have a wonderful proposed "new system" but are unable to transition to it without catastrophes taking place during our transition (as corporate power collapses) how are we to reach the desired new system alive? Thus the attention to "a workable transition". We also explain at the outset, why all our programs to diminish corporate power are, to a significant extent, doomed unless we pay attention to "a workable transition" including the arena of retirement, since otherwise, long before we are at the 50% milestone towards "winning," the massive social dislocations of our "50% success" will cause disruptions, out of which elites (or fascism) are more likely to emerge than a victory; it's foolish to hope for "hey, everything's collapsing all around us; tomorrow at noon utopia will arrive and everyone will join us in post-capitalism" We do offer a vision of hope, by giving a workable plan to start our transition today, and by building on existing projects and institutions which even today offer "positive alternatives" and upon which we can build much more.

    G-2. Ithaca Hours style community Annuities

    For important background before you read this piece please first learn about Ithaca Hours and at least look over (it's dense reading but important!) the WHOLE ITHACA STOCK EXCHANGE (WISE):, two projects of Paul Glover and lastly see G-1 for the broader framwork of "A Workable Transition to Democratic Retirement Systems" into which the Ithaca Hours Style Community Annuities (or "Ithaca Hour Annuities" in this case) proposal fits. (G-1 in turn fits into G-0).

    NEW: See also Alternatives to Wall Street for more on how the above fit together.

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    The above three are the main strands of EconomicDemocracy.org

    IV. A. Recently, we also wrote a specific proposal for a Free Software program, " uPangea: Universal Profile And Networking: GEography and Affinity" which:

    i. could make existing "matchmaker" services obsolete due to its having both pragmatic and social advantages over them; and
    ii. would be a powerful networking and activism tool for grassroots projects and organizing.

    ...with applications to Community-, Voter-, and Peace-Organizing, Tenants and Labor Organizing, Electric Cars, finding a hiking pal, finding your sweetheart, ...and general democratizing.

    Richard Stallman, founder of GNU.org and FSF.org, indicated he believes this is "a good idea" and has been very helpful in email dialogue.

    B. More generally we hope to establish an organization which embodies a coalition between the OSFS (open source/free software) movements, and the "progressive movement" (by which we include nonviolent 'radical' and 'anarchist' movements).

    As a key project of this proposed organization, we proposed a hub. Just like freshmeat.net sourceforge.net offer hubs and meeting places for various software projects and for many-to-many interactions between programmers of different projects, between programmers and users, for feedback, suggestions, requests, bug reports, etc, our hub will link progressives with those in the OSFS movement who are both sympathetic, and who want to make a personal difference in helping grassroots progressive movements.

    Some projects like http://sourceforge.net/projects/worldvista/ in the healthcare arena certainly exist already which are directly attempting to provide social benefit (in addition to the social benefit of any piece of software which is Free Software).

    Our hub, community space, and space for on-going work on projects would specifically be politically geared software projects such as: a piece of software to help you run a local currency system; or to help you create co-insurance (e.g. for healthcare) among 250 or more people; or to help strengthen the possibilities for internet supported non-corporate media projects. The project areas of the website would be on-going, evolving, always improving. Areas of the site would serve as places to find others to build your "project team" membership, places for multi-way dialogue and feedback, and so on -- while focused on progressive activism.

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  • Rethinking Decentralized Activism -- an application of uPangea, but much more broadly (since uPangea is but one of several avenues for improving activism) about re-examining how decentralized activism, and how "project proposals" over the intenret, can work, and better be coordinated.

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    Longer list of EconomicDemocracy.org projects/essays is here


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