The single largest problem in American politics is corporate control of the democratic process. We have watched over the years as moneyed interests have built vast networks of think tanks, bought up and consolidated media, and increasingly gained influence over elections and policy-making.
At the heart of this problem is money. Those who have accumulated capital are best positioned to dominate the system. And those who have little money are left feeling powerless to do anything about it. This has got to change.
Many of us are aware of the Supreme Court decision last year nefariously titled “Citizens United” that opened the flood gates to allow corporations unlimited access to influence the political process. The significance of this decision is made abundantly clear in this special comment by Keith Olbermann.
(A more ‘kid friendly’ overview can be found at The Story of Citizens United for those who prefer a visual presentation.)
This is why our team is actively pursuing approaches to funding political and social change efforts by leveraging the power of crowds. We realize that much higher levels of engagement and cooperation are needed if we want any hope of restoring democracy to our currently corporate-controlled system. I wrote about this in How We’ll Fund The Progressive Movement and it is the primary motivation behind our current crowdfunding project to create A Crowdfunding Manual for Social Change.
We need a new paradigm for money in politics, one that is fundamentally empowering to everyday citizens. The new paradigm must be based on principles of open collaboration, transparency, and empowerment. I have been inspired by the power of collaborative consumption for shifting social norms, conceptual frames, and standard practices for how we address funding issues in politics. In this new approach to sharing based on trust and open exchange resides a hint of what could be possible in the new world of collaborative finance.
Our team doesn’t simply want to create a How-to-Guide on crowd-based approaches to funding. We are seeking to build a new community of practice where we can all learn together as we figure out how to implement this new paradigm. There’s still a lot that needs to be figured out. And it’s going to take many trials and errors to get the new tools to work properly.
So we need your help. Will you help us fund our project and then join us as we learn together in the collaborative space that follows? The stakes are just too high for idle conversation. We’ve got to start building new and better tools for restoring trust in politics so that we can build stronger communities empowered to address the big challenges unfolding all around us.
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