The Open Source Party Proposal

November 26th, 2007

This proposal is meant to be considered alongside, or in conjunction with my other recent QuestionAuthority proposal. They can both be discussed within active, dedicated groups at the new MondoGlobo social network, along with related issues.

The duopoly will have its way again in this year's election.

Ralph Nader and whoever the Libertarians and Greens nominate as their candidates will drag their asses around the country, sometimes saying interesting and important things, sometimes not. Many of us will wish, once again, that there could be a dynamic discourse about the many real issues and problems that get ignored; and then we will vote (or not) for the one who has at least a fingernail grip on sanity, or for one of the sad and hopeless alterna-candidates.

But we could make the political season less depressing by using networking tools to create a very large and dynamic discourse about the things that we believe really need to change, and we could evolve a new political organization that would be ready to kick up some noise by the time the next political season (2010) rolls around.

In that spirit, I propose a Liberal/Libertarian/Other unity party that will develop ideas and solutions to America's political problems through an Open Source process that will be engaging and fun. We will have online conferences, social networks and wikis, we will have meetups, we will have parties, we will create games that model likely real world responses to our proposed ideas, we will field candidates starting in 2010, get "crazed" anti-authoritarians on TV and radio, and maybe change a few things before the apocalypse, the Singularity, the second coming, the complete conquest of the world by Google, the election of another generation of Bushes and Clintons, or whatever other event you may be expecting.

There are two ways to go with an Open Source Party. One way would be to just throw it open to everybody. Everyone gets to pour their ideas into the maelstrom whether they're anarchists or fascists, conservatives or moderates — or if they just miss Ross Perot.

But I'm not an absolute believer in the wisdom of crowds and all that. I prefer another idea. I would bring together people who feel they are in agreement with at least 5 of the 7 points in the party platform below – giving us a starting point from which to launch activities on the basis of the platform and to have interesting fun in a democratic process that adds to or subtracts from the platform.

We ask you to please endorse the Open Source Platform below. You can demonstrate your endorsement of the Open Source Platform by joining the dedicated group on the MondoGlobo Network and/or by contributing money to the "establishment campaign." By so doing, you'll send a message to the nation and the world.

Here, then, is the Open Source Party Platform...

1: Let's Have A Democracy

It's a wacky, wacky idea that may have started in early Greece and was cautiously revived during the American Revolution in 1776 when voting rights were granted to property owning white males living in most states of that Union. Since then, the hint of democracy has grown and spread, but the actual practice has been far from complete. Recently, many citizens of the US have questioned whether democracy is still in practice here at all. It's an excellent question. The Open Source Party suggests two steps to ensure actual democracy.

A: One person/one vote: Every US citizen over 18 has a Social Security number. Many activities on the internet are protected from fraud by strong data encryption. Surely, computer geniuses thinking together in an Open Source process can come up with a way that every person over 18 can use his or her number to effectively and efficiently vote once and only once. Citizens can vote from their homes or they can vote from public polling stations using social security numbers tied to data encryption. If this solution isn't possible, let's brainstorm others. Shouldn't actually having a democracy be a priority for the world's oldest "democracy"?

B: Demolish the duopoly: There are dozens of rules and regulations designed by the two political parties that have had a virtual monopoly on power for many decades that prevent other political parties and independents from competing on a fair playing field. We should eliminate all those barriers that give unfair advantage to the ruling parties.

NOTE: There are a number of other ideas that we are not now advocating — including direct majority voting on presidential elections; run-off votes when candidates fail to win 50%; various scenarios to control or change campaign finance and media access in the electoral process; and even direct voting on legislation — that will provoke controversy and discourse within the Open Source Party. Some of these ideas may be added to the platform following a radically open and democratic process that will be suggested at the end of this statement.

2: Let's Have Civil Liberties and a Bill of Rights

Here we have yet another notion that only cranks subscribe to — that civil liberties can survive crime, mind-active substance use, and even terrorism.

For starters, we seek the return of civil liberties, rights, and basic, sane conduct by the Executive branch of government that has been lost in the post 9-11 environment. This includes the reform or repeal of the (mostly) unnecessary Patriot Act; the return of Habeas Corpus; the end of essentially infinite surveillance rights for the federal government; limits to privilege and secrecy in the executive branch; the end of — or the imposition of judicial limits onto — presidential signing statements. (What have I forgotten? You tell me.)

We support strong free speech that includes an end to implicit censorship through government intimidation, and an end to the so-called "War on Drugs," which has resulted in frequent violations against limits on search and seizure and an abhorrently high percentage of US citizens imprisoned.

NOTE: There is plenty of room here for dynamic, open debate among Open Source Party members, including whether to reform or repeal The Patriot Act and what kind of surveillance is necessary and appropriate for the defense of the nation. Also, ending the "drug war" could involve anything from reform of draconian policies and medicalization of illegal drugs, to an outright end to prohibition. Again, we will follow a radically open and democratic process that may add to the party platform.

3: Let's End the Imperial Foreign Policy

Or, if you prefer, let's stop playing the world's policeman. However you phrase it, we should no longer invade or attack sovereign nation states, either directly or indirectly, that haven't attacked us by force of arms. The emphasis of American foreign policy needs to change from "defending our interests" to "defending our sovereignty."

NOTE: Here we can have a dynamic discussion about many possible aspects of defending the US, including, the size of the military budget and the interests of what President Eisenhower called a military-industrial complex; what to do about weapons systems and weapons testing (including nuclear); whether we should provide weapons to other nations and under what circumstances; whether to allow mercenary groups to operate out of the US; whether and when to participate and help in peace negotiations among other nations as a humanitarian act; whether and when to participate with other nations in interventions in extreme cases of genocide; whether or when to intervene in extreme cases if and when another nation launches repeated interventions of its own and seems clearly bent on regional or global conquest in the tradition of Genghis Khan, Napolean and Hitler; how to cope with the development of nuclear weapons by other nations (and by our own); whether or not to have military alliances and what our degree of commitment to them should be; and whether and when to cooperate with the UN.

4: A New "Energy Task Force"

A tremendous number of energy pioneers have been thinking and working for decades on energy solutions that don't involve oil, natural gas or coal. These organizations include Rocky Mountain Institute, Pliny Fisk’s Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and the folks at WorldChanging, ad infinitum. Let's bring people like these together to map out how best to bring us as completely into the age of clean energy as possible within 10-20 years — whether through the state, the market, decentralized voluntarism, or all three.

NOTE: Obviously, there's nearly infinite room here for debate and discussion about these solutions, but we imagine a passionate discourse about whether the transition can happen primarily through encouragement of the market or whether it should emphasize government solutions. We also look forward to an interesting debate among Open Source Party members over whether to develop and deploy more nuclear power.

5: Let's Explore The Possibility of an Open Source Monetary System

Monetary policies and systems change all the time and it is always necessary to remind ourselves that "money" is a symbol (presumably) of wealth, and not an actual material value. We should encourage and empower a public discourse around how money should be issued, understood, defined and valued. Ultimately, we may want to think in terms of an "Open Source" monetary system and we may want to encourage "alternative" forms of currency.

NOTE: Again, there is nearly infinite room for new ideas and debate here, including questioning the essential premise — thus the "let's explore" aspect of this part of the platform. Open Source currency may be achievable through networks of trust, through virtual money (like Linden Dollars) or simply by removing the state from the equation and then publicly encouraging a multiplicity of exchange signals. We are most of all intrigued by ideas that might lead toward a post-scarcity monetary system.

6: Let's End Corporate Personhood and Other Rules that Unfairly Advantage Corporations

Corporations today have the rights but not the responsibilities of persons, and our laws are riddled with other advantages that tilt the balance of economic and political power in favor of these giants. This platform suggests a simple libertarian approach toward disempowering what some have called the corporatocracy by removing their state advantages.

Note: There is tremendous room for discussion and debate about other measures to rein in corporations, including — no doubt — discourse about whether to simply take away corporate advantages or to regulate them, democratize them, utilize the corporate approval process to punish corruption and/or anti-social activities, ad infinitum.

7: Let My Web People Go!

Digital stuff exists in a land without scarcity. It is natural and spontaneous that when people reside there, they tend to share and to re-purpose content without guilt. On the other hand, "content creators" need to pay bills just as much as programmers and other virtual laborers do. We need to support the natural evolving ecology of copying and sharing on the web. At the same time, we need to find a way to sufficiently reward creative content.

Note: This requires lots of real creative thinking and there is lots of room for discussion and debate around the nuances of netiquette and law.

Democratic Processes Within an Open Source Party

We suggest that decisions to take on "official" activities and to make additions or subtractions to and from the Open Source Party platform would take place along the lines of "near consensus." We would suggest a 75% yes vote among registered members would be requuired to adopt any action or platform point. We also suggest that the democratic process would include serious campaigning and some degree of hilarity.

We suggest that erecting a pay wall would be instrumental not only in helping to finance a dynamic organization but necessary to keep out all but the most motivated griefers, and help us to verify the legitimacy of voters, who would vote only once. Naturally, we would hope that enthusiasts who can would contribute substantially more.

Final Thoughts

We imagine that this in-group, Open Source, participatory democratic process could be a way in which people who have been more or less on the fringe of American politics can encourage one another to think clearly in terms of actually making policy. It's very easy to stand outside the system and protest or call for some absolutist ideological solution ("Anarchy, dudes!"), but it's more interesting and valuable to try to realistically envision the consequences of policy. We also want to emphasize again the ample potential to keep this playful — to create dynamic virtual worlds (in Second Life, or wherever), games, fanciful as well as serious candidacies, videos and podcasts, songs, etc. Such media can now be created by a large proportion of the general internet public, so why not do it?

Note: Special thanks to Jon Lebkowsky for help and encouragement with this document. The Open Source Party is currently a gleam in the eye and not an extant organization.

Visit our newly re-purposed MondoGlobo Network to get more involved with this idea and/or in a social network for people who question authority.

See also:
Don't Go There: Top 20 Taboo Topics for Presidential Candidates
The Future of America Has Been Stolen
DC Sex Diarist Bares All
Libertarian Chick Fights Boobs With Boobs
Detention and Torture: Are We Still Free, Or Not?

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51 Responses to “The Open Source Party Proposal”

  1. Says:

    RU Sirius: The Open Source Party Proposal…

    ‘A call for dynamic discourse about the things that really need to change, and how to evolve a new political organization that could kick up some noise by the time the next political season (2010) rolls around.’…

  2. Seth Cohn Says:

    I agree with much of the above, with minor quibbles (such as using a SSN for voting). I’ve been an advocate for the Libertarian Party picking up the fight against corporate personhood, copyright reform, and other issues above.

    While the idea of an ‘Open Source Party’ sounds good, the reality is that ‘submitting a patch’ to the Libertarian Party might be better than reinventing the wheel or even ‘forking’ a new party.

    I’m on the bylaws committee of the national LP, and the discussion of the Platform committee is fairly open to folks. While it’s a bit late in the cycle, nothing is stopping people from getting involved now, desiring to attend the next LP convention, and over the next few years, ‘open sourcing’ the LP into the sort of party that RU envisions. One group of folks, the Libertarian Reform Caucus, has made some progress already, but the more eyeballs, and the more fingers, the better.

  3. Ed Says:

    To use the word “Libertarian” here is completely wrong. Libertarians would never support an “energy task force”- this implies a huge government program to throw money at something that the free market has determined to be uneconomical. Also, “reigning in corporations”- whatever power or unfair advantages are granted them, the government created through regulations benefiting companies/industries, tariffs, tax breaks or incentives, etc. Clean up that part of the government, and the problem will solve itself through the free market. To even imply increased regulations and democratization as a solution is to take a play from the socialist handbook. Some ideas of privacy, civil liberties, and foreign policy are good and may have “libertarian” backgrounds, but given the clear expectation that this Open Source Party has- namely the government must tell people how to use energy and companies how to operate, SOME of the MAJOR basic tenants of libertarianism have been totally misunderstood by the author, to such an extent that calling this scheme “liberal/libertarian” is incorrect. Only the former applies here.

  4. Wondering Says:

    Great idea, people. But what about those who can’t contribute financially due to job loss, illness, or other economic factors limiting their funds? Can they still join?

  5. Karina Says:

    You take for granted that person = citizen = social security number. I understand that for most born within this country’s borders doing otherwise would mean getting sidetracked into the “immigration debate”. But for millions non-citizen non-persons the definition of citizenship is the first and the most important test any political position.

    The idea that a state has the right to dictate where a person chooses to live and work is both appalling to any true libertarian and arguably unconstitutional (the supreme court will have a good laugh over this one, I know). Permanently barring de facto citizens from the political process and criminalizing their very existence is a violation of human rights.

    The least you can do is open the definition of citizenship to debate.

  6. Jen Says:

    Ed, the whole point of creating a new party is because the existing ones don’t serve the desired purpose. If this proposal aligned completely with libertarian thought as it stands now, then it would be the Libertarian Party, wouldn’t it? Using concepts and ideas from libertarianism, and using the term to describe those ideas, doesn’t mean that the author is “wrong” or “doesn’t understand” them. It doesn’t mean the proposal is just automatically “liberal,” either (for example, what liberal would suggest money should be the domain of anyone but the federal government?). It means that he is combining libertarian and liberal concepts, plus others, in order to create something new. By harping on terminology, I think you’re missing the point here.

  7. TLB Says:

    Not every citizen has an SSN, and some of those with SSNs aren’t citizens.

    I won’t be signing up, but you might find these useful to push your goals:

  8. RU Sirius Says:

    Thanks for all the interesting responses so far. A few brief responses to responses:

    I agree with much of the above, with minor quibbles (such as using a SSN for voting). I’ve been an advocate for the Libertarian Party picking up the fight against corporate personhood, copyright reform, and other issues above.

    While the idea of an ‘Open Source Party’ sounds good, the reality is that ’submitting a patch’ to the Libertarian Party might be better than reinventing the wheel or even ‘forking’ a new party.

    I’m all in favor of that. We might see the Open Source Party as a memetic breeding ground that takes the platform or elements of the platform and then brings them into other parties, not just Libertarian but Green and whatever else is laying around, depending on the OSP members tendencies. I see a semi-permeable membrane between this idea and other alternative parties. On the network site, I go a bit further into the idea of offering “Unity Candidates” to other parties. There’s no problem with being a member of an extant party (including Dem and Republican) and being part of this hopefully dynamic thing. Couldn’t this be fun? “. We also want to emphasize again the ample potential to keep this playful — to create dynamic virtual worlds (in Second Life, or wherever), games, fanciful as well as serious candidacies, videos and podcasts, songs, etc.”

    Ed writes “To use the word “Libertarian” here is completely wrong.” etc.

    Right. Ideological absolutists may not want to join in and that’s fine. On the other hand, those who may actually want to accomplish some of the goals by engaging in a coalition may in fact want to join in. Also, you may like QuestionAuthority

    It’s not far away.

    Karina writes: “You take for granted that person = citizen = social security number. I understand that for most born within this country’s borders doing otherwise would mean getting sidetracked into the “immigration debate”. But for millions non-citizen non-persons the definition of citizenship is the first and the most important test any political position.”

    Yes, I’m indignant that someone isn’t offering me an absolutely perfect solution to everything by tomorrow afternoon. I’m sure something like that would accomplish a lot.

    best for now!


  9. Karina Says:

    RU writes:
    “Karina writes: ‘You take for granted that person = citizen = social security number…’

    Yes, I’m indignant that someone isn’t offering me an absolutely perfect solution to everything by tomorrow afternoon. I’m sure something like that would accomplish a lot.”

    All I am saying (emphatically) is that the definition of citizenship should be debated. I am offering criticism of your tentative platform, but isn’t that what you want?

  10. Patrick Says:

    Honestly, virtually everything suggested here is stupid.

    There is a reason there is a two party foothold in this country that extends byond just a stranglehold on the process- there are fundamental american values that don’t lend themselves to a vast quantity of wildly different parties:

    1) Personal Liberty
    2) Fear of government
    3) Disdain for taxation without adequate representation.

    Ulitmately, it’s the people of this country that make things work- not it’s politicians or overwhelming beauracracy. People are opionated about what’s right and wrong- but as soon as you have the government actually intervening in your life to dictate your behavior so that it lines up with what policy indicates is right or wrong, you get pissed off. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we can agree that for the most part- politics today is just another form of entertainment. This is evidenced by the sound-bite; unless your idea is clever or amusing, we don’t have the attention for your deep, well reasoned philosophical perspective.

    Do not dilute our fundamental values by attempting to start another party. Pick the philosophy that best reflects your attitudes and then find the party that most closely resembles it. In all of world history- there is no country that has found a more successful recipe than the united states. Leave the fundamentals alone and worry about how to do better in your life.

  11. Ed Says:

    Jen- I get the point. What I’m saying is that libertarian principals can’t be “borrowed” and still be called libertarian when incorporated into the scope of another overarching party movement. No more are evangelical christians federalists for wanting to overturn roe v. wade than this would be a libertarian system. At risk is the identity of the party whose ideals have been lifted. At their core, both conservatives and liberals hold certain libertarian views, the key difference being their application against either society or the public sector. It is the other side of each equation that cancels out the first. I would just point this out to A.) reduce confusion amongst people who might think there are very strong libertarian leanings here, and B.) attempt to keep this “open source” party from latching on to the libertarian agenda that has been increasing in popularity recently.

    All that being said, any alternative view to the current system that has been rationally arrived at is a fantastic start, and my small voice will wholeheartedly support any 3rd party movements. It at least starts people down the road of rational thought about the system.

    I would further agree with the author’s comments that idealists might not fit in, but in terms of the lesser-evil theory of government, a compromise towards this party may well be much less offensive for many libertarians (and I can only speak for one) than either of the current parties.

  12. PaulGaskin Says:

    I prefer the word “free” as opposed to the term “open source” because Richard Stallman’s GNU General Public License is the du jour of the Free Software phenomenon.

    The “Open Source” faction of the free software (and free society / culture) movement(s) is just trying to figure out how to make money off of what Richard Stallman initiated by re-branding the phenomenon.

    Therefore, while I like your ideas, I can’t get behind the name “Open Source” Party.

  13. PaulGaskin Says:

    I meant “license du jour”!

  14. Michael P Says:

    You’re aware, are you not, that point 5 would require at the very least a constitutional amendment? One that there is no chance in hell of Congress ever approving?

  15. RU Sirius Says:

    Karina said: “All I am saying (emphatically) is that the definition of citizenship should be debated. I am offering criticism of your tentative platform, but isn’t that what you want?”


    Oh! Sorry for misunderstanding. It’s an excellent topic for debate and discussion.

    Paul Gaskin: I prefer the word “free” as opposed to the term “open source” because Richard Stallman’s GNU General Public License is the du jour of the Free Software phenomenon.

    The “Open Source” faction of the free software (and free society / culture) movement(s) is just trying to figure out how to make money off of what Richard Stallman initiated by re-branding the phenomenon.

    Therefore, while I like your ideas, I can’t get behind the name “Open Source” Party.

    Sure. I know Richard. But as they say, “The dog barks but the carnival moves on.” Open Source as a broad sociopolitical metaphor has taken on its own like and more than anything probably means transparency — everyone can see the software — the “programming” and have a role in altering it etc.

    If these seem like important ideas, I’ll assume that your priorities are such that the name won’t get in your way…


  16. Dextro Methorphan Says:

    The number of Presidents shall not fall below One (1) inside-of and sovereign-over each Mind in the Union. When vacancies happen, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Re-animation to fill such Vacancies.

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute within the Office of President of Myself, and will to the best of my Ability, learn-from, and defend myself from other Presidents.”

    No singular belief-system shall be elected to govern the office of the President more than twice, or for more than one year of a continuous term.

  17. Nathan Says:

    I’m a Libertarian Socialist. I’m on board. Let’s do this.

  18. NOYB Says:

    Do you think that many people care enough?
    Look how many participate in our current “democratic” process. Most people I talk to don’t care to be bothered with all the issues and just want to live their lives.
    Ignorance is bliss. I’m trying to become more ignorant.

  19. Nathan Says:

    Is there a next step we can take, where can we be kept up on information? This is the best proposal I’ve heard for real Libertarian ideas.

    The people must decide. We must discuss, and decide our own affairs. No rulers but us.

  20. Nathan Says:

    Do many people care enough? Of course.

    Right now people feel isolated and alone which is intention based on the public relations industry. It hasn’t always been the case, and there’s no reason to assume it can’t be changed.

    Look at how many people vote. Abstention is largely based on people feeling that it’s worthless to vote. They have no outlet for change, and thus exit the system.

    This is giving people an outlet for change. That’s huge.

  21. Max Kaehn Says:

    Regarding 1B, the biggest thing keeping us with the two current dysfunctional parties is the first-past-the-post electoral system. Right now, our choices are Right Wing and Supersized Right Wing with Extra Fries, and they only have to compete with each other. Any third party trying to move in on their territory can currently be banished by invoking the spectres of Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. I support the Center for Voting and Democracy because they’re pushing for reforming our electoral system so third parties will be viable.
    Show me a plan for getting this Open Source Party elected, and I’ll be interested.

  22. vanderleun Says:

    “We will have online conferences, social networks and wikis, we will have meetups, we will have parties, we will create games that model likely real world responses to our proposed ideas, we will field candidates starting in 2010, get “crazed” anti-authoritarians on TV and radio, “

    And this is different from the other two parties because?

  23. Corin Royal Drummond Says:

    Open Source Legislation

    I’m so glad to hear about your open source politics ideas. For awhile I’ve had in the back of my mind creating a web application/service for Wiki style writing of proposed legislation. People could propose laws, other people could comment, and propose amendments or alternative language (using diffs like for source code), and people could vote for one of the alternatives to signal their support for the bill. If a proposed bill gets support over a certain threshold, it becomes a Move-On style campaign to convince lawmakers to adopt the legislation. Different wiki pages could be setup for different legislative bodies at the federal, state, and local levels. In fact their is no reason fundamentally to restrict this to government applications. It could become a tool for stakeholders in any organization to develop policy that’s well considered, and takes into account the broadest range of views.

    There are many issues to consider with this concept. Like how to keep cabals of wingnuts from dominating the discourse while allowing for rational but unpopular ideas to be heard an considered. How to keep big money interest groups from dominating the discourse. How to maintain an atmosphere that emphasizes finding collective solutions rather than sowing collective dissension. How to be resistant to deliberate sabotage or manipulation.

    But basically, writing legislation is not that much different than writing an open source software project. They both include needs assessment, problem solving, advocacy, networking, reputation building, archtecture/engineering, etc. The tools used for crafting software (SourceForge, Subversions, CMS, Wiki, Miro, Planet Debian, Ubuntu’s Launchpad, etc.) could be adapted to the the crafting of policy without overwhelming effort.

    Hope this idea is a useful one, feel free to run with it.

    Corin Royal Drummond
    Web Developer
    San Francisco

  24. Matt Stoller Says:

    Both parties have primary systems and flexible platforms and rules. It’s not an issue of generating a new party, it’s an issue of getting involved with one of them and making it yours.

    As for your agenda, oh just join the Democratic Party already. There are a lot of corrupt losers in it, but then, where isn’t that the case? And a majority of Democrats are actually for most of what you put forward. Republicans, by contrast, are fucking crazy.

  25. Marcus Bailey Says:

    I like the idea of the party. I feel that the time has come to make a political party for us that feel left out from the other parties. I might suggest that the party uses the “hours” concept for an open source currency. I also suggest that we abolish the electoral college, propose proportional representation in congress, and use Instant Runoff elections when a candidate does not get at least 50% of the vote. I also think the party should look at the creative commons as a source for the copyright reform. I look forward to hearing what others may feel about the ideas.

  26. noen Says:

    Do you know that Prince, the CEO of Blackwater, donated thousands of dollars to progressive, third party candidates? I bet he would even give you money. Why do you suppose he does this? Because he wants to win.

    Why do you want the GOP to win?

    We have a two party system, that is the reality. Third parties always help the opposition. I’m sorry but that is just how it is. And no, you do not get a pony either.

    Matt is right. If you want to start s think tank that’s fine. In the meantime the only viable solution is to work for change from within.

  27. Guy Mac Says:

    I propose the name “Common Sense Party”. I think “Open Source” confuses political ideas with IP issues.

  28. Marcus Bailey Says:

    I agree with Corin that a wiki based legislature would be ideal. Look at Wikipedia. We have created a viable alternative to the traditional encyclopedia. We need to create a viable (better) legislature. I also like the name “Open Source” because I think of open source as transparent. Our current political and economic systems are in need of more transparency.

  29. Marcus Bailey Says:

    I agree with Corin about the “wiki” legislation proposal. I feel that this process is the perfect combination of a democracy and a meritocracy. I honestly feel that “wiki” legislature is viable. New Zealand is experimenting with the “wiki” concept for a new law and I hope that this is a sign of things to come.

  30. Wow. Just wow. « Urk! Blaagh. Gaaack. Says:

    […] Just wow. Someone with actual readership is now saying these things I’ve been saying for almost 7 years […]

  31. goatchowder Says:

    Beautiful! We desperately need an open source money system, and to eliminate corporate personhood. If we do just those two things, the whole rest of them will become much easier, perhaps even automatic.

    I think one first step would be public financing of election campaigns. Then, we can get the legislation written.

    Also, I strongly advise AGAINST starting any third or fourth party. I think we need to take over the Democratic Party– the party of the people– and join with Daily Kos and MoveOn and Democracy For America and these populist groups and do our work there. The Democratic Party has become detached from its grassroots over the last 30 years, and become beholden to corporate lobbyists, and we’re making great progress on recapturing it back from them.

    Join with us, get active in your local Democratic party, and set its agenda.

    Don’t complain about the Democratic Party. BECOME the Democratic Party.

  32. BobCFC Says:

    Just so you know, the ars technica article about you proposal has nearly 600 diggs already don’t worry about the 24 diggs here

    Good luck mate

  33. Chris Anderson Says:

    The strategy of the Swedish Pirate Party comes to mind. They have picked only ONE issue to focus on, and captured a large amount of support, which they can use to influence the other parties. The Swedish system is different from ours, but I think think there maybe more to gain from having a very narrow platform and using citizen support for it as a way of changing the terms of the debate.

    As it stands your suggestions seem to broad for me. For instance is screwing with the banking system more important than education? And the IP concerns of the “Web” section are too vague to be useful.

    The larger problem is that once you try to propose a complete platform you are required to have a stance on all sorts of issues that are not core to the change you wish to create. Abortion and gay-rights, for instance, are key issues, but they are being addressed perfectly well by the established system. No need to muddy your platform by making it comprehensive.

    What is the single most important change you wish to see? If corporate personhood had an opposition party, then the issue might bubble up to the mainstream. Otherwise it’s just another group of wackos. This time they have webpages.

  34. Marcus Bailey Says:

    I feel that a good way to develop a party platform would to have a wiki on an issue. Members could write/edit the that particular issue. Members could then vote on the issue. If the issue(position) receives a high vote(like the proposed 75%) than it would be adopted as the partys platform. If a proposed issue(position) does not receive the percentage needed it is not adopted and could be edited until it receives the needed percentage. I feel that this would give a platform on the issues that most of us agree on(copyright reform, civil liberties, transparency) and will still leave room for debate on issues that we don’t share as much in common(abortion, universal healthcare, taxes). This will provide the framework for the creation of a viable and effective political movement(party).

  35. Nathan Says:

    I think it would be best to focus on one issue. Democracy. People voting for laws and issues.

    That would be the smart bet in my mind.

  36. Sergei Says:

    As per Plato, you know that guy

    “Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics. They are also not inclined to acquire such knowledge. The effort and self-discipline required for serious study is not something most people enjoy. In their ignorance they tend to vote for politicians who beguile them with appearances and nebulous talk, and they inevitably find themselves at the mercy of administrations and conditions over which they have no control because they do not understand what is happening around them. They are guided by unreliable emotions more than by careful analysis, and they are lured into adventurous wars and victimized by costly defeats that could have been entirely avoided. This is how the Republic portrays politics in a democracy:”

    “Imagine then a ship or a fleet in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but who is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and whose knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors ate quarreling with one another about the steering—every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation …”

    Not gonna work, the current system works as it should and was designed. You will not accomplish much, it is human nature, was so even back in Greek days.

  37. Colonel Panik Says:

    The headline for this page is:

    The Open Source Party Proposal

    And right above it are ads from Google, like:
    “Better Than Open Source”
    Free, full-fetured reporting & analysis
    platform. Free download.

    Seems to me that you are already on the

  38. Jonathan Pfeiffer Says:

    I think that RU Sirius’s plea for sovereignty-driven rather than interest-driven foreign policy is well-intentioned, but I want to point out that for some students of globalization, the solution isn’t quite so easy. As a case in point, I recommend the second chapter of Judith Bulter’s book, “Precarious Life”. Her point is that the United States foreign policy response to the September, 2001 attacks was itself an assertion of sovereignty, when what it should have been was an acknowledgment of the *vulnerability* that characterizes and unites all nation-states. I don’t have the answer; I only want to raise caution about this call for sovereignty.

  39. mihnea Says:

    Excellent idea, I think. I’m trying to make people understand -back home in Romania- that the internet is an invaluable tool for bringing people together, especially when it comes to Politics. Best of luck, I think I’ll donate a couple of million local pesos (or $1 :D)

  40. Open Source Party « Nothing to see here. Move along. Says:

    […] on December 3, 2007 No, I’m not throwing a kegger. Sorry, guys. I’m talking about the political party that RU Sirius wants to establish before the 2010 elections. Membership in the party is open to anybody who feels they are in […]

  41. Rudi Cilibrasi Says:


    I am an open-source author, computer scientist, and lifelong computer programmer. The idea of an open-source party was also something that I thought of years ago, and I have two points to suggest:

    1) Achieve historical integrity with distributed revision control such as Mercurial/hg.

    2) Implement transparent process through public-key digital signatures.

    At this point in time, I think the Debian free software team (consisting of thousands of public-key voting members with audit trails) is a great example of a working democratic process, as they have to constantly make amendments and work with exact language in their own policy documents.

    I have always been amazed that nobody in America has yet cared enough to check in a simple ASCII text file into an hg repository that holds all voting records and transcripts of all public sessions. Since hg is distributed, any citizen could type it and provide their own clone of the repository that could then be merged by any other citizen.

  42. maggotronix Says:

    This is some radical, free thinking shit. I am glad I stumbled upon this site. I have been working on a party platform combining small government original republic style democracy’s ideals

  43. maggotronix Says:

    would it be possible to fuse these two together. they were not meant to be separated.

    with marx’s sense of community. The way we live now is not sustainable and disconnect with nature and others is increasing. Technology has many positives, but also many negatives. Without balance forward progress is not possible; likewise, awareness is a prerequisite for envisioning a better future. So it would be mad interesting to be involved in the process of throwing ideas around. Different perspectives and experiences are the crucial to a flexible, dynamic group and broaden the collective knowledge.

  44. esteban Says:

    I live in Costa Rica, there are points that doesn’t apply here (there’s no army or 1984-style police state). Also here we talk Spanish not English. Could this Open Source Party Proposal be modified, translated, etc for other countries? (…I’m assuming a “yes”)

  45. Chris Heilman Says:

    I have just announced that I will be running for Congress in the 15th district of Pennsylvania as an Independent.

    I like the platform that you have laid out here. These are issues that I could run with.

    My reason for running is to expose the stranglehold the 2 party system has on politics and the barriers that states have put into place which effectively keep other parties from joining the race.

    For instance:

    I was going to try to get my name on the ballot for the Presidential election. Since I don’t have party backing and limited funds I can not get the required 59.000 signatures to have my name written on the ballot. Whereas Rep./Dems. only need 2000 or so to run in the primary. After the nomination goes to the winner of those parties the General Election is a pass for them without any required signatures.

    I gave up on a Presidential run and am now going for Congress which has a requirement of 2,124 signatures. At least that amount is doable for me.

    Being a lifelong Libertarian (albeit one with a foreign policy) I thought about asking for party backing. I did send out feelers but received nothing back as of today.

    This is a good time for other parties to run especially if the incumbent is a Republican. The US in general has a sour taste for the GOP.

  46. Derek Lyons Says:

    Funny how none of the commenters seems to have noticed that this ‘open source’ proposal is released (as per the copyright notice in the sidebar) under a very restrictive license. A license that renders it impossible for any one else to actually use the proposal in an open source manner – and that the MondoGlobo website is under an even more restrictive license.

  47. Meijin Says:

    Ed says:

    ‘To use the word “Libertarian” here is completely wrong. Libertarians would never support an “energy task force”- this implies a huge government program to throw money at something that the free market has determined to be uneconomical. ‘

    I feel I must reply to Ed:
    Well, libertarians might if they were consequentialists and they believed that the only way to a future of soft technologies, which includes a decentralised energy system (i.e., tidal power on the coast and/or solar in the desert etc run by local people or energy companies) was to divert huge existing funds into R&D with the view to a less centralised, resource & $$ hungry system. That is, the consequences of some initial big (or diversionary) spending is that it lays the foundation for enabling the smaller people to take control over their lifes; that one initial ‘wrong’ leads to a better ‘right’.

    Infamous US libertarian philosophers such as Nozick always argue for money for militias or armies & weapons, so unless Ed is arguing for NO funds then s/he will at least argue for something. If so, then that something ($$) might as well be spent on re-righting wrongs, such as cleaning up the environmental mess created by nuclear power, PCBs (thanks Monsanto), and regulating the emerging technology of biotechnology.
    Science sets us free but only if we realise that we are part of a web of life, respect other life-forms and see that our huge potential that can transform our lives, with a very little output from ourselves (in terms of time & money) can greatly assist our fellow citizens and species (after years of wrong-doing).

    And finally, my own experience of alleged ‘libertarianism’ aka ‘neoliberalism’ in the 80s/90s was that it required a massive state-represssive-apparatus to keep down those who’d been excluded, so not much $$ or liberty saved there.

  48. Open Source or not Open Source « ISIS-HATHOR LODGE Says:

    […]  amorehilaritas Said: Whilst Hilary and Obama began their campaign for the US presidency. The writer and psychonaut R U Sirius proposed an Open Source Party shoul run for the US election. In his proposal he outlines some great ideas which include (my favourite) an Open Source monetary system which would encourage alternative currency. Here’s a […]

  49. Blogging in Argyll at ARBU: An UK Open Source Political Party Anyone? Says:

    […] on our divided society into the networked world and reminded of cyberpunk icon R. U. Sirius’s Open Source Political Party (ars technica) for the American duopoly, it seems to me that there may be space in the political […]

  50. Open Source | Empress of the Global Universe Says:

    […] November 2007, I presented a proposal to start a political organization I called the Open Source Party on the 10 Zen Monkeys website. The idea was to bring open source principles into the political […]

  51. Platform from Timothy Leary’s Campaign for Governor of California | Technoccult Says:

    […] The Open Source Party. Before The Guns and Dope Party. Before The Revolution Party. In 1969, Timothy Leary ran for […]

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