Political links

Links links links. Yes, I know I try to keep this blog to original content (or at least original to me) (I’ve got several longer pieces I’ve been mulling over that haven’t quite come together yet), but occasionally a set of links comes in that I want to share.

Extreme Democracy Future Salon

I’ll probably attend this tomorrow evening. I’ve been to only a couple of the Future Salons, but it’s a good group, and this looks like a particularly interesting topic, given how much I’ve been ranting about politics this year. I’m excited about seeing Zack Rosen’s presentation on CivicSpace, which I only heard about today, and then noticed that he was going to be at Future Salon tomorrow. He’s working on developing software to enable bottom-up grassroots political networking (he started it for Dean’s campaign, and has continued it with funding from a couple angel investors). Very neat stuff, and along the lines of some of my pipe dreams. Except that he has motivation. And competence.

Lawrence Lessig at SDForum

I really like Lessig’s work, and have read Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and The Future of Ideas, but not Free Culture yet. So he’s speaking next week. He’s being introduced by Dan Gillmor, the author of We, the Media, a book that intrigued me recently. I’ll probably attend. The entire Distinguished Speaker Series this year looks promising, actually. I’ve been to a couple before, including Paul Saffo, but I always forgot about them. Fortunately, they finally started an announcement list for these talks, so I should be attending more of them.

A march to irrelevance

I really liked this article over on Alternet about how many liberals’ idea of protest is thoroughly antiquated in this new century, invoking a 1960s-era mentality that is pointless in today’s world. Well written and thoughtful. I’ve had similar thoughts – last year during the anti-war protests in San Francisco, I asked my friend who participated what he was trying to accomplish – he said “We have to show people that we’re against the war!” – “By annoying your neighbors who probably agree with you?” “Well, we have to show the whole world!” “Do you think you’re being televised elsewhere?” “Well, it’s important!” I wish I had been more eloquent, as this writer is.

Federalist Paper #10

I think I was reading the social interface design forum at Joel on Software, when somebody invoked this Federalist Paper, in response to how the designer can attempt to prevent cliques from forming. And this paper does a pretty good job of identifying how factions form, and what we can do to try to minimize their influence. It’s interesting how several of their recommendations start to fall apart in the age of mass media. But the insight into human nature is unmistakable. I should really sit down and read the Federalist Papers at some point. And Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. And all sorts of other things. *sigh*

George Lakoff’s class Language of Politics

My hero, George Lakoff, is teaching a class in the Language of Politics this term. danah boyd is taking the class, and hosting a blog for those of us that aren’t Berkeley students. Neat stuff. Two articles I’ve read so far that I particularly liked were one on reinventing the Republican party in a way that would actually appeal to me a lot, and one on reinventing the Democratic party, also in a way that appeals to me. Yay being a swing voter. Or at least a swing personality. I’m looking forward to following along with the class.