I’ve never really been very interested in politics. At least, I wasn’t until SOPA/PIPA came along. The issue demonstrated for me two very important facts:
- Technologists are severely under-represented in our current political system.
- Technologists are capable of causing political change.
The first I’d known for ages, the second came as a surprise. I honestly never expected that my outrage and participation in activism regarding SOPA/PIPA would actually succeed. So what now? Well, we can start with crowdfunding for startups, but why not aim a bit higher?
I think it’s time for technologists to organize and get some real change happening. The Test PAC is a great start, and I think any action should recognize that we may (for now) have more success influencing current political stakeholders than becoming them, but I believe that to truly move things forward we need actual people in office. Oh yeah, and I propose we call the party Forward. Simple, to the point, and not confusing for ordinary people like Sweden’s Pirate Party. I also have a few ideas for ways to make the party successful in ways other third parties aren’t:
- Large Active Member Base. It is simply amazing how many technologists joined together to fight SOPA/PIPA. I truly believe that we can have a larger base of active party members (people who actually contribute in a meaningful way) than many other third parties.
- Online Organization. We already know how to organize. We can use Reddit, Hacker News, Twitter, and networks we create to build consensus and tackle specific issues in a way no other group can.
- Position of Power. We are the people building and shaping the most important industry in the world, the one that continues to grow despite the global economic setback. We can use this power for demonstration like with SOPA/PIPA and we can use it for education, too.
If we can get one person into Congress it can be the same as if every member of the party was elected. Why can’t we have an elected representative who puts a piece of proposed legislation on GitHub, accepts pull requests, and then submits the collaborative bill to Congress? From there we can collectively gather support from our representatives using phone campaigns, emails, etc. It’s time to change politics, and we have the power. Who’s with me?
P.S. I created a Forward Party Reddit and would love to see discussion, links, and more there to evolve this idea and really make a difference.