Digitization. It’s the threat that modern democracies, and especially cities, must solve – at least according to current dialogues on digital regulation. Many of the social and political problems our cities face today have been exacerbated by technology. Social media and other digital tools have increased the spread of misinformation and overall weakened public trust in our civic, social and political institutions. Recent developments in virtual reality and artificial intelligence raise new concerns for issues around surveillance, bias, automation and exploitation, especially with increasing public scrutiny on technology giants like Meta and Google.
It was a cool Friday in Minneapolis, made cooler by the shadows of the skyscrapers towering over People’s Plaza. In the brick-lined courtyard between the Hennepin County Government Center and Minneapolis City Hall on September 17, the Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign and its allies held a rally whose purpose had come undone the day before. Yes 4 Minneapolis is working to amend the Minneapolis City Charter by removing a mandate for a mayor-controlled police department with a certain number of officers per resident (0.0017, to be exact). In its place, the amendment establishes a Department of Public Safety under the joint control of the mayor and the 13-member Minneapolis City Council. The radical restructuring would allow for future revisions.
Something seismic happened in this election and it has nothing to do with Joe Biden winning. And yes, Joe Biden did indeed win. I’m sorry for those of you Trump fans who believe the election was rigged against him. It simply wasn’t. Yes, millions of Americans were indeed purged from the voter rolls – but they were mostly people of color. So if MAGA Nation are waiting for those votes to be counted, then Trump will actually do even worse. And I honestly don’t care if you’re thinking, “But I saw a video on Tik-Tok of someone burning a ballot and then smothering it in hot sauce and eating it.”
The revolution in the Kurdish region of Syria called Rojava has generated significant enthusiasm among broad segments of the left in Europe and North America. The heroic resistance by Kurdish forces in Kobane, Syria during the siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in late 2014 and into early 2015 proved to be a pivotal moment. Images of revolutionary fighters, and particularly of armed women, engaged in a life-and-death struggle, bravely resisting the vicious onslaught by Islamist thugs, caught the attention and imagination of many on the so-called international left.
Madison, WI – On Tuesday, November 6th, Wisconsin residents in nine communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech. All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities in three counties: Jackson (69%), Sauk (72%) and Wood (80%); the villages of Readstown (91%), Westfield (87%) and Weston (83%); and the towns of Kickapoo (85%), Rib Mountain (78%) and Vermont (86%). That brings the total to 142 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment.
By David Morris for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. We believe in direct democracy, where people make the decisions rather than elected representatives. This article describes initiatives in three state that take on different issues. California has an initiative that takes on pharmaceutical prices. It is imperfect but a step toward controlling the out-of-control prices of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States. South Dakota takes on multiple democracy initiatives, i.e. one does away with partisan elections, a second creates a commission to redraw legislative districts every ten years, and the final vote is on a series of steps to reduce money in politics, one of the changes would be democracy credits donate to state legislative candidates who agree to participate in at least three public debates and cap the amount of private money they receive per contributor. We do not support doing away with partisan elections because what this ends up doing is doing away with third parties who do not have the money to compete, and can result in having two Democrats or two Republicans running against each other . . .
By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence - A recent poll conducted by Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who trust the public in handling issues is at an all-time low. Reasons for this vary, with eroded faith in institutions playing a role. Yet, in more than 40 neighborhoods across the United States, a new tool called participatory budgeting is boosting confidence among citizens in working with neighbors to solve problems together.
By Tom Ladendorf for In These Times. Under the banners of Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening, thousands of people spent April 11-18 disrupting Washington, D.C., to send a message: Get big money out of politics. Campaign finance reform could do a lot to revive American democracy, but it’s not the only effort afoot to give people a larger voice. Around the world, organizations from political parties to cooperatives are experimenting with new modes of direct democracy made possible by the internet. “The world has gone through extraordinary technological innovation,” says Agustín Frizzera of Argentina’s Net Party. “But governments and political institutions haven’t innovated enough.”
By Staff for The Fairness Project - While Congress and state legislatures across the country remain paralyzed by partisan disagreement, ballot initiatives hold the promise of improving the lives of millions of Americans. The Fairness Project is bolstering state-based ballot initiative campaigns and driving a national narrative to elevate issues of economic fairness.By harnessing the power of successful ballot initiative campaigns, The Fairness Project is empowering voters to take direct action to change their own lives. In 2016, The Fairness Project will focus on ballot-initiative campaigns that seek to raise the minimum wage, working with partner organizations across the country to enact legislation through the ballot box to improve pay for millions of working people. In future campaign cycles, The Fairness Project will work with state-level partners to select a single economic issue aecting a wide number of people, putting it on the ballot in multiple states, and establishing it as a central issue in the national political dialogue of that cycle.