I’ve been reading Emergence by Steven Johnson. Part of it is about organized complexity and discusses how global/national change happens when we interact with our neighbors locally. It’s confirming evidence I already have in the form of Ruby and OrangePolitics.org.
If you know me even just a little bit you might be thinking I’m biased on this. (I’m getting married to Ruby in July. The best decision I ever made.) Hell yes I am! But that is beside the point. Really!
In this day and age, when our national government is run by money hungry religious fanatics with no space for people who are different than them and will stop at nothing to retain control, you start looking around you for options. Really close around you. Options for positive change that you think have a chance.
One good example of the national-local phenomena is municipal internet networks. (WiFi) Network World writer Susan Briedenbach in her article Building boom for Wi-Fi networks says,
This ripple in the pond of municipal infrastructure advancements quickly became a tsunami. By the middle of last year, MuniWireless.com noted that it was “raining RFPs,” and The Yankee Group analyst Lindsay Schroth estimates there are some 320 U.S. municipalities that have or are planning to cover themselves with broadband wireless networks.
When you have access to the entire worlds worth of information – not a big exaggeration – you pull the power of global politics to you. When power is near you it’s local. When your local government can empower it’s citizens – and our guest non-citizens that work so very hard for us – the balance of power shifts. This is only one example of real change happening locally.
Ruby was just on a panel at SXSW (South by Southwest Interactive) called Revenge of the Blogs. She was joined by national blogers Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos – US Liberal) and Mike Krempasky (
Right March Red State – US Conservative). In her post Revenge of the panelists she shared some of what happened,
We struck a good balance between talking about the influence of local and national blogs, and some people even began to draw a connection between the two. Judging by the people who came up to talk with me afterward, I think I must have said some interesting and useful things.
She’s been modest I’m sure. She’s been trying to convince liberal activists for years that if you mobilize your neighbors electronically you’re activating the real grassroots. These people are the ones that cause actual change to happen in national politics. The people who are very close to you.
I think that some US national politicians understand this. But they already have their piece of the power pie and are afraid of sharing. Many other circumstances prevent them from really listening to their grassroots. This is not democracy. This is not how the US should exist.
Work with your neighbors online and in person to take over national and local politics.