Archive for October 12th, 2003

The important questions re: the Clark campaign

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The Clark campaign seems to be addressing its cyber critics by
suggesting that these people do not speak for a broader movement, and
that the problems of the campaign are normal startup issues.  This
may or may not be true.  The questions raised by their critics are
still valid:  What is the Clark campaign doing to harness
grassroots activism?  How is the Clark campaign going to bring new
people into the political process, and what roles will these newcomers
have?  How will the campaign blend the expertise and intuitions of
its traditional professionals—and their interest groups—with the
perspectives and power of new emerging leaders and groups?  How
will the Clark campaign capitalize on Wesley Clark’s intelligence and
freshness to improve the caliber and creativity of political dialogue
in the nation?

What’s “open” about the Dean campaign is not simply its blogging and
commenting and meeting up, What is also open and evolving is the
overarching structure and organizing philosophy of the campaign. 
This is what is exciting and hopeful.

We would like to know more about how the Clark campaign is innovating in structure and organizing philosophy.

As my previous post suggests, I believe that the Dean campaign itself
has lots of unrealized potential.  Much remains to be invented,
explored, developed.  The same is true of the Clark
campaign.  My question is whether the Clark campaign can form
itself into a platform for open innovation, a place for open source
politics?  And can the Clark campaign, like the Dean campaign,
become a place where we learn about new forms of leadership that
combine bottom-up and top-down, emergence and strategy?

Mitch Ratcliffe on what remains to be invented/evolved in the Dean campaign

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Those of us interested in democracy run a danger of over-celebrating the Dean campaign’s success in
cyberspace so far. Much remains to be invented and evolved. A valuable
line of conversation for those of us interested in evolving democracy
could be “What next for the Dean campaign?”

Mitch Ratcliffe, who does very thoughtful writing on organizational evolution, puts the following out (I note it here thanks to Doc, who caught it first). Here is an excerpt–and I urge you to read the whole piece:

The
challenge is how to do what wiki people refer to as “gardening” of
information to bring people with common ideas and interests together,
to engage them in what they particularly care about so that their
contributions to the debate are heard and the “top,” since we seem set
on having a “top,” can listen to a coherent metalogue. That’s not to
say wikis or blogs are the solution — people and political process are
where the change has to happen, albeit supported by a lot of
technology, most of which hasn’t yet been invented or reduced to a
useful design.

In
short, the Dean campaign is awfully clued, but not anywhere fully
clued. One thing that I’d like to hear from the campaign is what role
the network of participants coalescing today will play in a Dean
administration; will they dedicate some White House staff and budget to
staying in close contact with the people talking through the campaign’s
systems? Can they do that without moving everyone to a
government-funded system? What would that do to campaign finance
issues? Should every candidate be able to tap a common system (yes) if
a government system is put in place?

Lots
of questions, still lots of time, but we’ll cross the chasm when we
come to a deep connection between the grassroots and the administration
of government, not before.

Mitch’s piece was inspired in part by one by David Weinberger on the Dean phenomena, scaling, etc.

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