November 8, 2011

THE CALL FOR DEMOCRACY 2.0

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past, information, decisions and opinions could not be transmitted within seconds accross a country, much less the entire world. As a consequence, citizens elected regional representatives to serve as the voice of the people in parliament.

Such a representative system, reflecting the economies and the societal structures of a world long gone, is still in place today, but no longer serving the fundamental idea and ideal of democracy as a system for the people and by the people.

Instead, the elected representatives have become compromised by lobby interest, corrupted by corporations, have lost touch with those they are supposed to represent, serving only those who want people to serve them, be it as employees, voters or soldiers sent off to wars to kill or die for profit.

We have reached a time of change as too much power is concentrated in the hands of the few, becoming a "representation" in name only.

Such is the corruption that these representatives have now repeatedly turned against those they are supposed to represent, that they are fearing the tools, the technology that would allow a more direct participation of those that they are supposed to govern: the internet.

The internet allows us all to work together in a new form of democracy, a true 21st century version it that is still true to its ideas and ideals, giving everyone a chance to have their voices heard, to participate in the shaping of ideas and laws on regional, national or even global levels.

There is no excuse for denying this chance to us, the people.

There is no excuse for not allowing us, the citizens, to be educated, to formulate informed opinions, to vote on those issues that directly affect us, not only in our daily lives but also decide the future of our children and of the very world itself.

Decisions like these can no longer allowed to be made by those who don't listen to us, who only listen to those who promise them money or power or both, who offer them consulting contracts, places on corporate boards, who have sold the voices of the people to Big Oil, to Big Pharma, to anyone "Big" enough to pay them enough to make them believe that corporations are people, and people are consumers.

These few, they fear us, the citizens. Those few, they fear our thoughts, our thoughts and opinions, as the example of the proposed referendum in Greece on the Euro has shown, aborted under pressure of not only an unelected body like the EU but also bowing to the pressure of the so-called markets, behaving more irrationally than any informed citizenship would ever be able to do

There is no reason to fear us. We are your brothers, we are your sisters, we are your fathers and mothers, your daughters and sons. We are your neighbors. And we are all in this together. That is what is at the heart of democracy. Us.

And for the first time in the history of mankind, technology has given us the tools, the chance and opportunity to live up to those ideals that were formulated ages ago, by men and women smart enough and kind enough and trusting enough to see that we are the same, by men and women who believed that this is what it's all about.

The opportunity to not only have your voice heard, but listened to. 

The opportunity to educate and in turn be educated.

From the first book printed, those in power have fought the flow of free information, out of of fear, scared of no longer being able to control those they governed. In every age, the people who have fought for this freedom have been called terrorists, have been called criminals, have been oppressed.

Do not fear us.

Do not fear information.


Do not fear the necessary change.

This is our time. This is your time. This is your future.

It is the time that democracy can finally live up to the promise given to mankind all those centuries ago. A free exchange of ideas. An educated citizenship. 

To those who fear the redesign of democracy. Have the past months not proven that today's system is at the point of collapse? That parliaments like those of the United States and even Germany have abandoned even the illusion of representation by appointing secret committees, deciding on budgets, budget cuts, on your life, without even being held responsible to those who are supposed to hold this power by the virtues of our constitutions?

Has it not proven that the laws that were written, the laws that were repealed, that were neutered, blocked and scrapped not only served the interested of big corporations beholden to no ideal, but were in fact written by them and voted upon by Members of Parliament who not only didn't know what they were voting on, but also didn't seem to care about the obvious incompetence? 

In the United States, only 8% trust Congress anymore to represent them. In Germany, it is 9%. Similar numbers are to be found in every country that is supposedly a democracy. We have been sold out, have been silenced, have been pushed aside.

We didn't stop believing in the system.

The system stopped believing in us.

We believe there are more competent people out there. We believe that they have not been given a voice, have been silenced by a system where money talks and ideas are silenced.

These people are not only out there.

These people are you and me.

And it us who can change this world. Bit by bit. 

Discussion by disccusion. Debate by debate. Decision by decision.

We know you are disillusioned. We know you are afraid. We know you are angry. 

But most of all, we know this... We know you care.

We think we not only can, we need to change the way democracy works, not only for a better today, but a better tomorrow. A man, a politician, once said to us to "hope" and "change", and we hoped that he would be the change.

But he wasn't. We are this hope. We are this change.

The "Occupy" Movements around the world, they are the first voice. It is loud. It is unshaped. But it is a beginning. It voices your anger. It voices your disillusion. And it has been critized for not offering a plan, a Powerpoint presentation, a memo... by the very people who have had years and decades to come up with solutions and failed time and again.

We cannot wait on those who stand against us anymore.

We cannot wait for them to represent us anymore.

We believe in democracy. They do not.

We believe in the intelligence of our citizens. They do not.

We believe in the ideals of our constitutions. They do not.

And to change this world, to fight for a better tommorrow, we must take back our democracies from them. Technology has given us not only the tools, but also the ideas on how to tap unused potentials. Ideas that can start as a single thought and transported to millions of people at the touch of a button through technologies like BitTorrent, thoughts that can spread through 140 characters or less on Twitter, plans that can be worked on in open and fair exchanges on Public Pads.

The ideas are out there. The ideals are out there.

Because you are out there. And waiting to be listened to.

We are calling on all of you. 

The dreamers. The realists. The experts. The people.

Because that is how democracy starts

With just a single sentence. A single thought.

"We, the people..."

It was important enough to begin every call for democracy since the American Revolution.

We are all in this together.

Let's start the debate.

Let us create a democracy that is transparent, that is again for the people and this time by the people, representing the best of us and no longer represented by the worst of us.

Let us build a democracy that deserves this name. That evolves. That is ours to shape and guided by the principles that our leaders have forgotten but that we still carry in our hearts.

Let us build Democracy 2.0.