Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democracy. Show all posts

Sunday, June 11, 2023

DemocracyTech: Google Search Gives Zero Results

Democracy For Russia from Paramendra Bhagat on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Doing Liberty Right

Through my blockchain startup I intend to build the most sophisticated digital tools to put at the service of the democracy movement in Russia. The Russian people have to take the lead. The Russian diaspora has to take the lead. I did similar work before Facebook with barely a blog and a mailing list hosted for free by Google. But then we also wrote before computers. It will not hurt to have the tools I intend to build.

Liberty is at risk in the United States. The same tools could be used to take this country to a new Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson expected a constituent assembly every 30 years or so. It has been way more than 30 years.

Racism is fascism. It is the opposite of liberty.

The same tools will neutralize the surveillance state that is China. But the proof is in the pudding. The work of liberty will take China back to a 10% growth rate, clean energy powered. Perhaps the CCP needs to be broken up like AT&T. Xi is Brezhnev. Perhaps there is an emerging figure in the Chinese Communist Party who successfully pushes the case for political reform.

The same digital tools will turn Saudi Arabia into a republic. The smart monarchies in the Gulf will volunteer to become constitutional monarchies. The not so smart ones will pave the way for repubics.

The same digital tools will take e-Estonia like government services to every poor, nascent democracy on the planet and help build the institutions of democracy.

Voting should be eezy peezy. Noone should be without a digital identity that they can take to the bank that resides on their phones.

Facebook and Twitter did not topple Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The people did. Facebook and Twitter were just digital tools.

Friday, September 13, 2019

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Navigating The Hong Kong Protests
Hong Kong: A Crisis For Capitalism As Much As Communism
News: Hong Kong, Plan B, Mainland, Bubble Tea Summit
Hong Kong 2019: This Is 1989 For Asia
Hong Kong Should Take The Plunge
China, US, Hong Kong, Xinjiang
Universal Basic Income (aka Freedom Dividend) Is Not Free Money
Hong Kong Should Inspire America?
Hong Kong Protests: The World Should Not Watch A Possible Massacre

What I am attempting in Hong Kong is the butterfly effect. I have done this once before. For Nepal in 2005, 2006. But this is much larger in scale. I think it is doable. The most effective way to proceed is to make all parties feel like they have been heard and they have been understood. There has to be intense listening. But also fearless calls for action every step of the way.

Trying To Understand Hong Kong And China
News: Hong Kong, Kashmir, Vigilantism, Curfew, Terrorism, Diaspora
Hong Kong, Non Violence Works
Globalization 4.0
Xi Jinping Should Act
The Asymmetry Between Beijing And Hong Kong Is On Hong Kong's Side
Defiant Hong Kong
The Two Wangs
Hong Kong: Antennae Problem?
Hong Kong: No Police Solution, No Military Solution, Only A Political Solution
Hong Kong: Let The Dragon Grow Up

Saturday, February 11, 2012

If 90% Of The People Start Voting

A stylized representation of a red flag, usefu...Image via WikipediaA Facebook Supported Online Parliament

These blog posts probably belong at my other Barackface blog, but never mind.

I was thinking, if Facebook were to manage to create an online parliament for an entire country, the percentage of people voting might shoot into the sky. The average in mature democracies right now is 50% I think. I can see that going up to an unheard of 90%.

It is like in Nepal there was a democracy movement in 1990. And it was successful. Nepal became a multi-party democracy. Before that it was a monarchy that called itself a no party democracy. As in, there was a parliament. What else do you need to be a democracy, right?

Anyways, there was now democracy. But then the communists came out of the woodworks. The most ultra among them called for a boycotting of the "bourgeois" election. 60% of the people voted. Those communists then claimed that means 40% of the people sided with them! Go figure.

But then I just had to share that relevant story.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showin...Image via WikipediaCongregate. Do not disrupt. This is about getting together, peacefully, amicably, almost in a celebratory way.

This is not about disrupting traffic. This is not about preventing people from going to work. This is not about seeking confrontations with the police.

It has to stay completely nonviolent. It has to become super, duper organized. It has to be sophisticated.

Occupy one public space in each city, each town where people camp out around the clock. If the space's capacity is 1,000 people, stay at 1,000 people. Get people to participate in rotation. So one person might clock in for one 24 hour period to be replaced by another person who signed up to be there.

The occupation can not end until the fundamental fabric of the democracy has been impacted. The goal is one person, one vote democracy. The insane people running the banks on Wall Street threw the bus into the ditch and gave the world the Great Recession. Now they want to go back to their same old ways. That is not an option.

We want a new architecture for global finance. And so the occupation has to continue. It has to grow. It has to grow on all continents. It has to grow from one city to many cities. It has to go to every town, every city. Maybe you are a small town, and your public space will only hold 50 people, and that is okay.

The thing is, we are all connected. The occupation in one town is connected to the occupation in every other town. Each city is connected to every other. This is a global movement, a national movement.

It has to stay nonviolent. It has to stay intelligent. It has to be about the conversation. The mass, public action is about the conversation. For every person camped out at a park, there are 1,000 people and more participating online. That online "occupation" is as real as it gets. These are real people with real opinions, with real challenges, real political weight.

This movement is about roping in more and more people into the conversation.

Sales Tax, Wealth Equity Tax
The Conversation Is The Revolution
Tahrir Square In America
America And Europe Need To Learn From Japan
This Woman Is Dynamo
The Mini Me Stimulus Bill Lacks Imagination

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Truly Disruptive

Of all the blog posts I have done at this blog, this has got to be my favorite: My Web Diagram.

I keep thinking in terms of the red circle.

What after the infrastructure has been built? Then what? That has implications. When people in tech talk about disruptive, it is about shifts in the way the technology operates. Digital disrupts the music scene, for example. Disruptions can be to business processes.

But the web is not one technology, just like white is not one people, Indian is not one people. There are many peoples. Africa is not one country.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Upheavals Already

I have not even formally launched my company yet, but my startup team has already gone through two upheavals. And I think that is a good thing. With each upheaval the vision has become much more polished. And I make no bones about the fact that my life is not a democracy, my company is not a democracy. I have a vision, and the company is going to carry it out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

To Iran, With Love (3)

Image representing Brad Feld as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase
Hello Brad (@bfeld). Hello Fred (@fredwilson).

Happy July 4 Fred Wilson, Brad Feld
The Germans Called Me Robin Hood
To: Brad Feld, Subject: Iran And Me (Digital Ninja/Commando)
Rome - Phoenix W/ Devendra Banhart
Brad Feld
To Iran, With Love (1)
To Iran, With Love (2)
North To Alaska

To continue with our conversation, in this post I am going to tackle two questions.
  • What can I do for Iran based on what I have done for Nepal?
  • Why am I seeking 5K in personal money from 20 VCs towards this? Why not from some other crowd?
What Can I Do For Iran Based On What I Have Done For Nepal?

Not everyone believes every country should or is going to end up a democracy, it is only a matter of time. Not only do I believe that, I believe that process can be accelerated, and I believe a democracy movement is science, it can be made to work every single time. Elections alone do not make a democracy, we know that. Otherwise they have elections in Iran, in Zimbabwe, in Egypt. Heck, Saddam used to have elections.

Iran is not a democracy. An unelected committee of mullahs is the supreme authority in that country. Only candidates sanctioned by that committee can run for president. That is no democracy.

You determine a country is not a democracy. And then you determine all the steps it has to take to end up a democracy. There are a lot of preceding preliminary steps, but ultimately a sufficient bloc of groups inside and outside the country has to set the right goal, which would be to shut the country down completely until the current regime makes way for an interim, caretaker government that would come into power with a mandate to hold elections to a constituent assembly within a year of taking power. That assembly would get two years to write a constitution for the country. A majority block in that assembly would form the government. Each article in the constitution would require two third of the votes in the assembly.

That is the roadmap. My personal project is only upto the point of regime change. Once the interim, caretaker government takes over, I am officially out, although I can't imagine completely disappearing. On my own I would continue to monitor the situation part time. There would have been too much emotional investment on my part to that point for me to just walk away.

Why Do It?

Because this is the right thing to do. Because we care about the people of Iran as much as people anywhere. Because we are huge fans of them for what they have been doing for over a year now. Because we believe in the power of democracy to do good. And because we want peace in the Middle East.

People say there is no peace in the Middle East because it is a few different religions clashing with each other. I don't buy into that. If diversity were the reason for lack of peace, New York City where I live ought to be at permanent war with itself. I don't see evidence to that effect.

There is no peace in the Middle East because Israel is the only democracy around there. When a democracy tries to talk to a neighborhood of non democracies, you get The Mother Of All Culture Clashes.

And there is also a need to prove the netroots, the grassroots are powerful enough unto themselves to be able to bring about democracy into a country. No country, not even the US, can afford to militarily go into every country. It is too expensive. And it is not even the best way to do it.

A people powered democracy movement in Iran would ignite similar conflagrations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In seeking a successful conclusion of the democracy movement in Iran, we seek the bringing about of a domino effect.

How To Do It?

"I am one small human being," my fellow Buddhist Richard Gere once said about himself. I am but one small human being. But I have proven in the case of Nepal that one human being sufficiently digital and with sufficient political acumen can make a big difference.

It is like in the movie The Matrix. You sit in front of your computer, your terminal, and you transport yourself to the theaters of action. You observe and study the reality, the ever changing reality, in all theaters of action, and you propose action plans everywhere you can. You have no institutional authority, noone elected you, you are not doling out money, and so you have to be extra, extra right, extra convincing before people will do your bidding, before people, the key players, will listen to you to do what needs to get done.

Month One: Immersion

I would spend about a month totally immersing myself. I am going to collect as much information as possible. I am going to network feverishly. I am going to network among the members of the Iranian diaspora in New York City, and more online.


Then I am going to start working to gather support for my roadmap. If the democracy movement in Iran sticks to the goal of holding the presidential election all over again, it will keep banging its head against the wall. For the goal to be shifted to regime change, I will have to network deep enough to be able to determine that leadership change for the movement can be brought about without losing the fissures that have been created in the Iranian establishment by the movement so far.

Logistical Support

As for the global netroots/grassroots, all those people who turned their Twitter avatar green, they also need to shift their goal post. Extending moral support is not enough. Logistical support has to be provided. Once the movement decides to wage one final struggle, we will have to get very sophisticated about it.

We have to document every act of atrocity by the current regime. It has to be publicly announced that the interim, caretaker government will persecute all those who might unleash brutality upon peaceful protesters. You do that to protect your people best you can.  

But brutality will happen. And we have to provide medical services to take care of those who might get injured in the course of the democracy movement.

Working on these two concrete steps also helps do the organization work for the movement, helps build a robust network.

All Digital, One Person

Many individuals and organizations in many countries will have to do just the right thing at the right time for this to work. And you do have to take all possible actors into count. But my particular role is going to be the role of one person who works all digitally. The world is connected enough by now that that digital activism could prove decisive. Geography is not a hindrance. And there is and there will be enough information from and about all relevant theaters of action, and where that is not enough, you connect the dots best you can.

This is doable.

Larger Implications

An Iran that is a modern democracy is still going to want to make peaceful use of nuclear energy as it should, but it is not going to be sinister and unreasonable like the non democratic Iran of today. A democratic Iran is still going to speak up for the Palestinians, as it should, but it is not going to scapegoat Israel for all its internal failures, and promises not kept to its own people.

Israel today feels an existential threat from Iran's possible nuclear weapons. That threat is primarily political. Russia still had all the nuclear weapons, but once the Cold War ended, America was no longer feeling the threat from those weapons, Europe was not feeling the threat. Israel is not going to feel an existential threat from an Iran that is a democracy.

Why Me? Why You?

We don't ask why techies had to do Kiva. We don't wonder why we did not leave all that to the traditional microfinance people. You and I are members of the tech community. I need you to think of me as a member of the community who wants to take some time off from full time tech startup work and do this for a period of 15 months, for that should be enough time, to help bring about this positive change. This is about doing the right thing, but this is also about proving the Internet as a technology is mature enough, the world is connected enough, and that the digital ways are powerful enough.

If I were to get State Department sponsorship, that would hinder my work. God forbid, if I were to get CIA sponsorship, that would totally paralyze my capacity to do what I want to do. This has to happen at the netroots level, where you and I exist and at the level you and I have the option to reach out to all sorts of causes all over the world.

Why You?

If you have been a prominent VC for a few decades, I think you can afford to put in 5K of your personal money into this. It is doable for you.

Why Me?

I have done this before. I can do this again. And this work ties into what I want to do after that, which would be to launch my tech startup that will want to help bring many more people online. I can't say I was born in India, so I am going to think about the people in India, or that I grew up in Nepal, and so I am going to focus on Nepal. Bringing people online is a global endeavor, and I have to be able to show I can care deeply about people in places like Iran where I have never been, but where I do know there is an acute need. This work will allow me to prove that, show that.

It will also allow me to further work on my two strengths: vision and group dynamics. Here you are talking about large scale group dynamics. I have a knack for that. It is an important business skill.

And if I can do what I am saying I can, I think that is going to earn me some credibility that I can cash on when it is time for me to raise some money for my startup in about 15 months. That is the self interest part.

No Time To Lose

So, let's get started. You two come in at 5K each. And you have until the end of July to find me other 18 VCs who will also come in at 5K each. And if I can get this done by September 2011, you all get to raise another 2.5K each. That will be your way of saying it was a big goal, but it got achieved, and so. 
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