( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Despite my profound disappointment with Buhdy’s withdrawal, and the impending loss of Docudharma, I will not challenge (i.e try to talk him out of it) his decision. We all have to find our own path and while I regret the path Buhdy has chosen, I have no choice but to respect it. Buhdy is one of the best voices in the progressive blogosphere and his absence is truly our loss.
But I have to wonder if it was not with divine providence, or the secular equivalent thereof, that this decision came at this time. For as some of you may or may not know, I have been scheming on a new website for some time now, and it was only quite recently that the funding came through and the account was set up. I literally started working on it this past weekend.
I spent over a year securing the domain name dailyprogressive.com. My intent from the beginning was to create a place for progressives who have moved on from the failed strategy of “electing better Democrats” and “taking over” the Democratic party. As I have written repeatedly, it is the system itself that corrupts and even if there were some super-progressive candidates out there who could save the world, the carnival/freakshow that is the American, mass media controlled, electoral process prohibits us from electing them or even determining who these super-progressives would be.
So it is with this in mind that I set out to create a new, Independent Progressive community website as an alternative to Daily Kos, which has become nothing but a corporatist Democratic propaganda front.
It was also my intent from the beginning to do something completely different from the scores of similar such sites. Before I explain exactly what I mean by that, let me refer you to a passage of my so-called posthumous GBCW that Buhdy was kind enough to post for me back in early 2009 upon my then recent banning from Daily Kos:
Imagine if everyone were to have gotten together 6 years ago and said, we need a community website for progressive Democrats that we can use to organize, raise money for our candidates, and spread our message. How do we want to do it?
Now imagine someone stood up and said, “I have an idea. Why don’t we create this website. I will run it and provide the servers. For doing so, I will run ads and get all the ad revenue. Sound fair?”
“We’re still listening”, someone replies.
“I would also, of course, have complete and absolute authority over who can come, and who can stay. I will set the terms of the site, and I will set the rules. If someone breaks my rules, or even if I just get the sense that someone has broken the rules, I will banish them into the aether, never to be seen again. Still listening?”
“And most importantly, I will decide what gets printed on the home page. It will be my sole discretion who gets to speak and who does not. And to top it all off, since I will be the owner of the site, the site will be named after me – “Daily Me”.”
What do you think the response would have been? I’m pretty sure that people would reject that proposal and secondly, I’m pretty sure that this individual would be excluded from any future meetings of the steering committee.
That is what Daily Kos turned out to be. It is a disturbing model for a progressive community. I’ve always had a problem with it. But my abrupt banning draws it into focus for me again. At some point, progressives need to think about a truly open source model for online community organization. One that reflects the values and principles of democracy and fairness that all progressives share.
A truly open source model for online community organization.
That is what I want the Daily Progressive to be. A real community based site that operates like a real, democratic community. I have got it funded for a year so far. I will set it up, get it looking decent (here’s a rough mockup I did for DD when we were talking about revamping the site), and give it to YOU.
It will be YOURS.
Now, this can happen two ways. We can start from scratch – as I said, I have the account set up and the funding.
Or we can convert Docudharma, with its valuable and currently existing user base, into the Daily Progressive. I haven’t discussed this idea with anyone. I’m just throwing it out there.
Now, here’s where it gets a bit sticky. What kind of site will this be? Who will get to post? If it’s truly “open”, doesn’t that spell chaos?
I believe that for the site to be useful as more than just a place where people can post whatever, and the general incoherence that plagues the left as a whole will be reflected yet again on yet another lefty blog, we need a mission. A theme so to speak.
If you look at our nations democracy, you’ll notice the founders set up a system, roughly speaking, where the mob rules, but only within a certain set of parameters, as defined by the constitution.
Similarly, DP will have a sort of constitution. You can post whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t violate the constitution. And just like the US constitution, democracy does not trump the guiding principles (e.g, the Bill of Rights) How that is enforced will be a COMMUNITY decision. Not one handed down from a select group of elders.
So what would this mission/constitution be? I think it’s a fairly simple question. Here are some guiding principles I have in mind:
The primary objective is to inform, multiply knowledge, and ultimately build a powerful movement to defeat the very real attack on our country and the world by corporatism.
My biggest issue has always been to stop the murder of nature. Nature is essentially my God. It always has been. This is the single reason I even got into politics.
But, strategically, I know that to save the Earth’s many species and the complex systems they make up, we have to first take our country back from the psychopathic corporatist forces that are hellbent on destroying everything for their own short term gain.
The United States is the most important player in the global attempt to save the planet. There is no other country in which the opportunity exists for a movement by the people to conquer the corporatist savagery that threatens our people and our planet. The founders left us an invaluable weapon to defeat our enemies. It may not be enough, but I believe we have a MORAL IMPERATIVE TO TRY.
Unlike Buhdy, I see a great opportunity emerging for a revolution in US politics. The institutions of control that have kept our people distracted, diverted, and weak from perceived dis-empowerment are breaking down and losing credibility. The parasite class always goes to far, takes to much, and ends up causing their host to get a ravaging fever, thereby exterminating themselves.
The question is, who will be there when it happens to lead the people to a better world? Us? Or Rand Paul?
Change is going to come. The only question is who will shape that change and will it be for the better or worse.
That is really what we’re doing here. We are indeed trying to cause the desired change. But we are also making sure that when the paradigm shifts, the pieces fall into constructive patterns instead of chaos.
For the Fun Stuff
The mission is simple: we need to create a site that informs while reaching as many people as possible. My idea for that has always been to create a sort of combination of the Daily Kos/Docudharma model of community (with diaries etc) and The Huffington Post model of news aggregation (minus the establishmentarian, mindless regurgitation of whatever AP spews out and soft porn tabloidization).
The best of both worlds are the bottom-up content that diaries provide, and the daily, up to the minute aggregation of interesting and important news. Fortunately, the system that Docudharma runs on is pretty easily modifiable to accommodate these demands.
So that’s the basic idea. While I haven’t even developed a logo yet, and am very much in the preliminary stages of setting up DP, in the spirit of openness, I am going to do something unprecedented and link to it in its infant state. Daily Progressive. Again, since the site is not presentable yet, check out the mock up I did a while back for DD.
The specifics will be forthcoming. I just wanted to give everyone the opportunity to toss around the ideas presented here.
On one last final note, I want to add that there are too many goddamned progressive websites. It’s impossible to keep up with all of them and the balkanization that results is counter-productive to the building of a coherent movement.
For this reason, I have gone back and forth on whether to even do the Daily Progressive. It is only because I believe in the somewhat unique ideas, from open source management to the community-news combo model, and the almost spooky timing of Buhdy’s announcement, that I think it can work. Or, in other words, aside from it being a pretty cool and fun site, it can work because it will be yours.
I still believe in the mob.