Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

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Markjones
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Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby Markjones » 09 Dec 2016, 20:36

Hello fellow druids!

I wonder if we have any other software developers, who might be interested in a progressive political project?

In the run up to the 2015 general election, I was making my usual case for how voting is a waste of time and only lends validity to a corrupt un-representative system, justifying my position of not voting to everyone I ended up discussing these things with. there was also a lot of popularity around Russell Brand and his sudo-anarchist ramblings, and at the time he was making many of the same points I and many others have made for years.

Then, I forget exactly how, but I was prompted in a conversation to consider what I could do about it? The election was about 6 weeks away. At the time I was working as Software Engineer, leading the "innovation team" at a large well known organisation. So, I gave my self 4 weeks to write a new application and get it out to market. I decided to write an application to allow members of the public to debate and vote on all the bills that were passing through parliament. It then compared that to how MPs had voted, and calculated how "representative" each MP, constituency and political party was of the public. I also worked out where on the "political compass" the opinion of the voters in each constituency, party, MP etc was. All of this was done by "gamifying" the political process. Giving people rewards and more responsibility on the site for interacting with it in positive ways, such as voting on a bill or setting the political position of a bill (this bill is authoritarian/liberal) and so on. I also had plans to monitor news outlets and give them political bias ratings, and associate news stories with bills. The idea being, that if I could make this work, get support, etc, parliamentary democracy would become redundant.

Anyway, I did it. I got a prototype of the core functionality with the parliamentary data coming in, my voting system working, maps to show politic leanings across the country and some basic dashboards for these features. Then I released it. I made a video on youtube to try and ride Russell Brand's wave, by directly challenging him to "put his money where his mouth is" (figuratively) and promote and support my idea. I got in contact with other people who were trying to make political change. there was a girl in London who wanted to be elected and then write an app for her constituents to tell her how to vote for example. I wrote blog posts made automated twittter feeds and really tied to launch this while also working full time.

Needless to say, you have not heard of my app! It didn't take off in the 2 weeks I promoted it leading up to the election, and then I just let it go. I still have all the code and still think it to be a good idea. and more now than ever I feel there is a need to change the system from the grass roots, get people making the decisions. I do not want money for this, And I am happy to give some time.

My question is, are there any others among us who would be interested in contributing to such a project? either through Code, contacts, support in any way?

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MountainGnome
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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby MountainGnome » 20 Dec 2016, 04:04

I would be interested in helping from back here in the states but I'm not a programmer. I'm a historian by education and I think your general idea of "gamifying" awareness of bills before legislatures and these kinds of these is brilliant. If it catches on it can really revolutionize the way we hold governments accountable for their actions, and it really does come down to holding them accountable and making sure they remember that they work for us and not the other way around.

If you need help locating resources for keeping up with legislation in a given country, whether UK or US or Canada or Australia or even non-English-speaking countries, I can try to help locate these as there would have to be a mechanism by which we could "feed" them into the software, ideally in some automated process kind of like the way an RSS feed works. But I doubt many government websites voluntarily provide anything like an RSS for legislative updates.

We could also monitor major court cases and executive decisions, as well as bureaucratic regulations.

The media would be a much tricker thing to tackle. Mainstream media has been totally discredited at least here in the US in the past year. The New York Times is literally going out of business and begging for social media giants like Facebook to subsidize them before they have to declare bankruptcy.

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Betony
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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby Betony » 20 Dec 2016, 09:55

I think this is a great idea! However, I'm not sure that the public on the whole are informed enough at present to make decisions. The MSM has such a hold on the electorate at the moment. People (in general) believe what they are told to believe. You mentioned a girl wanting to get elected and have an app for her constituents to tell her how to vote. I couldn't do that! Imagine if it's one of those areas where everyone gets given a free copy of the Sun each time they visit their corner shop. Murdoch would control the votes - yikes! What if an MP is told to vote for something they don't agree with? I don't see how her idea would work.

Personally, I like keeping up with how my MP has voted. We've got Oliver Letwin here, so it's pretty obvious how he'll vote :gloomy: but for others who have fairly unknown MPs, an app with comparisons would be amazing. From my political posts on Twitter and FB, it looks like most people don't have a clue about the MP they put in power.

I'm going to have to go looking for your video on youtube. I think we need to release ourselves from the stranglehold that the MSM have over us first, but your idea is very interesting.

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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby Greybeard » 21 Dec 2016, 18:48

That sounds fascinating and I'd love to be involved. I helped with the initial Vote for Policies website (I provided some of the Green responses to the policy questions) and it really engaged a significant number of people.

Who have you approached recently? I would guess the ERS and Make Votes Matter people would be interested.

Stuart

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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby MountainGnome » 10 Jan 2017, 08:28

I think this is a great idea! However, I'm not sure that the public on the whole are informed enough at present to make decisions.
What's the alternative? Continue to allow the political "elites" to make all the decisions for us?

There's a trend now of people becoming increasingly involved in politics, because of all of the establishment upsets lately and the rise of populism. The establishment politicians and media are all acknowledging it and trying to find ways to limit it. Whether it was Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump in the US, or the AFD in Germany, or the Front Nationale in France, there are upswellings of anti-establishmentism in many major countries. Even China is having populist resurgences right now that are challenging the Communist establishment through their own government officials.

So I believe someone who follows trends would say that this is a perfect time to try to launch such a project, as it'd be riding on a wave of populist sentiment and increasing participation of people in grassroots political movements again and would help build on that.

People aren't buying MSM anymore because they've all discredited themselves repeatedly. Polls and surveys all show this, and companies like the New York Times are literally going out of business. NYT profits at the end of 2016 were 95% down from the previous year. They went from something like over $9 to less than half a million in profit, just in the course of a single year. So this is really a media revolution. You mention YouTube, and a lot of people are actually getting their news from there. I get most of my news from YouTube channels that I've subscribed to.


Considering the whole left/right paradigm that most people seem to have become fairly sick of lately, I think there's also lots of room for new political ideas (or even renewals of old political ideas) to be highlighted again in these "alternative" media projects. I say "alternative" in quotes because really this is the new mainstream media, since the legacy media has lost its credibility with the younger generations coming up who all use social media and are averse to anyone trying to blatantly sell them ideas.


I don't check in here terribly regularly but if anything comes up where there is a place for us to jump in and start contributing, let us know or drop me a PM or something so we can get in touch about this.

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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby DJ Droood » 10 Jan 2017, 23:01

Whether it was Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump in the US, or the AFD in Germany, or the Front Nationale in France, there are upswellings of anti-establishmentism in many major countries.
Because nobody says anti-establishment louder than billionaire fascists and white nationalists!
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MountainGnome
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Re: Anyone interested in a progressive political project?

Postby MountainGnome » 18 Jan 2017, 07:06

Because nobody says anti-establishment louder than billionaire fascists and white nationalists!
Whether you like it or not it is in fact what has been happening in many countries around the world. If you want to change something then getting involved in reasoned political discussions and becoming active on a grass-roots level is probably going to be more productive than calling people names.

Then again I don't see much of a grass-roots kind of movement developing for any establishment politicians, so maybe that would just be pointless. I'm not a socialist but even Bernie Sanders had a lot more enthusiasm going for him than the person he was fraudulently displaced by, ie she-who-shall-remain-nameless.


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