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November 14, 2003
Not just activist, not just participatory, but connected
I was at a day-long conversation about emergent democracy a couple of days ago and found myself arguing against talking about the (possibly) new grassroots as a form of "activism" or "participatory democracy." From my highly limited viewpoint, what's (seemingly) happening around the Dean campaign is better understood as connected
democracy. It's not simply that connecting lowers the hurdle when compared with either activism or participating. More important, the rewards
of connected democracy are different. Yeah, we (pretty please) throw King W out, but we also get a relationship to the others walking in the same direction. We're friends, we're buddies, we know one another by (login) name. That by itself is a powerful motivator.
Of course that sense of connection is nothing new. In fact, there's nothing older in our history than our sense of connection to others. But we haven't been trusted to organize ourselves -- i.e., to invent things to do and then go do them together -- as we have in the Dean campaign. And, more important, to talk about e-democracy only in terms of activism and participation misses that which will carry this campaign beyond Election Day, win (hooray!) or lose (deplete the Strategic Prozac reserve).
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