Open Source Party Declaration of Principle

(Flag image Philip Callas Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
(Flag image Philip Callas Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

The Open Source Party is a political movement that derives both inspiration and methods from Open Source software principles. The fundamental Open Source principles as they apply to this party, where laws, policies, and political processes are seen as a body of code, are:

  • Transparency: the code, and any changes to the code, are visible and understandable.
  • The code is accessible and modifiable.
  • Inclusion: anyone can access the code and propose modifications, which may be accepted by democratic consensus, or by executive decision in a framework decided democratically.

As a matter of scope, we limit our activity to the United States but encourage development of a global Open Source party that creates models to work in other national contexts.

Our effort is meant have a democratizing transformative effect that is fair to all. We’re committed to uses of technology to create platforms that will support our mission.

Announcement from the Chairman: Where We Are and Where We’re Going

Hello, US Open Source Party supporters!

First of all, thank you all for supporting the party.

And no, we haven’t disappeared, but we are kind of chilling during this holiday season – gathering strength for the coming year, which will be a busy one.

Goals for the upcoming year include:

  1. Formalizing our existence as a political party/organization
  2. Clarifying our principles and goals
  3. Defining and adopting platforms
  4. Endorsing legislation, candidates and political activist positions that align with the principles of US OSP
  5. Incubating some of our own candidates and campaigns by the 2016 election cycle
  6. Gaining mass membership that will make our advocacy, endorsements and so forth potent.
  7. Raising the funds necessary to run a dynamic political organization.
  8. Forming a research and educational arm that can help us elucidate our advocacy.

Our elected leadership for the coming year

Chairman: Ken Goffman (aka R.U. Sirius) @rusirius
Vice Chairman: Jon Lebkowsky @jonl
Secretary: Krist Novoselic @kristnov
Member: Ryan Asburt @ryan
Member: Kelly Bell @yarnspotting

If you have not participated in our party, here is a brief account of how we are currently operating. We use Slack as a way for a forum of communication. We can propose and vote on platform planks, resolutions, bylaws and other policy positions on Loomio. Our by-laws, that have passed, are on GitHub. Please consider joining our endeavor and engaging these resources.

We look forward to the coming year.

Ken Goffman

OSP Update #2, Krist Novoselic Advocating 4 FairVote, OSP Members are Voting

OSP cofounder Krist Novoselic spoke in Minneapolis Minnesota on behalf of FairVote. Here is an interview with him in the local Minneapolis/St. Paul paper, The Daily Planet

Krist will also be on on “Kennedy” Wednesday night at 8pET/5PT on Fox Business Network. He will be discussing FairVote’s Ranked Choice Voting plan for the United States House of Representatives. Lawrence Lessig, who is running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has adopted this as part of his reform proposal.

OSP cofounder Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius will be speaking at “The Future of Politics” conference on October 18, at Humanist Hall, in Oakland. The event will take place on a Sunday from 10:30am- 6:00 pm. His topic will be “Hybrid Politics: Left, Libertarian, Futurist & Open Source.” There are lots of speakers so the talk will be brief.  Learn more here.

Meanwhile, with new membership, OSP has opened up for debate and voting on platforms, policies and endorsements. While it may seem a bit premature, it could be helpful to add some flesh to the bare bones of the OSP principles. And it’s proved to be an excellent way of getting people engaged.

We have already had votes on proposals.We need to have a vote itself on what the rules are for passing a proposal. Some of the votes end without at least 50% of our members voting. We need to decide what a quorum is for passing a vote.

If you support our principles, join us to learn more and become engaged.

US Open Source Party Update/Voluntary Collaborationism

by Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius

US Open Source Party has started welcoming new members since posting an article titled Introducing the United States Open Source Party on Medium.  You can sign on here

Hank Pellessier has quit the Transhumanist Party (TP) and joined OSP. Hank was Secretary for TP.  Their presidential candidate, Zoltan Istvan, is riding across America in an “immortality bus” made to look like a coffin. Hank discusses his decision here.

My update of a 2011 article titled Voluntary Collaborationism (VC) also appeared on the same website. In the piece, I discuss OSP as an example of VC.

Here are a few excerpts

I think Open Source politics, with its implicit promise to make transparent most aspects of currency/capital flow, may lead us towards solutions that are robust, agile and fair to all. A platform position that might be a raw start leading towards this might be something along the lines of “Democratize the Fed.”

…cultural forms will have their moments of iridescence and, eventually, people will start to dislike them just for being around too long.  This is a manifestation of a deep dissatisfaction — an itch that can’t be scratched by cultural expressions and groovy new identities. People are (mostly unconsciously) pissed off when the new cultural thing can’t deliver real social/political/economic change and a fairer distribution of power.

Read the entire thing here


Open Source Party is not just an electoral effort

Given some responses to our first Medium piece, this segment from our original Statement of Purpose, is worth repeating:

…we aim to disperse power by way of an informed and connected citizenry engaging our public institutions so that they must respond to our voices. Our web site and mobile applications will enable Open Source Party to grow and become a dominant force in politics, providing citizen-launched initiatives, fact checking, discourse, and achieving results via activism and by pushing for legislation.

Open Source Party will also foster scientifically literate examinations of the major crisis points in our states, our country and the world, bringing together experts with common citizens in online and real world forums with the purpose of suggesting critical paths to resolving these problems.

Open Source Party intends to become part of the electoral process through fusing with or endorsing electoral candidates and fielding candidates of our own.

We believe that by being responsive to the implicit potentials of communications technologies as they occur; by being open to a diversity of voices from below; and embracing hybrid vigor in political views, Open Source Party can provide the vessel for the reform we need to open up our political system.    As we build the Open Source Party we want everyone who agrees with all or most of what we propose here to sign up as a member. In the future, we may refine our membership to exclude people with other electoral party affiliations, but for now, dual membership is welcomed.

The full original statement of purpose is here.

Bernie Sanders is Wrong on Transparency in Elections.

Supreme Court of the United States*
Supreme Court of the United States*

By Krist Novoselic

Here is a quote taken from the Bernie Sanders for President site;

“In a 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials.”

On its face, this sounds just awful—an exclusive democracy for only those who can afford it, all the while not disclosing who is paying for it. This could be the case in American politics, however, the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling (Citizens United)  is not the cause of it. To believe otherwise is to give the real culprits a pass. Lack of transparency in federal elections is the fault of Congress and the Republican Party who currently control it. In this article I will highlight how Citizens United is good for transparency in elections. Continue reading Bernie Sanders is Wrong on Transparency in Elections.

Major Parties: Publicly Funded Private Groups

2008 Wahkiakum County Public Primary Ballot
2008 Wahkiakum County Public Primary Ballot

By Krist Novoselić

Ask most Republicans and they’ll talk your ear off about private initiative and how government can stifle innovation. However, their own party does not practice what it preaches.

Our right of association is protected in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. People have a right to come together and amplify their voices. This is at the heart of what constitutes a political party and is different from the express constitutional rights reserved by the federal government itself. That said, the Republicans and Democrats—two private groups that are not articulated in our founding document—have become part of government.

My point is that we have state parties in the United States. This is a result of policy choices and not necessarily the effect of interpretations of the constitution. Continue reading Major Parties: Publicly Funded Private Groups

They Love You, Then Leave You

Portrait of Francisco D'Andrade in the title role Don Giovanni by Max Slevogt, 1912
Portrait of Francisco D’Andrade in the title role Don Giovanni by Max Slevogt, 1912

There is a story in the June 15th Intercept by Jordan Schwartz that quotes U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders regarding the 2008 Obama For America (OFA) campaign, “ [The] ‘biggest mistake’ he made after running ‘one of the great campaigns in American history’ was saying to the legions of people who supported him, ‘Thank you very much for electing me, I’ll take it from here.’”

I was Chair of the Wahkiakum County Democratic Committee at the time and recall the OFA people. I noted back then that OFA was basically a new party. They even had their own logo. Myself, on the other hand, was schlepping for the Democratic Party. Our leadership was elected under a structure that is established in the Regulatory Code of Washington. The OFA people were political appointees.

It was apparent to me that this arrangement was yet another way to stifle the grassroots of the Democratic Party — which like the GOP is effectively a State Party.

Schwartz writes, “Obama’s campaign had 3,000 organizers who recruited thousands more local leaders, who then helped mobilize 1.5 million volunteers and 13.5 million contributors.” These folks did not volunteer for the Democratic party. I took this into consideration in 2009 when I chose to leave the party and become a political independent looking for a new home. Continue reading They Love You, Then Leave You

United Citizens Moving Forward

OSPWendy Kaminer writes a good editorial in the June 8 Boston Globe regarding the Citizens United v. F.E.C. ruling. It is a good read. She points out that most of the big donors to campaigns are not corporations but wealthy individuals. Kaminer reminds us of the  McCain-Feingold law, which parts were overturned by Citizens United, criminalized showing a documentary on pay-per-view television 30 days before an election. Many bemoan “Citizens United”, however, the ruling was good for freedom of speech—especially on the internet.

Imagine if a documentary about a candidate for public office was banned from YouTube during the election season? The SCOTUS majority that struck down this provision in McCain-Feingold was keen about the convergence of television and the internet. They said,

“Rapid changes in technology—and the creative dynamic inherent in the concept of free expression—counsel against upholding a law that restricts political speech in certain media or by certain speakers. . . . Today, 30-second television ads may be the most effective way to convey a political message. . . . Soon, however, it may be that Internet sources, such as blogs and social networking Web sites, will provide citizens with significant information about political candidates and issues. Yet, §441b would seem to ban a blog post expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate if that blog were created with corporate funds. The First Amendment does not permit Congress to make these categorical distinctions based on the corporate identity of the speaker and the content of the political speech.” (Opinion of the Court p 49.)

Kaminer is also correct when she states that those who disparage Citizens United could be manipulative, “[Turning] this complex ruling to a political symbol helps aspiring reformers raise funds and aspiring Democratic presidents organize support.”

Indeed, don’t believe the hype. Continue reading United Citizens Moving Forward

Association for the 21st Century

OSPBy Krist Novoselic

The United States Open Source Party (OSP) is a national effort in context of a de-centralized political system. I have written briefly about this in my last post. This means the OSP can support candidates throughout the nation. It also means there needs to be state and local chapters of the party.

We aim to foster democratic participation by merging political association with social networking. We believe that the decentralized US political system offers many opportunities to achieve this.

Our pending bylaws establish the United States Open Source Party. These party rules provide concepts to local groups of how to nominate candidates, fuse with other parties or endorse existing candidates. I stress the word “concepts” as I see the party structure articulated in our bylaws, as a model for the new kind of political association. As local groups develop, our bind is a shared respect of the idea of open-source collaboration established in the concepts offered by the US OSP bylaws.

The OSP is a decentralized party, therefore state and local groups are mostly autonomous. For example, the bylaws allow local groups to name themselves. I would like to see an OSP affiliated group in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington State organize under the moniker “Columbia Pacific Party”. Readers should let their imaginations be guided by the needs and values of their region. The idea is for groups to organize under open-source principles of collaboration, while at the same time maintain traditional organizational structures. Continue reading Association for the 21st Century

The Origins of United States Open Source Party

First Concept

In November of 2007, I wrote a proposal for the foundation of an Open Source Party.  Political noise was being generated about the 2008 presidential election and it looked to be a dreary affair.  Most of the essential policy changes that the US desperately needed then (more desperate now) would be ignored. More importantly, systemic questions about how much power US citizens actually have to effect and carry out the policies they would prefer would not be asked.

I saw open source — with its emphasis on the transparency of “the program” — as the best popular (at least among the technologically versed) metaphor for challenging top-down politics.  We were (and are) clearly in a system in which representation is, at least, vaguely democratic (we want it more democratic), but policy and legislation is the exclusive domain of the political class and their revolving door of “expert” operatives who drift back and forth between big finance, corporate law and political “service.” These bureaucrats and consultants would continue to serve the moneyed interests and their lobbyists and the vast interlocking state/private complexes (military-industrial, big oil, prison-industrial ad infinitum). These various power centers (there are probably about a dozen of them) have so much power that the US political process was (is) in a state of abject paralysis (I refer here not to the paralysis in which the bought-and-sold politicians from the big parties fail to pass legislation, but the paralysis of the entire body politic crippled by ingrained, legacy, interlocking power centers.).

With a bit of educational assistance from Jon Lebkowsky (coeditor of the 2005 book Extreme Democracy), I also saw that open source politics need not be a mere metaphor but could be an implementable solution, with a plethora of usable tools already available and more being hacked together all the time. Continue reading The Origins of United States Open Source Party