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.

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

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

Citizens Uniting

By Krist Novoselić May 26, 2015

The United States Open Source (OSP) party is in the process of developing our bylaws and other infrastructure. We are considering existing social networking tools for a collaborative interface with our public democratic process. I want to alert you to such a platform that has a lot of potential. NewGov is interesting as it asks users to pay a onetime nominal fee. This credit card transaction serves to place the user with respect to their political location. For example, by entering my zip code, the NewGov software places me in my State, US House district, state legislative districts, county etc.. What this does is to connect me with other residents of my various political jurisdictions.

This is important as we start to form the Open Source Party. As I wrote in my last post, the political system in the United States is decentralized. The federal OSP is basically an umbrella for local groups to become active in. NewGov could be a good organizing tool if we can figure out how to maximize it. What do you think?

Below is an editorial I wrote for NewGov about a year ago. I am posting it again as I believe the information is salient with what we are trying to do with the OSP. Continue reading Citizens Uniting

The Rules Matter: U.S. Parties

By Krist Novoselić

In my last post, I wrote about the U.K. election and how the first-past-the-post (FPTP) rules produced distorted results. This happened because a multitude of parties overwhelmed what should be, with FPTP, a two-party system. Still, we must ask why there are so many parities drawing so many votes in the U.K.?

In most of the free world, political parties are private groups. I offer that in the U.S., state controls on association stifle free association and have institutionalized the two major political parties. The result is a system tilted in the favor of political elites. Continue reading The Rules Matter: U.S. Parties

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.

Original Statement of Purpose

Crowd
Image by James Cridland https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Open Source Party USA is exploring an association and online effort that is a new type of political party dedicated to unifying citizens who support greater governmental transparency, increased democratic participation and a defense of basic civil liberties.

Built around the technological concept of Open Source, we see the Open Source Party as a platform via which citizens can get access to maximum information and participation in the decisions that impact our lives.

The shadowy and expensive processes of seeking and holding political power via scheming political consultants, antiquated and secretive political parties and bought-and-sold candidates have become detrimental to progress.

Open Source Party intends to overcome the current political parties’ arcane methodologies and pseudo-ideologies/distractions by using the currently available means of communication to create a unifying bottom-up political voice that can balance all our wildly diverse views while keeping an eye on our common intention — to bring about the end of secretive elite politics and deliver increased liberty and power to the people. We intend to empower citizens in a fair, free and open society in which we seek to balance values of liberty, an informed citizenry, general welfare, justice and tranquility in a more perfect union.

The Open Source movement has its roots in a culture of sharing, standards, and mutual support, even among competitors. The Open Source philosophy has demonstrably fostered innovation and growth within software and web development industries. A precursor is the sharing of patents and standards by automobile manufacturers via the Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Open Source party will similarly emphasize a cooperative and commons-based approach to governance, and will avoid the dehumanizing partisan polarization that has paralyzed governance in the early 21st century.

Using technology, our aim is to provide a powerful, collective voice to citizens in real-time with electronic communications, information tools and social media as fundamental drivers of change. We recognize a transparent, more productive and inclusive political association as a fundamental right and expectation by all.

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.

While Open Source Party wants to leave most of its political ideals and intentions to party participants, we do want to set a few policy and exploratory guideposts. We want greater governmental transparency, increased democratic participation through election reform and a defense of basic civil liberties.

As we build the Open Source Party we want everyone who agrees with all or most of what we propose here to sign on as a member. In the future, we may refine our membership to exclude people with other electoral party affiliations.