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

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