Description: "Extreme democracy is a political philosophy of the information era that puts people in charge of the entire political process. It suggests a deliberative process that places total confidence in the people, opening the policy-making process to many centers of power through deeply networked coalitions that can be organized around local, national and international issues. The choice of the word "extreme" reflects the lessons of the extreme programming movement in technology that has allowed small teams to make rapid progress on complex projects through concentrated projects that yield results far greater than previous labor-intensive programming practices. Extreme democracy emphasizes the importance of tools designed to break down barriers to collaboration and access to power, acknowledging that political realities can be altered by building on rapidly advancing generations of technology and that human organizations are transformed by new political expectations and practices made possible by technology.
Extreme democracy is not direct democracy, which assumes all people must be involved in every decision in order for the process to be just and democratic. Direct democracy is inefficient, regardless of the tools available to voters, because it creates as many, if not more, opportunities for obstruction of social decisions as a representative democracy. Rather, we assume that every debate one feels is important will be open to participation; that governance is not the realm of specialists and that activism is a critical popular element in making a just society.
Extreme democracy can exist alongside and through co-evolution with the representative systems in place today; it changes the nature of representation, as the introduction of sophisticated networked applications have reinvented the corporate decision-making process. Rather than debate how involved a citizen should be or fret over the lack of involvement among citizens of advanced democracies, the extreme democracy model focuses on the act of participation and assumes that anyone in a democracy is free to act politically. If individuals are constrained from action, they are not free, not citizens but subjects.
The basic unit of organization in an extreme democracy is the activist, a citizen engaged with an issue of concern about which they are willing to invest their time and effort to evolve relevant policy, whether at the local, state, national or international level. They engage their fellow citizens seeking support rather than demanding it at the point of a gun. Small groups of activists have changed the world repeatedly and at every stage in history. Martin Luther was an ecclesiastical political activist and Martin Luther King was a civil rights activist. Gandhi was a political activist, just like Benjamin Franklin and Nelson Mandela, though Franklin finally advocated a violent break with England and Mandela laid his guns down before he successfully ousted the apartheid government of South Africa.”
Extreme Democracy, edited by Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe, 2004
“The book entitled Extreme Democracy began with a series of discussions using combined modes (teleconference, online chat, wiki) considering the current state of democracy and the democratic potential of social democracy. This led to the creation of a white paper called 'Emergent Democracy' by Joichi Ito and other collaborators. It also inspired Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe to assemble a collection of writings about politics and technology called Extreme Democracy, a book that combines original and republished works inspired in part by the use of technology to influence 2004 political campaigns.”
This seminar series was a discussion of the book in 2004. Where presentation documents were used for the discussion, these are linked:
1. Context: A presentation on First Democracy: The Challenge of an Ancient Idea, Paul Woodruff, Oxford University Press, 2005 and The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Michael Novak, Madison Books, 1982. This will provide the framework into which extreme democracy must exist. – Paul Schumann
Extreme Democracy: Platform
2. Overview & History of Development of Extreme Democracy: The book, Extreme Democracy, edited by Mitch Ratcliffe & Jon Lebkowsky, 2005, is itself a product of the processes advocated by the team who collaborated to bring the book into existence.( http://extremedemocracy.com/) – Paul Schumann interviewed Jon Lebkowsky
3. Emergence, Emergent Democracy & the Emerging Second Super Power: Discussion of the essays by Steven Johnson (Two Ways to Emerge and How to tell the Difference Between Them) and Ken White (The Dead Hand of Modern Democracy: Lessons for Emergent Post-Modern Democrats), pages 90 – 100 and a discussion of essays written by Joichi Ito (Emergent Democracy) & James Moore (The Second Superpower Rears Its Beautiful Head), pages 13 - 47
4. Extreme Democracy: An interview with Mitch Ratcliffe (Extreme Democracy: Deep Confidence in the People), pages 57- 66 – Paul Schumann
5. Networks: Discussion of the essays by Clay Shirky (Power Laws, Weblogs & Inequality), pages 48 – 55, and Mitch Ratcliffe (Building on Experience), pages 67 – 89
Extreme Democracy; Networks
6. Politics & Networks: A discussion of the essays of Valdis Krebs (It’s the Conversation Stupid!: The Link Between Social Action & Political Choice), Ross Mayfield (Social Network Dynamics & Participatory Politics), David Weinberger (Broadcasting & the Voter’s Paradox) & Danah Boyd (Social Technology & Democracy). Pages 112 – 190
Extreme Democracy: Politics And Networks
7. Strategy & the Political Process: A discussion of the essays of Adam Greenfield (Democracy for the Rest of Us: The Minimal Compact & Open Source Government) & Ethan Zuckerman (Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower), pages 200 – 227
Extreme Democracy: Strategy
8. DeanSpace: A discussion of the essays of Clay Shirky (Exiting Dean Space), pages 228 -240; Jon Lebkowky (Deanspace, Social Networks & Politics) & Aldon Hays (What is DeanSpace?), pages 296 - 319
9. 6.4 Billion Points of Light: An interview of Roger Wood (6.4 Billion Points of Light: Lighting the Tapers of Democracy), pages 241 – 265, by Paul Schumann
Extreme Democracy; Dean Space
10. Activist Technology: A discussion of the essays of Jon Lebkowsky (Virtual Bonfire: A Brief History of Activist Technology) pages 267 - 275, Jay Rosen (The Weblog: An Extremely Democratic Form of Journalism), pages 104 – 110, Britt Blaser (The Revolution Will Be Engineered: An Assessment of the Present and Possible Future of Net-based Political Tools) pages 276 – 295
Extreme Democracy; Activist Technology
11. Political Tools: A discussion of the essays of Adina Levin (Campaign Tools), pages 320 - 362 & Phillip Windley (eVoting), pages 191 – 198.
Extreme Democracy: Political Tools
12. Future of Democracy: A discussion among the participants
Extreme Democracy: Future Of Democracy
This series of webinars was sponsored by Glocal Vantage Inc., Texas Forums and Extreme Democracy.