Barack Obama and Participatory Democracy
A New American Revolution
Barack Obama was an interesting and enigmatic man when he ran for president and he remains an enigma today.
Mysteries abounded and they still abound about this man, our president.
What does he want?
What is he trying to do?
Although mystery surrounds Obama like a swarm of gnats he has actually been very clear about his plans. For some reason most people have failed to hear or to heed.
He said he wanted to fundamentally transform this country and his audience roared their approval.
What is the nature of this change, this transformation?
The key term is PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY. According to Michael Hauben in a paper written at Columbia University, the revolutionary group, Students for a Democratic Society, were interested in establishing a democracy in the United States in which citizens could participate directly in decision making.
Do the majority of Americans want a revolution? A new constitution?
SDS and the Need for Participatory Democracy
The early members of SDS found a real problem in American Society. They felt that the United States was a democracy that never existed, or rather which was transformed into a representative system after the constitutional convention. The United States society is called a democracy, but had ceased being democratic after the early beginnings of American society. SDS felt it is crucial for people to have a part in how their society is governed. SDS leaders had an understanding of democratic forms which did not function democratically in the 1960's nor do they today. This is a real problem which the leaders and members of SDS intuitively understood and worked to change.
An important part of the SDS program included the understanding of the need for a medium to make it possible for a community of active citizens to discuss and deate the issues affecting their lives. While not available in the 1960's, such a mediuim exists today i the 1990's. The seed for the revival of the 1960's SDS vision of how to bring about a more democratic society now exists in the personal computer and the Net. These seeds will be an important element in the battle for winning control for people as we approach the new millennium.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 INTERNET PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY UNDER OBAMA
http://www.change.gov/ transitional website and the prospects of internet technologies broadening participatory democracy under an Obama administration. - Editor
Under Obama, a newly interactive government?
The president-elect aims to use the Internet to make government more participatory. By Alexandra Marks Staff writer / November 13, 2008 edition New York Source: http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2008/11/13/under-obama-a-newly-interactive-government/ Want to give Barack Obama a piece of your mind about what’s wrong with the United States government? Just go to www.change.gov and click on “Share Your Ideas.
Another thing not widely recognized is that the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela was a revolution of change and transformation. The words participatory democracy occur 90 times in the new Venezuelan constitution.
The man Barack Obama didn't "pal around with," Bill Ayers and his son, Chesa Boudin, were active participants in helping to design an education system to teach Venezuelans to participate in government.
Bill Ayers: This is my fourth visit to Venezuela, each time at the invitation of my comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice. Luis has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and I’ve come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggle—I look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane. Thank you, Luis, for everything you’ve done.
I also thank my youngest son, Chesa Boudin, who is interpreting my talk this morning and whose book on the Bolivarian revolution has played an important part in countering the barrage of lies spread by the U.S. State Department and the corrupted Northamerican media.
By John Kamensky
President Obama issued a memorandum on Transparency and Open Government following his inauguration in early 2009. The memo outlined his commitment to greater transparency, increased citizen participation, and more collaboration. This commitment acknowledges that government cannot solve by itself the challenges facing our nation.