there’s been a lot of passionate debate in the comments on this blog about the political topics i’ve raised like torture and the upcoming execution of tookie williams. i realize that politics has always been considered outside the business realm, and that many of my internet business friends feel it’s not their place to comment publicly about their personal politics.
i want to encourage you all to reconsider. we’re in the middle of a silent revolution. we’ve seen it happening in financial markets through shareholder activism which started with lbo’s and has progressed to the point where no F500 board room is ‘safe’ anymore. i applaud carl icahn and lazard for going after time warner and look forward to the day when shareholders are no longer held hostage by corrupt boards.
in fact we’ve mostly seen the revolution happening in business. it has yet to succeed in the political realm. i’ve blogged about how my friend matt gonzalez’s campaign for sf mayor showed the power of the ants (he lost by 2% with no funding); and about how howard dean’s campaign showed the power on a national scale (more donors than any campaign in the history of US politics).
here’s my argument why you (internet business friends) should start caring more about the political revolution. the universal public network has enabled massive and immediate swarming. these swarms (like myspace, the facebook, craigslist) can happen overnight, and are reshaping markets.
there is a political undertone to a lot of this. you cant empower people and avoid the question. you cant let them self govern their community online and avoid the question of offline. we already see a connection on craigslist between community values like ‘fairness’ – as in what is a fair profit for craig – and trust – being wether we should let this site house our activities.
you cant fake it. i dont know what this means for news corp owning myspace. maybe the exception will prove a new rule. maybe i’m seeing the world i hope exists, but i dont think so.
it’s only a matter of time before a site comes along that enables the ant swarm to have political power. I guess this sounds like howard rheingold’s smartmobs. I don’t know the form it will take. But to ignore the political side of sites like craigslist is to only see half the picture.
and that is why i ‘blather’ on about politics. i will follow the ant revolution wherever i see it with the expectation that one day it will be so pervasive that everyone will join in this imporatant dialog.
one last point. this opportunity goes far beyond money. our great country was freed from one form of bondage in 1776. what we all realize now is that this revolution only applied to one class, white and mostly rich. this next revolution will apply to everyone else.
do i have a ‘right’ to talk about this as one of the white priviledged class? why the fuck not? is it hypocritical of me to ‘whine’ about this? i’ll ask you, isnt it hypocritical if you’re not asking this? while i try to be receptive and respectful of both sides, anyone who tries to argue that our country offers equal opportunity to all comers is smoking crack. ‘life just isnt fair’. yeah, it wont be fair when you get shot on the street by one of those unfortunates either.
lets start getting our hands a little dirty. lets get out of our comfort zones. dare to be ‘inappropriate’. fuck your ‘readers’. tell them they get what they pay for. dare to be the first ‘yahoo’ to cross the line. take a stance. didnt seem to hurt craig.
we have so much power it’s scary. more frightening is how seldom we use it for anything that matters beyond our silly web 2.0 world.
"baby, you live in cage with golden bars"
charles bukowski, barfly