Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | June 1, 2015

Innovation 4 Democracy : Civic Hackathon at City Hall

Want to invite the community of Friends, to join our renewed Innovation 4 Democracy hackathons in Seattle that lapsed after many years of my absence of Leadership.
This Civic Hackathon Day for Democracy, is for civic activist, futurists, hackers, technologists, designers, developers, data scientists, map makers, and all other community activists who are working on “civic technology” projects and who want to strengthen Democracy and crowdsourcing Government.
Consider this to be a study hall, collaboration, and co-inspiration to re-imagine government office hours, in order to improve your community, yourself, and your City.
This Civic-Hack-Day is for those who want to create a New StartUp with Social impact, a Social Enterprise, a Disruption of the existing Status Quo utilizing Technology, the Internet, the vibrant digital Commons, or just want to create Community and share their Activism along with those who want to impact our Cities and our Communities for the furthering of Democracy, Prosperity, and Progress.
Our Civic Hackathon is also a meeting space and a co-working Day, for those who want to find co-founders, co-creators, or doers of one or more of the following:
* Get Elected Officials who believe in Campaign Finance Reform.
* Get work done on civic projects
* Start a new project, or find one to join
* Get feedback from technical, government, or community experts
* Learn about tools for local empowerment, open data, smart and open government
* Use Open government and Big data, gain local empowerment, and push for smart and open government
And together we can do Great Things like Re-invigorate our Democracy…
We have Great Results that have proven the usefulness of our work because great Community Projects, Great Social and Business Innovations, and even great Social Enterprises have been born out of these meetings.
It was out of one of those meetings where a few years ago the great “MAYDAY” project was created. A project that aims to change the way we finance the elections and the polls for the local and national election. This is also the way to combat the Threats to Democracy and the slippery path that bring us down to the level of the SuperPacs which threaten our Democratic process and want to turn our country into an Oligarchy….
It is a Good Day to defend and celebrate our Democracy.
And History will bear us out on this Civic Improvement Project because, some 2300 years ago, a bunch of Civic minded hackers and community activists, got together to re-imagine government. They met for years and co-inspired each other to fashion a new system of Human Governance. And they came up with the idea for Democracy.
DEMOCRACY — An idea whose time had already come, way back in the day of the Absolute Authority of the Kings, Despots, and Tyrants. Still these young Athenians thought that a different world was possible and thus met and co-inspired each other, and co-created this new system of Government in their imagination. But they made it so vivid in that virtual reality blueprint that they were able to describe it to other in detail. And they went ahead and presented it to the people of Athens and managed to grow such strong interest amongst the Athenian citizens that they decided to rise up collectively and overthrow the Tyrant King of the time.
And once and for all Ages, they put DEMOCRACY to action by overthrowing the Tyranny of the hereditary Kings, and thus created the first crowd-imagined, crowd-sourced and crowd-led system the world had ever known. But to get there these Civic hackers, met consistently once a month, for 37 years, before they were able to share their Ideas with the Athenian Citizens to enlist them into their new plan to create a New World.
And they met for 37 years, under cover of darkness at nights, inside a cave, located at the chasm of the ancient Hill of the Nymphs, in today’s Philopappou Hill, near Acropolis, in Athens Greece. And they managed to succeed in a bloodless Revolution that brought forth to the World the first iteration of this new crowdsourced system of Government that was called Democracy. It is the full expression of the Democratic Executive Government and although it perished after a few years — it was reborn in America through the Revolution and through the inspired Vision of the Founding Fathers who wanted to hack the system of their day, and overthrow their distant King.
It may be hard to imagine Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and James Madison — as Hackers, but there you have it.
And DEMOCRACY survived because of the Framers of the American Constitution and it went on to thrive in this part of the world, even though it had died everywhere else.

But Thanks to Democratic America’s early Founders practical influence — this form of government we call Democracy, is now practiced in varying degrees in almost half the countries of this Earth.

But it is still being innovated upon, battered, and practiced as best we can in the Greatest Constitutional DEMOCRACY we’ve known, in these United States of America.

Of course it is practiced with a strong Parliamentary Tradition in the Unite Kingdom as well — but it is not a constitutional Democracy, rather a Monarchical DEMOCRACY. This is the royalist Democratic expression of old England. And still Democracy get practiced with certain difficulty — as the most populous Democracy of the world, in India. And still is practiced, as the most assembled, and still failing Democracy, in the majority of the countries of the European Union.

But for our purposes today, Democracy still is, our Greatest Advantage. It is still our greatest strength, as we challenge ourselves to go forward. And it is also the source of our security and Leadership, in a world where other systems of Governance always challenge us and attack us because they are certain of their totalitarian strength.
And yet these totalitarian regimes, they are not only external threats but internal enemies too, because they appear to be easier to lead, handle, and more manageable forms of governing the people. And the Oligarchs, and the budding Tyrant, along with those that want to use our Democracy for their own means that they constitute the biggest internal threat for us because Tyrants always use this argument, to usurp power as Julius Caesar took over the Republic through Democratic means and yet through devious means turned it into a Tyranny. His example keenly reminds us of what we need to do today to safeguard the Republic from those who send us to dubious and unnecessary wars in foreign lands only for their private profit. That is the creeping Tyrannical Oligarchy, we need to fight today …

But DEMOCRACY has grown strong roots here in America. And this ancient Innovation now, is on it’s Third Iteration and holding fast.
Yet we all know that there Challenge ahead.
And even though up to this day, this crowd-sourced and crowd-led Government by the People, for the People, and from the People, still is called by it’s ancient Greek name: DEMOCRACY, and need to be defended always — because it is easy to corrupt it and to get lost or disappeared from our lives.
Same as it happened 2300 years ago in ancient Athens of Greece, where Democracy was destroyed and the country enslaved for more than Two Thousand years, before it was able to regain it’s Freedom and Democratic Liberties.

Imagine having lived under the Light of Democracy and then suddenly living under the Darkness for Two whole Millennia… And I am reminding us of this because we all know that although Democracy, is the best form of Government, it also one of the weakest and easiest to exploit, because it allows the Liberty for all of us to express ourselves and get elected into office… And when you get someone into the Office of the ultimate Executive in Charge – who doesn’t understand Democracy, let alone respect the Democratic institutions, and the Laws & the Constitution — we are in deep trouble. And when the Executive is threatening our Democratic foundations, is disrespecting our Laws, and taking away our Liberty, as it happened recently with our “baby Nero” — Cheney’s bush.

That is why we need to strengthen our Democracy.

But why do we talk so much about Democracy in our Civic Hackathon?
We do because Democracy represents the Greatest Innovation the World has ever known. And because, it requires constant refinement, constant tinkering, constant updates, to keep on running and serving the People as they currently live.
And because through the power of the Internet and Mobile Communications, Wi-Fi, and Convergence — we are in the midst of another Democratic Revolution and we don’t even know it.
And because only through constant re-imagining, frequent tinkering, constant updating, and by co-inspiring each other — we are able to maintain Democracy as our Governing Ideology, and the Strength of our Republic.
And because Democracy is the only one system that brings together the people in the inexorable march of humanity forward. It takes Democracy to propel us forth toward the constant Path to Progress, toward the Common Prosperity, and Common Peace. because it take Peace generated through Democratic progress, that might ensure both the Survival of the Human Species, and that of the Human Civilization.

And please remember that Human Progress is never a simple linear progression, or a J curve upwards, but it most often take the shape of a convoluted spaghetti ball mixed up back and forth as the intertwined course of History, Time, and Evolution.

And this is the evolutionary scrambled path that has seen Humanity go through many dark times and huge reversals of fortune where all the achievements we had were erased in a simple moment of historical misfortune. And all these moments coincided with those moment that our Los of Freedom and Loss of Democracy took over the land…

Does Any One Remember the Flat Earth Societies?

And I also understand that Democracy was regenerated exactly 800 years ago with the Great Charter. Because eight centuries ago it was a group of Civic Hackers who re-imagined the World and it’s Governance. And it was these thinking Nobles, and community minded Notables, along with smart hackers, and ordinary Free people, who got together, to co-imagine, and co-create the greatest Constitutional Change we have come to experience.

And it all came together in a legally binding document the WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN — that gave us the re-birth of DEMOCRACY, this time in England of 1215. Exactly eight hundred long years ago, to day.

It came to pass as the best Constitutional Doctrine, as represented in a well crafted and well subscribed and overly signed document, that unfurled the biggest bloodless Government Change the world has ever ever known.
The emergence of the MAGNA CARTA as an agreement between the governed and those doing the governing, was Really Revolutionary and Totally Bloodless. It was a visionary Charter of Liberty and Democracy, and it was enacted as a simple Document, that limits the Arbitrary Powers of the Executive. It was presented as such, to King John in 1215 for him to read, understand, and to sign. Wisely — He did. It was from then on, that the King’s requirement to form a government representative of the people, to offer Justice, and to limit his own authority based on the LAWS, it was agreed upon. And it was this Magna Carta – an early Constitution – that allowed the King to stay in power, in order to govern HONESTLY and JUSTLY, and for the people.

It was out of a gathering of People like this, who wanted to hack the Future; that the Magna Carta was first imagined, then was created and crafted, and lastly brought to Life through the acceptance of it by the Nobles and thus foisted upon King-John, to sign and thus create the basis of our modern AngloSaxon Democratic traditions.
And that was 800 long years ago, and the signature took place in the muddy field of Runnymede, in Old England. But it was years in the making… And thus on the other side of the Atlantic today, we are called to co-inspire, to co-imagine, and to co-invent, even more potent and far reaching civic, constitutional, and communal changes.
Changes that might prove to be just as potent as those taking place 800 years ago… or 2300 years ago or whenever we were so inspired that we brought forth the Best of Innovations for the World.

And in more recent times, it was also out of these Civic hackathons that we created the Great “Hack For America” series of events — that has now become the White House’s official engagement portal “Code for America” that is the main interface portal for civic involvement with the “white-hat & White House Innovation Civic hacking” community.
It was out of these meetings that started many years ago in my Lifetime and under my banner right here in Seattle, that created some local yet great Community projects, that morphed in the Community Wireless Internet, Wi-Fi, or in the High Speed Internet Ring of the City of Seattle, or in the Wi-Fi itself.
And some of my visionary projects started in my laboratory and expressed in my “Innovation Master Class” and delivered through my “Hacking 4 Democracy” gatherings, ended up being Great Social Innovations, as Wi-Fi certainly is, for all of us individually, and for our communities today.
And the creation of Wi-Fi i a technical feat but above all else our Open Sourcing the code and the directions of How To Do this and my guidance of evangelizing and spreading the message around the world ended up being the way of the future.

And some of the StartUps that I started ended up being good and great Social Enterprise Companies like “Socrata” in Seattle, and “TamanyHall” in New York City, and “Mindcape” in Washington DC and “TownHall” in Seattle — along with several others that are now well funded and endowed Social Enterprise StartUps in Seattle, in other cities, and abroad.
So, come join our Innovation 4 Democracy hackathon, and please don’t forget to bring your open and fresh mind to rethink the world — in our Hacktivist Meetings.

Yours,
Dr Kroko

PS:
Come well rested with a desire to work the day away.
Bring your friend, your coffee, and your laptops, with collaborative software, if you have it.
But above all else please bring your Different Thinking hat on, and your willingness to re-imagine Democracy.
Make sure to bring your carrybag for your laptops, mobile phones, power supply cords, ideas, projects, maps, data, and bring your sleeping bag and friends too. Both might come handy if you need to take a nap and if you have friends with benefits too.
Feel Free to Ask here all of your questions…
Collectively, and individually — we will try to answer them all.
And we might choose to answer them, in a way that is helpful and can assist us all in pushing the needle forward.

But for now join me here at the Seattle Angels Meetup site to RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/SeattleAngels/events/221901791/

See You on the 6th of June in Seattle


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