The Social Smart Contract: An Initial Rights Offering from Democracy Earth Foundation

i. Abstract.

In a world that has succeeded in the globalization of financial assets while keeping political rights enclosed to territories, we need to build new models of democratic governance that enable humanity to collaborate and address pressing global issues. Democracy Earth Foundation is building free, open source software for incorruptible blockchain-based voting within institutions of all sizes, from the most local involving two people to the most global involving all of us. Uneven distribution of opportunity around the globe due to the perpetual confrontation between national governments has led to accelerated climate change, rising inequality, terrorism and forced migrations. Democracy Earth Foundation considers that the technology stack that includes Bitcoin as programmable money without Central Banks, and Ethereum enabling smart contracts without the need of Judiciary Courts, requires a new layer that signals incorruptible votes beyond the territorial boundaries of Nation-States. This transnational network will act in accordance with the personal sovereignty of its members and protect their human rights with encryption. In our Initial Rights Offering we offer a token called vote that will grant participation rights to every human with decision making as its main function. Our proposal introduces cryptographically induced equality: as long as any person is able to validate his or her self-sovereign identity, they will receive a corresponding share of votes that is equal to the share of every active participant in the network. We define a Proof of Identity process that avoids central authority by introducing the concept of attention mining which incentivizes participants to strengthen the trust of votes by performing simple tests aimed at detecting replicants. Finally votes get dripped to valid participants under a Universal Basic Income mechanism with a goal of finding a proper equilibrium in the historical tension between money and politics. We seek nothing less than true democratic governance for the Internet age, one of the foundational building blocks of an achievable global peace and prosperity arising from an arc of technological innovations that will change what it means to be human on Earth.

ii. Contents.

This text is structured in three parts, each aiming to satisfy a different readership target (and all of whom may reside within the same persona.)

  • Manifesto: For idealists. Diagnoses global political context and argues for a paradigm change.
  • Paper: For builders. Describes the building blocks for a system that can be implemented by anyone, anywhere.
  • Execution: For pragmatists. Specifies how to execute these ideas for impact.

We do not intend this text to remain fixed. It is published under an open source license and we welcome contributions from anyone, as our goal is for this document to be a living roadmap for planetary governance. Democracy as the ability to trust each other to the greatest possible extent is a defining force shaping the trajectory of history. Our mission echoes urgently across the globe, encompassing all of humanity: the need to make of our home a place of peaceful coexistence. The Democracy Earth Foundation has performed extensive research on voting systems, cyberpolitics and blockchain networks; we stand at the forefront of a public conversation regarding the internet as a planetary jurisdiction.

Following the example of Satoshi Nakamoto, prior to sharing our ideas in written form we have undertaken to write code first, in order to properly understand what can be done. To this end, more than 30,000 lines of code have been written since October 2015, which in turn has driven our research and the ideas presented herein. This is our proposal.

iii. Background.

We pioneered digital democracy having authored some of the most prominent open source democracy software as ranked by the GitHub community including the original design of DemocracyOS, a simple direct democracy project we created in 2012. We founded the first digital political party in the Americas, the Partido de la Red (Peers Party) that ran for its first election in the city of Buenos Aires in 2013. In 2014 we shared our experience in TED reaching over 1.2 million viewers. During 2015 and 2016, Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator and Fast Forward funded our efforts to start the Democracy Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the mission of borderless governance.

Our experience combining both the political and technological challenges of democracy led us to think and design around the notion of how we could build a political party using smart contracts, or rather a lightweight form of governance anyone can implement at a low cost. We began the development of Sovereign, a blockchain liquid democracy that enables direct voting on issues or the ability to delegate voting power on specific topics to peers over a secure network without central authority. By operating with tokens signaled on a blockchain all votes become censorship resistant and immediate audit rights can be granted to every voter without needing to provide access to servers or private infrastructure, thus making the system open and transparent for all. Our work is driven by open source software development practices and cooperates with key projects aiming to secure identity in decentralized environments including efforts from BlockstackCivic and Consensys among others.

Sovereign.

Sovereign’s codebase delivers an adaptive mobile and desktop application to voters and organizations standardizing incorruptible decision-making in a blockchain based democracy. Our aim is to continue paving the road of implementations that enable cryptographic open-audit voting and integrate our software with blockchains able to guarantee the sovereign rights of users.


1. Manifesto.

Democracy is always a work in progress, it’s never an absolute idea or it would otherwise be a totalitarian ideology just like all the rest of them.

José Mujica, President of Uruguay (2010–2015).

Current democratic systems governing societies under the territorial domain of Nation-States have grown stagnant in terms of participation and are leading towards increased polarization. Constituencies are provided with tailor-made media that satisfies their own endogamic beliefs, pulling society apart as discourse and factual debate are replaced with a post-truth mindset. This is a consequence of the drastic expansion in communication channels that shrank attention spans rendering thoughtful analysis expendable. Centralized 20th century information distribution created uniform narratives, realities and identities. The Internet has fractured them. Instances of political participation in the so-called modern democracies are not apt for information abundant contexts and have remained without change since their inception.

Bipartisan votes in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1981, source: The Rise of Partisanship (2015).

Engagement through the traditional channels is weaker among younger generations, often not going out to vote and unlikely to engage in party politics. Meanwhile online activism is increasing with social media becoming the dominant arena for political clashes. This includes Facebook and Twitter (where gossip dissemination is predominant with fake newsbots and trolling among other campaign optimizations) and emergent echo chambers like 4chan.org where anonymity led to political incorrectness or gab.ai consolidating the alt-right community in the USA. Needless to say: endogamy only makes polarization stronger, and our tribalized societies have shown a tendency to continue relativizing truth risking the preservation of resources and the survival of future generations.

Democratic processes seen during high-stakes elections are often prone to fraudulent behavior with gerrymanderingbecoming commonplace and a strong link between what the major political parties spend and the percentage of votes they win. In developing nations exploits are literal having ballot boxes burnt by large parties to suffocate the chances of smaller competitors.

This document proposes a solution that will tackle both the political and technical issues currently weakening the prospects of democracy in the world by offering an alternative that can be adopted directly by citizens and implemented using peer to peer networks. As the internet becomes the dominant force in modern politics we see an indispensable need to develop digital technology for voting that can be securely deployed in any geographical location and for communities of any size.

With internet growth reaching over 3 billion lives (far surpassing major religions and Nation-States) and the development of encrypted networks known as blockchains permitting incorruptible transactions with permissionless audits, there’s no reason stopping mankind from building a borderless commons that can help shape the next evolutionary leap for democratic governance at any scale. Even in regions where internet penetration is below 50%, the digital gap is not based on socio-economic factors but it is rather a generational divide. According to Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party: “Politics moves at glacial speeds: nothing seems to happen until suddenly a strenuous noise gets everyone’s attention. It is slow because it often takes one generation to die for the next one to take over. And today we live in a world that has the offline generation in charge and the online generation growing up”.

New forms of governance must acknowledge the networked commons connecting humanity and progressively weaken the legacy of national frontiers and its inherent inability to address pressing global issues such as climate change, rising inequality, terrorism, automation and forced migrations. Uneven distribution of opportunity around the globe due to the perpetual confrontation between national governments led to the rise of these issues in the global agenda. We believe the technology stack that includes Bitcoin as programmable money without Central Banks and Ethereum enabling smart contracts without the need of Judiciary Courts requires a new layer that signals incorruptible votes beyond the boundaries of Nation-States. This transnational network will act in accordance to the personal sovereignty of its members and protect their human rights with encryption.

1.1 Legacy.

We can consider elections implemented by states, provinces and city municipalities as democracies where we are reduced to being passive recipients of a monologue. Citizens are called in-between substantially long periods of time, during elections, to provide a basic input: essentially accept or reject players in the same system. This is the bandwidth of the legacy system that is our so-called modern democracies. Under these systems less than one percent of the population is able to vote on legislation or execute budgets while the rest are legally forced to outsource their full citizenship rights to a representing minority that eventually figures out how to perpetuate itself.

The technology behind representative democracies can be grouped in two sets:

  • Analogue elections: usually paper ballots and ballot boxes with authorities responsible for counting votes and reporting fraudulent behavior. Even though these systems are stable in developed nations, they suffer from severe lack of participation. Barriers are implemented with requirements such as the need to register to vote through an excessively bureaucratic process that ends up blocking a majority of disenfranchised voters. Authorities also gerrymander districts by exploiting survey data in anticipation of electoral outcomes. Even though these systems are easier to audit, this also means that they’re easier to corrupt: in developing nations analogue elections get subverted by mobs representing large parties that burn or ‘disappear’ ballot boxes, threatening auditors from smaller competitors and letting violence overrun the process in key districts. In our experience with the Partido de la Red running for the City Congress of Buenos Aires in the 2013 elections we found out that no effort mattered more than having sufficient party auditors to cover every district in the city or otherwise votes would get stolen. The larger an election’s territory is, the less likely an analogue system can guarantee a fair process. Further, high implementation costs end up limiting elections to a handful of days per year (if any), rendering democracy an exception rather than the norm regarding how governments actually get elected.

Territorial voting.

  • Electronic voting: proposals that deliver solutions based on electronic voting machines aim to secure the process through a digital interface yet with the same logic of few elections per year, with the net effect of new technology serving the same purpose of legitimizing professional politicians as old voting technology. Machines can effectively help avoid clientelist techniques used to corrupt an election but open a whole new surface of attack by exposing ballots to the risk of undetected hacks and foreign intervention. Experts on this field (including the Supreme Court of Germany) recommend using electronic voting machines that leave a paper trail or any alternative medium for vote proof. Another approach to secure and transparent voting systems are efforts to make voting machines open source and auditable by the public. Technology can also be introduced directly by citizens using smartphone apps to perform parallel vote tabulation to report partial tallies across different polling stations as a safeguard against official reports. By their very nature, computing systems keep logs and cannot guarantee vote secrecy. For this reason any logging of a digital voting system should be public by default and trustless, operating with a distributed ledger syncing the outputs of a shared network. In short: a blockchain.

Traditional analog and electronic elections are strictly for long-term, representative democracies with elective periods ranging from 4 to 6 years. But the underlying dynamic of these systems is that officials are pre-elected from the top-down and presented for citizens to legitimize with their vote. The argument that citizens lack the knowledge and preparation to fulfill political responsibility and don’t have enough time in their daily lives to engage in public affairs is weak on merit: more often than not public servants require input from experts on specific fields to draft legislation. As well, thanks to the Internet, mobile phones, social media and satellites, we observably live in a world full of citizens routinely engaging in debate on political issues (albeit lacking any chances of genuine impact.)

1.2 Geopolitics.

A consequence of the US Presidential Election of 2016 is that the fear of foreign intervention has become a leading threat to the security of electoral processes. But although voting machines are an extremely vulnerable target, (defcon 25 had a large selection of voting machines, all of them were exploited) foreign attacks have a simpler method than hijacking voting machines because directly manipulating votes potentially can be traced, is very expensive, and difficult to execute on a scale large enough to satisfy an attacker. A more efficient approach is instilling public fear by collapsing internet infrastructure days prior to an election in a way that can help push favoritism on a candidate that is perceived stronger than the other one. This kind of cyberattack able to trigger a shift in voter perception is nearly impossible to trace as political subversion and reveals the inherent conflict that a digital commons has with territorial democracies.

Impact of DNS cyberattack (October 21, 2016) & Presidential Election (November 6, 2016).

This happened two weeks before the US 2016 election when a botnet coordinated through a large number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices executed a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that affected Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn Inc. bringing down major websites in the US including Amazon, Paypal, New York Times and Wall Street Journal among many others.

1.3 Land vs. Cloud.

In the near future, electrons and light flow freely, and corporate computer networks eclipse the stars. Despite great advances in computerization, countries and race are not yet obsolete…

Ghost in the shell, graphic novel (1995).

The 21st century is witnessing a growing conflict between The Land: governments that monopolize the law on territorial jurisdictions by restricting the free movement of physical goods and bodies; and The Cloud: global corporations that monopolize access to user data able to track and target ideas via personalized advertising. In this world freedom is an illusion: our bodies belong to governments, our minds to corporations. Notorious battles from this conflict include the Apple versus FBI case requesting the jailbreak of an encrypted phone; or the historical dispute between Silicon Valley’s cosmopolitanism seeking flexible visas and Washington D. C.’s nationalism raising migration barriers. As this scenario unfolds, encryption plays a role of growing significance to protect the human rights of digital citizens as it can help them break apart from the cloud versus land trap.

The land: monopolies on force.

The origins of modern cryptography go back to World War II when Alan Turing built the first proto-computers to decrypt Nazi messages. Since then encryption has been legislated in the USA in the same manner kept for traditional weapons: it is included in the Munitions List of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and related software and hardware must deal with export restrictions. And even though encryption is often considered a right protected under the First Amendment arguing that “code is speech”, its defensive nature indicates that it must also be protected under the umbrella of the Second Amendment since it holds the same reasoning behind the “right to bear arms”: In an era where whistleblowers are revealing how the Deep State spies on citizens anywhere around the globe, encrypted information is the only realistic guarantee that anyone has to be protected from government abuses (and the corporations that back them).

The cloud: monopolies on data.

Secrecy is a fundamental property of free and fair elections as it is a mechanism that helps avoid coercion from those in power and prevents the risk of elections being bought and sold for money. Privacy is the best guarantee a conscious free mind has to think for itself. But on the modern internet: privacy is illusory when using Facebook, Google or any web based service. Even though Internet monopolies pretend being the gatekeepers of online privacy, theoretically Facebook can still impersonate any of its 2 Billion registered users if they ever wanted to. Google and Facebook hold the largest identity databases in the world surpassing the governments of India and China, while 97% of their reported revenue comes from advertising severely conditioning the kind of experience that users get with their technology. It is in their interest to gather as much information as possible to profile people in order to stay competitive in the attention market and both companies filter information fed to users with algorithms accountable to anyone but their own board. None of their services are really free: personal sovereignty is given away in the same way the natives in the American continent got distracted watching their own selfies in shiny mirrors 500 years ago while the European conquistadors swept their entire way of life at a whim. Uncensored, free and sovereign debates on the future of humanity are being eaten by useless likes that only help perpetuate these corporate entities. Fake news exploits (as they were used during the U.S. elections) or critical content spreading like wildfire (as it happened during the Arab Spring) demonstrates that any effort to stop international influence on national politics is futile as societies spend most of their time online. The Internet is incompatible with Nation-States.

1.4 Intelligence.

I can’t let you do that, Dave.

HAL 9000 on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The best civic tech is tech that gets used every day. Already, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have become by proxy the main interface citizens use to influence everyday politics. But the unseen consequences of giving personal data away through centralized web services can be many and with relevant implications for the future of humanity. The information architecture of how personal data is stored, shared and monetized is fundamental to understand sovereignty in the 21st century.

A looming threat is the use of unrestricted Artificial Intelligence (AI) that gets fueled by user generated content without any kind of public supervision. That was evident in a former Blackwater employee’s revelation to us on how data gets weaponized: from an office in Dubai he was able to drive and get the live feed of a drone flying over Syria or Pakistan, but surprisingly the decision whether to kill the target wasn’t made by the human operator (or a supervising authority) but by an AI that called the shots over the Internet “at least 90% of the time“. This AI was provided by a Silicon Valley company often ‘credited’ with providing intelligence services to the CIA and with having found Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

The issue on AI deciding on the fate of human lives opens up ethical and moral questions. Eventually not even human researchers are able to properly understand how an AI is behaving, becoming a threat if it is a key component of military grade technology. According to author Yuval Noah Harari: “intelligence is breaking apart from living organisms and it won’t be monopolized by carbon beings for long.” Consciousness is the new political frontier being drawn. A line between machines and humans. In other words: understanding whether we are using the machines or the machines are using us. How we structure human organizations —and govern the code running them— defines who is in charge. As the capacity of silicon intelligence matches Moore’s Law growth rates, humanity as a whole must ask itself how it is going to govern the reins of this unprecedented power.

1.5 Decentralization.

Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.

Carl Schmitt, political theorist (1888-1985).

The achilles heel of data hungry, attention farming internet monopolies is their need of a centralized information architecture. They rose as the superhubs in what used to be the promise of a web shaped network by implementing the winning solutions to the leading online use cases. But the consequence has been a privatized ecosystem: closed code, walled gardens and centralization of power in a few hands paving the way for a full surveillance society on what could otherwise be a borderless commons. When Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the world wide web protocols, pointed out the intrinsic risks on today’s internet he requested the need to draft a Magna Carta for the Web: “Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, connected communities and diversity of culture. It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.“

Centralization is the single point of failure in elections and is incompatible with democracy. In our experience implementing centralized digital voting for decisions of Partido de la Red, we detected that if an election is high-stakes (all or most members have a biased interest in the outcome), the likelihood of the system being corrupted increases. The biggest risk lies in those who are responsible for controlling servers and database integrity. We have found out on internal elections held in early 2017 discrepancies between information reported by database auditors and the logs voters kept in their local machines: manipulation in vote emission data, aribitrary modification of poll closing date, erased records and sudden ban of registered accounts where proven and denounced leading to a generalized perception of fraud in the whole process. Centralized digital democracies without any consideration for cryptographic security are toys useful for playful purposes but can be dangerous when implemented in real scenarios under fraudulent hands.

Meanwhile, traditional elections have a technique known as adversarial counting when the outcome is close to a tie. Authorities of all involved parties participate in a manual vote count. But when an election happens within a large population, adversarial counting reduces the cost to subvert it by having an attacker only needing to bribe a few authorities from a competing party to secure a result. Any kind of system that requires trust from participants ultimately runs the risk of having its whole structure collapsing if any authority is fraudulent.

Blockchain democracies enable permissionless audits.

Decentralization is a requirement of democratic elections. Without it there will always be room for corruption. Blockchains enable trustless systems by eroding the need of human authority and increasing the defenses of vote integrity with a shared resource that has scorekeeping as its main function. This permits unprecedented designs for electoral systems. With a blockchain-based democracy votes become censorship resistant and every single voter can audit an election without requiring any kind of access rights to infrastructure. By storing vote data in a blockchain rather than in private servers or ballot boxes, audit costs become abstracted and are turned into a guaranteed right for every participant. Voters are not just mere spectators but also sovereign gatekeepers of the whole process. This kind of transparency cannot be delivered by traditional electoral systems, analog or electronic.

1.6 Sovereignty.

On today’s internet, voting has still emerged as the main interaction. Every time users likeupvoteheartlink or retweet content they are signaling a preference that serves a feedback loop generating better recommendations for them. But the action won’t go any further: it’s a fake vote that lacks institutional implications. Likes in social media operate as worthless tokens that can be inflated with a single click even though they set the price of advertising dollars. Network effects turned this interaction into a metric that highlights the influence of a specific idea within a crowd, often being a tool for those in power to survey society’s needs. But the financial and political benefits of these transactions are entirely kept by the network owners.

Web voting.

Sovereign technology able to operate in peer to peer networks, validating identity, preserving anonymity, encrypting data, decentralizing infrastructure, with free (as in freedom) open source code can completely disrupt the described landscape.

Throughout history only three kinds of sovereigns prevailed: the sovereign tribe where a crowd follows a leader; the sovereign king loyal only to God; and the sovereign republic with continental lands governed under one law. Blockchains operating in cyberspace are giving rise to a fourth kind: the networked individual. It’s not a far fetched possibility: conquering personal sovereignty is already a reality for those who run their finances with bitcoin and other crypto holdings. As investor Naval Ravikant puts it: “You can cross an international border carrying a billion dollars in bitcoin entirely in your head.” This kind of sovereign act is unprecedented even for contemporaneous Heads of State.

The widespread adoption of blockchains is giving rise to a model that initially grew under the shadows of established institutions but eventually will render them obsolete. Blockchains are automated bureaucracies that offer significant financial benefits in terms of transaction costs while abstracting the need of intermediaries. They enable systems of free association that help break the political and financial coercion that governments and banks impose by restricting the right to vote or limiting access to capital. A technologically advanced society can flourish beyond territorial domains anywhere there is an internet connection with digital citizens becoming part of a new kind of diaspora.


With this diagnosis, on Section 2 we map the basic building blocks for a decentralized liquid democracy. Once the tools are defined, Section 3 proposes an implementation that focus on making the system secure and inclusive.

2. Paper.

It is the technology that we do not control the one that is used to control us.

Emiliano Kargieman, space hacker (1975).

A foundational principle of democracy is the right to be heard. Today most of the world’s population is not heard: having a voice is an accident of birth. Individual and collective voices are politically and economically silenced by ‘illiquidity’ – the marginalized are given no instruments to broadcast or amplify their voice. Modern democracy is the birthchild of the Printing Press Era: printed constitutional systems dependent on wet ink contracts and the speed of the postal service. Representative democracies are an accident of the information technologies of the 18th century.

Direct democracy vs. Liquid Democracy.

A liquid democracy is based on a dynamic representation model that works with a bottom-up approach: citizens are able to freely elect within their social graph (friends, colleagues, family) who they want to have as representatives on a specific set of topics. It is the most flexible form of democratic governance that can be constructed with digital technology, operating as a hybrid that enables direct or delegated voting at any time. There are few precedents of trustworthy bottom-up environments that led to authoritative content, Wikipedia being a pioneering case. But if history is any guide, the last time civilization faced a paradigm shift regarding encyclopedic enlightment it was precisely on the epoch preceding the rise of modern democracies.

This paper details the implementation of a liquid democracy using Sovereign, our democratic governance application that operates with blockchain tokens using a basic set of smart contracts. Simplicity in the design and language used to express this design matters for the purpose of a genuinely democratic device. No technology will ever be able to satisfy democratic aspirations if it can only be understood by an elite. As cryptographer Ralph Merkle stated:

We do not call upon ordinary untrained citizens to perform surgery, fly airplanes, design computers, or carry out the other myriad tasks needed to keep society functioning, what makes governance different? The problem is readily understood: if we give governance to “experts” they will make decisions in their own best interests, not in the best interests of us all.

2.1 Token.

An ideal voting system must be able to satisfy in the greatest possible extent these conditions:

  • Secrecy: voter must be able to cast vote in secret.
  • Verifiability: voter must be able to verify tallied vote.
  • Integrity: system must be able to verify correct vote tally.

Additionally, due to the risk that coercion through physical violence or threats in contexts prone to political violence, an option able to protect coerced voters must be introduced:

  • Resistance: voter must be able to override own vote if necessary.

In the work led by researchers Hosp & Vora, an Information Theory approach was taken to model voting systemsleading to the conclusion that a natural tension exists with a system aiming for perfect integrityperfect ballot secrecy and perfect tally verifiability. All three cannot be simultaneously achieved when an adversary is computationally unbounded, able to brute force a system if unlimited time or memory are available. For this reason we consider indispensable to implement digital democracies using blockchains. With network effects already in place, blockchains are able to verify transaction integrity and prevent token double-spending. Bitcoin’s proof of work model achieves this by rewarding computational capacity verifying transaction blocks (what is often referred as mining), leading to a network “300 times more powerful than Google’s resources” according to pioneer Balaji Srinivasan. For this reason, our design is based on tokens within a blockchain network operating as political cryptocurrency.

What differentiates a vote from money (or in broader terms: a political economy from a financial economy) is that political currency is designed to guarantee participating rights under fair conditions to all members within an organization. Rights aim to satisfy overall legitimacy in the governance of an institution. While money is the language of self-interest, votes express the shared views of a community. Political currency is not strictly meant for trade but for social choice.

Feature Coins Votes
Utility Trade. Governance.
Mining Computation (e.g. Proof of Work). Attention (e.g. Proof of Identity).
Liquidity Scarce. Guaranteed.
Signal Self interest. Social choice.
Value Space (material goods). Time (information).

2.1.1 Implementation.

Considering that value can be driven by memetic capacity, the Democracy Earth token granting voting rights will be branded with the single most important message any democracy can convey: vote.

The vote token can be implemented using smart contract code across a variety of blockchains that permit Turing Complete scripts, including Bitcoin. Our design is blockchain agnostic in recognition of a computer science field still in its infancy where significant innovations remain to be invented. Nonetheless we are working on implementing the vote token under these smart contract environments:

Also, multi-chain implementations are encouraged in the spirit of seeking greater experimentation and collaboration regarding these technologies.

2.2 Voting.

The vote token aims to be a standard for digital democracy able to interoperate with other tokens, setting a common language for the governance of blockchain based organizations. Within the context of liquid democracies, a range of voting transactions is permitted with votes:

  • Direct Vote: Selfish voter Alice is allowed to use her tokens to vote directly on issues as in a direct democracy.
  • Basic Delegation: Alice may delegate votes to Bob. As long as Bob has access to those tokens he can use them to vote on Alice’s behalf.
  • Tag Limited Delegation: Alice may delegate votes to Charlie under the specified condition that he can only use these tokens on issues carrying a specific tag. If the delegation specifies that delegated votes can only be used on decisions with the #environment tag, then Charlie won’t be able to use these anywhere else but on those specific issues. This leads to a representation model not based on territory but on knowledge.
  • Transitive Delegation: If Bob received votes from Alice, he can then delegate these to Frank. This generates a chain of delegations that helps empower specific players within a community. If Alice does not desire to have third parties receiving the votes she delegated to Bob, she can turn off the transitive setting on the delegation contract. Circular delegations (e.g. Alice receiving the tokens she sent Bob from Frank) are prohibited since the original allocation of votes from an organization to its members carries a signature indicating who is the sovereign owner of the votes.
  • Overriding Vote: If Bob already used the delegated votes he received from Alice but she has a different opinion on a given issue, as the sovereign owner of her votes Alice can always override Bob’s decision. Voters always have the final word on any given decision with their original votes.
  • Public Vote: Often referred as the golden rule of liquid democracies, all delegators have the right to know how their delegate has voted on any given issue with their votes. In the same way congressmen votes are public, on liquid democracies competing delegates on any given tag have an incentive to build a public reputation based on their voting record in order to attract more delegations.
  • Secret Vote: A method able to guarantee vote transactions untraceable to the voter. This is indispensable in contexts of public elections held within large populations that have a high risk of coercion. Even if perfect secrecy on vote transaction is achieved, user’s can still be fingerprinted with exposed meta-data. For this reason, research on integration with blockchains designed for anonymous transactions with a proven track record is encouraged. This might include a mining fee to settle the vote transaction that can be either subsidized by the implementing organization or directly paid by voters. We recommend research and integration of secret voteswith these blockchains:

2.3 User Experience.

User Experience (UX) is a critical aspect of a decentralized architecture and becomes even more important as the redundant layers of centralized architectures condense to the user. In a centralized internet architecture, the user does not own the interface or experience. In a decentralized internet architecture, the user interface (UI) should be based on the user’s perspective. In this sense, transactions get done under three distinct views:

  • Self: Using a public identity related to an individual.
  • Organization: In representation of an organization that extended representation rights to individuals (e.g. workplace, club, political party, etc).
  • Anonymous: Without any connection to a public identity.

This undertanding of SELF / ORG / ANON shape-shifting requirement highly influenced our interface and token design. At any given time a Sovereign user can adopt any of this modes to interact with decentralized organizations.

2.3.1 Liquid.

Sovereign aims to make liquid voting immediate and simple. Any friction in the process must be avoided and the delegation widget should be constantly exposed on the interface while browsing issues or looking at member profiles. For this purpose, Sovereign uses a liquid bar that permits transacting votes with a single gesture either on mobile and desktop devices.

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Houston Residents Begin Surveying Damage Of 200 Years Of Unchecked Worldwide Industrialization (theonion.com)

HOUSTON—Appearing shellshocked as they took in the scenes of devastation around them, Houston residents reportedly emerged from their homes Monday to survey the damage caused by 200 years of rampant, worldwide industrialization. “Oh my God. Everything’s destroyed, everywhere you look,” said visibly stunned citizen Chris Marciano, one of the 2.3 million locals who stared silently, buried their faces in their hands, or broke down in tears at the sight of entire neighborhoods and business centers that had been wiped out by generations of aggressive, unregulated expansion of mass production methods and transportation technologies and the resultant exponential growth in harmful gas emissions. “We’ve lost everything, absolutely everything. I’ve never seen destruction like this before. If only there had been some way this could have been prevented.” At press time, officials were urging citizens all along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast to prepare for similar emergencies, warning that the centuries of unrestrained global manufacturing growth that hit Houston could strike anywhere, any time.

Updates & Announcements from Aug. 30 – Sept. 9 (from Adrienne Fong)

Thank you for all that each of you do and for those who stood up this past weekend. This might be the last announcement for a while until some computer issues are resolved. Thank you for your patience. 

Updates:

A.  White House to Scrap All Limits on the Pentagon’s Police Militarization Program 1033 (August 27, 2017)

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/White-House-to-Scrap-All-Limits-on-the-Pentagons-Police-Militarization-Program-1033-20170827-0019.html 

B.  Nuclear Reactors in Harvey’s Path

http://www.accuracy.org/release/nuclear-reactors-in-harveys-path/

C.  Floods kill over 1,200 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh (August 26, 2017)

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/floods-kill-1200-india-nepal-bangladesh-170826230610924.html

D.  Two short videos  

 https://www.facebook.com/peter.menchini/videos/1598021330262256/  By Peter Menchini – 8/26 From Alamo Square to the Mission, SF

https://www.facebook.com/peg.hunter/videos/10209606670430325/   By Peg Hunter – 8/27 Another march – Berkeley

Occupy

~ San Francisco ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board

 http://www.occupysf.net

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 August 30 – September 9

Wednesday, August 30

1.  Wednesday 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PEACE VIGIL

Montgomery & Market Street, below Senator Feinstein’s office; directly above Montgomery BART / MUNI Station
SF

Join us at the large PEACE or IMPEACH banner.

Topics vary each week and are centered on PEACE and JUSTICE issues

All are welcomed!

2.  Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Exploring Red Power in the 1960s

California Historical Society
678 Mission St.
SF

Tickets: $10 Info: http://my.californiahistoricalsociety.org/single/SelectSeating.aspx?p=638

When we think about the 1960s in California, certain images come to mind of hippies with flowers in their hair, the Grateful Dead, anti-war protests, or racial justice organizations like the Black Panthers, Diggers, or Brown Berets. Coinciding with these historical events was the Indians of All Tribes takeover of Alcatraz Island in November of 1969. The Alcatraz occupation triggered a national movement as American Indian peoples united to fight for land reclamation, environmental protection, human rights, cultural preservation, and ultimately sovereignty under the banner of Red Power. 

This event attempts to bring together key veterans from the Alcatraz takeover and scholars to discuss the larger Red Power movement of the 1960

Speakers

Kent Blansett, Assistant Professor of History at University of Nebraska at Omaha and a descendant of five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi His latest book is entitled A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972 which will be published by Yale University Press in Fall 2018

Professor Edward D. Castillo (Cahuilla/Luiseno), Native American activist who participated in the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969. Emeritus professor and former director of Native American Studies at the Sonoma State University in California,

LaNada War Jack is from the Shoshone Bannock Tribes of Idaho. Dr. War Jack is a graduate of the UC Berkeley where she received her BA in Native American Law and Policies, her MPA and Doctorate degrees are from Idaho State University in Pocatello. LaNada presents her own missing Native history who her people are and where she is from. As a student leader, she participated in the Third World Strike at UC Berkeley and successfully helped establish the first Interdisciplinary Department of Ethnic Studies in 1969 composed of Native; Black; Asian and Chicano Studies. LaNada was also a leader of the Alcatraz Takeover 1969

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/665462880329794/ 

Thursday, August 31 

3.  Thursday, **10:00am – 11:30am, John Yoo, torture advocate to speak at “2017 Quest for Legitimacy”

  **Meet at 9:00am Union Square side of the street (across the street from the Westin)

The Future of the Judiciary
California Room
Westin St. Francis Hotel
336 Powell St.
SF

Come help pass out orange colored ribbons outside the Westin!

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has engaged UC Berkeley torture advocate John Yoo for two sessions of its  2017 Quest for Legitimacy (See Friday under #7 for second session)

John Yoo worked for the Department of Justice during the Bush administration and is known for helping to author the “Torture Memos” on enhanced interrogation tactics. He currently teaches at UC Berkeley Law School

“There can be no justification for giving a platform to someone who participated in the actual authorization of torture, a shameful and morally unacceptable practice and a crime under both domestic and international law,” charged detractors in 2011.

Info: FireJohnYoo.net 

4.  Thursday, 3:00pm – 8:00pm, Banner party – for Support of Fight for $15

Fruitvale Plaza
3526 San Leandro St.
Oakland

Come help us make banners in support of the Fight for $15 and Labor Day action on Monday. We will be painting 4 large banners and need some help! Come to the SEIU USWW office on the 2nd floor of the plaza. Thanks!

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/104591826945263/ 

5.  Thursday, 6:00pm – 7:45pm, NAFTA Public Hearing Featuring Rep. Barbara Lee’s Office

CWA 9415
1831 Park Blvd.
Oakland

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has negatively impacted millions of workers in the United States and partner countries. After years of pressure and discontent amongst communities hurt by NAFTA and NAFTA-style trade deals, trade is now front and center in the eyes of the American public.

One of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to renegotiate NAFTA to benefit working people and their families. In spite of this, most of the people President Trump has nominated to his cabinet, who will be leading these negotiations, are the same multimillionaires and billionaires who supported TPP and NAFTA-style trade agreements. 

Take action and join us at a special public hearing featuring Rep. Barbara Lee’s office.

You will hear from labor, environmental and social justice leaders as they discuss the impact NAFTA has had and you will learn what we need to do to fight back at this critical moment.

Sponsor: California Trade Justice Coalition

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/337610176691729/

6.  Thursday, 6:45pm – 7:45pm, Constituent Town Hall for Nancy Pelosi

Park Branch Library
1833 Page St.
SF

As members of Congress return to their home districts this month, we have an opportunity to remind our representatives whose interests they work for: ours. Our congressional representative, Nancy Pelosi, fails to hold town hall meetings to listen to her constituents. Global Zero welcomes you to our own town hall to voice our concerns and draw awareness to issues that matter: protecting our environment, expanding and improving access to healthcare, improving education, and pushing for immigrant rights. 

We have extended an invite to Rep. Pelosi and are still waiting for her response. This event will still take place with or without her attendance

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/117789408838816/  orhttps://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/28/18802339.php 

Friday, September 1 

7.  Friday, **4:00pm – 5:30pm, John Yoo, torture advocate to speak at “2017 Quest for Legitimacy”

**Meet at 3:00pm Union Square side of the street (across the street from the Westin)

Checks on Executive Power in the Age of Obama and Trump

Colonial Ballroom
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell St.
SF

Come help pass out orange colored ribbons outside the Westin!

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has engaged UC Berkeley torture advocate John Yoo for two sessions of its  2017 Quest for Legitimacy

John Yoo worked for the Department of Justice during the Bush administration and is known for helping to author the “Torture Memos” on enhanced interrogation tactics. He currently teaches at UC Berkeley Law School

“There can be no justification for giving a platform to someone who participated in the actual authorization of torture, a shameful and morally unacceptable practice and a crime under both domestic and international law,” charged detractors in 2011.

Info: FireJohnYoo.net 

Saturday, September 2 

8.  Saturday, 12 Noon, Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare

Golden Gate Park
Peacock Meadow
SF

Help collect postcards for SB 562 The Healthy California Act, at the Mime Troupe show WALLS

Shows start at 2pm with music beginning at 1:30.

We will be collecting card between noon and 2:00.

We will have a small table at the entrance to Peacock Meadow on Sat.  

Contact: Don if you can help: 415-810-5826 dbechler@earthlink.net

9.  Saturday, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Self-Defense Workshop for QTPOC

Willard Park
2720 Hillegass Ave.
Berkeley

Mission: 
QTPOC folx and womxn face ongoing institutional and systemic violence. While this type of violence does not always manifest itself in physical harm, communitites of color, queer folx, and womxn are often the last people to have access to self-defense knowledge and/or classes. 

Our mission is to provide a comfortable, supportive, and informed environment for QTPOC folx, womxn, and organizers to learn and practice elements of self-defense pulling from Jiu Jitsu martial arts. The workshop is intended for every(body) and for folxs who are beginners and/or folx who are interested in growing their self-defense tool box. 

Workshop Leaders: 
Marina Eskander:
Marina is a queer blaq indigenous womxn with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu…
Aside from her training in Jiu Jitsu, she is a Queer Educator, college student advocate and medical practitioner.

Dee Mauricio: 
Dee is a queer indigenous womxn with a 500 hr+ yoga and personal trainer certification  She has focused most of her yoga classes and training sessions to help survivors of rape and sexual assault work through their bodily trauma. Aside from teaching yoga, she is a prison abolitionist organizer and Ph.D student at UCLA. 

What to Expect: 
*Donation based workshop, suggested $10 NOTAFLOF*
We are committed to making this space for QTPOC folxs and womxn. We ask that if white folx and allies intend to come, to come with an understanding of your role as a visitor and ally to the space. Be cognizant of how you take up space and remind yourself this workshop is for folx of color, you are a visitor. 

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1367096196741065/

Sunday, September  

10.  Sunday, 12 Noon. 9/3 & Monday 9/4, Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare

Dolores Park – East side of the show
SF

Shows start at 2pm with music beginning at 1:30.

We will be collecting card between noon and 2:00.

Table will be at East side of show

Contact: Don if you can help: 415-810-5826  or  dbechler@earthlink.net

11.  Sunday, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Panel Discussion: Pathways to End the Police State

Omni Commons
4799 Shattuck Ave.
Oakland

On September 3rd, we’re hosting the Anti Police Terror Project, Copwatch, and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Michael Bracamontes for a panel discussion envisioning pathways to end the police state. 

Join us! Light snacks will be provided.
Immediately after the panel discussion, you are also invited to attend our weekly strategy circle, which starts at 7:30pm.

Host: Community Democracy Project and Berkeley Copwatch

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/277774736050736/

Monday, September 4 

12.  Monday, 8:30am – Noon, Strike and March in Oakland. Declare: America Needs Unions

Meet at:

1330 Jackson St. (14th & Jackson)
Oakland

 8:30am: Gather at 14th/Jackson St. Oakland

9:00am: Fight for $15 Workers Demand a Union

11:00am: Together we Rise Rally at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza 

This Labor Day, join #FightFor15 fast-food workers going on strike in over 300 cities along with community organizations and our neighbors to fight inequality and take to the streets to declare that America Needs Unions!

And not just in the U.S. At the same time, McDonald’s workers in the U.K. will be striking for the first time ever!
Join us Monday, September, 4, as we come together to demand justice in our economy!

Host: NorCal Fight for 15

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/504251759910946/

Wednesday, September 6

13.  Wednesday6:30pm – 9:30pm, Marxism 101

The Greenlining Institute
360 14th Street
Oakland

The Center for Political Education invites you to participate in a six-part introduction to Marxist thinking and action. This will be a course for beginners during which participants will learn basics about Marxist theory and practice. With the help of guest teachers and speakers we will work together to learn about:

* Marx’s critique of capitalism
* essential concepts including political economy and historical materialism
*revolutionary struggles from across the planet influenced by Marxist ideas
* local organizing through a Marxist lens
* the future of Marxist thinking and action

See schedule & Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1410365535726204/ 

14.  Wednesday, 9/6 – Saturday, 9/9, 2017 Soil Not Oil International Conference

Richmond Memorial Auditorium
403 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond

Ticket info:

  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-soil-not-oil-international-conference-tickets-33867803512?aff=efbevent

The global movement for environmental justice and a livable climate has brought international attention to the value of soils as a sink for the carbon accumulated in the atmosphere due to irresponsible consumption of fossil fuels. Increasing soil organic matter is the only practical way to mitigate climate chaos. 

Wednesday, 7:00pm-9:00pm,  Dr. Vandana Shiva, keynote speaker and beginning of 4 day conference

  See schedule for Wednesday – Saturday at: https://www.facebook.com/events/751873401662137/

Thursday, September 7

15.  Thursday, 10:00am – 11:00am, 1 Year; 5 Months – Monthly Celebration of Luis Gongora Pat

Luis’s Memorial site
Shotwell St. & 19th St.
SF

Gather with family and friends. Come hear updates. Not officially posted. Check FB page for updates.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/230409604013458/

Friday, September 8 

16.  Friday, 4:00pm – 7:00pm, All Out to Stop Urban Shield!

Alameda County Offices Board of Supervisors
1221 Oak St., Suite 536
Oakland

4PM // Rally at Alameda County Board of Supervisor’s Office
5PM // Community Fair at South Amphitheater Lake Merritt

Accessibility information: Space is wheelchair accessible and we will provide ASL translation. Please contact us if you have any other accessibility needs or questions.

The weekend of September 8th, Alameda County will host the controversial SWAT training, war games and weapons expo, Urban Shield. We will gather on September 8th, across communities, to end it & resist police militarization around the world! 

With the current manifestations of violence under the Trump administration, it is more important than ever to urge the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to end this racist, ableist, and Islamaphobic event and invest in emergency preparedness that benefits the health and wellbeing of our communities. 

Join the Stop Urban Shield Coalition to say NO to policing, militarization and state violence! Join us in resisting violence against our communities and in fighting for genuine visions of justice, safety, and self-determination including trainings and resources on: People’s Fire Safety, Earthquake Kits, and How to Be Cop-Free

Sponsor: Stop Urban Shield

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/115728319054837/

Saturday, September 9 

17,  Saturday, 10:30am – 1:00pm, Film: “Killing Them Safely, Documentary on TASERS”

San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin St.
SF

Free

The SF Police Commission will be hosting 2 community meeting in the month of September on TASER and their potential deployment within SFPD. Before then, join us at the Main Branch of the SF public Library as we screen, “Killing them Safely”, an insightful documentary about Tasers and the industry that pushes them.
We will be hosting a Panel afterward and facilitation a group discussion.
Panel participants TBD

Sponsor: Coalition on Homelessness

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/124480981531240/

Plutocracy III – Class War

Plutocracy III - Class War from Scott N on Vimeo.


The early struggles of the working class are placed under a microscope in Plutocracy III: Class War, the latest chapter in an exceptionally well produced series which explores the origins of America’s growing economic divide.

Without a doubt, the clashes between worker rights and corporate interests are prominent in today’s political and economic landscape, but they’re not a modern phenomenon by any means. These imbalances, and the wealth inequalities that have resulted in their wake, have existed for generations. The filmmakers provide a searing portrait of the brave workers who fought for true democracy in the early decades of the 20th century.

The film begins with the titan of the labor movement during that period – Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. A galvanizing presence who spent her life inspiring a working class revolution, Jones rallied a coalition of miners from Ludlow, Colorado in 1914. These miners worked under heinous conditions and for little pay in a coal operation owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Their determination knew no bounds; when the company cast the striking miners and their families out of their homes, they defiantly set up a colony of tents and continued their fight for fairness.

Their stand-off ended in tragedy. The National Guard was deployed and unleashed gun fire into the colony, senselessly massacring men, women and children. This appalling event sparked outrage and public protest across the United States.

The bulk of the film examines the impact of World War I on the labor movement, a conflict that saw the slaughter and disfigurement of a generation. The war provided further evidence of the class divide, and would propel labor advocacy efforts among all genders and races.

All of this culminated in the rise of the Socialist Party and the radical International Workers of the World organization, as well as the events of 1919, a year that saw 22.5% of the work force in strike mode.

Plutocracy III: Class War offers invaluable historical insights from a panel of historians and labor advocates. Their deeply human narrative is assisted by a briskly edited barrage of stock footage, archive materials, and other provocative imagery.

Directed by: Scott Noble

Antifa (United States)

Antifa is a radical political movement of autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist groups, including in the United StatesThey have been described as being left wing to far-left. The salient feature of self-described antifa groups is to oppose fascism by direct action, including violence if need be. Antifa groups tend to be anti-government and anti-capitalist;its adherents are mostly socialistsanarchists, and communists who, according to Mark Bray, a historian at Dartmouth College and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, “reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy. Instead they advocate popular opposition to fascism as we witnessed in Charlottesville.”

According to The Economist, the “word Antifa has its roots in Anti-Fascist Action, a name taken up by European political movements in the 1930s” which was revived in the 1990s, particularly in Germany. Peter Beinart writes that “in the late ’80s, left-wing punk fans in the United States began following suit, though they initially called their groups Anti-Racist Action, on the theory that Americans would be more familiar with fighting racism than fascism.” Antifa groups are known for militant protest tactics, including property damage and physical violence. Antifa focuses more on fighting far-right ideology directly than on encouraging pro-left policy.

History

The American Antifa traces its ideological lineage to both Germany and the British Battle of Cable Street

The first group described as Antifa was the Antifaschistische Aktion which formed on July 10, 1932 by the Communist Party of Germany. Anti-fascists were involved in battles against Benito Mussolini’s BlackshirtsAdolf Hitler’s BrownshirtsFrancisco Franco‘s nationalist army, and Oswald Mosley‘s British Union of Fascists. Outside of Europe, anti-fascist tactics were used as a model for anti-Japanese resistance in occupied-China during World War II.

Anti-Racist Action (ARA), which came from the punk and skinhead scene of the late ’80s, is the main precursor of many if not most contemporary US antifa groups. Other antifa groups in the US have other genealogies. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a group called the Baldies formed in 1987 with the intent to fight neo-Nazi groups directly.

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifa_(United_States)

TED talk: When workers own companies, the economy is more resilient


Another economic reality is possible — one that values community, sustainability and resiliency instead of profit by any means necessary. Niki Okuk shares her case for cooperative economics and a vision for how working-class people can organize and own the businesses they work for, making decisions for themselves and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxCrenshaw, an independent event. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Niki Okuk · Entrepreneur
Niki Okuk is working to create social and economic justice and worker dignity.

San Francisco Counter Protests (from Ruthie Sakheim)

Inline image 1

Here are my photos of the counter protest at Alamo Sq. Park. Actually the cops cordoned off the entire park, so the protest was in the streets surrounding the park.  After gathering at Steiner and Fell, we marched around the block and rallied in an intersection for about an hour. Then folks marched to 24th & Mission.  I did not participate in that part of the action.  All my photos were taken near Alamo Square. My estimate of the crowd was 1500-2000.
Here are LA Times photos of the SF protests.  Some were taken at Crissy Field, where some rightwingers apparently showed up and were greeted by counter protesters, including, I’m told, about 100 members of ILWU.

Joey Gibson — whose Facebook profile indicates that he manages Patriot Prayer — said the news conference at Alamo Square Park was canceled and meet with reporters at an undisclosed location saying he feared Antifa alt-left demonstration would injure him and other members of his group.

Gibson spoke Saturday in a park in the small city of Pacifica, a suburb of San Francisco, after changing the location and format of the event several times.

“Speech to the People’s University” by Arundhati Roy

Photo courtesy of Haymarket Books, publisher of “Capitalism: A Ghost Story” by Arundhati Roy

Yesterday morning the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for Justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody. What you have achieved since September 17, when the Occupy Movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language, into the heart of Empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment. As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. I cannot thank you enough.

We were talking about justice. Today, as we speak, the army of the United States is waging a war of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. US drones are killing civilians in Pakistan and beyond. Tens of thousands of US troops and death squads are moving into Africa. If spending trillions of dollars of your money to administer occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan is not enough, a war against Iran is being talked up. Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy. Just recently, under President Obama, the United States made a sixty-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. It hopes to sell thousands of bunker busters to the United Arab Emirates. It has sold five billion dollars’ worth of military aircraft to my country, India – my country, which has more poor people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. All these wars, from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, have claimed millions of lives – all of them fought to secure “the American way of life.”

Today we know that “the American way of life” – the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire toward – has resulted in four hundred people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States. It has meant thousands of people being turned out of their homes and jobs while the US government bailed out banks and corporations – American International Group (AIG) alone was given 182 billion dollars.

The Indian government worships US economic policy. As a result of twenty years of the Free Market economy, today one hundred of India’s richest people own assets worth one-fourth of the country’s GDP while more than 80 percent of the people live on less than fifty cents a day. Two hundred fifty thousand farmers driven into a spiral of death have committed suicide. We call this progress and now think of ourselves as a superpower. Like you, we are well qualified, we have nuclear bombs and obscene inequality.

The good news is that people have had enough and are not going to take it anymore. The Occupy Movement has joined thousands of other resistance movements all over the world in which the poorest of people are standing up and stopping the richest corporations in their tracks. Few of us dreamed that we would see you, the people of the United States, on our side, trying to do this in the heart of Empire. I don’t know how to communicate the enormity of what this means.

They (the 1%) say that we don’t have demands … they don’t know, perhaps, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things – a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had – for us to think about together.

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality.

We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations.

As cap-ists and lid-ites, we demand:
One: An end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example: weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations, mining corporations cannot run newspapers, business houses cannot fund universities, drug companies cannot control public health funds.

Two: Natural resources and essential infrastructure – water supply, electricity, health, and education – cannot be privatized.

Three: Everybody must have the right to shelter, education, and health care.

Four: The children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth.

This struggle has reawakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, Capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just “human rights,” and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

Salaam and Zindabad 

(thelberalgunclub.com)

‘Patriot Prayer’ organizer says he’ll hold ‘pop up’ events in San Francisco — by Elizabeth Weise

USATODAY:  published 12:57 p.m. ET Aug. 26, 2017 | Updated 2:31 p.m. ET Aug. 26, 2017

San Franciscans gathered Friday to rally against hate, with civic leaders saying the city stands for love and diversity. The downtown event came as a right-wing group said it was cancelling a “freedom rally” set for San Francisco on Saturday. (Aug 25) AP

SAN FRANCISCO — After abruptly cancelling a controversial “Patriot Prayer” rally scheduled here for Saturday, the event’s coordinator now says he’ll hold a news conference inside and then “pop up” randomly around the city to talk with locals.

Joey Gibson posted on his Facebook page Saturday morning that he would hold “an indoor news conferance at 2 pm, then will pop up at random spots in the city to talk with any citizens of SF.”

To track where those would be, Gibson posted on Facebook that people should keep an eye on his page.

This is the third site Gibson’s Patriot Prayer group has named in less than 24 hours. Originally the rally was to be held at Chrissy Field near the Golden Gate bridge.

The city had called in all police officers to work Saturday in anticipation of possible violence. On Friday city and National Park Department staff blocked off much of Chrissy Field and planned a massive security effort to keep protesters and counter protesters from clashing. 

Then in a Facebook Live video with other event organizers Friday afternoon, Gibson said he had cancelled the planned event at Chissy Field because he was worried about the possibility of violence.

“We have a lot of respect for the citizens in San Francisco and at the end of the day we wanted people to be safe,” he said.

Later Gibson said that in lieu of the original rally he would instead hold an unauthorized news conference in the city’s iconic Alamo Square Saturday.

Early Saturday morning city workers erected a metal fence around Alamo Square park, barring all public access.

No permits were requested or issued for Alamo Square for the weekend, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. The popular tourist attraction fronts onto a string of “painted lady” Victorian homes is sometimes called Postcard Row as it graces millions of postcards.

The San Francisco police department planned to maintain an enhanced presence at the park and in the surrounding neighborhoods and all are prepared for any contingencies and spontaneous events, Lee said.

Saturday morning Gibson announced the shift to an indoor news conference at an undisclosed location.

San Francisco police have been scrambling to keep up with the changes. The city had been bracing for as many as 12 counterprotest events. These ranged from a march from the Castro district led by drag queens to a flotilla of paddle boarders off the shore of Chrissy Field to a family-friendly protest at Golden Gate Park’s Hall of Flowers.

A separate “No to Marxism” in Berkeley scheduled for Sunday event was canceled by its organizer Friday, who urged on her Facebook page that no one attend.