Hamish Alcorn's blog
Merry Christmas to all at Your Democracy...
What are we to do
with this site in the new year? My thoughts are that it should be taken
off my hands. I've been inconsistent in maintaining it at best, and am only getting busier with Webdiary.
John, Richard, Gus? You are the core of the continuation here. Nigel, David? You built this site. What do you guys want to do? This thread is for that discussion.
... and a beaut new year to all.
Recently, the US decided not to hand over the ICANN activities to the independent body. They cite 'security and stability' as their reasons for retaining control of the main Internet root servers. Under these conditions, the US could 'remove' any tld they didn't like and stop access to those sites. Whole domains (eg .org) could be removed. If the US continues to hold control, the effects in five years time may be disastrous for independent thinker/activists who use the web for grass roots democratic purposes. Yikes.
Last night Pegasus brought the news to this website of the Liberal "backbench revolt". Some discussion has already ensued, but the 'Strategy II' thread is all over the place so this is a thread to which that discussion can move.
It's the sort of opportunity that we have to seize immediately or not worry about. As I published on the other thread, here are the four backbenchers who deserve our congratulations and encouragement for standing against the Howard government on a moral issue, and one that is deeply disturbing for democracy. That is, mandatory detention, especially of families and children.
Is this an ingenious use of framing or a lame resort to popular culture? I put the question because I am genuinely wondering. I have echoes of Liv Tyler asking, "Where is the ring-bearer?" Is this just a liberal version of escape?
Pegasus initiated a discussion on Powerup about options of Your Democracy and Powerup working together.
I'm hoping he doesn't mind that I didn't agree with his conclusions entirely, but I think there's some interesting issues raised about how we see ourselves as citizens/activists/whatever on the internet.
So below is an extract from my reply to Pegasus, so that we may discuss this here if we like, as well as on Powerup.
As I've said before, Powerup is the place to go for those Not-Happy-John!ers who feel that a new political party - some sort of 'party of independents' perhaps - is the way to go. Please don't take this to mean I don't think you should stop engaging in this site, or even vigorously arguing the case for developing a new political party. Your Democracy is for everybody.
Alex Hawk, the National President of the Young Liberals, wants to cull the wets from the flock, and send them to Greener pasture. On the latter point, I think he's right. The left of the ALP should do the same.
I received the below from a North East Forest Alliance list I'm on.
NEFA is close to my heart because it was with NEFA in the 80s that I became an activist and very politicised. And this was just a very YD sort of idea. I publish this with permission from the author George Woods.
I want to have some stickers made. (I have about 10 Not Happy John! stickers left). Here's a couple of ideas. If you have any designs, email them to me by feedback.
Thirty peaceful protesters on bicycles today took to the streets of Brisbane to protest against the obscene waste of money that our City Coucil is squandering on a tunnel under the Brisbane River. They will be building a 5.5 km tunnel under the river just for cars (no trucks, no buses and no bicycles).
Should an Australian scientist really help develop brand new biological weapons? I found this a little disturbing.
It's been suggested that we have a regular time for the Chat Room. It certainly doesn't get used much, and until we get a good Instant Messenger system it's the only way we can actually touch base with one another.
To start I'm making a habit of being in the chatbox when I'm on line so people can come and say 'hi'.
Also, to start with, I'll start tonight and commit to being there every Tuesday from about 6.30pm. Please join us.
Below is the best part of an email I just recieved from Edgar Cook of the Digital Archiving Section of the National Library. Obviously I just want to say yes, but I have emboldened the part which I'd like people to read. Essentially I'm asking, in a general way, for people's consent that their comments be archived in perpetuity. If anyone knows anything about the law that I should, let me know also.
Dear Mr Alcorn
Request for permission to archive Your Democracy web site
The National Library of Australia aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure that Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future. The Library has traditionally collected items in print, but it is also committed to preserving electronic publications of lasting cultural value.
In the coming period we need a method to shadow individual MPs from issue to issue, as Howard's only check on power is the possibility of a Senator crossing the floor. Although Howard has more power than ever, he relies on the complete solidarity of his Senators, and Liberal solidarity has looked better.
As a tool to achieve this the Dome of Conscience shows great promise. It is a place where individual MPs and candidates can make their views known from issue to issue. So if a politician makes a public statement about an issue, I think we should get in the habit of telling that politician to place the view in this transparent, public domain.
I'm keen for us to begin the development of Pollie-Watch with Senators. Senators are not only a smaller target for us to begin with than Lower House MPs, but in the coming political season they will be stategically paramount. With Howard only just controlling the Senate, every Senator's view is relevant, from issue to issue.
We need to develop the software, the organisational infrastructure and technique, and at the same time the culture and etiquette of these online systems of civic activity. We need to find ways for freedom of expression to work with accountability and courtesy. We need to find ways for directionality and purpose to emerge from the chaos of open dialogue on an innumerability of issues and concerns. We need to find ways for there to be equity and access without sacrificing constitutional integrity to the whims of organised saboteurs or usurpers.