Friday, June 06, 2003

The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head

business :: management

Sam Jaddalah sent this to me the other day; I have been travelling in
Germany, so I haven´t had the chance to check my mail until now.
However, this article is well worth taking the time during vacation to
submit a weblog entry.

Here´s a tantalizing quote:

"There is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation.
Instead, it is a new form of international player, constituted by the
'will of the people' in a global social movement. "

Super power:

"This body has a beautiful mind. Web connections enable a kind of
near-instantaneous, mass improvisation of activist initiatives. For
example, the political activist group, which specializes in
rapid response campaigns, has an email list of more than two million
members. During the 2002 elections, raised more than
$700,000 in a few days for a candidate's campaign for the US senate. It
has raised thousands of dollars for media ads for peace -- and it is now
amassing a worldwide network of media activists dedicated to keeping
the mass media honest by identifying bias and confronting local

What I find interesting (maybe even extra ordinary) about this is
that is puts people in the same place as huge corporations -- the
ability to mobilize federal/policatal/legislative bodies in our country
with the same lever (the only lever?): cash.

Another intersting quote:

"Meta-blogging sites crawl across thousands of blogs, identifying
popular links, noting emergent topics, and providing an instantaneous
summary of the global consciousness of the second superpower."

To this quote,

"Thus the new superpower demonstrates a new form of 'emergent
democracy' that differs from the participative democracy of the US
government. Where political participation in the United States is
exercised mainly through rare exercises of voting, participation in the
second superpower movement occurs continuously through participation in
a variety of web-enabled initiatives."

I would like to add the following: yes it differs, but it also
provides a means by which the PEOPLE can become as effective
participants in the legislative and political process as big business
and other powerful key players in government.

This makes me think of some of Frank Herbert's non-Dune science fiction works:

"The symbol of the first superpower is the eagle -- an awesome predator
that rules from the skies, preying on mice and small animals. Perhaps
the best symbol for the second superpower would be a community of ants.
Ants rule from below. And while I may be awed seeing eagles in flight,
when ants invade my kitchen they command my attention."

Okay, here he hits the bone I am picking:

"Deliberation in the first superpower is relatively formal -- dictated
by the US constitution and by years of legislation, adjudicating, and
precedent. The realpolitik of decision making in the first
superpower -- as opposed to what is taught in civics class -- centers around
lobbying and campaign contributions by moneyed special interests -- big
oil, the military-industrial complex, big agriculture, and big drugs -- to
mention only a few."

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