Articles

Civicist: How Scientist-Activists Persuaded Their Peers to March

The March for Science in April was a coup for organizers: 600 marches around the world; an estimated 1.3 million marchers; and more than 300 organizational partners, from the Paleontological Society to the Center for Biological Diversity to the Consortium of Social Science Associations. But for one of the organizers, the biggest coup was finding the right messaging to unite a group of people and organizations famously allergic to the appearance of partiality. Read more…

Civicist: How the Crowd Could Help Keep Zinke Accountable

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke says he wants to be neighborly.

In late April, President Trump ordered the Department of the Interior to review the National Monuments created or enlarged by the Antiquities Act—27 National Monuments in all—with an eye to shrinking or even eliminating some of them. Shortly after, the Department announced that they would give Americans the opportunity to voice their opinion during a public comment period. In the press release Secretary Zinke said he wanted to be a “good neighbor” by “listening to the American people who we represent.”

More than 1.4 million comments poured in between May 11 and July 10, and now that the comment period is over, The Wilderness Society wants to ensure that Secretary Zinke follows through on his promise. The organization has asked their supporters to participate in a crowdsourced audit of the comments to see where Americans’ sentiments lie. The audit will also use machine learning to assess the remainder of the 1.4 million comments that volunteers can’t get to themselves. Read more…

Civicist: Coding for a World Run by Liquid Democracy, Powered by Blockchains

What a time to think outside the nation-state, as North Korea taunts “American bastards” with intercontinental ballistic missiles; as the Trump administration escalates immigration arrests to an unprecedented rate; as migrants and refugees pour into Central and Eastern Europe; as the United Kingdom trudges towards Brexit. It is a time to long for an alternative government, and to despair of one. Read more…

Civicist: Action Network Puts the Ladder of Engagement on Autopilot

Action Network, the progressive technology non-profit described as the “backbone” of the Resistance, launched a new feature today that automates many of the discreet components of digital organizing. Called “Ladders” in a nod to the “ladder of engagement” organizing model, the tool lets digital organizers design a campaign, set certain conditions—like signing a petition—which trigger certain responses—like emailing an invitation to contact your congressperson—and then sit back and relax. Although for-profits in the commercial space have long used similar tools to poke and prod consumers into buying things, Action Network says Ladders is the most sophisticated example in the online organizing space. Read more…