Help us continue the incredible growth to reclaim our democracy. Fancy new servers will make it fast and simple! http://thndr.it/1iHEYSo
I have this domain name which will expire in a couple days. If you know to what it refers, then you’re in the small set of people who might find it useful. If you are, and you want it, email me at lessig at pobox dot com with a description of how you’d use it? No offers of money. I’ll determine to whom it can go by midnight the 16th.
We have crossed the $1 million mark, less than two weeks into our campaign. We’ll publish the statistics tomorrow, but more than 10,000 people have made this possible, with contributions averaging under $100. It is amazing and humbling both, and the duty now shifts to me to produce the match. Stay tuned. And thank you to everyone who expressed in this uniquely authentic way that they believe it’s possible to reclaim a democracy.
Amazingly, wonderfully, “this-is-the-Net”-ily, we are 90% to our $1 million goal. It would be INSANELY powerful if we could finished this by 5:30p (EST). Endlessly grateful for everything everyone has done so far, but if we could raise the final $100k in the next 24 hours, it would repay itself enormously. If you can, pledge at MayOne.US and please spread this as broadly as you can. Few thought we could do this in 30 days. No one thought we could do it in 13. Let’s prove no one — or rather everyone — wrong.
Ok, so everyone of my messages to anyone at MIT is being blocked as “spam content.” No links, just simple email to people I know personally. The tyranny of code.
We’re 11 days into the launch of the citizens’ funded MaydayPAC. We’re about $150,000 from our $1M goal (for super-secret reasons, I REALLY want us to cross on Tuesday, before 5:30pm). And we can now describe a bit of who “we” are — at least in the sense of our donor demographics.
As of $811,231.20, we were:
Minimum pledge: $1
Maximum pledge: $5,000
1st Q: $25.00
3d Q: $100.00
My favorite exchange: A guy writes to say that if we’re going to hit our $1m before May 30, and so would charge his credit card before June 3, could we please reduce his pledge from $15 to $5, because he won’t have the money before June.
Please help if you can.
It looks as though we’re going to make it. When we meet our $1 million mark, and I secure and announce the match, we will launch the second (and much more difficult) stage of the project — to kickstart $5 million.
To run that stage effectively, we need a (real) CEO (as opposed to me). We have a number of great leads already, but I’ve set up this Google form to invite other applications. We need to move quickly, so if you know someone (including yourself!) who might be ideal, please send along this url: bit.ly/MaydayPAC-CEO
And to be clear: I stand by my commitment that 100% of the money raised through our crowdfunding campaign will fund electoral campaign work. We are covering the other costs (as tiny as we can keep them) through other fundraising.
Thanks for any help.
One question I’ve gotten again and again from people I respect and even more, like, is how does the MaydayPAC relate to the work of others? What is it adding? And, most pressingly, why add something new? “Why don’t just try to create one organization,” I’ve been asked again and again, “so everything can be coordinated?”
I’ve been in this field for seven years. That makes me a newcomer, as most of the leaders are people who have been fighting for this cause for decades. Their work is, and has been, incredibly important in bringing Americans around to recognizing the urgent need — indeed, increasingly urgent need — to rescue our democracy from the corruption it now suffers. I admire this work, even where I don’t agree with it. Indeed, as I told the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign last Friday, though I don’t agree with the specific means of MoveToAmend.org, for example (state resolutions asking Congress to act seem too timid to me), I don’t think any national movement has done more than they and their allies to recruit citizens to this cause.
One group is particularly close to our plan — Friends of Democracy. Started by Jonathan Soros, in 2012 it intervened successfully in half a dozen races. In 2014, it wants to intervene in more, though in a relatively modest amount. If it succeeds, then it will expand its work in 2016. And if succeeds, again, it will continue to grow towards a goal of an across the board victory by 2021.
Soros is a unique and incredibly valuable ally in this fight. Not because of his name, or his family’s wealth, but because of his almost single minded focus and energy, something that this movement desperately needs. He was a student of mine. As a student, he presented to me a plan for fixing the way campaigns are financed. That was long before I started my own work in this area. And his plan is exactly the form that I endorsed in my book, Republic, Lost.
We have no differences — at least among the main players in this field — about what we’re trying to do. Some are trying to do more than others — either procedurally more (as in some want to amend the Constitution, others not) or substantively more (some want a more radical change in America than just corruption reform). But we are all aiming for at least the same first steps: a Congress that will pass fundamental reform.
The work of the MaydayPAC will only complement the other existing work to this end. Friends of Democracy will be in more races than we will be in 2014, but at lower amounts. If they’re right, that’s great news. It means we can make more progress in 2016 with less money raised. But if they’re not right, then having a more aggressive strategy at play in at least five districts will tell us whether this strategy is winnable at all. Many experiments, many eyes, till we find the one that works.
All this leads many to ask again and agfain, Why not just one organization?
I’m against the one organization model for reform. I am against the idea of this movement finding its King (as in MLK) or Gandhi. The reasons are many, but here are a few:
- We are a partisan nation, yet this movement must, in the end, be cross partisan. We need conservatives as well as liberals, Democrats as well as Republicans and Independents. But any single organization will eventually be seen to tilt to one side or the other. That would kill this movement.
- We need many ideas, not a single plan. We need many leaders to inspire many different groups, not a single person who presumes to speak for a reform nation. The reason is related to the previous point: We are different, we Americans. We will be inspired and led by different sorts. Indeed, we will be led best if the structure of this movement invites citizens to lead themselves. Self-generated clusters of support are more powerful and effective than single armies, however well armed. Think: the Americans vs. The Redcoats in the Revolution.
- We have different ideas, and the test for those ideas shouldn’t be a vote of a central committee, but proof in play. The world is such that we can try a thousand ideas, and see which ones work. And we should encourage that experimentation, so long as the experimenters embrace the humility that uncertainty teaches: None of us know what will work, because none of us have done this before. The experts are moving small-bore reforms on Capital Hill are not the experts for this movement. The experts are simple mass organizing are not the experts for this movement either. There are no experts: There are many different souls trying many different ideas. And in my view, we need many many more.
But won’t “many many more” dissipate our resources? Shouldn’t we concentrate our efforts so that we can deploy our troops better?
Here again, I disagree with the model. It’s like saying you shouldn’t be kind to this person, because that will dissipate your capacity to be kind to someone else. Wrong. Kindness begets kindness. And mobilizing people to this cause increases our ability to mobilize people to this cause.
I know from the results so far that our MaydayPAC has brought in all sorts of people who say that they have never engaged in anything political before. That makes all of us stronger; that makes this movement stronger. We should be encouraging random acts of organizing, because that will make the ultimate act of organizing that much easier.
But if all that is tl;dr, then here’s one final argument, offered by mentor, the kid who inspired me to give up what I was doing, and turn to this. Speaking of the victory in SOPA, here’s what aaronsw said:
If the Internet is out of control, and if we’re going to use that out-of-control-ed-ness to win, we need to practice Aaron’s ethic. If we do, we will win.
Last week the was the best of times, and the worst of times.
We launched our citzens’ funded “superPAC to end all superPACs” on May 1. The target was $1m in 30 days. In two days we had crossed $200k. (Best of times.)
And then the servers melted. (Worst of times.)
But over the weekend, an extraordinary group of geek volunteers stepped up to help, and they’ve now rebuilt the core architecture that enables our pledge engine to work. It will scale. It will carry whatever burden we create.
So we’re ready to launch stage 2.
At noon, close to 6 million messages to social media will hit, driving people back to the newly built site. And if we’re lucky (and the Republic’s lucky), we can restart the incredible momentum, and get to our 30 day target early.
Please help if you can. Pledge at Mayone.US. Join the Thunderclap (before noon) here. And best of all: share this idea as broadly as you can. 100% of what we raise in this crowd-funded kickstart will go to reclaiming a democracy working for all its citizens. Help us reach for that ideal.
Dear Mr. Lessig, I was/am inspired by your TED talks. (I'm a TEDActive-ist.) I co-founded a nonprofit startup accelerator and serve on the Mayor's Innovation & Tech Advisory Board for Houston. Three years ago, I decided to "run FROM office" - friends said I should run for office, but I didn't want to win. After your talk, I now want to run in order to prove something: We CAN take the money out of politics. I want to run an all-volunteer, crowdsourced, non-corporate-funded campaign. Any advice?
I admire your courage. We need people like you in government. I think it is more likely we win just by getting people elected who are committed to the right reform. But if you can win outside the system, that would be really important.
I am bringing this to Calgary, Alberta Canada. Thank you for your inspiration and may you continue to create hope for a egalitarian society. Best regards, Kati Adara
What do you mean both left & right of the Govt. Are you trying to go against Abortion reform or the gains for women that have been made.
No. There are important difference between left and right on a host of issues. But we’re focused on one where there shouldn’t be a difference — the corrupting influence of money in politics.
We’re gearing up for tomorrow, Monday, when we fire the second stage of this "all or nothing" pledge campaign to build a citizens’ funded “SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs.”
We’re almost at 4 million for the Thunderclap campaign. Please join if you haven’t, and if you haven’t yet, please pledge at MayOne.us. The site is functioning (well) and we’re eager to make sure it is functioning perfectly before tomorrow.
We’ve spun a lot of cycles to get this system to scale. But my pledge remains firm: 100% of the money raised through these kickstarts will go to fund reform campaigns.
Thanks again for you help.