Chapter 1

Democracy is Broken When Government 

Ceases to Care about the Most Vulnerable People

(chapter outline)


Democracy is not “rule by the majority.” That over-simplification has been renounced by every respected philosopher since ancient times (cite). Instead, in arguing for democracy, the focus has generally been on how to be fair to every citizen so that all citizens within a democracy receive equitable treatment under the law (footnote here to about a dozen chronological citations throughout time). In spite of that, at the dawn of 2012 in virtually every country of the world, we have reached a point where, when it comes to enacting policy change, very few measures for fair and equitable treatment make it onto an official policymaking agenda. In response to that, from January to the end of October last year, we saw populist uprisings in as many as 950 cities in 82 countries (footnote: from this point on, in the interest of simplicity, this book will refer to this period as the Occupy movement, but it needs to be understood that I mean this to include those actions that the West refers to as the Arab Spring movement, as well as all others). These were protests where marginalized citizens were demanding changes that would restore a modicum of protection and fairness to those who generically became known as the “99%.” By the end of the year very little had changed.

It is important to note that one of the things that the protests of 2011 had in common was the extensive use of social media. The take-away is that, in spite of the fact that the Occupy movements were faithfully holding general assemblies, the social media that brought the people together had no mechanism by which these ad hoc community-based organizations could impose their policy suggestions onto decision-makers. This situation was further exacerbated by the fact that the nonprofit and social justice organizations that backed these protests were constrained by narrowly focused mission statements, which meant that each was pursuing a different policy objective. Even though this meant that these groups were good allies in activism, it did little in the way of unifying a movement behind one compelling new governing narrative. This book will rectify this multiplicity of problems by proposing a new institution that will bring all of these players to the table and allow them a mechanism of self-governing.

Organizational Statement:

This chapter will take the reader through the stepped process of building a completely new and innovative institution from the ground up through the use of emerging technology. It needs to be recognized however, that even though this new institution is revolutionary, the theory that supports it is decades old and well-respected in public administration and organizational theory. The theory, when it was introduced, was generally accepted, and the texts upon which this theory is grounded are considered seminal, but in practice it was met with barriers and obstacles that kept it from being implemented in the ways that the authors intended. This book will introduce you to these theories while at the same time expanding upon how cloud computing, social media, and virtual reality platforms are converging to enable a new kind of global democracy that is not constrained by political nor geographical boundaries. The emergence of Web 3.0, where an organization no longer requires a “work-place,” might be the equivalent of a global democratic movement where government no longer needs to be politically motivated, and can instead focus on humanity, fairness, and equitable treatment of citizens, regardless of their nationality, religion, religiosity, class, race, gender, gender orientation, or socio-economic status.

Argument and Examination:

With an understanding of the problems that we, as global citizens and social justice advocates, now face, this book can now be laid out in a sequence that is meant to build incrementally upon theory after theory as it lays out how a virtual organization, a cloud-based database of digital media, and a global community of participants can usher in a new way of thinking about democracy.

Chapter 2 will explain how peasant revolutions, have, in the past, been fairly ineffective in bringing about rapid political change, and how they have never been able to do so without the enormous loss of human life. Democracy after the Age of Enlightenment was purchased with blood, and in the centuries since that period, has continued to demand the payment of premiums in order to retain it. Many countries, in spite of repeated attempts, have never realized their dream of having it. This chapter will explain how technology might now allow protest movements to put together a governing narrative prior to, and in conjunction with, peaceful protest movements. Rather than bring about a revolution through force, this new institution hopes to build a unified governing narrative that will simultaneously allow for each community-based group to assemble a narrative that is unique to their needs, but through a relational database, allow their narrative to be knit together as part of a global one. In this way, when a policymaking window opens, and the chance for new government presents itself, a platform will already be in place upon which to build a political party and, in turn, a new government.

Chapter 3 will expand upon the idea that there is a trap hidden behind the idea of causality and the temptation to assign blame for past wrongs. Narrative is a tricky instrument to master, and as it relates to a governing narrative, it needs to be understood in terms of who constructs it, who promotes it, and who is prepared to die in order to defend it. When it comes to changing narratives, there are two choices. One is to deconstruct the old one, and the other is to simply displace it. When one strives to deconstruct old narratives it will always entail finding someone to blame, and therein lies the trap. In most cases, counter-narratives, based on socially constructed revisionist versions of history, are deeply entrenched in ideology, and worse yet, religious extremism. Asking somebody to let go of those narratives will always meet with enormous resistance, and in some cases, bloodshed and out-right war. It is far better to simply displace those narratives, and that is why this book centers on the idea of a new renaissance and a second age of enlightenment. In the most basic terms, the objective of the new institution proposed by this book will be simple: give the global community a choice between two narratives. In the 18th century the global community was on a bridge that looked across a chasm into an uncertain future, but behind them was a history of feudal wars. Placing ourselves in their shoes, to choose to hold onto their old narratives meant that nothing would change, but to choose the new narratives mean that everything would change, including the abandonment of religious worship as they knew it. We find ourselves, once again, on that bridge.

Chapter 4 will introduce the paradox of vulnerability and trust as it relates to governing, and will explain how our trust in the democratic process was violated. What that means is that we are now reluctant to expose any vulnerability. Our guard is now up, and we have little or no trust in authority. To get us through this paradox we will rely upon the theories advanced in the 1970’s by Frederick Thayer. In this chapter, a new theory of organization will be introduced that will be web-based on a virtual-reality platform where there will be no hierarchy, but will instead focus on strategic management groups that rely upon collective thought in order to determine policy, and thereby the direction of the new governing narrative.

Chapter 5 will build upon the ideas presented in chapter 4. It will be shown how the non-hierarchical organizations that will spring up at the community level will begin to be proactive in uncovering the authentic discourse of their citizens. Through the collection of community conversations, the needs of the community will begin to emerge organically into a narrative. This process will be designed in such a way that the community may actually redefine itself as it discovers that the citizens themselves had bought into a false history about who they are, and what they are capable of. As the community redefines its expectations of itself it will be captured in real-time by the tools of this new institution.

Chapter 6 will explain what an ideograph is and attempt to explain in a few paragraphs the life-work of Hugh T. Miller. In simple terms, if a narrative can be thought of as a fortified wall, an ideograph can be seen as a single brick. The trademarked image that marks every page of this book is an ideograph. The idea of David taking on the warrior Goliath with nothing more than a sling now transcends the three Abrahamic religions and represents the concept that the forces for good can triumph over the forces for evil, even if out-gunned.

Chapter 7 will expand upon the idea of a new cloud-based relational database site that will archive the ideographs that were introduced in chapter six. In the words of Clifford Geertz, this database will become a “consultable record of humanity” (1973, 30), but it will also store that record into germane narratives; threads that will organically frame and contextualize the ideographs as users drill down into the records. The database will hold true to the ideals of social media as a user-driven system where the database will grow both from new content and hyperlinks to already existing content. In this way it will respect the collective thinking ideals of the Occupy movement. For our purposes, our discussion of database will always be undertaken in one of two realms: media, or policy. This chapter will focus on media, and the database will store its records by sorting them into six broad genres of artistic creativity. In this way users will be able to find media that is most suitable to their needs. In order to keep the media descriptions as simple as possible they will be discussed in terms of how that media is consumed: seeing, touching, reading, watching, listening, or performing.

Chapter 8 will discuss the relational database in terms of how it supports policy initiatives. In ways that are identical to the sorting mechanism based on media genre, the policy campaigns will be sorted into six arenas. In order to avoid the “dog-whistle” reactions of those who will resist the kinds of policy reform that this movement will advocate for, these campaigns will not rely upon old and tired phrases. It will refer to these campaigns in terms of how we hope to live within them: Living Peacefully, Living Women, Living Diverse, Living Color, Living Healthy, and Living Opportunities.

By the time we reach chapter 9 we will begin to enjoy the freedom of having a more comprehensive vision of what the institution will look like, and the kinds of relationships that will begin to emerge within it. This is where the idea of a media omniverse will be discussed, and one of the things that will spring out from this emerging new institution will be the idea of actually using it as a vehicle outside of the virtual realm and its cloud-based origins. The idea of actually building brick-and-mortar facilities within the inner-city areas of America will be discussed, as well as the idea of having real-world based symposia and conferences. With media, it will also be possible to host exhibitions, film-festivals, and live performances of theater.

Once organized, no institution can survive without an administration to support it, and in chapter 10 we will discuss in detail the operations group within the non-hierarchical business model. In addition to the accounting and personnel systems, this chapter will dig deep into the technology that now exists; a system that is already in place, ready to support this institution as it grows and evolves. The chapter will summarize the revenue potential associated with a monetizing web domain and will explain how the site that houses the relational database will in fact be an online store. Through these tactics and others institution is intended to be self-funding.

In chapter 11 we will discuss the formalized relationships between the new institution and the existing nonprofit organizations that should be welcoming the establishment of this new institution into their communities. The key word is “should.” In practice, there may actually be a great deal of opposition from the nonprofit sector to the idea of this new institution, which stems from the tendency to see up-start groups as competitors. The relationship between this institution, charitable groups, social service agencies, and activist organizations will at first appear to be incredibly complex, but in truth it is not. In practice, all it will take is for somebody to find 12 community leaders who are already networked within the community. Nothing will change for them except for where they place the media that steers their employees, volunteers, and membership. This will once again return us to the paradox of vulnerability and trust.

To conclude this book, chapter 12 will discuss the idea of a virtual university where those who work within this new institution will be able to bring themselves up-to-speed on the current thinking in political philosophy, media, social justice activism, advocacy, public administration, and above all, organizational behavior. The three-pronged approach to training within this institution will focus on media, policy, strategic management group operations, and technology. As it relates to media, the focus will be on teaching community organizers about the importance of capturing media that accurately, and forcefully, demonstrate a deep understanding of signs, signifiers, and the signified. The skill is called framing. As it relates to policy, community organizers will be taught the techniques of taking those media ideographs and contextualizing them into powerful and compelling arguments for policy change. The skills of framing and contextualizing will be critically important in crafting a new governing narrative.


It has to be acknowledged that the above eleven chapters cover a great deal of territory, and after completing this book the reader may feel very under qualified to participate in its development. This would be a huge mistake. At this stage in the game, nobody knows more than the person next to them. We are, in fact, in the middle of the bridge, and ahead of lies a land that none of us are familiar with, but the alternative is to return to where we were. If you are still reading this book, that is not an alternative for you. We will cross the bridge together and illuminate the ground for those who follow.


1)      In reading the above chapter summaries, did you identify one area where you feel more qualified than others?

2)      Have you worked in the nonprofit sector before? If so, did you ever get the feeling that you were in a bumper-car arena, where the various organizations seemed to collide as their mission statements overlapped? Did you get the sense that nonprofit organizations that should have been aligned with each other were, instead, competing with each, especially as it related to funding, and who had the louder “voice?”

3)      Did you ever experience a unifying force in your community that was successful in bringing together the competing voices? What kind of collaboration became possible in that instance? Did you last for any length of time? What were the strengths? What were the weaknesses?

Practical Applications:

MOCSIE Resources on the Web:

This chapter outline will also shape the web domain at and at each of the chapter sub-domains you will be able to find hyperlinks that will take you to resources that will strengthen this argument as well as highlight the kinds of resistance that will be trying to suppress change. If you found an arena where you have some skills, or simply a passion to be engaged, please follow your instincts and get involved.

MOCSIE Resources on the Second Life platform (“Mandu” region):

Many of the ideas presented in this chapter outline can be experienced by creating an avatar and walking along the sidewalks of Mandu. There are six actual “media galleries,” six “policy galleries,” and three “technology galleries.” You can walk through the classrooms of the two college buildings, and see where the business center is located. You can sit in the theater and watch video presentations for all twelve chapters of this book, and you can walk up the spiral of the “theory walk,” which is a designed in the model of the Guggenheim.

MOCSIE Resources for the “Occupied Squares” Project:

True to the feeling of “occupying” a square, the Second Life platform can provide community-based “real estate” where each fledging group can begin to accumulate their own ideas into policy galleries and media galleries. Each of these “squares” only cost $25/month to maintain and it is the goal of the project to produce enough online revenue to sustain them all free of charge to the actual groups that will staff them and integrate them into the greater global movement.

The Inner-City MOCSIE “Brick-and-Mortar Facilities” Project:

There is no reason to wait until this movement has found traction in the virtual realm before starting to build the foundation of an inner-city movement for actual brick-and-mortar facilities. In order to be profitable as an industry unto itself, media only needs one thing: an audience. If people begin to see this idea as a engine for economic development within the empoverished inner-city regions of the world, then it will find traction to incubate this idea in vacant storefronts. Drop-in centers could foster the creation of artistic creativity. For as little as $5,000 an online radio station can be started and with a technology classroom and incubation studio can be created for journalism, videography, blogging, and podcasting. With simple cell phones fledging bloggers will be able to generate digital media content (ideographs, to use the term introduced above) for the growing relational database. These will then be conversations from the inner-city that deal with what life really is like within the inner-city. In this way, new discourse will be introduced, and new narratives will begin to grow organically about each one of these neighborhoods. With a monetized web domain, these brick-and-mortar facilities will begin to generate income streams for their participants, and possible even reach the point of self-funding their own growth.