Fostering self-governing democratic communities

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Patroklus Murakami
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Fostering self-governing democratic communities

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

In the thread on civics I said [quote:3n99j1qr]if democracy is to spread across the grid, I think it's more likely to come from splits and fissures within Neufreistadt/CDS than from people setting up their own communities completely separate from us.[/quote:3n99j1qr] In response [quote="Ashcroft Burnham":3n99j1qr]Why do you think that the spread of democracy is more likely to come from internal splits and fissures, as you term it, rather than planned expansion by enfranchulation?[/quote:3n99j1qr]
I thought I'd express my thoughts at greater length here rather than continue the debate in the civics thread.

The reason why I think this way is because, so far, we are the only democratic experiment in Second Life. I think that makes it likely that anyone interested in living in a democratic self-governing community will be attracted to Neufreistadt, probably come to the sim and check us out, maybe speak to a few citizens and will likely apply for citizenship by purchasing a plot of land when one becomes available. I think it is more likely that they will do that than start a community of their own because it is far easier to join an established community than decide to start one of your own. I think it's also true that most of us came to Neufreistadt as individuals attracted by an ideal rather than as a group who were already interested in the possibilities for democratic self-government.

But we're already seeing that 'you can't please all the people all of the time'. We've already had our first split and some citizens, founding citizens even, have gone off to realise their vision elsewhere and with a different group of people. I don't think it matters that they've chosen a non-democratic path for my purpose of explanation here. At some point, possibly in the near future, some citizens will be sufficiently disenchanted by the direction the CDS takes that they decide to branch out on their own. This could be because they are disappointed at the outcome of an election or because they think our government is overly cumbersome or bureaucratic or simply because they think they could do things better if they had the reins of power.

The only barrier here is the cost of purchasing a substantial plot of land and finding enough prospective citizens to make it a realistic proposition. This doesn't have to be a whole private island but, even if it were, the barrier to entry is not that great if you have enough people who share a common vision and who are willing to put their trust in one of their number to act as Estate Owner.

I think it is quite likely that this will happen. Perhaps we should even welcome the development? I don't think it would be a disaster if a group of citizens were to declare that they want to try a different setup. It is somewhat threatening in that, if we lose citizens and don't replace them, the viability of our community is undermined. But assuming there are more than 100-150 people in the whole of Second Life who want to live in a democratic community there should be space for competing visions of how that community might regulate itself. If there were no threat to the viability of the CDS, and provided the separation was amicable, there might even be the potential for 'dual citizenship' of separate democratic communities.

Just to be clear, I'm not proposing this or hinting that I think anyone should leave. I'd like us to stay together. But I was asked about why I see other democratic communities being likely to spring from our source rather than coming into being independently. These are my reasons for thinking this way.

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