Sowing Seeds − Origins of a Grassroots Movement

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The early stages of any successful grassroots political campaign are spent using word of mouth intensively to get the word out and give people something to think about. The people should be the first to decide. If an idea can pass the litmus test of locating its own fertile ground without self spin, if the people themselves can own the idea without too much further instruction or financial contribution, and if the movement can simply stand on its own legs… only then will it be worthy of more ambitious goals, like reforming the system from within. Although vote sizing is a movement towards politics, in its infancy it exists primarily as a seedling in the public realm – a conversation piece around water coolers, café and dinner tables and within student associations, discussion groups, internet chat rooms, e-mail lists, etc. Two simple questions can be used to start people talking without tying them up in pre-existing definitions or partisan rigidity:

Fundamental Challenges for Vote Sizing:

  1. What ratio of power/wealth would you choose for yourself?
  2. Would vote sizing work?

Best of all, vote sizing is accessible to all people. As well as the politically inclined, it can also draw the alienated and apathetic into the discussion, both because it is a radical enough departure from the status quo and because it grounds the argument in direct terms of their votes and their dollars. Generalities such as ‘the true meaning of democracy’ or ‘what the founding fathers wanted’ or ‘free markets’ or ‘what is good for the people’ have too hard a time grabbing hold of people’s curiosity because they are boxed in by philosophy and detached from day-to-day realities. Vote sizing is different because of its immediacy; people don’t need a degree in economics, politics or philosophy to understand its implications and develop their own opinions. Unlike most other movements out there, which are more lecture than conversation, vote sizing unabashedly opens the door to people’s concerns. The only things that don’t belong in the vote-sizing message are silence, dictation and regression. The very fundamentals of vote sizing are the desire to listen and reinvigorate the consensus-building process.Go ahead; try to answer them for yourself now. Then try again tomorrow morning, or whenever you feel your mood change. These questions initially lead people to probe the very nature of wealth and power and, once grasped, reveal just how responsive the wealth vs. power debate is to fluctuations in the human psyche over space and time. By charting new ground and stimulating re-evaluations, the discussion can then move on to even more fruitful ground as compelling food for thought in university classrooms, talk radio shows, halls, churches and editorial pages. Communities such as student groups, unions, citizen groups, academia, (other) political parties, philosophy cafes and the like appreciate the way vote sizing opens itself up to input, involvement and alternatives. The vote sizing idea falls on fertile ground because it’s fundamentally simple, it stirs up debate, and it brings people to question themselves and each other without getting caught up in definitions.

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