Richard Lang

The Virtual Town Square: Awakening Our New Common Sense

Workshop time: Tuesday, 3:45-5:00 pm
Room: Sangha Cafe
TOPICS:Grassroots democracy
A very significant moment in the history of humankind has recently arisen. Yet, it is a moment that most people have not yet recognized or fully appreciated. For the first time in our known human history, it is possible for an unlimited number of citizens to gather in one place, online, for the purpose of expressing our collective voice and an advisory vote in our own affairs of government. This possibility has been enabled by the evolution of our technology over the past 20 years, but more specifically by the very recent intersection of Internet connectivity and the rapid proliferation of mobile devices. Currently, 98% of Americans have Internet access in one form or another. What would it mean if 100 million citizens, or twice that, reached for their phone, logged in, and easily cast an advisory vote on issues of national importance? Imagine a new, non-partisan national institution, online, the National Town Square, where citizens could transcend political parties by focusing on the issues themselves, any day of the year. This is the new face of democracy in the 21st century, and its implications go far beyond politics, in ways that the founding father might never have imagined.
A paradigm shift in how we define civic engagement, politics and democracy itself.
An understanding of how our collective “self” can be organized and mobilized to create large-scale change around the world.
The importance of breaking free from the fundamentally adversarial political systems currently running the planet.
The power of large-scale participation
How both corporations and government can compromise democracy
Awakening to our new common “sense,” and making the most of it.

About the presenter

Richard Lang is Chairman & CEO of Democrasoft, Inc., a CA software development company. He is a pioneer in the technology industry, focusing on online collaboration strategies, with special emphasis on civic engagement. He is also founding President of the Virtual Country Foundation, a 501c3. Richard’s work has focused on helping both large and small groups with common purpose develop collective voice, utilizing topic-based online collaboration tools and strategies designed to promote collective awareness, cooperative change and meaningful accomplishment. His book, Virtual Country, due in 2016, offers a meta-strategy for evolving democracy in the 21st century.

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