The following is a special article by guest writer Chase Foster.
Do you believe that we, the producers and users of culture should be able to define the rules on how to create it, use it, and share it? Do you believe that our democracy should reflect such values, and be a truly participatory system? If so, this event was made for you!
WHAT: Advocacy Day and Reception with Lawrence Lessig
WHO: All North Carolinians
WHEN: Tues, June 22 at 11am and then 5pm
WHERE: NC General Assembly (map), then Busy Bee Cafe (map)
WHY: Because our democracy needs you!
Lawrence Lessig is the founder of the group Creative Commons, and a pioneer in the open source and technology world. He spent a decade working in the free culture movement, promoting the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content.
But after being defeated time and again by the large media conglomerates that make lots of money off of our outdated, creativity-killing copyright system, Lessig realized that his failure to implement change was due in large part to the disproportionate weight that these corporations have in our political system. So he turned his focus to democracy reform—founding the group Fix Congress First and promoting an alternative, publicly financed election system called Voter-Owned Elections. Until we fix the broken campaign financing system, he concluded, it will be hard to fix our copyright laws, or really, anything else.
Lessig will be in Raleigh on Tuesday to boost the reform agenda of the advocacy group I work for, NC Voters for Clean Elections. He’ll be making a presentation at our Voter-Owned Elections Lobby Day at 11am, and then joining us for a reception that evening at 5pm. At both events, he’ll outline a vision for what democracy might someday mean, with the right, smart citizen investments. And he’ll talk about what we as citizens need to do to get our democracy back.
As you probably can tell by now, I’m a Lessig fan. And I think you will be too. Why? Because Lessig takes a fresh and new tack on political problems, he embraces his inner wonk, and he believes that change starts from the bottom up. Plus, he does things with power point that are so compelling that they frankly shouldn’t be allowed.
One more reason to go to the lobby day: if you’ve never been to the NC General Assembly, here’s your chance! Come enjoy the amenities of a mid-century modernist building (sometimes lovingly mistaken as a Japanese steak house), eat really good fried okra and banana pudding, brush up on your Robert’s Rules of Order, and hear state legislators express their passion for everything from NASCAR to watermelon festivals.
I hope to see some of you on Tuesday!
NCVoters for Clean Elections