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The Rise of the Peer Progressive

Beyond the 6th of November

by NOZOMI HAYASE

As the 2012 US presidential election looms, the familiar red and blue fever spreads across television and computer screens like another World Series or Superbowl. This election is no different than any other, as the corporate two party duopoly propagates the illusion of choice and sucks people into a presidential charade between two sock puppets that essentially work for the same bosses.

What is presented as a democratic election is in reality far from democratic. Author of the book, No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential DebatesGeorge Farah revealed how the US presidential debates are set up to serve the interests of the two parties and their corporate sponsors. He exposed how the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a corporate-funded organization run by the Democrats and Republicans and controls who is allowed in, as well as what questions are asked and how the debates are packaged for the media.

Since the CPD was formed, third parties have been completely obstructed from even attending the debates. Green party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala were arrested when they tried to attend the second presidential debate this year at Hofstra University in Hempsted, N.Y. This shocking reality is nothing new and is not even questioned by the corporate media. In 2000, Ralph Nader was not allowed to even attend the debate even though he had a ticket. Nader’s efforts in the electoral arena in the last 10 years have revealed an insidious obstruction of ballot access for third parties.

It is becoming undeniable that the US political system is so corrupted that at the Federal level, there have been no real choices for a long time. The ideology of the ‘lesser of the two evils’ has become registered as the norm, so a majority of American accept it as unchallengeable reality.

What is left for the American people? There has been a call in the social media sphere to boycott the voting altogether this year and disengage from the election, in order to delegitimize this tacit theocracy that worships money and systemic corruption. On November 6, should people just sit at home and choose not to vote for the president? Are there any other effective alternatives?

Author Steven Johnson offers an optimistic view. In his book Future Perfect: The Case For Progress in a Networked Age, he points to an emergence of new political philosophy that he terms the ‘peer progressives’. He defines these people as individuals who believe in decentralized, bottom up peer networks and progressive ideas that originate through these systems. These people do not think important challenges will be solved by markets, the state or private sectors or by any single ideology or profit-oriented hierarchy. Peer progressives simply do not fall into the typical left-right political spectrum.

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There is a network emerging that is not defined by the corporate copulation of false political oppositions. Nor is it defined by libertarian or socialist views or any specific nationality. What we are seeing is the rise of the peer progressive, a new form of party-less affiliation that moves beyond the political and ideological divide as well as the nation-state paradigm. This way of networking reflects the way the Internet is built around a constantly evolving structure of peer networks.

On the West Coast of the US, the decadent forms of democracy are on trial. This November, California citizens are set to vote on a citizen-penned initiative for labeling GMO food. Now, Direct Democracy is stepping in because the ‘representative’ facade has failed. This distrust of leadership revealed itself again after the hurricane hit New York City. Occupy Sandy quickly emerged from the grassroots to create an effective emergency relief operation. Globally, CryptoParty, a decentralized collaboration that guards against surveillance and invasion of privacy is popping up in cities around the world.

The emergence of peer progressives might simply be an indication that we are moving into a truly global era that is no longer defined by a nation-state perspective or loyalty to a particular party or ideology. When one looks around, one sees connections within emerging networks of citizens around the world. We are not alone. When the spectacle of these political charades is over and the illusion of the invincibility of empire begins to collapse, we might find ourselves in a larger web that has been quietly cultivating itself behind the scenes.

In this election, some are saying vote for no one as president, but I say it is time to vote for everyone. The era of politicians and plutocrats is nearly over. When we realize our own significance, together we will find new strength in global solidarity. Just consider that about half of the Senate and Congress are multi-millionaires. This means you and I have more in common with the sweatshop workers in China making I-phone parts or bloodied drone-bombed attendees at a wedding in Waziristan than we do with an owner of Walmart or the political leaders in Washington.

Every time we buy local or non-corporate, we are voting for ourselves by keeping value in our communities. Every time we support our brothers and sisters globally in a nonviolent way, we build true human community. When we choose to connect with our neighbors through free sharing and common cause, with creative social and economic currencies we build just society. Whenever we support clean and independent energy, we participate in our own power instead of giving it to a system that destroys our health, economy and humanity.

Power multiplied by direct common will is a transformative force in everything from economies to systems of governance. Peer-progressives are on the rise. Where we go from here is up to us.

Nozomi Hayase is a contributing writer to Culture Unplugged, and a global citizen blogger, at Journaling Between Worlds. She can be reached at: nozomimagine@gmail.com