Everybody's voice, nobody's noise: Democratic communication to build movements

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[Original (not edited for space) proposal to the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit.]

Self-rule in any group or society needs a democratic system of
communication, in which sending and receiving information is free and open
to all. Equal power, let alone equal participation, cannot be approached
without this equal access. A transparent way for people to filter for the
most important messages can prove an essential tool in working together for
a better world.

We would like to begin the workshop with discussion of attendees'
communication successes and difficulties. What would help your organization
or group coordinate internally, reach more new people, and take effective
action?

We will then ask attendees to try a prototype of open source free software
that does this. We will answer questions about the tool and try to
incorporate suggestions into development plans.

We will use this test and the collective experiences of attendees to inform
a discussion on usefully connecting people who give a damn, on uniting
visions and coordinating efforts to build better lives for all.

* How could and should we as a small group with an interest in democratic
communication stay together?

* Can and should we ask all attendees of the US Social Forum to try these
tools?

* What could be and should be the relationships between internal democracy
in groups and organizations and using the same tools for one huge network?

The underlying goal is to create the most power possible for people over
their own lives.