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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Using the Post Office to Organize for Democracy

In 2013 I introduced the idea of "Organizing Communities Around the Post Office" based on some readings (among them "the Kings Best Highway") about the early networked Post Office the US colonies had in New England before we became a country. At that time the Post Office was networked in a way similar to how our current internet is organized. Around that time I started realizing that our country needs a third force in addition to State Governments.

The national dialogue acts like our choice is between centralizing power in National Corporations, centralizing it in a Federal Government or centralizing it on States and Counties. But those are false choices. But A genuine equitable "third way" requires empowering boroughs, towns and cities as well as State Capitals or county seats. Centralization without these attributes is by it's nature "private, separate advantage" [tyranny].

It needs a healthy "polity"; cities, towns and counties in addition to States and the Federal Government. And power needs to be distributed in a manner based on the principle of "subsidiarity" -- but as it should apply in a Republican context: Local affairs controlled locally with Republican forms replicated locally. [See article on Republican Principles]

The reason we need this is that while the country is more robust if we are integrated both globally and locally. If both local governments and central governments are robust and resilient then they can aid each other in need, and provide checks on each other when folks get "consumed by their passions" and start going down a wrong path. A Genuine Democratic Republic replicates Republican forms while dividing up the responsibilities, down to the smallest possible unit of government. We are stronger together not just nationally but also locally when we are organized well.

I have a lot more to say about this. But it wouldn't require any constitutional changes to elect Post Masters and/or use them to organize fair elections, city and town participation in local governance, and local participation in control of our networked energy and communications systems. All it takes is restoring some of the ideas we had in our Colonial times. Having a post office should be a right for local communities. And local control over local communications and transport should be a right within a networked framework. We do that and our system will function a lot better.

Further Reading:
Organizing Communities Around the Post Office:

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