Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

AFL-CIO PAC Workers' Voice Gives Activists Keys to the Coffer

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 26 2012

The AFL-CIO's new political action committee, Workers' Voice, sent an email to supporters today asking them to sign up for a web platform that promises to reward action with the chance to have a say in how the PAC spends its money.

Right now, the action platform asks for an email address and some survey information — do visitors think they should earn points for canvassing door-to-door, or making phone calls to voters; should the PAC spend money on ads or on voter registration — but digital director Tim Tagaris says it will soon be replaced with the platform proper.

The Workers Voice site will give users the ability to form groups — by worksite, geography, friends, and so on, Tagaris said in an email — to aggregate their efforts. Members will earn "dollars" or "points" for every action they take; the more action, Tagaris wrote in an email, the more spending power each person will have.

"Every election cycle, millions of activists get involved as part of the political process," Tagaris wrote in an email. "They knock on doors, make phone calls, attend rallies, and register people to vote. We want to empower them beyond those activities by giving people a real seat at the table. Giving individuals or groups the ability to spend money based on their participation in a political organizing program is something that I don't think anyone has ever done. Points and badges, sure, but not the ability to direct funds to generate more activism."

The platform promises to let people also direct PAC resources in support of local campaigns and labor actions.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More