Tim O’Reilly calls for DIY government and civic action


“Now is the time for a renewal of our commitment to make our own institutions, our own communities, and our own difference. There’s a kind of passivity even to our activism: we think that all we can do is to protest. Collective action has come to mean collective complaint. Or at most, a collective effort to raise money.

What the rebuilding of the washed out road in Polihale State Park teaches us is that we can do more than that. We can apply the DIY spirit on a civic scale.

Aneesh Chopra, the Secretary for Technology of the Commonwealth of Virginia, recently told me why he liked the term “commonwealth” better than “state”: commonwealth emphasizes the value that we create by coming together. Technology provides us with new ways to coordinate, new ways to govern and to regulate, but we should never forget that these are merely means. The end is a better society. And that starts with us.

We need to rediscover government as an enabler, not a solution provider; as a platform for our own innovation, a lever for our own work, not as the deus ex machina that we’ve paid to do for us what we could be doing for ourselves.

If you know of other great civic DIY stories, let me know. I want to feature technology in my Government 2.0 activism, but I also want to feature the simple DIY spirit.”

Consider adding your projects in the comments field of Tim’s posting.

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