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[liberationtech] liberation tech and Congress

Shava Nerad shava23 at
Wed Mar 20 14:39:11 PDT 2013

On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Lorelei Kelly <loreleikelly at>wrote:

> Its not a lobbying effort, but a long term policy education effort.

Lobbying:  most generally, the right of the individual to petition Congress
to redress grievances.

In your case, larnin' them what they don't know and slowly steering the
ship of state in the right direction.

What you are doing is lobbying according to the original definition of the
term.  You buttonhole them in the lobby and say, "Mr Senator, did you know
that your constituents really care that...?" and go on from there.  This is
where the term came from.  Petitioning your concerns to those in power to
whom you have delegated your voice in the American republic.

Please do not cede it to the NRA and the moneybag idiots who are trying to
buy their way into power.

The term has been sullied in the public eye and conflated with shenanigans,
corruption, and bribery to the point when Lessig launched Change Congress
at Berkman, I had to point out to him that he was using the term
incorrectly in his keynote.  He blushed -- actually was taken aback -- and
accepted the correction.

Ideally, part of the power of our medium is to subvert the power of simple
money in influencing the power of the lobby.  Of course, mileage has varied
wildly -- the verdict is at best in flux.

But language is powerful, and I still believe that educating people that
the lobby is the domain of all of us.

Not petitioning for the Death Star might help...sigh.  I am not sure about
this White House popularity referendum social media thing...

But yes, please, what you are doing is proper, what I did in the 90s
lobbying for digital divide issues was lobbying on a very small nonprofit
dime, what a retiree does going to DC to talk to his or her delegation on
social security or gay marriage for his grandson on a vacation is also

And taking (back) words like gay, pagan, black, hacker, nerd, queer, geek,
lobbying -- can be powerful.


> --

Shava Nerad
shava23 at
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