The Make America Again! Concert

Make America Again Concert
Langston Hughes

We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
“Let American Be American Again”
By Langston Hughes
From a TechCrunch article, “Brigade Media Raises $9.3M From Sean Parker To Shake Up American Democracy:”

The company thinks that American democracy is adrift.

The main bent at play is a view that this country’s democracy is not “scaling” the way that it might — essentially that as our society has changed, our governing structures have failed to keep pace. This has led to a disconnect between average citizens and their elected leaders.

The description in this article also describes what we are working on at StartUpTown. Upcoming projects include Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts in New Rochelle, NY and Los Angeles, CA.
In future elections we will be addressing such things as America’s stagnant communications infrastructure.
We need to elect leaders on the basis of their commitment to changing America’s stagnant communications infrastructure.
There is much to be done at every level of government, but cities are the most promising battleground right now. Mayors, Republican and Democrat alike, are in the business of providing their citizens with services, and fiber infrastructure is just like a city street grid: Economic development, quality of life, new jobs and a thriving competitive market all depend on its presence.
~ “The Wire Next Time” by Susan Crawford


Lawrence Lessig

There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. ~ Lawrence Lessig: rootstrikers.org

There is an important battle being raged in Washington right now over something called quote spectrum. A battle that is extraordinary important to the future of the Internet and one in which the extremists are now prevailing. This is a battle of whether we will sell all spectrum such that access to spectrum is controlled by those who own the property right. If the extremist win then this will destroy the potential for cheap ubiquitous uncontrolled access to the Internet that is increasing spreading throughout the country right now. We need to do something to stop this shift before the shift becomes permanent. ~ Lawrence Lessig
Our economy, our democracy, and our society would all benefit from reducing inequality and increasing equality of opportunity.
~ The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz
From Malcolm Gladwell and Sir Michael Marmot we learn that two keys to health are community and autonomy:

You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. ~ Malcolm Gladwell
Autonomy—how much control you have over your life—and the opportunities you have for full social engagement and participation are crucial for health, well-being, and longevity. It is inequality in these that plays a big part in producing the social gradient in health. ~ Sir Michael Marmot

Yet in a speech by Wire creator David Simon we hear something troubling about United States government policy:

The factories are not going to be here anymore. We don’t need these people so the least we can do is hunt them. And when we hunt them we at least provide jobs for cops, DEA agents, lawyers and prison guards.

At StartUpTown we are determined to change this and Make America Again!

Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population.
Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson
One organization making America again is the Red Hook Initiative with Red Hook WiFi and the Digital Stewards programRed Hook WiFi is a community-led effort to close the digital divide, generate economic opportunity, facilitate access to essential services and improve quality of life in Red Hook, Brooklyn via the deployment of a wireless Internet network. The Digital Stewards are young adults from Red Hook ages 19-24, employed by the Red Hook Initiative to install, maintain and promote the WiFi network and use technology to bring about community development. The Stewards are trained in wireless network installation, software and hardware troubleshooting, and community organizing using a curriculum created by the Open Technology Institute and Allied Media Projects.
Digital Steward Katherine Ortiz

Digital Steward Katherine Ortiz in installation mode | Photo courtesy of Red Hook WiFi

Proceeds from concert will be use to develop more programs like the Digital Stewards program. As Nassim Taleb wrote in a Forbes article called “You Can’t Predict Who Will Change The World:“

It is high time to recognize that we humans are far better at doing than understanding, and better at tinkering than inventing. But we don’t know it. We truly live under the illusion of order believing that planning and forecasting are possible. We are scared of the random, yet we live from its fruits.

The Make America Again Concert is our attempt at tinkering for civic engagement. We will be pre-funding the concert with a Crowdtilt campaign.

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