CSDF - Manifesto for January 2009 Elections
Our goals for 2009
- 1. Cooperation with other communities. We will promote joint working with other communities in Second Life during these challenging economic times to find ways in which we can support each other for mutual benefit.
2. Culture and the Arts. We will support the culture and arts of the CDS by promoting the development of high quality interactive content showcasing our beautiful public buildings and sim infrastructure.
3. Participation. We will promote participation by holding a Commission to develop proposals for deeper citizen involvement in the CDS government.
4. Electoral Reform. We will complete the work of the Electoral Commission. Our aim is to achieve a fair electoral system that awards seats in proportion to votes cast and respects the principle of 'one citizen, one vote'.
5. Redevelopment. We will focus on redeveloping and renovating our current sims during this time of economic consolidation. We will take a cautious approach to any expansion plans for new sims.
The CSDF believes in:
- 1. Building upon constructive criticism, reasonable planning, and common sense to forge our society ahead; discarding personal and emotional issues in favour of the common good that unites all citizens in their struggle to push the democratic ideals of the CDS.
2. Devolving government to directly democratic NGOs like the New Guild that involve citizens directly in decisions about their everyday lives.
3. A focus on activities that involve participation and learning, so citizens can take what they learned and apply it to their own life goals, in business, the arts, and government: the CDS as a way to empower citizens. And by investing in citizens, making the CDS stronger and more economically successful.
4. The civil and political rights of citizens based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights protected by the SC. This includes the guarantee of political equality and the principal of "one person, one vote".
5. Full deliberative and creative participation applied to planning the future of our space and our islands rather than the non-committed one-time referenda vote or critical decisions made via power struggles in the RA.
A. Building Democratic Institutions
In the past, small communities were able to meet in the same place to debate and vote. In big democratic countries, this is not possible anymore. The technologies of information give us again the opportunity to involve as many people as possible in public debates. We encourage participation through forums, surveys, polls, and other similar methods to aid and assist government in their work. We are in favour of a Citizen Assembly Â— regular "Town Hall meetings" where each and every citizen can come to discuss and vote on priorities for their government to implement. We believe the time is right for a Commission to consider how to enable deeper participation in government. This could include considering proposals for independents running for election alongside the faction system; the faction size rule; proposals for local government; and more 'direct democracy' if these ideas are considered desirable.
The CSDF has, since its beginning, been a cooperative party. More important than "pushing" the vote on our agenda, we encourage others Â— even the opposition Â— to work with us on compromise. The legislative work of the CSDF will, as usual, focus on working together with all factions, all groups and NGOs, all citizens, and forge common ideas towards the same goal: advancing the CDS.
The CSDF proposes to complete work on Electoral Reform this term. We believe in a more fair representative system where the proportion of seats in the RA is in proportion to the votes cast by citizens in the election (unlike the current system). The roles and election method of the Leader of the Representative Assembly and the Executive and its Chancellor should also be clarified.
The CSDF believes the CDS has been very lucky to have responsible people in charge of our finances and sim management. We need to take greater responsibility as a community for these functions and plan for maintaining them as we grow and in the future. We will work closely with the Executive Branch and the Treasurer to develop proposals that would help us accomplish this.
B. Investing In Our Citizens
The CSDF will promote a model of "education through practice". Under it, we expect citizens to learn by example, in the field, by assuming political roles, heading the several organisations in CDS, helping to build new sims and rebuild the existing ones, but having the ability to draw from the know-how and experience of existing citizens, who will collaborate in this process. Through this process, citizens acquire skills and techniques that will be more useful not only in the context of the CDS, but overall for them in SL, and, in some cases, even for their real lives.
Avenues of Participation For New Citizens
New citizens have new ideas, new demands, new needs that were unforeseen in the past. With the same enthusiasm that we will preserve the rich history of the CDS, we will fully embrace new citizens and promote their taking on decision making roles. The success of the CDS has always depended on new citizens introducing new ideas and taking the lead in changing our society and government. The CSDF will not shy away from encouraging new and old citizens in becoming the leaders and agents for change in the next term.
C. Developing our Economy
The CSDF supports and will promote citizen's enterprise, both for and non-profit, as both can attract business, both service and crafts.
High Quality Expansion
Building new sims is one of the most important activity of the CDS community but, under the current economic circumstances, further expansion must only take place when we are certain we have enough commitment to paying tier fees to warrant it. In this period of consolidation we should focus our efforts on redevelopment of existing sims where this is needed.
Building new sims (or redeveloping existing areas) is the opportunity to develop new skills, to maintain knowledge and to transfer it to a new generation of builders. We encourage expansion which maintains our high quality of building. We consider that a certain percentage of the sims must be built by the community to maintain an average level of skill. We hope also to develop a certified Faculty of Design and Building.
We support measures to build business in the CDS, to support CDS artisans and promote their high quality goods. We want to see a voluntary, independent 'Chamber of Commerce' come into being which addresses issues such as advertising and building a reputation for quality.
Long tail market
Virtual world markets are 'long tail' markets. This favours specialized commerce. We encourage a high level of knowledge. We hope to have skilled people who will be able to develop their own commercial activities, and will encourage the funding of organisations to raise the skill level of our citizens.
Promotion and Tourism
As the CDS slowly grows mostly by "word-of-mouth", we feel that it's time we organise the promotional material, both web-side and with an in-world Tourism Office, to reach out to new potential citizens who might consider living in the CDS as an alternative. This initiative should receive adequate funding and a new member of the Executive ("Foreign Relations") to oversee the process and implement it, via a "prospectus" for the CDS (available on a website and in-world) and a location in the CDS where visitors can ask questions and get tours of the territory Â— preferably accompanied by avatars and not just automated services.
Cooperation with other communities
There are many communities in Second Life which we have some values in common with; some citizens from Al-Andalus have recently expressed an interest in a closer relationship with us, the CDS participated in 'The Grand Tour' of participant sims in November, we have collaborated with Port Neualtenburg to produce a joint 'Oktoberfest' in the past. We should look for more opportunities to work more closely with other communities in Second Life on 'win-win' activities which benefit us all. This kind of cooperative activity will become more important as the challenges of the real life economy continue to impact on us in SL.
D. Preserving and Developing Our Land
The CSDF will work to find resources to help the New Guild develop new sims when appropriate and maintain the quality and land values of existing sims as SL changes.
Sustainability and Community
Content is what makes up Second Life: education turns us from being just consumers of content into having some control over what our SL environment looks like. The CSDF supports educational and cultural activities to encourages citizen to develop their own skills to create content. It supports initiatives that bring talented designers to our sims to present their works. Our culture as developers of high-quality content and our history as we forge ahead in our democratic community are interesting enough and worthwhile to be presented to the wider SL audience.
Development of Cultural and Educational Content
Virtual worlds are very adapted to cultural and educational contents. We understand cultural as a very large inclusive concept and not an elitist culture. We understand education as all processes for transferring knowledge, from the very basic level (help for newbies) to very high (virtual universities). We encourage the development of cultural and educational contents, the use of virtual worlds as education tools and as places where people can enjoy culture. We especially favour programmes of education and museum activities.
Virtual life must also give some fun. We encourage people to organize events. We consider that the CDS is responsible for the organization of some traditional events. We also encourage welcoming programmes for newbies. We support in-world events and also Internet tools (for example, the portal) to inform and encourage participation. We understand that the cost of running those events can be high and will push for an adequate budget for them, as well as mechanisms to guarantee that event hosters receive the funds for their expenses in hiring performers, hosts, and promotion costs when these are commissioned by the CDS.
History of CDS
The CDS has remarkable public buildings and a history as one of the longest-running projects in Second Life. We will promote culture in the CDS by the development of innovative, interactive content for our public buildings which celebrates the history, life and culture of the CDS and which acts as a permanent 'attraction' giving people a good reason to come to the CDS and to keep coming back.