Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why not a Third Party?

Over on Centroids, we're have a spirited discussion about the necessity -- and impossibility! -- of starting a third party. While Unity '08 explicitly avoids this goal, I suspect it will face many of the same issues. In particular, I agree with Billy Rojas's claim that you need both a Personality and Platform in order to generate a viable movement. Unity '08 -- as a neutral middle ground -- starts with none of these, though there is still hope that such might emerge...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Importance and Danger of "True Believers"

Prolific Centroid Billy Rojas just posted an article about
True Believers, which ought to be required reading for anyone trying to start a third party. It raises the question, "How do you build a solid core of True Believers while still being open-minded enough to embrace all truth?" Billy doesn't claim to have all the answers, but he sure provides a few good questions...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In Praise of Factions

One of the biggest challenges of a movement (even if it isn't a "party") is to articulate its core values.  Right now, there just seems to be a vague (if sincere) commitment to "civil discourse about substantial issues."  But, that only goes so far.  A quick scan of the forums indicates lots of voices, but little progress towards any meaningful consensus.  In such a world, the gatekeepers can frankly draw pretty much any conclusion they want!

What's the solution? As strange as it may sound, I think Unity '08 needs factions.  That is, it needs well-defined groupings that can attract adherents, articulate consensus policies within their realm of shared values, and compete for "hearts-and-minds" within the larger, civil space that Unity '08 has carved out.

To be sure, factions are usually a dirty word -- much like partisan!  But really, they're the only way I see to form any sort of coherent group identity, lest Unity '08 degenerate into a mere amorphous blob.

The trick is to figure out how to allow factions to self-organize around their preferred (and shared) principles, while still maintaining allegiance to the higher goal of civility...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mark Satin on Unity '08

Thoughtful independents seeking ways to dramatically improve government have long turned to draft-dodger-turned-New-Ager-turned-pragmatic idealist Mark Satin for well-researched, insightful critiques of emerging political trends.  Find out why he considers Unity08 The Most Promising Political Initiative of Our Time!

Welcome to the Unity '08 Watcher Blog

Welcome to UnityWatch, sponsored by the Centroids community of RadicalCentrism.org.  The goal of this blog is to provide an outside perspective on the Unity '08 political movement. As centrists and independents, we are excited about the vision of Unity's founders, and impressed by their organizational goals.  However, as principled centrists we worry that their lack of a coherent philosophy may hinder development of a sufficiently strong community to make a lasting change in American Politics.

Still, our goal is not so much to criticize Unity as it is to celebrate the positive aspects of what they do, and provide constructive input on how they might become more effective.  Stay tuned!

Ernie Prabhakar, for Centroids