Interview with Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

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Marcos Moulitsas Zúniga (@Marcos) founder of the blog DailyKos.com, and author of "Taking on the System" was our guest in our class "Using the Social Web for Social Change" in the green MBA at BGIedu. …

Marcos Moulitsas Zúniga (@Marcos) founder of the blog DailyKos.com, and author of "Taking on the System" was our guest in our class "Using the Social Web for Social Change" in the green MBA at BGIedu. Topics include blogging, social change, occupy wall street, online communities, and political tactics.

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  • 1. Welcome Markos!Markos Moulitsas Zuniga Founder, dailykos.com Author of Taking on the System
  • 2. What was the name ofHistory your very first blog? Anything change? What topics did you originally plan to cover How do you cover now that you didn’t expect to cover then? What was your original social change goal? How did this evolve?
  • 3. Peer Bloggers“It has been interesting reading Moulitsas bookand also reading about Han Han, one of the mostfamous bloggers in China, in The New Yorker. Thismakes me wonder about the importance of beingconnected to your "peer" bloggers. Is itimportant? Lisa Capa…Are these two bloggers in touch? Do they keeptrack of each others work to inspire their own?”
  • 4. What holds people back?“It occurs to me that people are much more likely toparticipate in an online community during times of crisis.  Im thinking about earthquakes, wildfires, floods and riots.   People participate because they have importantinformation to share.  They do it because they want tohelp others and save lives.  They also participate becausethey have been profoundly impacted by events and want to Marcyshare their experience with others.  They dont think Tobinabout how their contribution will be judged, they just doit.  Question:  Is that what holds many people back frombecoming contributors — the fear of being judged?  Or, isit merely an issue of time — of not wanting to commit thetime to becoming a contributor?”
  • 5. All’s Fair?“I am fascinated by the line based on Saul Alinskys, Rulesfor Radicals (1971) about ‘alls fair in pursuit of pursuit ofones noble goals.’ That is a bold statement for someonelike me who tends toward being process oriented,attempting to be "honest" with myself and others, and tobelieve and focus much more in the integrity of the Lizjourney than the destination. I understand that some Feldmaninformation just is not helpful in some situations. But Ialso think that many people have different too-much-information thresholds. I would be excited to hear anymore stories or thoughts about how you have navigatedthese waters.”
  • 6. Stackholder Engagement“There are many different ways to advocate andcause change. One of the ways that I ascribe to isto engage the stakeholders as partners, workingwith them in a convincing manner for them to seethe value and necessity of change. This methodencounters less resistance from the stakeholders Amrand harnesses their cooperation to achieve change. FoudaWhat is your opinion of this method and have youused it successfully in the past? How does itcontrast to an all out activism against astakeholders lack of values or inconsistency of theiractions with their values?”
  • 7. Running for Office? Sample Ballot 31st Legislative District Pierce County Court of Appeals Partisan Office Partisan Office Court of Appeals, D State Representative Council - District No. 7 District No. 1 - Posi Position No. 2 Four Year Unexpired vote for one Term vote for one Todd Iverson Lisa Worswick“Now that there are ways to get around these Patrick Reed (Prefers Democratic Party) (Prefers Republican Party) Write In Betty Ringlee Daniel Geske (Prefers Democratic Party) Pierce County Disgatekeepers, and take on the system, why arent we (Prefers Republican Party) District Court - Pos Chuck West Christopher Hurst (Prefers Democratic Party) (Prefers Independent Dem. Party) Claire Sussman William V. (Bill) Sehmelseeing more candidates running for office?” (Prefers Republican Party) Kevin A. McCann Write In Larry Wingard Lance Hester Pierce County (Prefers Republican Party) Partisan Office Stan Flemming Karl L. Williams Prosecuting Attorney continued vote for one (Prefers Republican Party) Write In Randy BossPierce County Council, District No. 5 Mark Lindquist (Prefers Democratic Party) (Prefers Republican Party) City of Milton Special Election John N. Picinich Bertha B. Fitzer Proposition No. 1 Rick Talbert Erich Sachs (Prefers Independent Party) (States No Party Preference) Erich Levy for Fire Protec (Prefers Democratic Party) (Prefers Democratic Party) Write In Write In The City of Milton _________________________________ _________________________________ Council - District No. 1 Judicial - Nonpartisan Office No. 10-1784 place voters funding of F Sachs State Supreme Court Justice vote for one Position No. 1 medic and Emerg Elected Experience: Elected Experience: vote for one cal Services. This Dan Roach funds Fire and Em Tacoma City Council; Deputy Mayor No information submitted Stan Rumbaugh (Prefers Republican Party) Medical Services, City of Tacoma; Committee Chair, addition of Param Economic Development Committee; Other Professional Experience: Pat McElligott Jim Johnson serve the Milton c I am currently an employee of (Prefers Democratic Party) authorizes an incr Member, Government Performance and Finance Committee; Member, Pierce County Parks and Recreation Nicola McDonald Write In regular property ta State Supreme Court Justice to $1.21 per $1,00 Public Safety, Human Services and and a member of Teamsters Local (Prefers Republican Party) Position No. 5 sessed value oveEducation Committee. 117. Last year I led the charter team that created the new vote for one for a total rate not sustainability policy for Pierce County Parks and Recre- Write In Barbara Madsen $3.00 per $1,000Other Professional Experience: ation and I am currently developing a recycling program Council - District No. 5 value for collectioMember Pierce Transit Board of Directors; President, The 2011 levy am that will be financially self-sufficient, using revenue from vote for one Write In comes the startingSmall Business Incubator; Pierce County Performance the Parks’ recyclables. This program will save money, Rick Talbert State Supreme Court Justice computing subseqAuditor Position No. 6 increases for the s increase recycling rates by up to 90%, create jobs, and (Prefers Democratic Party) vote for one four years only. S keep our District 5 parks open and clean. Erich SachsEducation: Bryan Chushcoff proposition be app (Prefers Democratic Party)BA Political Science, WWU, Lincoln High School Education: Charlie Wiggins Audrey ChaseCommunity Service: MBA Candidate in Sustainable Business, Bainbridge (Prefers Democratic Party) Richard B. SandersA lifetime Pierce County resident, Rick Talbert gradu- Graduate Institute; BA, The Evergreen State Collegeated from Western Washington University and Lincoln Community Service: Write In Write InHigh School. Talbert has extensive experience in pub- Participated in mentoring/ tutoring programs for middle- Court of Appealslic service. His community work includes the Eastside school students. Court of Appeals, Division No. 2Neighborhood Advisory Council, the National League of District No. 1 - Position No. 1 vote for oneCities, Community and Economic Development Policy Statement Marywave Van Derenand Advocacy Committee, and the Crystal Judson Fam- Working for Pierce County Government, I see every dayily Justice Center. that our tax dollars could be used more efficiently. We Write In
  • 8. Diversity“Since it seems that the social media via the webreaches only those who are looking for it (and/orhave access), what ideas do you have in getting amore diverse chorus involved in the symphony ofsocial change?” Sonja Skvaria
  • 9. Other Mediums of Expression“Do you like to/are you comfortable speakingin front of large groups? Your blog and bookhave a wide reach. Are there other mediumsyou work in to get your message out?” Chantel Bunkers
  • 10. Full Potential“Social media is such a powerful mechanism: inwhat ways do you think it is not reaching its fullpotential and why?” Ben Drury
  • 11. The New Gatekeepers“In light of the blogosphere and other social media workingoutside of the traditional gatekeepers of newspaper editorsand radio/TV program directors, in what ways do you seenavigating around the NEW gatekeepers: ISPs, largetelecoms, and governmental agencies (FCC, etc.)? Myexample is on Facebook there have been many peopleposting pictures of the throngs in NY and other cities for Patrickoccupy wall st. that are now being blocked by RostFB...tenaciously, people have changed the filename and addedtext to the image to get around these blocks, but as pattern/visual recognition technology improves, how will we be ableto get around more complex, technological gates as they areerected by the new gatekeepers?”
  • 12. OccupyWall Street photo credit: David Shankbone on Flickr licensed CC-BY
  • 13. Stalled Change“Taking On the System speaks with a voice ofhope, telling stories where Netroots have affectedgreat change. However, in the last two years (withthe exception of what is now happening withOccupy Wall Street) it seems the change hasstalled (Obamas reelection in doubt, lack of Mikeprogress on a progressive agenda, etc.) and Greenbergperhaps we need a booster. What do you feel haschanged since 2007-2008 to now?”
  • 14. Crafting Stories“I read your recent blog post ‘My list of absolutedemands for Occupy Wall Street’. I found it veryentertaining and provocative. In your book, Taking onthe System, you encourage people to ‘craft goodstories in order to vest people in the causes we careabout.’ People want to know what the Occupy Wall MarcyStreet story is. If the Occupy Wall Streeters dont Tobincraft this story wont the media craft it for them?”
  • 15. Speak With One Voice“You devote Chapter 4 to "Reinvent the StreetProtest." Id be curious to get a general overview ofyour thoughts around the Occupy Wall StreetMovement and to see what, if anything, you wouldrewrite in this chapter given the movements currentprogress (or lack thereof, given your perspective) RyanParticularly, the idea of "speak with one voice.” Ceurvost
  • 16. Protest Tactics“In the book you talk about street protests as an outdated oreven obsolete tool for capturing media attention and creatingsocial change. …The past couple of weeks have been dominated by news ofOccupy Wall Street and the Tar Sands Action in D.C. How doyou view their uses of the protest tactic? Do you have advice, Tamaraor perhaps an observation about what they are doing that Gordymight stop them from being rendered obsolete or ineffective? How can organizers manage the tension between the hugenumbers they need to show to earn credibility, and theseemingly inevitable messiness that goes with opening theprocess to a lot of people in public and in real-time? Is there aworkable answer to this challenge?”
  • 17. Protest Tactics“I’ve been considering correlations between Taking on the System and Occupy WallStreet. So, allow me a moment to lay out my train of thought in hopes that youmight discuss the threads.The lessons learned from Cindy Sheehan were: Don’t believe the hype, workwithin your niche. and don’t get caught up in other ideological causes. Anotherseems to be: Score political points in the media with simple, albeit emotional,target shooting. Example: Cindy should have stuck with “For what noble cause didmy son die?” TomThese lessons strike me as both practical AND short-term, over-simplified. They Longpertain to election cycles and legislative campaigns but DO THEY APPLY TOPARADIGM SHIFTS? The purpose of Occupy Wall Street is to question andchange the system, which is greater than the sum of any list of demands.HOW CAN WE IMPLEMENT SYSTEMS THINKING IN THIS CONTEXT? ...seeing the forest AND the trees; identifying unconstrained feedback loops,unrecognized time delays, and confining mental models? In politics, IS IT POSSIBLEAND PRACTICAL TO THINK HOLISTICALLY AND LONG-TERM?”
  • 18. Questions for What questions do youUs? have for our our students?