Eric Liu Why ordinary people need to understand power
Far too many Americans are illiterate in power — what it is, how it operates and why some people have it. As a result, those few who do understand power wield disproportionate influence over everyone else. “We need to make civics sexy again,” says civics educator Eric Liu. “As sexy as it was during the American Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement.”
Srdja Popovic How to topple a dictator
2011 was a year of extraordinary people-powered resistance, starting with Arab Spring and spreading across the world. How did this resistance work so well? Srdja Popovic (who led the nonviolent movement that took down Milosevic in Serbia in 2000) lays out the plans, skills and tools each movement needs — from nonviolent tactics to a sense of humor. (Filmed at TEDxKrakow.)
Alessandra Orofino It’s our city. Let’s fix it
Too often, people feel checked out of politics — even at the level of their own city. But urban activist Alessandra Orofino thinks that can change, using a mix of tech and old-fashioned human connection. Sharing examples from her hometown of Rio, she says: "It is up to us to decide whether we want schools or parking lots, recycling projects or construction sites, cars or buses, loneliness or solidarity."
Omar Ahmad Political change with pen and paper
Politicians are strange creatures, says politician Omar Ahmad. And the best way to engage them on your pet issue is a monthly handwritten letter. Ahmad shows why old-fashioned correspondence is more effective than email, phone or even writing a check — and shares the four simple steps to writing a letter that works.
Dave Meslin The antidote to apathy
Local politics — schools, zoning, council elections — hit us where we live. So why don't more of us actually get involved? Is it apathy? Dave Meslin says no. He identifies 7 barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, even when we truly care.
Ron Finley A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."
Beth Noveck Demand a more open-source government
What can governments learn from the open-data revolution? In this stirring talk, Beth Noveck, the former deputy CTO at the White House, shares a vision of practical openness — connecting bureaucracies to citizens, sharing data, creating a truly participatory democracy. Imagine the "writable society" ...
Jeremy Heimans What new power looks like
We can see the power of distributed, crowd-sourced business models every day — witness Uber, Kickstarter, Airbnb. But veteran online activist Jeremy Heimans asks: When does that kind of "new power" start to work in politics? His surprising answer: Sooner than you think. It’s a bold argument about the future of politics and power; watch and see if you agree.