Dear community – all of whom are thinking about Independence:
I have been thinking a lot about this idea of a constitution, as well as what a manifesto is in relation to governance, and I humbly submit my ideas here. I am new to NEAR, though I have met wonderful people who have encouraged me to share my thoughts. I also recognize that there are MANY beautiful writing and vision statements that have already been written that should not be overlooked in this process – yet, we should not “re-use” content only, we need to be sure the entire community has a voice in the process.
For transparency, I am the co-founder of Rising DAO – we are focused on Content Innovation here on NEAR, and will be developing research, content, media and programs that explore and amplify artists and creatives here on the Blockchain. We believe that the 2.2 trillion dollar Creative Economy is emerging as a superpower through DAOs and the Blockchain. My info is also here: www.sarahkornfeld.net
But, the main point I want to make is that – A constitution by any other name is Your Heart. Let me explain:
What’s the heart of a constitution?
Classically speaking, a constitution is created to explain, both practically and emotionally, the philosophical idea of a nation. Its primary responsibility is to bind people through a coherent body of fundamental principles according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed. Most critically, it acts as connective tissue for the deeply human desire for selfhood. So, core to the development of a constitution, one hopes, lives the belief that all cultures, all governance, are connected through a shared humanity. Therefore, the question of governance here on NEAR poses an interesting opportunity and challenge: How do we address the human beings on the platform, their rights, and dreams, with the technology being an infrastructure that supports our freedoms?
The beginning of any constitution starts with poetics of thought. As an example, the US constitution, “We the people in order to form a more perfect union…” The concept of “we the people” was a radical act unto itself since the Colony stating “we” was considered seditious. And, the concept of “more perfect union” was an innovation in thought, refined and created through the lens of emancipation from the British monarchy. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked tirelessly for years to define a simple, poetic, and exact language that matched the newness of their vision, and the specific quality of the new voice of their “new” country.
Now, for context (and to emphasize the reality of the complexity of nation-making) the United States governing structure is based directly on the governing framework and wisdom of the Cherokee Nation, and therefore an intrinsic dystopian conflict, violence and ingrained privilege of the “founding fathers” is imbued within their language. As a point of departure, the Cherokee Nation set to ratify their own constitution after their lands and freedom had been stolen from them and their communities annihilated. Their self-determination is expressed here in the beginning of the 1827 Cherokee Nation Constitution, “We the Representatives of the people of the Cherokee Nation, in Convention assembled in order to establish justice ensure tranquility, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty acknowledging with humility and gratitude the goodness of the sovereign ruler of the Universe affording us an opportunity so favorable to the design and imploring his aid and direction in its accomplishments do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Government of the Cherokee Nation.”
These two examples of constitutions show how language itself is the central DNA in the revolution of claiming your independence. And, though there may be similarities in language, context is different for everyone. History is seen through different lenses. Claiming independence is always unique and specific to different realities, struggles, visions, and urgency. And, language is how we define these systemically diverse claims of governance and freedom. The examples are also evidence of the complexity, strife, self-organizing action, focus, and commitment needed to develop authentic public contracts/mission statements for independence.
Therefore, how will we use our language (and experience which is varied for all of us) to define our independence within a constitution?
And, put plainly, a Constitution SHOULD take a measured amount of time to develop, what is a reasonable approach?
I believe that we must not lean into the arrogance of believing that constitutions speak for everyone – most often they make assumptions and miss the mark. Yet, constitutions can to be working documents that evolve over time. They should take into account that people, communities, and reality changes. It is also crucial to understand the true history of the country or nation that is being “built”. Is your nation being built on the backs of others? Is the nation born of the sins of greed or colonization? Is your Nation a Nation for everyone, or just a select few? And, whatever the answer, there must be a cogent plan to address and evolve within ALL the complex realities of culture.
Therefore, I would argue that prior to any constitution, there must be an honest and brave exploration of the “self” and the “group” for NEAR – for the idea of selfhood is complex, and the reality of who we all aim to become is nuanced; the TRUTH is that the entirety of this vast community has the right to be fully of the Nation. Yet do we know how to define this complexity yet?
How shall we do this needed brave exploration here on NEAR?
Who lives in the current NEAR Nation?
I notice that we are in a deep moment of change as though NEAR were its own country already. Those who have built it (developers) have had a vision for a world that liberates us from inequity and offers a new framework for economics at a tactical and macro level. This work will be written about in history when we are long gone, for the ability to mix ideas of independence within the totally contemporary innovation of technology is staggering. We are all in debt to this vision and hard work, and to this moment of true, unprecedented genius.
Also, in this moment, the NEAR Protocol and platform have developed something that it has identified as being a place for creativity. It has been seen that DAOs are a way to collaborate within the system which allows space for people to connect, adapt, refine and work within the current crypto revolution. NEAR made the call to creatives and artists and we are coming! By historical happenstance or some larger luck, the explosion of NFTs as art has given a sexy story to the Blockchain.
I recognize that this NFT buzz may seem like annoying glitz and a distraction from the larger revolution of a new form of economics and currency. Yet, I urge us to see the deeper fact that the NFT is not a thing, it is a relationship – a relationship between the artist and the art, the art and the buyer – the protection of the long-term IP of which most rightly belongs to the creator. Artists are embracing NFTs, not for the PR buzz, but because the NFT, and the potential of the Blockchain, are embodied within them. The NFT and the blockchain may be saving our creative lives and art forms, and this is proven in the recent flood of creatives and artists here to NEAR.
That may sound histrionic and weird talking about lives being saved, and art being protected from oblivion. And, why bring this up when talking about a constitution? Because it is everything. Artists and creatives, globally, are treated as minor players, “children” who won’t “get a job”, and relegated to not only fight for their right to exist but also flail in general poverty. Yet, the Blockchain is changing our lives. We have a sense of new value here.
And, again, this attitude of negation towards the value of artists/creatives is unfounded. The Creative Economy is a 2.2 Trillion dollar economy and creative people drive it (Note: G20 Insights) We collaborate brilliantly (because that is what we are trained to do) and we are helping DAOs to grow, create and thrive. We are the original entrepreneurs, and given the support, respect, and understanding we will cover the imaginary ceilings of the Blockchain with art that will stand the test of time.
There are so many of us creatives here now, and more are coming. And, there are creative and artist DAOs from around the world onboarding as we read this. Yet, we are here to create with everyone. We are here to join our technology development brothers and sisters as part of a constellation of DAOs – unique Nations, each with regional needs and realities, philosophies and economic aims, beliefs, and deep passions for freedom.
So, perhaps we are not ONE nation, we may be a confluence of nations and so, therefore, how might we adequately create one synthesized Constitution in rapid speed here on NEAR?
Might we be putting the cart before the horse? Or, said more plainly, what’s the rush?
Proposal for a first step
We propose that we start with a shared manifesto that is deeply human-centric and fun. We all can come together around the idea of “human-centric” design/ideas/governance because we are living in a time where both human-centric design and human-centric social innovation is seen as a legitimate idea and practice.
A manifesto as a first step leaves space for the philosophy, as well as our growing collaboration – technologists and creatives, entrepreneurs and artists – and a manifesto also allows for personality, humor, language, and a bit of joy, which is why we are here!
“We are in a value revolution” is what my friend, Asya Abdrahman (co-founder of Kin DAO) told me the first time we talked about the Blockchain. And, now that I am here I think that’s the very heart of it. The technology was built for that, and the people were filled to the brim with creativity. And, we are here, now, to build ON it. So, how do we all feel about this value and what are our unique insights about that revolution? We believe we must first pull together our voices, see the patterns, and share the insights before the next step.
Specific Action: A manifesto
We propose that we ALL offer our most creative thinking and offer up 1 - 4 sentences (ONLY) of the first lines of what this manifesto should say – for you – taking in your own unique, regionally based, creative, and brave voice. Be daring. Be honest.
Represent your voice, your needs, your origin country: write from your heart, write from your brains, write from your body that stands here now at a time in history where you are being asked to draft your own freedom.
Here are some definitions/ examples:
Definition: “A written statement indicating publicly the intentions, motives, or views of it’s issuer.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary
“Dada was born of a need for independence, of a distrust towards unity. Those who are with us preserve their freedom. We recognize no theory.” – Dada manifesto, Tristan Tzara 1918
“Stuckism is the quest for authenticity…Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.”
– The Stuckist Manifesto, 1999
“Remember. Materialism is just another bullshit faith. Poetry is fucking alchemy.”
― R.M. Engelhardt, The Bones of Our Existence
“Ancient people expressed their ideas through dialogues. Medieval people expressed their ideas through disputations. Modern people expressed their ideas through manifestos. Contemporary people express their ideas through temper tantrums.”
― Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski
– Steve Jobs
In service to this process, we at Rising DAO are happy to collect your 1-4 sentence “beginnings”
We will put them into a document, we can blend all the quotes in a linear way, as well as through Infographics so that we can see visually
We will then share with the community. This process may take 1-3 months to collect and create the document.
(We are ALSO happy to collaborate with any people or DAOs who want to be a part of this process, we do not make a stake here for ownership – PLEASE reach out if you want to share the management of the collection process).
Through a manifesto, we might all see the issues, patterns, voice(s), humor, insights, outrageous visions, and quality of language and ideas from this document and then utilize it to approach, humbly, any constitutional framework.
In most cases, SIMPLE is the best first step, and also results in deeply powerful results.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope it finds you very well.
Most respectfully and with gratitude,