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Indivisible: A Social Action Startup for Democracy

Indivisible: A Social Action Startup for Democracy

Bob Burnett

Some of the most exciting days of my life occurred in the late 80's when I was involved in a technology startup, Cisco Systems. 29 years later I'm involved in another exciting startup, Indivisible. There are fascinating similarities between my experience at Cisco and Indivisible.


I don’t buy the analogy to the Internet but people should join these groups fighting back against the Trump administration. I’ve been involved with the Sierra Club for many years and recently picked up my involvement with the ACLU which has now started organizing people for protests of some sort.


Add Brand New Congress that has joined forces with Justice Dems! We can do it together.

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Is there an agenda? Real ideas for the changes that are needed, to prevent the collapse of the US? We have actually remained on a course that was first set in the 1980s.

We’ve already been deeply divided (even if we aren’t supposed to talk about it). Real life gets pretty basic. What people care about the most is whether they have the means to keep their families together, housed and fed. The US is 20 years into one hell of a war on the poor. Democrats and liberals alienated a good chunk of the population – the poor, and those who get why it matters. Overall, we’re more divided than we were eight years ago.

Where can this go politically? The Dem voting base had long consisted of the masses – poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, for the common good. This base was split wide apart in the 1990s, and the past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent. Now what?


If Indivisible teams up with a progressive political party (the Greens?) it might prove to be a force that the powers-that-be really fear.

If not, it will probably go the way of the 60’s revolution and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

A movement without a political party is a haven for dreamers.


Politicians on both sides of the aisle should be aware that they will be held accountable. Indivisible members should be aware that political operatives may be infiltrating their groups to try and frame the issues and actions. History has a habit of repeating itself, and the hope is that Indivisible does not go the way Occupy did after the Whoreporate Dems co-opted the movement.


Now what’s to be done is to keep on keeping on, keep the pressure on, keep the bad publicity items coming, new revelations every day. The Republicans are still using him to push their agenda through, and so long as they find that this keeps working for them, they’ll stick with him even though they look upon him with the proverbial “fear and loathing.”

But if sleazy revelations keep coming, a fire storm of stupid things said, stupid unpopular moves made by his Csbinet choices, the more lies that are exposed as such, the more people will turn on him as an embarrassment and a detriment to the country, the sooner they will begin the job of hounding him out of office, and the sooner other office holders of both parties will combine forces to have him be gone.

A fire storm of bad publicity like what we have going on now is the best bet to get him to quit, My thought is that trying to agitate the establishment into instituting impeachment procedings and keeping the pressure on them so that it goes all the way through to trial and conviction is a long hard iffy slog. The US public doesn’t fully “get” that impeaching him is not an end game but just a step in the right direction. The public won’t have the stick-to-a-tiveness to see it through.

But hounding both the president himself and all those who foolishly publicly support him and keep on his case until the constant wounds to his easily punctured self esteeem will turn turn the tide and make him be unable to wait to skedaddle. As has been speculated by many, he never wanted to BE president, he just wanted to get to be president to prove to himself that he could. He wanted, to use his favorite term, to “win.” Now he must be shown that being president is actually making him into the loser he most fears being to make him glad to get out of there and get back to his gilded towers and trophy wife, and convince himself that becoming president was a bonehead move,

I call it the “force him to quit in a snit” way to be rid of him approach.

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Indeed. Movements are where dreams take shape and visions are formed. No successful movement in this country ever rose up out of a political party. The opposite is true. Political parties rise out of movements not the other way around, or the movement becomes co-opted by a political party.


So am I, and I wish you the best, Bob.

With your management skills and your solid base in reality, I’d say Indivisible has the best chance for success of any of the recent attempts to unify the discontented.

Align with a party, and put a lot of energy into placing your first candidate into the House of Representatives.

That will really make ears go up, and you might then be able to do what Bernie Sanders attempted.

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Nail on the head @DHFabian! Resistance is a good thing, but resistance without strategy is not a plan to build a functioning democracy. The rules have changed and the people are spinning in the cloud of chaos being whipped up by Trump & Toadies. I find myself much slower in drawing, and a whole lot less likely to jump to, any conclusions about anything I hear in the news. I’m resisting but it isn’t enough to bring into fruition a democracy that delivers economic, environmental and social justice.

I encountered this interesting article this week, which is certainly food for thought:

The author suggests total disengagement, building local democratic institutions and self sustaining communities. It makes sense considering that’s where survivors of catastrophic climate change will end up if Fascism succeeds.

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Impressive and thanks for the analogy which helped us non tech people understand and correlate the information.

Where do I join but sure I can google in my area.

Then what? We still have Pence, Ryan and McConnell and the rest of the thugs in the senate and house.

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and sounds like Indivisible is trying to do in all our local communities but will have to get involved to really know.

Democracy is not possible under a monetary system. Perhaps a switch to a non-fungible index, but that may be expecting too much. #PlanetaryIndex

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Anything that increases knowledge and awareness and energizes people’s involvement civic processes is welcome.

Two concerns with Indivisible: (1) it is problematic if it becomes intertwined with/coopted by the Democratic Party; (2) there should be a much stronger concentration on taking up positive alternatives and not just resistance to the current Trump admin and GOP-led Congress. In fact, participating in alternative economic and social formations is a form of resistance in the sense that people opt out of the current corrupt system in favor of one that is more just, equitable, resilient, and regenerative.

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“Democracy is starting up.”

That’s Online Direct Democracy, made safe and secure with encryption methods like Tor and soon by unhackable quantum computing. Securely vote to pass or revoke any and all laws. Or propose your own laws and have them voted on securely encrypted by the public with the touch of a cellphone key.

My suggested approach is to attempt to remove the immediate main problem, the Insane Clown President who is a real immediare danger. There may not even be time for that to work due to the number of wars on the edge of breaking out.

If People Power were to drive Trump out of office it would empower folks and make The Conservatives like Pence know that the people are to be feared and are not willing to take shit no more

The goals of dreamers supersede the limited goals of parties. Just because your party’s candidate wins, it is not enough to quit dreaming. It happens time after time that we relax the pressure when our candidate wins and our dreams get compromised away. Our role as citizens is to keep movements alive, to keep pressure on, no matter which party is in power. The above comment seems to deprecate dreamers while building up the notion that we should submit to a party hierarchy. Our society should be built upon common dreams, not parties.

I agree with you 100%, and said as much in my comment. There are few people in this comment section who have been calling for a movement more than I have, and long before Trump’s election. Trump’s election is the result of a movement not forming sooner. The rise of fascism in the US has been happening for quite some time, but it apparently took his election to motivate folks to act to save the last shreds of our democracy. Whose fault is it? We can blame both the GOP and the Dems for the mess we’re in, and it is beyond me why folks think we can vote ourselves out of it. At this historic moment, voting is only part of the equation, and a very small part indeed. Solidarity organizing is at the top of my list. Candidates for office will rise up out of the movement, and when we give voice to movement candidates, people will vote them into office.

Good for Indivisible for holding officials feet to the fire, something We the People should be doing at all times, good or bad. That said, it’s not going to fix the systemic issue at the root of the problem: The Constitution is not a human rights document. It is a property rights document, and until that little problem is fixed, We the People will constantly be fighting the propertied rich and their corporations, as we have done since Day One. If it weren’t for the backlash from Revolutionary fighters, the Bill of Rights wouldn’t even exist. The corporate assault on our Constitution began over 140 years ago in the Supreme Court, and since then Corporations have gained rights under the Bill of Rights 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments, and the 14th amendment–rights intended for human beings.

Corporations change the rules of the game when they don’t like them through the legalized bribery known as campaign contributions. Their use of the Supreme Court to rewrite the Constitution has been ongoing for decades. The time has come for We the People to change the rules of the game–permanently–by abolishing all corporate Constitutional rights and money as protected political speech.

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“At this historic moment, voting is only part of the equation, and a very small part indeed. Solidarity organizing is at the top of my list.”

What if we built solidarity by rebuilding democracy and convincing the 50% of eligible voters who are currently voting that they can trust the democracy only if they decide to keep it healthy? We’re all in this together and we all have to take care of our world and our own governance as a matter of mutual trust.

It is time for us to prove the promise of democracy, that the people have the power. This is no game, we must do this.

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