democracy | MIT Center for Civic Media

Why Wholesome Memes Might Be Our Best Hope Against the Nazis

In Tokyo Boogie-Woogie: Japan’s Pop Era and Its Discontents, the historian Hiromu Nagahara describes a Japanese government meeting convened during the second World War. A wartime ban had been placed on American popular music, and so officials were serenaded instead by the popular nationalist songs of the day, including "Over There," a 1939 tribute to the bravery of Japan's soldiers—and, unbeknownst to all but a music journalist in attendance, a cover of "Over There," the 1917 American anthem better known by its opening hook "Johnny, get your gun." 

Initial Reflections on Promise Tracker

Testing the Promise Tracker app in Belo Horizonte

Last week a group of us from Civic returned from a two-week trip in Brazil, where we were busy testing the initial prototype of a project called Promise Tracker. Our work involved creating a mobile phone application that enables citizens to collect data on infrastructure developments related to promises made by their elected officials.

Civic media: a new approach for a new democracy?

My name is Marco Bani and I’m a visiting student here at Center for civic media for this semester. My home country is Italy, where I’m a Ph.D candidate in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in Pisa, the city of the most famous tower, where I have also the honor and the duty to be a city councillor. I think there is no place in the world that can earn the title of "living oxymoron" more than Italy.
A land of great artists and great history, but unfortunately blocked by rusty mechanisms now welded in society.
Here, like in other countries in the world, politics alone is not able to give a jolt, hampered by the continuous need for consensus that paralyzes every decision made for a more distant future.
To get a better politics is therefore needed a new society, a social awakening by citizens, where everyone has the power and the duty to be a positive example for others, as my compatriot Machiavelli said many centuries ago:

Amauta Free Space project

So, after much reflection, I decided to do the Amauta Free Space project, since it's my passion at the moment, consuming my time and thoughts. As I mentioned before, it would consist of an open collaborative space for democratic participation, where those who take part in it build a virtual community interacting on a set of basic principles (if you can understand Spanish, you can see our diagram here):