Today, we are proud to announce the 2021 full launch of the Democracy Policy Network.
Founded in 2019, DPN is an interstate network that organizes policy support for the growing movement of trailblazing leaders working to deepen democracy in statehouses across America. By organizing people to gather, package, and amplify transformative state policies, we provide state leaders with the policy support they need to deepen democracy.
Throughout 2020, we have been in beta, honing our model of connecting transformative state policy to transformative state leaders. Today, after a year developing how best to recruit and guide policy organizers, gather and package promising policy, and connect and brief state leaders, we are ready to launch in full.
Here’s five new things coming with this full launch:
1. DPN’s launch video
Learn about our mission and model in our launch video:
2. DPN’s Patreon
For those interested in chipping in to help DPN advance its mission, we now have a Patreon, where folks can contribute monthly:
3. DPN’s Podcast: This is What Democracy Looks Like
DPN has a new podcast: This is What Democracy Looks Like. Each week, we will bring on a guest to teach us about a state policy that could deepen democracy.
Our first episode is with cooperative lawyer Jason Wiener, who came on to #TIWDLL to talk cooperatives, employee ownership, and his inspiring Main Street Phoenix project:
4. DPN’s statehouse network
One of DPN’s principles is that creating good policy is not enough — you have to also make sure good policy is connected to the state leaders who are ready to champion it in their statehouses. This is why we are building an interstate network of bold state legislators fighting to deepen democracy across the country. Every time we create a new policy kit, we send it to them — and help them out when they are ready to champion it. Check out DemocracyPolicy.network/network to see the growing network.
5. DPN’s first five policy kits
The core of what we do is build policy kits: deep-dive resources across every state issue, filled with information on what the squads in every statehouse needs to know to champion big ideas. They are made up of various modules, including: a brief introduction, write-ups on the elements that make up each policy, case studies on precedents, a bullpen of experts, and a starter pack of articles.
Our first five policy kits are live on the site:
- Legal Aid for All: how states can expand the civil right to counsel, establish Local Library Legal Offices, and widen the pathways to becoming a legal services provider
- Alternative Voting Methods: how states can implement alternatives to plurality voting—such as ranked choice, approval, score, and STAR voting, as well as multi-member districts with proportional representation
- Public Payments Platforms: how states can establish publicly-owned digital wallets platforms to make public administration more efficient, increase financial inclusion, and benefit local economies
- Public Banks: how states can establish public banks to democratize capital, build resiliency, and better leverage state funds for public purposes
- Democracy Vouchers: how "democracy voucher" campaign finance systems—in which voters are issued vouchers to 'donate' to candidates—can be used to fight corruption and increase participation in the electoral process
…And this is just the beginning. We have dozens more kits in the works, from tenant unions and prison voting to social housing and mass decarceration.
Here are four ways to follow along:
And if you would like to be more involved in DPN in any way — if you have an idea for a policy kit, if you know a state leader who you think should join our network, if you want to organize policy kits with us, if you want to help amplify ideas in our kits, if you want to bring DPN policies to your state — please reach out. My email is Pete@DemocracyPolicy.network and our "Join up" form is here. As the old saying goes, “They have money, but we have people”—we need all hands on deck to make DPN work.
I’ll end with this beautiful quote from W.E.B. Du Bois:
The vast and wonderful knowledge of this universe is locked in the bosoms of its individual souls. To tap this mighty reservoir of experience, knowledge, beauty, love, and deed we must appeal not to the few, not to some souls, but to all… The real argument for democracy is, then, that in the people we have the source of that endless life and unbounded wisdom which the rulers of men must have.
That is what all of us in the Movement for American Democracy are fighting for: a nation that extends more power to more people in more ways—and in doing so, better taps into the mighty reservoir of life and light contained within us all.
Keep up the Good Fight,
Democracy Policy Network