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VIDEO: Making the Argument Against National Popular Vote

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:19

Fox’s Kelly And Stirewalt Fearmonger Over Popular Vote Deciding Presidential Elections (via http://crooksandliars.com)

By Heather April 22, 2014 6:00 am – Comments The horror!!! Fox’s Megyn Kelly and regular Chris Stirewalt fearmonger over the possibility of states ditching the Electoral College and using the popular vote to determine our elections instead. The horror…

 

Against National Popular Vote?

IRS Moves Against Conservatives in Charity Organization

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:00
Conservative Non-Profit’s Tax-Exempt Status Revoked (via http://crooksandliars.com)

Well, no wonder the right wing is all a-flutter with hate for the IRS. It seems one of their own has been smacked down hard. When Ginni Thomas folded up her Liberty Central tent to become a lobbyist and link baiter for Tucker Carlson, she handed the…

 

IRS Moves Against Conservatives…

Bankers Join Occupy Democracy Protests in Hong Kong

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:00
Some Hong Kong finance workers to join pro-democracy protest (via AFP)

Dozens of Hong Kong’s finance professionals have vowed to join a pro-democracy street protest which could shut down traffic in the Central business district later this year. The group of some 70 bankers, traders and other professionals said they would…

Bankers Join Occupy in Hong Kong

 

New Corruption Allegations Threaten South Africa’s ANC

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:00
ANC alleged mattress handout under scrutiny before polls (via AFP)

South Africa’s government corruption watchdog is looking into an allegation that the ruling ANC party handed out state-paid mattresses in election campaigns ahead of general polls on May 7, a spokesman said Tuesday. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela…

 

Does This Threaten South Africa’s ANC?

Let’s Play: “What’s The Best Voting Method?”

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 19:40

After seeing Democracy Chronicles’ excellent kickstarter trailer for Design of a Broken System, and hearing John Amaruso’s smart ‘plea’ for electoral reform as the #1 overarching issue that will engender all the other major issues we face, I couldn’t help but come up with the following simple example (below) to provoke a thoughtful discussion on voting-method reform.

Thanks …and good luck with the documentary!

 

——————————————————

 

Let’s play: “What’s the best voting method?”

Instructions: Please answer the simple Question #1 before tackling the difficult Question #2

Question #1:
Three friends want to select one of thirty nearby restaurants that will most likely provide them with the greatest overall satisfaction as a group. What voting method should they use?

Question #2:
Three-hundred million people want to select one of thirty candidates who will most likely provide them with the greatest overall satisfaction as a collective group (the very essence of “democracy”). What voting method should they use?

Conundrum?:
If your answer to Question #2 is different from your answer to Question #1, please explain at what point (the precise # of voters in the electorate) that you changed your voting method, and changed it to what method, and WHY?

 

ANSWER BELOW…

Ex-Supreme Court Justice Slams Changes Made to Elections

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 02:12

John Paul Stevens: Supreme Court Took ‘Giant Step In Wrong Direction’ (via Liberaland)

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says the court has gone the wrong way in a string of rulings related to campaign financing. He spoke to Adam Liptak of the New York Times. “The voter is less important than the man who provides money…

 

Ex-Supreme Court Justice Stevens

Iraqi Women Are War Victims on Massive Scale

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 20:24
Female candidates fight for rights in Iraq campaign (via AFP)

With fears that women’s rights are being eroded in Iraq, prospective female lawmakers are determined to push women’s issues to the fore of campaigning for this month’s elections. Despite a constitutional requirement that a quarter of all MPs be women…

 

Iraqi Women Are Suffering

Is America Still a Democracy?

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 20:06

Study Says: America is No Longer a Democracy (via www.ladyfreethinker.com)

You’ve suspected it for a while now, and a new study agrees — America is no longer  a democracy. Nope, our government caters to the needs of a few, very rich people and special interest groups. So the nation is an oligarchy, and democracy is dead…

 

Is America Still a Democracy?

Support American Democracy on Kickstarter With DC

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 17:14

We have launched a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter to finish and distribute a documentary of the highest quality and with the farthest reach. Our film, “The Design of a Broken System”, requires that we muster all the help we can get from our friends, family, readers, democracy activists, working people and the broader community. We have been gathering footage for a year now and the editing process has hardly begun. More interviews are lined up. More protests scheduled. But the time is now for a strong boost from our friends!

Making a film that will add to the election reform movement is a challenge. But it’s said the promise of crowdfunding is to take a community that is hungry for change and give them a platform to act. With your help “The Design of a Broken System” will have its reach and impact amplified enormously. Amazing footage is already in our hands that has the making of an incredible film. Checkout the kickstarter to see the four minute trailer video to get an idea of what we have gathered thus far.

New Hampshire Rebellion Showed How National Activists Support American Democracy

During the brutal winter of 2014, our film crew (including director John Amaruso  and cinematographer Rob Martin) drove from New York City to Concord, New Hampshire to support Lawrence Lessig and the NHrebellion protesters as they marched across frozen pavement in a citizen’s movement against a corrupt system. We were accompanied on our trip by Jeff Kurzon, a candidate for the House of Representatives in New York City’s 7th District who is deep in a primary race against a longtime incumbent to culminate in elections this June. Jeff stopped to see his family on the way up so it only made sense that his chief of staff at the time, Joshua Hedglin, joined our film crew for the ride up. We had met Jeff and his staff for an interview only the previous month where he had originally invited us to join him in New Hampshire. Also on the journey was my brother Dan Tawfik, my cousin Freya Krasnow, and a good friend Gretchen.

Once in New Hampshire, we met up with the NHRebellion and spent our time filming their march across New Hampshire’s snow covered local streets. Jeff Kurzon wrote this summary of the events and we got some great footage for our upcoming documentary including an interview with the top-level campaign finance expert Lawrence Lessig from Harvard University that will be featured in the movie.

Movements like the NHRebellion and free thinkers like Lawrence Lessig are the bread and butter of this film. But we need your help to get us to the next step of awesomeness by freeing us to spend on making this project the best it can be. Democracy Chronicles is building a community and we have been doing so for since December 2011. Let’s take action together.

THE LINK:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adriantawfik/democracy-film-the-design-of-a-broken-system

 

Submit your questions about our documentary by emailing me at adrian@democracychronicles.com

 

The Design of a Broken System

Director and Writer: John Amaruso of Next Gen News Junkies
Cinematographer: Rob Martin of Digital Image Studios
Producer: Adrian Tawfik of democracychronicles.com

The Impact of Voter Turnout in Young and Old

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 16:38

Stephanie Singer is City Commissioner of Philadelphia, the largest city on the east coast after New York

 

We in Philadelphia have a major problem. Our younger generation doesn’t vote in statewide and local elections in anywhere near their numbers. They are hitting below their weight. As a result, issues of particular importance to Philadelphians, like high-quality schools and the money to support them, are given short shrift by our political leaders.

How can we improve the situation? There are some long-range remedies and some small but immediate steps to take.

For the long term we could teach the next generation how to organize to use the power they earn by voting. Organizations like the American Association of Retired People (AARP) help “seasoned folk” like me advocate for senior centers, pensions and medicare. We strengthen the AARP by voting in large numbers in every election — the more AARP members vote, the more elected officials will respect the input from the AARP’s leaders.

For the long term we could develop and adopt effective civics education in schools, prisons and other institutions.

While we are waiting for the American Association of Young People and the Philadelphia Civics Core Curriculum to get off the ground, there is plenty we can do to encourage younger Philadelphians to vote in the next election, on May 20th.

First, we can tell young people our own stories. I speak of my father’s work helping Americans in Mississippi register to vote in the summer of 1964 — the same summer that two young men who looked just like him were murdered there — and of his return the following summer.  I speak of my then 17-year-old daughter’s impact on my own election in 2011 — she earned me over 100 votes by canvassing outside a crowded polling place.

Second, we can urge the young people we know to vote in every election. My daughter is away in college now, so I nag her about her absentee ballot. And while I try not to nag people outside my immediate family, I do make a habit of encouraging young people to vote in the next election.

Third, we can share compelling statistics at every opportunity. About 30% of adult Philadelphia citizens are Millennials (born after 1979). Yet only 13% of the people who voted in November 2013 were Millennials. In contrast, over 60% of the ballots in that election were cast by people over 50. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that the proceeds of the lottery go to seniors and not to student loan forgiveness or job training? Why should politicians pay attention to people who don’t vote?

Mostly, though, the younger generation would rather listen to each other than listen to older folk. Our best opportunity to connect the Millennials to voting and civic engagement is to listen to them. What matters to the young people you meet? How does government touch their lives? How can voting help them reach the goals that they have chosen for themselves? Once they understand how voting adds to their power we won’t have to teach them much — with their social media skills, they soon will out-organize and out-vote us all.

 

Stephanie Singer

Philadelphia City Commissioner

City Hall, Room 132

Philadelphia, PA  19107

215-686-3460

www.PhiladelphiaVotes.com

www.PAtransparency.org

Voter Turnout in Young People is Too Low!!!

Ukraine Crisis May Spiral Toward an Imminent War

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 01:28

Map of Kievan Rus in the 11th Century http://www.stamp-collecting-world.com/images/Russia_Kievan_Rus_Map.jpg

In a dramatic rise in tensions in the ongoing crises between Ukraine and Russia, Kiev announced on Tuesday that the country’s military has successfully re-taken an airfield that pro-Russian gunmen had once occupied. The move comes following Kiev’s announcement that it will take action after pro- Russian gunmen occupied major institutions across Easter Ukraine, including a police headquarters in the Eastern city of Kramatorsk.

The events are the most dramatic in the nearly 5 month old crises between Kiev and Moscow. The crises started in November 2013 when the Ukrainian parliament rejected a trade deal with the EU and instead opted to move more toward Moscow which signed a $15 billion debt buyout and reduced the price of Russian gas supplies by about a third. The deal was signed by Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kiev has officially called the operation which is taking place an anti-terrorist operation, which has orders to take back institutions which have come under control of pro-Russian gunmen. Ukrainian Gennady Krutov was quoted as saying “We have information that there is shooting going on in here. I came to clarify that. There is an anti-terrorist operation going on in here. I am here to protect you. I address you as citizens of our common country.” Krutov said in referring to the operation at the airfield.

In the last meeting between Russian prime minister Sergey Lavrov and United States’ secretary of State John Kerry, which took place Sunday March 30th, the two sides were unable to come to an agreement to deescalate the situation and since that meeting the situation has rapidly grown worse day by day. Meetings between the U.S. led military alliance, N.A.T.O., and Russia have continued throughout the crisis.

In a follow up phone call which took place on Monday April 14th, between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama the two sides exchanged concerns in what was described as a tense and heated phone call. A statement released by the White house was quoted as saying “expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, of pro- Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine”.

A statement released by Kremlin officials on Monday in response to President Obama’s accusation read In response to the President of the United States expressed concern about Russia’s supposed meddling in Southeastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying “that such speculations are based on inaccurate information.” A transparency one has come to expect.

 

 

Group of Bollywood Actors Sign Public Anti-Modi Appeal

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:57

Bollywood urges voters to shun Modi’s party (via AFP)

More than 50 Bollywood filmmakers, actors and writers on Wednesday urged Indians not to vote for the party of Hindu nationalist hardliner Narendra Modi in the ongoing general election. The group signed an appeal calling on Indians to choose a “secular…

 

Anti-Modi Appeal from Bollywood

Chris Christie Backs No Limits on Political Spending

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:35

Chris Christie calls for no limits to campaign donations, end to realty transfer fees (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — As he continues trying to shift attention from the scandal gnawing at his administration, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday expressed support for a pair of controversial proposals: allowing unlimited campaign donations and scrapping a home…

 

No Limits on Political Spending?

India Biggest Day of Voting is Massive Enterprise

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:36

India goes to polls in biggest voting day (via AFP)

India hosts its biggest day of voting Thursday in its marathon election, with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty battling to save the ruling Congress party from defeat to opposition Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi. More than 195 million voters in 121 constituencies…

 

How is India Biggest Day of Voting?

New York Joins Push to Fix Electoral College

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:33

NY Joins Pact to Elect Presidents by Popular Vote (via Rye Patch)

Gaining the state’s 29 electoral votes is a boon to a national movement to align the Electoral College system with the popular vote. New York has joined an interstate agreement to award its electoral votes to whatever presidential candidate wins the…

 

How to Fix Electoral College?

How to Improve the American Voting System

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 21:52

Recently, I was contacted out of the blue and asked for my opinion on voting. A man named Patrick Bet-David sent me an unprompted message I felt compelled to answer. He wrote, “I’m curious how you would improve our voting system we have in America?”  Bet-David it turns out, has a very storied history.

According to his bio from the patrickbetdavid.com about page, “Patrick Bet-David is a man who inspires. He is a successful entrepreneur, emerging author and financial literacy crusader committed to helping people get more out of life. His intriguing perspective on opportunity is colored from his experience as a young immigrant escaping war-torn Iran in the late ‘80s. He embodies a true rags-to-riches story that saw him first serving in the U.S. military before breaking into the financial services industry. You can actually watch his story come to life in a short film called UNLEARN on YouTube. Before turning 30, Patrick started a financial services marketing organization, PHP Agency (short for People Helping People), one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.

Take a look at the video at the end of this article for a look at Bet-David’s work.  Below is my response to his question:

 

How would I improve the American voting system? 1. Absolutely essential, before any other improvement of any kind is possible, is verifiable vote-counting. That can be achieved by public ballot-imaging: Ballots could be the usual cardboard or paper ballots, punched or pencil-marked for machine reading (as by “MarkSense”, etc.), or machine balloting, such as touchscreen, could be used.

If machine balloting of any kind is used, then the machine must output a paper ballot, which the voter can examine, to make sure that it is as s/h wants, before s/he deposits it in the ballot-box. Of course the ballots are transported and stored securely, protectted by locks, alarms, and cameras owned and operated by various political parties, across the political spectrum. I’ll refer to those parties as “the observer parties”.

“Public Imaging Day” is the day immediately after voting-day. On Public-Imaging Day, at each precinct, each ballot, one at a time, is laid face-up on a table. Above the table is a frame on which are mounted digital cameras owned and operated by the observer-parties, plus one that is owned and operated by the elections department. 

So, one at a time, each ballot is laid face up on that table. Then that ballot is stamped with a sequential order-number, and then that ballot is imaged by all the aforementioned digital cameras mounted on the frame above the table–cameras owned and operated by the observer-parties and the elections department.

An election official goes through the steps to check voting machines for accuracy
Photograph by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Each of the observer parties owns its digital images of the ballot set. The term “ballot-set” will refer to that set of images. Each observer party can scan its ballo-set, in order to do a computer count of the election, no matter how simple or complicated the balloting and count are. For example, any rank-balloting voting-system could easily be counted in this way. Of course anyone could ask for and receive any observer-party’s copy of the ballot-set, or that of the elections department, and could thereby do their own computer count of the election.

If there’s a dispute about the ballot-set, then it’s a dispute about particular numbered ballots. The disputed ballots could be retrieved from storage and re-examined and re-imaged. Thereby, the count is entirely free of count-fraud, regardles of how simple or complicated the balloting or count-rule is. That’s true, for example, even if rank-balloting is used, with some complicated rule for determining the winner from the rankings.

As I said, no improvement of any kind is possible until we have verifiable vote-counting. Public Ballot-Imaging is a good and easy way to make the count verifiable, and therefore legitimate. I emphasize that a count that isn’t verifiable, isn’t legitimate. An election with an illegitimate count is an illegitimate election. The mere fact of unverifiabl count makes an election illegitimate, without any count-fraud actually being probved. (How can count-fraud be proved when the counting is unverifiable?). 2. Aside from count-security, the problem addressed in #1 above, we need a better voting system. Right now, under current conditions, the best voting system would be Approval: Each voter can mark any one or more candidates on the ballot. …as many or as few as s/he wants. The winner is the canddate who is marked on the most ballots. That’s called the Approval voting-system. It’s a minimal change from our current Plurality voting-system, because it amounts to nothing more than the addition of two words to the ballot: Where it now says, “Vote for One”, it would instead say, “Approve One or More”.

It’s a powerful change from out current Plurality voting-system, because it would mean that, for the first time, no one would ever have any reason to not fully support his/her favorite. For the first time, everyone would be free on any strategic incentive, reason, or need to not vote for his/her favorite. Everyone could and would fully support his/her favorite.

Actually, though, I don’t think that our present Democrat/Republican (Republocrat) government is ever going to allow any improved voting-system, including Approval. I believe that the only way we’ll ever get a better voting system, or a better _anything_, is by electing a better party to office.

How? Well first everyone must demand verifiable vote-counting, as described in #1, above. Then everyone must vote for what they actually want, instead of for some “lesser-evil” that the mass media tell them is the best they can get. When we keep voting for the same two (identical) parties, we shouldn’t be surprised when we keep getting the same thing. Someone said that insanity is the belief that one can get a different result by doing the same thing.

Gore Vidal pointed out that we don’t have a 2-party system. We have one party with two right wings.

I therefore suggest that all progessive voters, everyone who want something genunely different & better, should vote for the candidates of their favorite _progressive_ party. Then, at such time as those progressive votes add up to a majority (as they would if people voted for what they actually want), then, in the next election, the progressive voters, now a majority, all vote for the nominees of the progressive party that got the most votes in the previous election. That’s the best voting-strategy for progresives, now, under Plurality voting.

Now, if we succeed in electing a progressive party to office, what voting system will be the best one? With the more open and agenda-free media, and with a non-gullible eectorate, we can benefit from different, fancier, voting-systems. At least 6 politicsl parties offer “Instant-Runoff” (IRV) as the voting-system, in their platforms.

The conditions described in the previous paragraph, I call “The Green Scenario”. IRV is good for the Green Scenario, because if a majority all prefer the candidates of set A to those of set B, then, if that majority vote sincerely, the winner must come from set A. Thats called the Mutual Majority Criterion. Additionally, IRV isn’t subject to the “chicken-dilemma”.

 Definition of IRV:
  • Voters rank the candidates in order of preference. (Some versional allow more than one candidate at a rank-positoin,and some don’t)
  • A candidate tops a ranking if that ranking doesn’t rank anyone over hir, but ranks hir over someone.
  • Delete from all the rankings the candidate who tops fewest rankings.
  • Repeat till only one candidiate remains un-deleted. S/he wins.

There are other voting-systems even better than IRV, in the Green Scenario:

Benham’s method:
  1. “X beats Y” means that the number of voters ranking X over Y is greater than the number of voters ranking Y over X.
  2. Do IRV till there’s an un-deleted candidate who beats each of the other un-deleted candidates. S/he wins.
Woodall’s method:
  1. The Smith set is the smallest set of candidtes such that every candidate in the set beats every candidate outside the set. The initial Smith set is the Smith set before any candidates are deleted.
  2. Do IRV till only one member of the initial Smith set remains un-deleted. S/he wins.

I think you’ll agree that Benham’s definition is briefer than that of Woodall. Therefore Benham is a better proposal. I mention Woodall merely because, though Woodall and Benham both always choose from the Smith set, Woodall is more particular about which Smith set member it elects. That makes Woodall slightly better than Benham. But, Benham is more proposable, due to its briefer definition.

This has been my answer to the question of how we can get a better voting-system. My past articles on this subject can be found at Democracy Chronicles at my column or at Election Method’s Central.  Most relevent to this topic is my article “Voting Systems for the Green Scenario”. My most recent articles at Democracy Chronicles are “Four Kinds of Voting-Conditions” and “Voting-Systems for Ideal Majoritarian Conditions”.

Here is some contact information for Patrick Bet-David:

http://www.patrickbetdavid.com

Tweet https://www.twitter.com/patrickbetdavid

Patrick’s blog: http://patrickbetdavidblog.com/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/patrickbetdavid

Also, here is the promised YouTube video:

Election Methods Based Decision Making Tool Seeks Support

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 04:00

Richard Fobes is one of Democracy Chronicles’ original writers who really helped us connect with people in the early days of our website when we had few contacts. Through him we met many of our longtime writers like Michael Ossipoff and augustin who are interested in the ongoing international scientific study of election methods and their application in government, business, and anywhere else a decision must be made. Recently Richard wrote me to tell me about another group’s  new crowdfunding campaign out of New Zealand called Loomio that is related to Richard’s work on the VoteFair Negotiation Tool, that can be found on VoteFair’s website. Apparently, the Loomio crowdfunding is going very well and they are close to reaching their goal as of this post. A brief description of the Loomio project follows the video below…

From the Loomio crowdfunding campaign:

https://love.loomio.org/real-democracy-needs-to-include-everyone

Loomio is a user-friendly tool for collaborative decision-making: not majority-rules polling, but actually coming up with solutions that work for everyone. We’re a small team in New Zealand, and we’ve built a prototype that people are already doing great things with. Now we’re crowdfunding so we can build the real thing: a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making.​

Read this blog post for a more in-depth look at the process of making a decision with Loomio 1.0.

LOOMIO 1.0 WILL BE:
  • mobile, so it works across all devices
  • safe, so you can control your own data and privacy
  • accessible, so people of all abilities can participate
  • free and open-source software, licensed under AGPL3
  • as easy to use as email

We’re a small team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand, organised as a social tech cooperative. We’ve got the skills we need and we’ve already delivered a lot with very little. We’re supported by a social impact tech hub called Enspiral.

After 18 months of learning from the thousands of people using our prototype, we know exactly what an inclusive tool for group decision-making needs to be. We’re passionate about user-centred design and we’re expert in group process, with decades of facilitation experience on the team.

Learn about the whole team…

WHAT IS THIS CAMPAIGN GOING TO FUND?

We’ve taken everything we’ve learnt from the thousands of users of the beta prototype, and designed a whole new platform that will make online decision-making truly accessible.

$100k will fund the core team to dedicate all of their time to get a first release out before the end of this year. Our first milestone for a stable release in November 2014. This will include:

  • A fully-featured platform for decentralised decision-making: organic group formation, decision-first architecture, full email integration.
  • A lightweight mobile interface built in AngularJS and HTML5.
  • A Docker file for easy local installations.
  • Compatibility with screen-readers and other assistive technologies.
  • Multi-lingual support (we support 17 languages so far, with more on the way)
THE BIGGER VISION

If we raise $252,108, Callaghan Innovation (a large innovation funder in New Zealand) has approved a matched-funding grant, which means every $1 we raise is multiplied by 1.4x. This will enable us to work on:

  • decentralized/federated architecture
  • an SMS-based decision-making framework for parts of the world where mobile internet is out of reach
  • a plug-in architecture to enable an ecosystem of open-source plug-ins for different discussion and decision-making protocols that will scale to much larger groups
  • an API for interoperability with other online tools
HOW IS THIS PROJECT GOING TO SUSTAIN ITSELF AFTER THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN?

We sell services to organisations, so we can afford to give away the tool to groups without a budget. Our services include software customisation and collaboration expertise. You can find out more on our services page.

For the duration of this crowdfunding campaign, we’re offering a 50% discount on our most popular service package “Kickstart Collaboration”, which includes a customised online home for your organisation, and consulting support to ensure your group succeeds with this new tool. You can purchase this package by selecting the $5000 reward option on the right hand column of this page.

International Motherhood Story Competition 2014 Launched

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 02:54


About the Competition

The Motherhood Short Story Competition has been founded by Egyptian writer Mahmoud Mansi, the founder of The Forgotten Writers Project, and in cooperation with the Being Feminist. Therefore, we – (Being Feminist & The Forgotten Writers Foundation) are honored to launch this global project together. The chief purpose behind this competition is to bring feminism and humanism as lively movements to be part of the social everyday life in a form of art.

We want the “audience” to start interfering along with the “activists” in a “common project” that would reach a wider range of people or reach new categories that are indifferent towards demonstrations.

It is very important to start approaching the world through different methods, especially through art, as art is a source of affection, inspiration, creation, and documentation.

Introduction to Motherhood

Motherhood is a very enigmatic and cavernous notion that has been overlooked by different races. It has become part of a routine, just one of those universal life-cycles that we learnt to live with, without questioning. In this short story competition, we long to explore this inscrutable “Motherhood” and the connection we may feel with it. We want to tackle the mystery that exists in our everyday life and have a closer look at it through literature.

Guidelines

Write a story ranging from 1000 to 3000 words, first narrative, about your relationship with “Motherhood”. You are the protagonist of your story! We want to know what you associate with the concept – your thoughts, your philosophies, your conflicts, your experiences, your trauma, your liberation. We want to know about the relationships and moments that have defined your ideas of “Motherhood”. This can be your relationship with your “mother”, a parent of any gender, a manager, an elder sister, a friend, Mother Nature, with the universe, with God… etc. You could talk about the joys you draw from “motherhood”, the struggles for coping with the pressures associated with “motherhood”, about being denied “motherhood” because of your gender identity or your sexual orientation, about choosing to never experience “motherhood” or about fighting all odds to be a “mother”. The stories can be fiction or non-fiction, and with any number of characters, however the story should mainly revolve around the protagonist and her/his/hir perception and relationship with Motherhood as a person or entity and as a totem.

Story submissions must be in English and we – not only accept – but strongly encourage translated original stories as well. This is a global issue and a global event, and we do urge writers from every part of the world to be part of this, so even if you do not write in English, feel free to write with your original language and find a translator who believes in the message of the completion, then kindly submit to us the story with your name and the name of the translator.

Stories must be original and especially written for this event, as the timing is very important to have a detailed overview on the current Motherhood concept, and then share it with you in one book when published.

There is no age limitation for writers, it is simply open for anyone and everyone, and the writer is free to express through any genre and style of writing, nevertheless we do aspire for creative, new, pure and deep ideas.

Other Guidelines
• It is possible to use illustrations as figures, pictures and drawings if you are a painter.
• It is possible to include your own poetry within your story.
• It is NOT possible to use quotes from other writers.
• You are free to choose any genre of horror, fantasy, politics, romance, or any other one.
• Numbers must be written in (words) except if it was a date-year / ex: 1996 – Seven years old.
• Please do not use (&) instead of (And).
• You may submit up to 3 stories.

Judging
• The winning stories will be chosen on the degree of creativity and the novelty of the idea. Strange and unusual ideas are strongly recommended.
• The depth of the text, characters, places, scene etc.
• The metaphors and similes used.
• The beauty of the writing style and dialogues if there are any.
• The ending of the story and how powerful it is.

Awards
The winners will receive their Award Certificates along with the Publication of their work in one Book.

In the near future we will be working on translating the book into many languages including the home countries of our winners of course.

We do not offer monetary prizes because in a monetary world we seek those who still have a noble cause to struggle for with the intention of making the chance and feeling the honor. That’s why we do not want the mercenary side of our writers. Although money is essential to all of us for survival, but what we as human beings need now and in this era is far more cavernous.

After the deadline is over and we start working on the judging process, we will have more details about the date and exact whereabouts of the Award Ceremony which is going to be held in India.

Submission Guidelines:

• All stories are sent via email.

• Word Document: Font must be Times New Roman, 12, Margins Justified and Pages Numbered.

• The Title of the story must be centered in the middle of the page, bold, and size 12.

• Do not mention your name inside the word document due to judging purposes.

• Save the word file with your: Name, Title and Country.

• Please include in the email message these details; Your (Home Country, Resident Country, Address, Mobile Number, Profession).

• Kindly email your stories to: Motherhood_story_competition@hotmail.com , write in the title: Submission – Your Name – Your Country – Your Story Title.

• For questions email: Motherhood_story_competition@hotmail.com , write in the title: Questions – Your Name – Your Country.

• For journalism & media collaboration please use the same email and write in the title: Media – Name of your Newspaper/Organization – Your Country.

Submission Period
We honorably accept submissions starting from The New Year, 1st of January 2014, until 1st of September 2014.

Conclusion
This is not only a literary competition, or a workshop to challenge yourself and others, but it is more like a spiritual connection between individuals from different parts of the world. This is a beginning for long term relationship to serve the Nature we live within, and try inspiring others to fathom the universe around and within us.

For results of the 2012-2013 Feminist Competition: Women’s Domination, click here.
The Book of the Winning Stories of our First Competition: Resurrection of Ancient Egypt

About the Organizers:

http://beingfeministblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/bf.jpg

Being Feminist:

Being Feminist was started as a page on Facebook in April, 2012. Within just a year the page has managed to garner the support of more than 36,000 members. Currently, Being Feminist also has a blog on WordPress which gives an opportunity to various writers to engage with their feminism(s) in a more sustained manner. Being Feminist believes in acknowledging and validating subjective opinions and multiple identities and works with an intersectional approach.
Links:
Facebook
Feminist India: A page focusing on India under Being Feminist
Twitter

The Forgotten Writers Foundation:

Founded after the Egyptian revolution by Mahmoud Mansi to blend international social causes with art. It does so by releasing international story competitions on topics that were not discussed before by literature, especially the contemporary one. The work is published along with an analysis that is made on the stories submitted from each country.
Click here to connect on Facebook.

hageroda.forgottenwriters@gmail.com

Subject: Motherhood Story Competition 2014

Greetings Dear Prestigious Editors of (Xew People),

I am Hager Mostafa from Marketing Committee  of Motherhood Story Competition 2014 – The Forgotten Writers Foundation – Egypt.

What we kindly need from you:

Your assistance is to help us have participants in this global-concept story competition from your country,  by publishing a press release, article, or interviewing one of us, to be honorably published in your newspaper/magazine.. Especially that we strongly encourage translated stories too, because our vision in this specific project is to have winners from each Continent, published in one Book on each continent or gathering the best of the best in one Book, under the name of the Award and the winning countries.

 

The Motherhood Story Competition 2014 is our 3rd international competition in sequence, and what we mean by Motherhood is the comprehensive concept of motherhood; the environment, nature, humanity, the universe, a country, and elder sister, a lone father, a teacher, an animal, and the core of our souls… not only the direct meaning of motherhood. The competition was just launched on the Christmas, 25th Dec 2013, and the competition period is 9 months, referring to pregnancy.

 

The Motherhood is launched internationally by The Forgotten Writers Foundation from Egypt, along with our partners from India “Being Feminist”.

 

Our world witnessed many unfathomable troubled trends, in politics, weather, beliefs, perception of truth, and I believe all this can be healthy. However, this competition is for a cause, to remind ourselves with our values as human beings, and remind ourselves of love, nature, and universal emotions, that no matter what political view we believe in, what religion, what concept… we still share this one common fact.

 

The foundation simply works on releasing international story competitions based on topics that were not discussed before by literature, especially the contemporary ones. Never did Egypt launch international story competitions before, and it is a challenge, but what made the foundation very successful and known worldwide are the brilliant ideas it tackles that matches current issues and up to date events. Until now, the foundation has launched 5 story competitions since December 2011, one local and four international. Eventually the international media writes about the foundation’s achievements.

 

The foundation is a nonprofit project. It does not take submission fees nor does it accept funding; it does everything with exchange of benefits and mutual goals, to prove that one does not need money to be successful.

 

Motherhood Story Competition Guidelines:

http://beingfeministblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/motherhoodshortstory/

 

Our  Previous Published Books of Winners:

 

The Resurrection of Ancient Egypt Award Winners Book Publication:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Ancient-Egypt-Mahmoud-Mansi/dp/3845449810/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387705242&sr=8-1&keywords=mahmoud+mansi

 

Book Publication of the winning stories of our local competition “MAKAN” – Published in Egypt:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20738460#

The Women’s Domination Competition Results 2012/2013 – Book Under Publication:

 

http://marwarakha.com/?p=6577

 

Our  2014 Competitions:

 

The Seven Dictators Play-writing Competition 2014:

http://www.democracychronicles.com/seven-dictators/

 

About the Founder / Mahmoud Mansi:

http://creativeconomy.britishcouncil.org/people/mahmoud-mansi/

 

Kindly let us know what you think of our proposal, if you liked the idea I can talk to u more about it.

Voter ID Threatens Philadelphia Voters With Political Oblivion

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 01:36

The attack on voting rights could hurt Philadelphia the most (via NewsWorks)

On Friday, when President Barack Obama told a New York audience that the push to restrict voting rights was a political ploy, he had a point. But the voting rights battle is more than a partisan fight. It is, at its core, a struggle to wrestle away…

 

Kuwait Opposition Calls for Democracy and End of Monarchy

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 20:21

Kuwait opposition calls for full multi-party democracy (via AFP)

Kuwait’s opposition called Saturday for broad democratic reforms including a Western-style party system to limit the powers of the emirate’s ruling family. The call came in a “national political reform programme,” launched by the Opposition Coalition…

 

And the Kuwait Opposition Calls for Democracy.