Rick Falkvinge presents the Swarm leadership style he developed while taking the Swedish Pirate Party into the European Parliament, and how it applies to Liberland.
When Falkvinge started organizing a new generation of activists in 2006 with the intention of running for office, people were shaking their heads at the mere concept of organizing online. This was before Facebook, before Twitter. People in Parliament had their mail printed for them by their secretaries, and that made them think they understood the Internet. (Sadly, ten years later, that particular detail is still true.)
Comes 2016, and there’s some organizing online – the world has caught up to a lot of what Falkvinge developed ten years ago, but far from all of it, and a few crucial components are missing: those of empowerment, accountability, and hierarchy in an organization. While that sounds like odd concepts to libertarians and anarchists, it’s important to remember that the entire participation is voluntary in the first place, so it’s not a hierarchy of the old-world type.
What Falkvinge developed was an organization type that was optimized for speed, trust, and scalability. This enabled him to beat the established players at their own game, and to do so using less than one percent of their budget. In short, the Net has flipped a turbo switch in our ability to collaborate – and while Facebook has a definite fun factor to it, the world at large has yet to discover how you turn it into an efficient organization, with the goal of reaching any goal capable of attracting volunteers. Falkvinge has cracked that recipe, and shares it with Liberland.
The presentation starts out describing how you create a goal that meets four criteria to attract volunteers and snowball a movement. Falkvinge uses the four keywords “tangible, credible, inclusive, and epic” to descibe this: how there must be a clear and tangible goal, how people must believe in the ability to reach it, how they can all see a means to contribute without asking somebody’s permission first, and of course, the attractiveness of the goal. He further lists how you optimize the organization for speed, trust, and scalability – how you never vote on matters but parallelize efforts immensely, promoting internal competition and diversity within the values of the goal, and how you scale to tens of thousands of volunteers.
You can’t scale to tens of thousands of volunteers today using Facebook or Twitter and maintain a cohesive movement.
In fact, there aren’t any tools at all to do so, except the ones Falkvinge built for the task in 2006 that were specific to this organization. But the principles remain and are a silver bullet to beat your old-world opponents in this decade and the next when they still think money is the deciding factor in a power struggle, and you beat them with agility.