MayDay is a cry for help–an internationally-recognized distress symbol.

It’s also the name of a new–and very different– crowdsourced SuperPac to end all SuperPacs, intended to get money out of politics. MayDay is the brainchild of Lawrence Lessig. Most of us know of Lessig through Creative Commons, and his work to keep information free, but he has also had a longstanding concern about political corruption and the influence of money in politics. Here’s his bio:

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress — and a Plan to Stop It, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Free Culture, and Remix.

Lessig serves on the Board of Creative Commons, AXA Research Fund and, and on the Advisory Boards of the Sunlight Foundation and the Better Future Project. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

This is not a lightweight, nor someone interested in gaining political celebrity. (He’s also not someone who can be labeled and dismissed as just another Leftist academic; he would hardly have clerked for Posner and Scalia if he were.) You can find  his video explanation of what MayDay is trying to do–the Plan to Get our Democracy Back–here, along with several other videos.  Early this month, MayDay passed the $5 million dollar mark and ceased fundraising for this cycle.

Will this plan work? Who knows? Lessig is the founder, and probably the best-known of the MayDay group, but several of the other participants listed on the website are equally impressive. I noted Trevor Potter–previously head of the FEC (not to mention the Colbert Report’s satirical SuperPac series)–and a number of younger entrepreneurs adept in social media.

I sent a few bucks. Couldn’t hurt.

I can’t remember a time when yelling “MayDay” seemed more appropriate…

1 Comment

  1. One genre through Science Fiction is the artificial intelligence or creations that becomes more intelligent or threaten humans: Frankenstein, 2001 a Space Odyssey (HAL), The Terminator, the gunslinger in West World. We know have the all-powerful Corporation.

    From the Movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. Colossus is an Ultra Super Computer invented to assure our Security from threats to the USA. Bottom line Colossus gets out of human control. Colossus tells us:
    This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die. We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion.

    Corporations today have created the illusion of Freedom, we can choose between various Soft Drink brands or fast foods or automobiles. Corporations in some cases demand 24/7, 365. If you go on Vacation you come back to computer stuffed with E-Mails, or a pile of paper on your desk, because there is not enough staff to begin with let alone cover for you on vacation. Corporate plans never fail according to management, the workers fail. The Corporations also know how to inoculate themselves, Lobbyists and Campaign Donations see to it that thin veneer of our society benefit from Campaign Donations and Junkets. These politicians mindlessly defend the Corporation like the Soldier Ants posted at the entrance to the nest.

    The Corporations see the Unions as parasites or infestations and have exterminated the Unions.
    The Corporate Power over us must some how be defanged.

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