The above paragraph is actually taken from Eric S Raymond's essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, considered as the Bible of the Open Source Software Movement, the highlighted words are substitutions I have made to suit the present context; the original text is as follows:
Who would have thought even five years ago (1991) that a world-class operating system could coalesce as if by magic out of part-time hacking by several thousand developers scattered all over the planet, connected only by the tenuous strands of the Internet? [source: http://www.catb.org/esr/.. ]Aam Aadmi Party's rise is in many ways similar to the rise of Open Source Software paradigm which later inspired numerous movements such as Open Source Hardware, Open Content (Wikipedia), Open Data, Open Access, Open-source Robotics, Open Source Education, Open Source Economics,Open Source Governance, Open Source Politics (not what I mean here) and whole lot of "Open Source" things including Open Source Cola and Open Source Terrorism !
Not all movements may have been drawn from Open Source Initiative but the key principles they share are collaboration,transparency and crowdsourcing. However, when I draw analogy between AAP and Open Source Politics, I am not referring to the existing definitions which have more to do with political campaign and governance using Internet technologies to connect with the people. Call it Politics 2.0, Governance 2.0, AAP does embrace the concept and with good results too but I wish to investigate more on organisational aspect of it. There is a reason why, in the opening paragraph I said "connected by an idea" and not "connected by the Internet".
|Buy Cathedral and|
ESR compares software development by commercial software companies as building cathedrals, "carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation, with no beta to be released before its time" in contrast Open Source community or rather the "Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who’d take submissions from anyone ) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles."
In Indian politics, traditional parties function reverentially, following hierarchies of power, maintaining secrecy and delivering, if at all , in a grand manner after a lot of time. In contrast, AAP came together as a motley group of individuals from diverse backgrounds and differing views held together by the common thread of fighting against a corrupt and exploitative establishment by forming a party. It did seem that for AAP to become a formidable political force it required a succession of miracles. Well, it did, today, AAP is able to majorly influence the national civil/political discourse in the country.
Raymond lays down a set of aphorisms/principles that he through experiment found key to the success of the Linux methodology, I am reproducing some of them which are analogous to the AAP methodology:
Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.
Most AAP volunteers joined up to scratch their personal itch, but that the itch was to cleanse the political system from corruption, VIP culture, sectarian and divisive politics and general decadence. After all AAP emerged from the hugely successful, Anna Hazare led India Against Corruption movement. The movement paved way for emergence of a political party that sought to eliminate corruption, crony capitalism and bring systemic change. Even in politics scratching an itch caused by altruism is certainly a virtue.
The AAP government did not wait to make a grand press conference to declare new schemes which would take years to begin. Instead it started delivering its promises from day one itself. The long term solutions by definition require time but there is no reason why short term relief can't be delivered immediately.
Linus’s Law : Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.
Decentralization played an important role in open source software movement, there was no chain of command, there just principle and the rule- share the source code. Small agile teams took the movement forward, rapidly innovating and creating world class software application. I am not sure how the chain of command runs in AAP but it does have a core doctrine, starting with Arvind Kejriwal's book Swaraj.
I do feel Aam Aadmi Party members and active volunteers do not take positive criticism well enough nor value their "beta-testers" which might turn out a drawback when not on their own turf.
Note : In keeping with Open Source methodology, this is an early release. Expect revisions, more so if you leave feedback :)