Liberation inc. – a freedom incubator

This week, a new incubator for liberal startups has launched Liberation inc.  Liberation inc. will provide support for a new eco-system of think tanks, new media sites, campaign organisations and other groups that share the goal of defining and promoting liberalism as both a means and an end for the world’s crises and challenges.

If a liberal message is a breakthrough in the nation’s conversation, and even form a popular movement then, in this anti-establishment world, liberals start from a decent ‘outsider’ position. But it will not be enough to have truth and real-facts on the side. Liberals have always had those and yet rarely seen the government in a hundred years in the UK. It will also be necessary to promote that truth and those facts, in a way that engages and persuades the modern public.

In this day and age, after decades of scandals and crises in banks, newspapers and political parties, it’s not the age and grandiosity of the institution that is important but the number of voices and variety of messengers that builds trust in a message.

As has been written here before, the illiberal far-right already has a network of voices, and that’s one of the main reasons they have turned their fringe position into a mainstream platform.

A chorus of voices is required to build “social proof”, keep the message repeating through the 24-hour news cycles and breakthrough cynicism and echo-chambers to turn a fact into a shared, cultural truth.

By using an incubator model, new liberal startups can share basic resources such as office address, web design, social media officer, accountancy, PR and events management, etc.; greatly reducing the cost and overheads of launching a new organisation. This, in turn, allows for the rapid expansion of an eco-system of liberal voices that can begin the process of persuasion and successfully turning liberal facts into accepted truths.

With an independently funded incubator in operation, it would be possible to spin up a new, active campaign, or pressure group overnight. This would ensure that a liberal voice is the first on the scene, shaping the narrative and frame for every new political issue or crisis. (If you’d like to support funding for the incubator, please do get in touch).

As a network, the various startups will act as an eco-system to draw in, train and test a new wave of messengers and activists who hold liberal values but also that modern, liberal distrust of political parties, including the Liberal Democrats.

As someone who was very much not liberal once said, ‘let a hundred flowers bloom.’

Liberation inc. has put out its first call for new members. Start-ups that would like to become members should first check out the ‘values’ statement and then the list of services before getting in touch via the website.

You can follow Liberation inc. on Facebook, Twitter and learn more at the website.

* Dr Rob Davidson is on the exec of the Association of Lib Dem Engineers and Scientists (ALDES) and the council of Social Liberal Forum. He founded Scientists for EU and NHS for a People's Vote and was a founding member of the People's Vote campaign. Most recently he has launched Liberation Inc, a platform for liberal startups and has helped launch the Free Society Centre and relaunch Trade Deal Watch as new liberal organisations.

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7 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 27th May '20 - 3:53pm

    Well I’ve looked at the “first call for new members” and it seems to be a request for money. I’ve looked at the “values” statement and I think I know what it is not but am quite confused by the rest (and frankly don’t understand some of it). The “list of services” assumes you want to set up a small limited company with 1 to 5 members of staff. (Which as it happens I don’t want to do just now). Then the sign up form is just that. So I am left utterly confused by what is being proposed and a bit suspicious that the word “liberal” has a small “l” throughout. “liberalism” is as wide and vague a definition as “socialism” and “conservatism” and can mean whatever the user wants it to mean. (On the other hand I’ve looked at Dr Davidson’s Twitter feed and can’t find much to disagree with in recent weeks…) But is this an attempt to set up an alternative party structure, organisation and network? And if so, what, why and how? And also of course who runs it?

  • Laurence Cox 27th May '20 - 4:01pm

    @Dave Page

    Why not contact them directly; the link is in the article. I wouldn’t expect anything at Companies House for a few months; in fact considering the present situation, I wouldn’t think that registering new small companies is a priority for civil servants.

    Clearly this is something that is needed. We have all seen how effective crowdfunding can be, so it may well be their model going forward.

  • Phil Beesley 27th May '20 - 4:47pm

    “By using an incubator model, new liberal startups can share basic resources such as office address, web design, social media officer, accountancy, PR and events management, etc.; greatly reducing the cost and overheads of launching a new organisation.”

    Web design: Liberation Inc. delivers 14 (fourteen) Javascripts and 9 (nine) images from its home page. And I haven’t even pressed the Learn More button yet. The Contact Us element is designed so that the reCAPTCHA feature is unnecessarily displayed.

    “/* PLEASE DO NOT COPY AND PASTE THIS CODE. */” is never intended to be read by anyone looking at your Javascripts, whether or not you are licensed.

    But having read your Values page, I think you are sincere and clumsy.

  • I appreciate the sentiment but this doesn’t sound very liberal (or Liberal) at all. That said, good luck and perhaps it will become something useful, innovation is important.

  • James Belchamber 28th May '20 - 12:43pm

    Incubating Liberal organisations, networking them and enabling them to be effective sounds very Liberal. Also: we have to accept that the Lib Dems might not be the organisation (and certainly won’t be the only organisation) that leads us out of dark times.

    It’s also worth noting that if we make sufficient “bets” we can become the soil from which the great Liberal organisations of tomorrow sprout, instead of watching jealously from the sidelines as they outgrow us.

  • Peter Chambers 31st May '20 - 11:33am

    If anyone wants background reading on the evolution of the political entrepreneur, and how money is efficiently converted to opinion, they could try ISBN-13: 978-1925228847, Dark Money by Jane Mayer.
    This describes the USA from about the 1970s to the present day, mostly because that was where most of the innovation happened, possibly due to the vast amount of money looking for political investment opportunities. The state of the art that developed was copied, as usual, to the UK, and this is why well organised campaigns against lockdown can suddenly appear from nowhere. This is not to excuse our incompetence, this is simply the state of the art.
    It is understandable that someone would try to copy the basic techniques for their own politics. After all, they work.

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