If I were stranded on an island today, I would want these three books at my side:

The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business by Martha Stewart

Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman (a collection of meditations and prayers)

And Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change In a Digital Era by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga aka founder of Daily Kos.

Actually, this is my introduction for this week’s Community Organizers Hall of Famer: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Granted, I’m sometimes the last to know things and sometimes the first to figure things out. The blogger Markos or “Kos” as he’s known among army buddies and the blogsphere founded the Daily Kos in 2002. I added Daily Kos to my daily even hourly reading in August after several emails were forwarded to me from Kos diarists admonishing and setting political newbies (like me) straight during our freak outs over polls, election predictions by MSM, and other swinging tires that were just part of the routine for the pros. But don’t assume that means they take politics lightly.

Markos’ first three sentences on the first Daily Kos post were;

I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies.

There it is. Like it or not, you know where he stands. Markos said he founded Daily Kos for one simple reason: “I felt ill-served by the undemocratic gatekeeping mentality so prevalent in our society.” A bit-o-bio: Marcos grew up in El Salvador. At age 9 his family fled the country to avoid its civil war. He joined the United States Army in 1989 and served in the Gulf War. He says he entered the army as a Republican, but emerged a Democrat.

Daily Kos has created a community, but Markos isn’t the HBIC (Head Blogger In Charge) of this community. He’s the guy with the tool box building, tinkering, welding – making the new technology into a platform for people to connect, coordinate, and yes, fight for the change they believe in – cultural, political, and environmental etc. This is not to say they haven’t had a few skirmishes on-line between Daily Kos, it’s editors, and subscribers. The primaries with the Clinton-Obama contest in full swing got a bit brutal on-line. Some abandoned the blog. [I’m not sure if they’ve returned. I wasn’t reading it daily it at that time.] But nevertheless, Daily Kos and community remain on schedule and on track.

The Daily Kos analysis of the polls and stats are unbeatable. If they can’t do it, Daily Kos’s references to other numbers crunchers like Nate Silver of www.fivethirtyeight.com or www.pollster.com are your better bet. But the Kos analysis lets you now who’s screwing up (polls and candidates), who’s moving ahead, and who needs to just get out of the way across the board.

“You can’t change the world without conflict.”

Markos is fortunate to recognize this early. Or as Gandhi said, “A No uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a Yes merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

“Change without conflict” doesn’t neatly apply to everything like who gets to hold the remote, but change is work. Hard work. Change can stir up trouble. And in my life-long civilian observations I’ve seen and learned that “Change doesn’t come easy.” Someone who’s able to organize people around principled ideas, using resources at hand – computer and modem — not asking permission or approval from gatekeepers and actually making things happen can’t be ignored by friends and foe alike. Markos has provided a platform for people who actually aim to get things done. It’s not the top-down approach; besides netroots really doesn’t work that way.

The stats on Daily Kos: Daily Kos attracts 2-4 million daily visits. Markos is a regular columnist for Newsweek, and The Hill. People en Espanol named him among the “100 Most Influential Hispanics,” and he was third in Forbes magazine’s “Web Celeb 25,” and ranked 26 in PC World’s list of the “Most Important People on the Web.” And he has a J.D. from Boston University. But Markos appears to be an eclectique citizen – he plays the piano (when he can) and composes music (when he can). http://www.dailykos.com/special/music.

Martha, Howard, and Markos. Who’d thought this would be my island trio. People who know me, know I admire a good principled fighter. There’s no one style or standard for fighting back or onward. These fighters are not perfect people. [Though Martha aims to achieve it.] They are unashamedly committed to their principles, purpose, and will tweak when necessary.

I’m about to go into my second reading of Markos’ Taking on the System. I refer back to Martha’s Rules which I read before I went self-employed; and Meditations is a constant.

On this island I am not alone or stranded.

To Love Life truly is to be whole in all one’s parts; and to be whole in all one’s parts is to be free and unafraid.
Howard Thurman