Monday, July 31, 2006

Progressive Disastro Turfing

The area progressives who attended the DFA training on Saturday and Sunday will want to follow the links on this post from Harold Henderson of your Chicago Reader:
[A]nti-corporate crusaders Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman take a week off from Boeing and Wal-Mart to whack liberal/left groups. They draw on a forthcoming book by Columbia University sociologist Dana Fisher, How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America: "Fisher's study finds that most of the national environmental, student, and progressive groups have shut down their internal grassroots operations and outsourced door-to-door fundraising to a handful of large national canvass operations. Fisher says these national canvassing operations are the point of entry for hundreds of young, idealistic and politically aware people. But instead of funneling these people into a lifetime of progressive politics, more often than not the national canvass operations, run as secretive corporate top-down bureaucracies, burn their idealism and spit them out onto the trash heap of politics."
While this is certainly annoying news to believers in true grassroots organizing -- as opposed to those who simply use "grassroots" in their brand -- it is an opportunity for folks like the DFA trainees. Since the big boys aren't in the grassroots business anymore, get out there an start collecting volunteer activists.

Whether it is rock and roll or grassroots campaigning, people with soul will always prefer the genuine article to the corporate simulacra.

Note: As a fan of pseudonyms, I appreciate that Prof. Fisher had to use a false name -- "The People's Project" -- to hide the true identity of the organization that is her book's subject, but the universe of suspects is limited and I'll bet it's one of these two.

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