Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

I've got a couple of questions about how this Activist Corps will work

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Activist HQ Donate to DU
 
Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 12:57 AM
Original message
I've got a couple of questions about how this Activist Corps will work
(Note: Yes, I've read Skinner's post about how it will work. I'm now looking for more specifics.)

I've long felt that the second general politics forum should be turned into an activism forum--A long time ago I even suggested to the admins. I'm glad to see this happening with this forum today. The dialogs at DU are fun, but if they're going to mean anything, they've got to eventually translant into putting us rank and filers into the streets or licking the envelopes for some cause or another. Congress critters don't read news forums; they read faxes.

This is my first trip back to DU since I signed up for the activist corps a few days back, and I'm enheartened by the re-upped membership goal to 1000. But now I'm waiting for my marching orders. When will that happen? I perused this forum for a bit, but saw a quite a few threads concerning topics that, frankly, I don't get very charged up about. That doesn't meant they're not good issues, but they're just not my issues.

I assumed that the point of this DU Activist Corps membership was for Skinner and Earl, or their designated driver, to call the shots and for the rest of us to jump and deliver whenever the person in charge determines a good cause needs our voice.

I mean no disrespect to our side of the fence, because I kind of like the chaos about being a Democrat. But whenever we get together to take on an important issue, it seems that we all too often end up hamstrung by spokespersons for a grab bag of other, marginal, or less universally embraced issues. The chatter in this forum reminds me of that.

A great case in point was the anti war rallies I went to before the Iraq invasion. A large cluster of people who thought, rightly, that invading Iraq when bin Laden was still on the lam was insanity dressed up as policy. But when we got there, the open forum was distracted--hijacked really--by people who wanted to ban meat, people who wanted to end government, people who wanted to end private property, and of course the LaRouchers who always show up at public demos, like cockroaches drawn to leftovers. The rally showed our community that thousands of Houstonians thought this war was insane, but of course the local news mostly showed the fringies who didn't represent the soul of the rally.

I fear that same "fringe" distraction here after reading over some posts in this forum.

Don't get me wrong; I want us to discuss all issues so that we can work together toward realizing what will improve us as a Republic and as a party. But I assumed that this Activist Corps group was not about dialog as much as it was about hitting the streets and licking the envelopes and firing off the faxes.

I'm a teacher and a single parent. My time is limited. I can do something this summer, but a month from now I'll be back on limited time status. I eagerly want to do something, but I'm goddamned impatient right now. I don't want to dialog about what issues to fuss about--I do enough of that. I signed on to the Activist Corps so that my shoulder would be put to a wheel driven by several hundred other voices. I don't want twenty other causes, however valid and viable they are, clamboring for my attention. I want one boss, one voice, calling out the mission of the week and the time it takes to go to do that task.

I trust Earl or Elad or Skinner to be or appoint that voice, because, well, they've earned my respect by sticking out running this shop. They've got the chops. But I want to be pointed in the right direction soon. When will that happen? Who's going to call the shots and when are they gonna tell us all to start running? I'm ready and I want to start now. So here's my two questions:

Who's the boss and what's the mission?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 01:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. I've actually delayed signing up until I see how this will work . . .
I have a lot of the same questions . . . I think it's a great idea, but my time is already overtaxed, and I have several other projects in the planning stages . . . I'll monitor the progress and sign up if it looks like something that is useful and that I can handle . . . I don't want to make a commitment unless I'm sure I will keep it . . .
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. About those "fringies"...
Edited on Thu Jul-07-05 02:02 AM by thegreatwildebeest

A great case in point was the anti war rallies I went to before the Iraq invasion. A large cluster of people who thought, rightly, that invading Iraq when bin Laden was still on the lam was insanity dressed up as policy. But when we got there, the open forum was distracted--hijacked really--by people who wanted to ban meat, people who wanted to end government, people who wanted to end private property, and of course the LaRouchers who always show up at public demos, like cockroaches drawn to leftovers. The rally showed our community that thousands of Houstonians thought this war was insane, but of course the local news mostly showed the fringies who didn't represent the soul of the rally.


Well I have my beef with the single issue ghettoization of liberal politics, the idea that its "the fringies" who don't "represent the soul" is patently ridiculous. I should know cause I am a "fringie" (anarchist). A solid core of anarchist activists have been involved in many, many protests on any number of issues, coordinating legal support, medical assistance on the streets, publicizing events, and setting up convergence spaces for protestors to meet, discuss, and work on art/puppets/etc for protests. I'm tired of getting grief from liberal Democrats on somehow hogging the limelight from them, when last time I checked, no anarchist has a a well funded political party, nor literally millions of dollars in liberal NGO's and other issue organizations. When any anarchist group starts shoving around millions of dollars than I'll start worrying about whether I'm clouding up someone elses message time. And the idea that I have to be in goose step with anyone on a message, particuarly people who significantly more moderate than I am, is ridiculous. The "Anybody But Bush" crowd didn't win this time, and never were going to, because as long as "Resistance" means lining up like drones to vote come every 2 years, well, I've got better things to do.

There's also a lack of totality in just arguing that this war sucks. It IS connected to a bajillion other issues, all wrapped up in one big government-political system. Arguing this war is wrong and giving a thumb up to the rest of the shebang is ignoring the numerous connections between the two. The war is the excrement of a much larger process.


Don't get me wrong; I want us to discuss all issues so that we can work together toward realizing what will improve us as a Republic and as a party. But I assumed that this Activist Corps group was not about dialog as much as it was about hitting the streets and licking the envelopes and firing off the faxes.


Hitting the streets is not quite on par with licking evelopes. Moreover, if by "hitting the streets" you mean "marching around in circles with signs", well, I doubt that will do any good either. When I heard that there was going to be a DU activist corp I was kind of amused to see where it would go, and what would it do. Would it be a forum to turn DU members into non-electoral organizers, doing direct action to solve and tackle issues, or would it be another vague "E-activist" situation. Unfortunatly it seems to be another vague "e-activist" thing consisting mostly of sending faxes and the like. I'll stick to my community gardening organizing, prison support work, etc.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
In Truth We Trust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 02:28 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. good on ya........I like your point of view
keep up the meaningful work and thanks for doing so.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 02:30 AM
Response to Original message
4. I'm already so active,
I can't see my way to signing up for another commitment, so I haven't joined. But I would like to hear more about what is planned because it might be that this forum would be a place to coordinate the activities of the groups I work with to the activities of other groups in the nation. Please advise more on what the plans are of the Activist Corps. I'm not so much into organizing or attending street demonstrations because of the fringe problem, although I have gone to a couple of very mainstream demonstrations. I'm more into talking to people one on one, going door to door, tabling, that sort of thing. I'm more congenial than confrontational. I don't think confrontation changes very many minds.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NoodleBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
5. I'd like to say that I expect the ones who are really on the fringe to
moderate their rhetoric should they get involved in actual party and candidate work, but I don't know that. The people I have in mind are those who would call anyone who ever apologizes for a dumb or comment made without consideration of the audience or forum a Bush tool as well as making other odd statements.

Unfortunately, however, I could see it going in the opposite direction-- instead of those on the far fringes toning down their rhetoric, the people who are already on the ground working and aren't involved in net political activism would just think that members of the DU Corps are nuts.

Aside from that, what I thought this forum would be used for would be top-down direction of visible bottom-up activities-- such as, suggesting to members of the Corps that they see if, during one week, they could flex their combined muscle by a mass volunteering at their state or local dem party offices, or for an en masse candidate or issue canvassing in local neighborhoods over one weekend.

If the focus was more online, however, it could be in the form of a huge LTTE muscle, except only for online news sources. Other online activities could come in the form of upping the hits of sites we think should get attention, coming to the defense of progressive and democratic ideals by having many members reply as a group to inflammatory and misleading conservative blogs, or carrying out some research projects if a candidate, institute or committee with a strong online support system needs someone to do the footwork for a couple hours.

Another option that could be available is that maybe Skinner and the admins want the Corps to be autonomous, with suggestions coming from Corps members and directed by experienced members. A system like that could make for alot of beneficial input from the Corps as a whole, but could also lead to the problems of having too many people who want to lead but not enough who just want to help to make the Corps effective, potential 'turf wars' between leading Corps members and their supporters, and alot of people who'd sign up to be Corps members but few staying active because of no official hierarchy and infighting, all of which would probably lead to the group's collective power being used up and the Corps itself atrophying.

Anyway. just my thoughts.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 03:35 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Nothing says democracy...
moderate their rhetoric should they get involved in actual party and candidate work, but I don't know that. The people I have in mind are those who would call anyone who ever apologizes for a dumb or comment made without consideration of the audience or forum a Bush tool as well as making other odd statements.

Nothing says "democratic" but everyone toeing a line. I've worked with my fair share of kooks and oddballs, but I don't think I've ever suggested toning down anyones rhetoric, afraid of "pissing" someone off or the like. If people get irked, tough noogies. Then again I don't do electoral based work, so I'm not running around worrying about my "image" or my "tone". I do what I do and let people take what they want away from it.

Quite hoenstly, I don't see anyone on this board being viewed as "nutty", outside of a Republican dominated area. Everyone on here, for the most part, are moderate, liberal Democrats. The handful of progressives aren't even that "progressive". I think I probably am the only anarchist on this board (and thats mostly cause I feel the desire to be the token radical stomping around). No ones advocating the destruction of civilization or anything like that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NoodleBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. yep, because I said everyone should toe a line
And if you can't see anyone on this board being viewed as nutty, look up the threads dealing with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld being responsible for the 9/11 attacks, very red states not voting for Kerry because of voting machines (voting machines which they don't use there), the absolute certain belief some people have that Bush was wired during one of the debates, the belief that someone with a 100% democratic voting record would win in a state that's only gone democratic twice in the last century, as well as other things.

As a self-professed anarchist participating in a board serving the members of an old, established political party (no irony in that), I'd imagine you would say things like you aren't concerned about image or tone, but the truth is, these things matter. If the members of the Corps start sounding like the backwoods conspiratorialists which make up a huge chunk of the activist base for the other party, those people will be the face of our activism, not the community outreach we could accomplish, or the number of people we register to vote.

There are few things more dangerous to an organization-- the perception that it's just a repository for crackpot thinking and trivialized as just another far-out group with delusions of grandeur.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I participate mostly...
As a self-professed anarchist participating in a board serving the members of an old, established political party (no irony in that),

I participate here mostly to inject a non-electoral based opinion. The response to alot of things on this board is "We got to get the government on top of that!", which to me, is an absurd move, considering the history of the state's involvement in upholding the conditions that lead to the problem in the first place.

concerned about image or tone, but the truth is, these things matter.

No, actually, they don't. Why do you think Republicans have won as many gains in America, and that conservatives and evangelicals are winning so many hearts and minds? It's because, for the most part, they stand for something. What they stand for is patently ridiculous and absurd, but that never stopped Don Quixote did it? Of course there loco, but alot of people evidently are interested insomething radically different. The mainstream right has basically coddled its fringe elements, whereas the mainstream liberals (I do not use the word left) have been spending as much time shooting its own radicals in the back.

If the members of the Corps start sounding like the backwoods conspiratorialists which make up a huge chunk of the activist base for the other party, those people will be the face of our activism, not the community outreach we could accomplish, or the number of people we register to vote.

For all the crazy conspiracy theorizing of many on both sides of the aisle, to a certain extent, its true. You can't possibly look at the world and not feel like a large piece of the pie is hoarded by a small few, and that for the most part no one's voice seems to have an effect on the machinations of the powers that be. I don't think Bush was wearing some sort of listening device, or that there are black helichopters on the UN. The sober reality is ten times more scary. A world wrapped up in free trade agreements that give jurisdiction to international trade courts to levy punsihment for expropiation or for being hostile to multinationals. A food industry dominated by three large agribusinesses. Global warming, deforestation, runoff, peak oil, terrorism, etc etc. The sober reality is pretty damn crazy unto itself. People who don't acknowledge such things look ridiculous. And mainstream politicos don't offer any acknowledgement, or use other things as diversions (in the case of the fringe right, they make up the diversions). Worrying about copping the partly in the face of such things seem absurd.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
melissinha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. My take
Edited on Thu Jul-07-05 01:59 PM by melissinha
Until we get "the marching orders" I have decided to participate in the issues that interest me. For the most part, I see the benefit in discussion and sharing ideas alongside letter writing and other activities. I guess I have found the tone of this particular forum to be more action oriented and concerned with responding to the MSM and current events, than say, the GD.

But until the actual marching orders come in, I am committed to action oriented discourse. I myself am very interested in gaining the views of various players like yourselves who have different perspectives, motivations and goals. Will the letters of each Activist Corps member be the same, no. Its not so much a collective that I am interested in, but a collective collaboration of ideas that can make the voices of the individuals even stronger.

I guess thats why I like AAR so much, especially those programs that dedicate a lot of time to callers, such as Springer, Randi and Malloy. Yeah I know... Springer is WAY too nice but his diplomatic tactics have allowed us to hear discourse with Republicans.

But, we'll have to wait and see, won't we?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. My thing is...
, I am committed to action oriented discourse. I myself am very interested in gaining the views of various players like yourselves who have different perspectives, motivations and goals. Will the letters of each Activist Corps member be the same, no. Its not so much a collective that I am interested in, but a collective collaboration of ideas that can make the voices of the individuals even stronger.

Action unfortunatly is a mildly confusing term, because it can describe everything from doing actual community projects to writing emails. It's why I prefer the old anarchist term, direct action. Direct action as defined as:

"a method and a theory of stopping objectionable practices or creating more favorable conditions using immediately available means, such as strikes, boycotts, workplace occupations, sit-ins, or sabotage, and less oppositional methods such as establishing radical social centres,..."

This is opposed to indirect action, which is what elections and other forms of representation are. You are doing things in a roundabout way in order to solve something, or putting someone else in charge

An example I always like to use of the inefficiency of indirect action towards direct action is the issue of comprehensive sex education. Now I believe that you should be taught the relevent things about sex and protecting oneself. But relying on the school system to gurantee such information is tenuous at best, nonexistent at worst. If your a teen, run off pamphlets and fact sheets about sex and bring it up with your friends, if your a parent concerned that kids don't have access to condoms, buy a bunch (their 10 cents in bulk) and tell your teen that if anyone of his/her friends is having sex, that he/she has condoms that can be given away for free. Unless people are like jackrabbits, a ten dollar box of condoms (a 100 condoms roughly) should be enough for month to month of your child and his/her friends. Often times people lose the comprehensive sex ed fight and then pack up the wagons and leave, frustrated that theres "nothing they can do". But you CAN do something, and eventually it'll force the school district to go along with the plan anyways. The fact of the matter is the opposition has a HUGE marklet for abstinence only books, support "clubs", and various other things OUTSIDE of school. Why should those who believe in comprehensive sex ed leave it to the state to handle?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
melissinha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I agree but
as good and logical as your approach is... the direct action approaches we have been using are not working.

Let me tell you what happened at the last protest I attended....

THere was NO COVERAGE and there were 200 demonstrators... but on the same day of the protest they HAPPENED to feature a produced piece about the YOung Conservatives at UT who had stolen Kerry signs and put them in a self- labeled "radioactive" dump box. Not only did the media IGNORE US they featured a group of immature brats on the other side.

Its discouraging. many people have reported that the direct action approach is not working.... so much that the people in power just expect and arrange for protest and reporters just brush us aside.

I don't know what the best course is. What DIRECT course of action do you suggest?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thegreatwildebeest Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Note what they did...

THere was NO COVERAGE and there were 200 demonstrators... but on the same day of the protest they HAPPENED to feature a produced piece about the YOung Conservatives at UT who had stolen Kerry signs and put them in a self- labeled "radioactive" dump box. Not only did the media IGNORE US they featured a group of immature brats on the other side.


Well thats why Indymedia was formed in the battle of Seattle to go outside of the mainstream media. Indymedia has its flaws, and it could use improvement in a number of things. But the question is whether protests (which are only vaguely direct action, really) are dead. There really only as dead as they are uncreative.

Also, note what the Young Republicans did. I'm not sure what you guys and the 200 demonstrators did, but if all you did was hold the typical signs, well, thats not going to fly anymore. You need CREATIVE actions. A while back a protest occured outside of a biotechnology company over the GM food issue. But rather than just wave signs, the protestors wore toxic white suits and, dropped banners from the corporate office, spray painted slogans, and then in the absolute pinnacle, dozens of white suited protestors stood as a protestor dressed as a farm hand ripped the hell out of the manicured lawn of the biotechnology company in question. It got its point across, and moreover, was creative as hell. You need to do something similar if you want to make your point across. Holding signs doesn't fly anymore.

For a book that has a good number of ideas to expand upon, amongst other radical ideas, I suggest Crimethinc's Recipes for Disaster (available at www.crimethinc.com ) as well as their new magazine put out, Rolling Thunder (which has a great article about the successes and failures of mass protest since Seattle). I mean theres alot of other "direct" stuff you can do, including community gardens if you have one, starting one up if you don't (or having one in your backyard if possible) etc. etc.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Sep 21st 2014, 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Activist HQ Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC