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Response to dharmamarx (Reply #23)

Wed Apr 23, 2014, 05:03 AM

59. I agree

If you are new here, welcome to DU.

I hadn't really considered the angle you brought up where the socialist threat helped win concessions in the U.S. from the wealthy. Makes sense.

Organization has always been a talent the right has over the left. They're better at linear thinking, top-down structures that successfully target narrow objectives and then they have the funding to build the infrastructure to deliver the desired change.

The left has always been more about herding cats from one interest group to another, trying to keep people focused on the issue at hand rather than splintering into a thousand loose affinity groups. And most of it is done by underpaid, overworked volunteers who have precious little spare time for activism, struggling just to keep their day jobs and make a living. Paid staff is either non-existent or just enough to coordinate events and fundraising efforts.

I had always hoped the internet would be the great equalizer, that the tech-savvy left would find ways to use it to coordinate actions and screen out corporate candidates who will only sell us out. So far I have seen sites like DU and Kos that are good for discussion and promotion of party ideology but not good at mobilizing action nor at promoting candidates that will serve the non-elites. In fact they may serve the opposite, they take a lot of time from members who read, comment and argue but don't organize for substantive change.

NGOs use the internet to good effect, using online petitions and action alerts, though for the most part they use the web for their own fundraising. Also most of them have too little funding to effectively mobilize against powerful monied interests, though what little good that does happens often happens from their efforts.

I think there is room for a new web site, or several, that work specifically to crowd-source actions and to promote (and fund) candidates who will support the issues of aggregated small donors in the same way our current reps support the issues of the large donors.

Obama in 2008 received roughly half of his campaign money from small donors, yet when he took office it was the large corporate donors and their interests who got their policies pushed by his administration. That's not particular to Obama, it's actually typical, a large corporate donor gets legislation while the small donors get attention in proportion to their individual donation rather than in proportion to the aggregate of the small donors who chipped in. Perhaps this could be improved on by using an aggregator that would manage the donations and use their influence en masse to leverage policy from our representatives in government.

I know there are many groups working along these lines, but I also know that we're losing this battle in a big way, so we need to keep re-inventing how small fish can pool their resources to get what they want from government.

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