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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:28 AM
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The People's Ball

The People's Ball

Nicholas von Hoffman

"I am running for President because I believe that to actually make change happen--to make this time different than all the rest--we need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, Independents, and Republicans together to get things done. That's how we'll win this election, and that's how we'll change this country when I am President of the United States."
--Barack Obama


There should be people's parties as opposed to the lobbyist balls, but there should be more--organizational meetings, seminars on important issues, opportunities to visit the city's marvelous museums and so forth. The inauguration could be turned into an opportunity to convert Obama's campaign organization into a permanent, democratically self-governing, political-social organizational entity of a new and unique character. It would be outside the Democratic Party so that the breadth and enthusiasm brought to the Obama effort by independents and Republicans would not be lost.

Alinsky would point out that for such an organization to endure and perfect itself, it would have to have a rich ongoing life at the local level involving local projects in education, health, environment or whatever the membership determined. Thus it would be profoundly different from the usual political party organizations which essentially go to sleep between elections.

This organization would afford a new kind of communication system for politics and government. It would free the White House from dependence on polls and focus groups and keep it informed on the mind of the nation, as ideas and news could make its way back and forth from top to bottom and bottom to top. Such an organization would provide millions of people around the country as well as Washington office holders with an information system outside of commercial media.

Such an organization, Alinsky would say, would be indispensable to the success of an Obama Administration intent on instituting changes that the K Street money interests will delay, obfuscate and block. This organization, with a stable grassroots presence in most of the nation's Congressional districts, will be able to show members of both houses of Congress how much it will be to their advantage to vote with the Administration rather than with the lobbyists.


To succeed, this organization cannot have its agenda handed down from Washington, even an Obama Washington. What it does and how it does it must depend on people at the precinct, county, state and national levels making those decisions democratically themselves.

It's a huge amount of work but the Obama campaign has cracked open and released the energy of idealism. It has coupled it with the use of the Internet in diabolically clever ways, which have shown that building organizational networks is possible and practical. Alinsky, never a man to lapse into dogmatic formulae, would seize on these new opportunities to build a twenty-first-century popular democracy as startlingly fresh as the one that emerged in Andrew Jackson's time.

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