Atroturfing is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word “grassroots.” The implication behind the use of the term is that instead …
Aug 13 2018
Mar 13 2011
Gov walker Cutting State Expenses???:
embattled Gov. Scott Walker spoke at an invitation-only event
And how does he arrive at this ‘invitation only’ tepublican fund raising event:
Walker arrived in a convoy of six unmarked police cars that pulled up at 5:45 p.m. to the Steak Pit for a Republican Lincoln Day fundraiser.
This turkey is taking the bush ‘it would be easier if a dictator’ to heart and he thinks he’s the Pres. apparently!!
Nov 30 2010
This has got to be the best political news I’ve read in a long time. A little before 1:00 a.m. last night, by a vote of 94-44, the New York State Assembly passed the moratorium on hydraulic fracture drilling.
Well it may only be state legislature and the governor still need to sign but apparently this moratorium to protect our drinking water is a first. It’s not top down and the Working Families Party humbly takes some of the credit for more than 52,000 New Yorkers signing the petition urging the Assembly to act.
Go ahead: get up from your chair. Do a little dance, pump your fist, or do whatever you do to celebrate a victory of grassroots action over corporate power.
I just received a letter form the WFP and I was doing just that.
Sep 19 2010
This .org website gives a whole new meaning to Industry ‘Front Group’.
It’s a page designed to solicit Donations — and little else.
The Home link — goes nowhere; (ie. back to the Contribute Page)
The About link — goes nowhere;
The Media link — goes nowhere;
The Blog link goes to this blogspot page
where the lead story is
Don’t Raise Our Taxes – Don’t Repeal the Tax Cuts
and which has this emotive Scary Image:
let me guess, it’s designed to solicit Donations.
Why should you care?
Well it looks like Tea Party Express PAC, just may be breaking Federal Campaigns Laws …
Apr 14 2010
The health “care” – really insurance – bill that passed is far from a perfect bill, in large part because it leaves a system intact that is the source of a ton of the problems that were used to create support for it, and it is not actually universal health care.
To get any kind of actually universal coverage we’re going to need to turn to the states. Clearly those thousands of lobbyists are too powerful in DC to really challenge the powers that be in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. So the good news is that there are state-level campaigns for single payer, and they’re gaining a lot of momentum in states like California and Pennsylvania.
Mar 28 2010
I went to a meeting, today (very late, unfortunately), and it was much larger than the previous one. The people were positive, and if what I saw was typical, not only were they not the OFA shills that some armchair blog posters made them out to be, but most of their concerns seemed to be the same as those of the armchair critics.
Jan 18 2010
originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change
Yesterday, we attended a Grow the Hope (GTH) house meeting with their Rapid Response team, Organizing for America (OFA 2.0), and the Carrots and Sticks Project. After the meeting everyone decided to stick around and make calls into MA to help elect Martha Coakley in the race for Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat. We took a moment before leaving to talk with Jon Randall, Maryland’s 8th district liaison from OFA 2.0, and we put together this video, quickly detailing how to make phone calls online to support Coakley:
Dec 15 2009
originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change
This week, we have something new for our Training Tuesday series. We still have plenty of videos left to come from Democracy for America’s Campaign Academy, but a couple weekends back, we attended the Organizing 2.0 conference in New York. This conference was a unique opportunity for activists to learn about new media and online organizing from some of the greatest online organizers around.
Dec 11 2009
originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change
Last weekend, I attended the Organizing 2.0 conference in New York, put together by Charles Lenchner of the Working Families Party. This conference brought people together to hear from some of the greatest minds in the online organizing world. I came out of it with lots of great footage, and today we are previewing some of it. The majority of the footage, however, will be featured in our Training Tuesday series. So check back Tuesday at 6:00pm for more Organizing 2.0 footage. We are also collecting all our Organizing 2.0 footage onto one page here. But if you are reading this, then you really should find the time to watch these videos.
Dec 07 2009
Coverage originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change
Last week, we joined pro-choice activists from all across the country on Capitol Hill. They came to support health care reform and the public option, and they came to fight against the Stupak amendment and any bans on women’s reproductive health coverage. The program began with rally, after which, the groups headed to scheduled meetings with their legislators. We tagged along with a group from Sister Song in New Orleans and joined them for the visit with Senator Mary Landrieu’s office.
We have extensive coverage of the day’s events, with plenty of full speeches.
Nov 25 2009
Dissatisfaction in Progressive circles with President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress continues to swell and grow. Indeed, I myself am deeply disappointed that the same old legislative and partisan stalemates seem to be so firmly entrenched that even a phenomenon promising optimism and significant reform could not break old habits. Still, rather than resort to the Howard Fineman/Maureen Dowd approach and play a game of “I-told-you-so”, I’d much rather avoid pettiness altogether and attempt to understand why we are faced with politics-as-usual when we are at a point in our nation’s history when we can least afford it. Answers exist beyond the usual discourse though they are rarely raised when many would rather exchange philosophy for wonkery. Wonkery has its place, but what we seek now are solutions and ideas, not process and jargon.
Regarding our current crisis of several reform measures that have bogged down or are in danger of being passed or scuttled depending on the hours, much of the problem arrives when one considers that we are frequently confused by different allegiances to often incompatible schools of information dispersal and guidance. Either we are in a stage in between two different paradigms or we have tried to blend together two absolutely contradictory styles, wondering why we can’t get any results afterward. Conservatives frequently use purely linear leadership to achieve their ends and we on the left often use an uneasy mash up between linear leadership and its asymmetric counterpart.
Linear leadership is the sort that was brought to this country by European colonists. A small continent in land mass contained an enormous variety of different cultures, different languages, and different ways of looking at life. With so much variance and so little likelihood of reaching consensus or finding common purpose, a forceful style of conducting affairs developed that quickly grew highly stratified and regimented. In it, hierarchies, pecking orders, and ranking systems became of paramount importance, as did the underlying assumptions that leaders were few, followers were many, and a passive kind of obedience was to be practiced. In all areas of Western life, this style dominated. Speaking from a purely Christian perspective, most Christian denominations, sects, and faith groups even to this day follow this same model, whereby a leader (called by a variety of different names depending on which group one ascribes) frequently instructs fellow believers in the form of a sermon and holds much power to direct church policy. A linear system is a passive manner of conveying a message. I talk, you listen. Placing power in the hands of a structured system frequently disenfranchises people and glosses over distinctions, but it is deliberate, effective, and highly successful in dividing and conquering as well as hammering home a singular message.
Grassroots groups, however, are run on an asymmetric brand of leadership. The idea is often not about top-down leadership, but on a more egalitarian approach where each individual voice is as important as anyone else’s. Frequently, however, this creates problems when it comes down to agreeing on any uniform statement or platform that the entire group endorses as a whole. What is frequently advanced is a notion that everyone has to find his or her own path towards understanding the challenges and issues the group seeks to influence and reform while simultaneously pressing the notion that no one’s path or interpretation should be ranked as more or less important by the organization as a whole. The problem with grassroots groups is that they seek to affect policy by using one particular strategy that is not found within politics itself. Politics is structured from top-to-bottom and rarely are those at the bottom granted the ability to speak with any degree of authority. They are expected instead to be good foot soldiers, never question party line, with the hopes that they might rise up through the ranks and achieve greater distinction and a greater ability to be taken seriously and to contribute to the group dynamic.
Many Native American groups were based upon an asymmetric model when it came down to making tribal decisions and stating individual opinions. Though it was certainly more uniformly fair, its key failing was that it did not foster group unity, unintentionally creating factionalism in the process. Native Americans never had the same sense of common purpose and common unity that Europeans did, which was why they were so easily defeated in battle and by court action. Different tribes rarely felt any sense of collective solidarity with each other and there was often dissent and schism within tribes. Some faith traditions, of which unprogrammed Quakers are one, have their worship services more aligned with this philosophy. Unprogrammed Quakers have no minister and conduct worship without any element, aside, of course, from the start and the finish, planned out beforehand. However, they often have difficulty reaching uniformity on a large scale basis and particularly from region to region, yearly meeting to yearly meeting. As a result, different subsets and regional groups have very different priorities and very different ideas about what ought to be important and advanced.
The 9/12 and Tea Party groups have faced this same problem and are in danger of breaking apart. Motivated only by their opposition to what they perceive as a common threat, they have frequently broken apart when unable to achieve anything resembling one coherent message. We might gloat at their self-destructive behavior, but learning from their mistakes and not repeating them within ourselves might be the best lesson of all. We will need to ask ourselves, individually and collectively, what school do we want to set forth? Top-down or spread-around? Whatever we choose will need to be soberly contemplated, because each method has pros and cons, and so long as our opposition continues to use tactics that can, as we have seen, divide us easily in the hopes of conquering us, we cannot take this matter lightly. We might have to acknowledge that a House divided against itself cannot stand. It will become all one thing or all the other.