Prog blogs and the movement(s)

Daniel Rivera-Franqui emails

It’s no wonder why the “progressive” blogs are silent on both the antiwar and immmigration marches: Maybe they rely on the mainstream media!

U.S. media black out immigrant protests

Oddly, mainstream media is giving the immigration rights movement more press than progressive blogs.

Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos is American-born of El Salvador ancestry, and lived in in El Salvador as a child. He lists Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (murdered by death squads) and Cesar Chavez as heros. Yet DailyKos has had little coverage of the Immigrant Rights movement. Kos could do a huge amount of positive work here if he spoke out about it. I hope he does.

While reading Kos’ bio, I clicked through to their Sitemeter stats. DailyKos is down about 20% from their October peak. This dovetails with what AmericaBlog said a few days ago, that their ad revenue is precipitously down, and that this was across the board for progressive blogs. Something’s happening, that’s for sure.

At the bottom of Kos’ bio he says

We desperately need to catch the Right in the Blogger Wars, and I am proud of each and every person who has the guts and initiative to start his or her own weblog. The progressive movement of the future will be built, in large part, on this digital foundation.

I disagree. The movement will be built by people in the streets and by organizing in the real world not in cyberspace. The Net is a tool. The real work is done face-to-face, in meetings, by the grunt work of flyering, postering, and building events and coalitions. That’s how you build a movement. The Net can help get the word out, but can never replace that.

Saturday’s historic immigrant rights march in L.A. aptly demonstrates how a massive movement can be built without the Net. While march organizers have websites, using the Net to build the march played a minor role. Instead, it was done one-on-one, by phone, and by radio.

Liberal and progressive bloggers. You’ve been on the outside looking in at the antiwar and immigrant rights movements. Jump on in. We can all learn from and help each other. Then we can work together and win.

One comment

  1. The Precint Level and GOTV

    “Organize the whole state so that every Whig can be brought to the polls… Divide the county into small districts and appoint in each a sub-committee. Make a perfect list of all the voters and ascertain with certainty for whom they will vote,keep a constant watch on the doubtful voters and…have them talked to by those in whom they have the most confidence, and on Election Day see that every Whig is brought to the polls.” -Abraham Lincoln 1/21/1840.

    This is as important now as it was then. I do not know how well these tenets are being implemented by the Democratic Party, but it seems to be the main reason Democrats keep losing elections. A get out the vote GOTV and precint operation should be a year round permanent operation of the party to protect its incumbents and to prepare challenges to opposition incumbents. Bloggers in every precinct would be invaluable in coordinating and setting up these permanent year round campaigns.

    There is a vast majority of voters not interested in national, state, or even local politics in a regular basis. They may be registered or not, many vote, completely uninformed, and probably mark the ballots with the first candidate named in each list. Many potential supporters do not bother to vote at all. These voters believe every politician is a crook and are not interested in framing, issues, political sheenanigans, and the corruption and incompetence of our leaders.

    If these voters somehow were persuaded to vote, they could be that 4-6+% difference in total votes that could win many elections. How can this be accomplished?

    At the local level sort of between friends and family, “have them talked to by those in whom they have the most confidence.”

    The trick is to have an operation that on a permanent basis, at the precint level, identifies favorable voters, keeps them up to date about our platform, informs and persuades the undecided, and makes sure that our supporters go to the polls on Election Day.

    Accomplishing this work a few months before the election does not help much since many voters have decided weeks or months before the election and worse-many vote early.

    Admitedly this may be expensive, but it is the foundation of a succesful campaign. It is the footwork of the fight that will deliver that extra 4-6% total votes in an election.

    Proselytizing for a few months before the election and pouring millions in TV ads, advisors, etc., and still lose elections is not an alternative. Forget framing, issues, or expecting the opposition to implode under the weight of its corruption and abuse of power. The base is already won. The informed are either with or against us. The battle is decided at the Precint Level, possibly years before the election, by getting to know our voters.

    It may be difficult but not impossible. Republicans are doing it and look how well it has worked for them. We may not like their policies but we should need to implement their strategies to sow the field and get winning crops on election day.

    Obviously not all precincts, even districts lend themselves to this kind of proselytizing by Democrats. Initially, our job would not be to convince the Republican base of our programs. We want to seek those thousands of citizens in Blue or Red regions that do not vote and that can be persuaded or are favorable to our message. We need to increase and cement our base and to inform and persuade the independent and the undecided.

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