Thursday, December 04, 2008

Local Organizing

northcountry posts on OpenLeft about the opposition Howard Dean has faced at the national level from people who would nominally be his allies (Democratic leaders).

It occurs at the local level as well.

My experience with dealing with the local party was that they were a lot of really smart and well meaning people, but they still tended to think in terms of power-bases. Anything that threatened those power-bases, even if they might be good for progressive causes, was treated with suspicion.

For example, I tried to organize a "Democrats club" in my local neighborhood that was designed to bring out Democrats who wanted to talk about the issues but didn't want to feel like they were just going to be a cog in the local party machine. I identified a gap and I wanted to fill it. I initially got support from the county party for this. But once it became clear that I DIDN'T want this club to be just the first step towards getting more people signed up to canvas and make telephone calls I almost immediately got the shut out. The hostility was palpable.

They wonder why ordinary citizens don't want to get involved in party activities and then they do things like this when it happens. It still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I probably made mistakes, so I don't entirely blame them (I generally think they are all great people). But I wonder if they honestly understand how much they turn people off?

That's why I like organizations like Drinking Liberally. It does essentially what I was trying to do without ever relying on party machinery. Democratic party people are more than welcome to come. But they are invited to be participants, not herders. And that's a role a lot of them have difficulty switching to.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home