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Operation Democracy: A Grassroots Campaign to Fight the Right and Elect Progressives
Karl Rove recently announced that he was setting up a "permanent campaign"?modeled on Bush/Cheney ?04?to force a sweeping right-wing agenda through Congress. The same corporate donors are donating, the same ground troops are organizing?even people like the Swift Boat Veterans are back in business, all working together to gut Social Security, confirm extremist judges, and silence the Democrats.
We've got a plan to turn the tide and begin building a more progressive nation. We're calling it Operation Democracy: a national network of neighborhood teams that will take our progressive message to every town in the country. It's a deeper way for MoveOn members to get involved, and it's a route to real victory in 2006 and beyond. Our own version of a "permanent campaign," it'll have the intensity, mobi lization and message discipline of a political campaign, but with a focus on key issues as well as elections?and enough time to build something truly powerful and lasting. Join an Operation Democracy team near you.
Our plan Tactics Structure Get involved Where it came from Questions
Info on Wednesday's call-in day to stop right-wing judges For Team Leaders, login to your admin page
Our first project will be to oppose right-wing judges. President Bush and the Republican leadership are moving quietly to stack the courts, including the Supreme Court, with judges who favor the rights of corporations over everyday Americans. The key to their plan: before the public notices, change Senate rules to silence Democrats and end the long-standing requirement that lifetime judicial nominees have broad support in Congress.
If they succeed, it will literally be too late to stop Bush from appointing Supreme Court judges who will set back efforts to protect workers, the environment, health, and civil liberties by 70 years. And we have less than a month to stop them.
After judges, we'll work on other key issues, all the while spreading the message that Republicans are putting corporate donors before everyday Americans. And all the while we'll look toward the 2006 elections, to put pressure on vulnerable Republicans and support progressive candidates, using the techniques that worked well on our Leave No Voter Behind campaign last fall. Even if there's not a close race in your district, we need you to join us in national actions that will show how the Republicans' corporate-leaning policies have abandoned the middle class?only when that's a national story will voters be willing to shake things up and give someone else a chance.
The core of our strategy to beat the Bush agenda and electing a progressive majority is grassroots organizing, with different approaches depending on the issue: for example, letters to the editor of your local newspaper on Iraq, news conferences demanding election reform, town meetings on Bush's screwed-up budget priorities, bake sale fundraisers, or meetings between members of Congress and local citizens who can't afford a Social Security benefit cut.
As we move toward the elections, we'll work together to craft a progressive agenda to show what progressives will accomplish when we have power in Washington. We'll weave this positive vision into everything we do. And we'll start contacting voters in targeted districts to persuade swing voters and ensure that core supporters are registered and committed to vote.
But we'll use a variety of other strategies as well?everything from paid advertising, to big online petitions, to creative stuff like Bush in 30 Years, our flash contest to oppose Social Security privatization.
Imagine a neighborhood with a strong team of leaders dedicated to spreading a progressive message and getting residents involved in making positive change. Maybe each person takes responsibility for a few blocks. Over time, they build a network of supporters there. Not only do they drop by and give people information on pressing issues, and ask them to take action?but they also build relationships with them. And they recruit new leaders from the neighborhood on an ongoing basis. When there's a crisis in Congress?or when election time rolls around?they can galvanize that neighborhood into action.
Now imagine there 20,000 neighborhoods from coast to coast organized that way, with all those leaders linked together, able to take action in concert to defend Social Security or elect a progressive majority in Congress. We've set out to build real progressive political power from the ground up. That vision is still a ways off?but that's why we're starting now.
The basic unit of Operation Democracy is the neighborhood action team. Each team is centered on a neighborhood but in dense areas, there may be another team on the next block. In other areas, a team might cover a whole small town. A team may be a couple people or as many as 6-8 volunteers.
We ask each team to participate in our main action each month. But we have additional options for teams that want to do more.
There are three general roles within each team: Team Leaders (or co-leaders) facilitate cooperation by team members and help people keep in touch. Lead Volunteers have committed to joining in regular team activities and being someone other team members can count on. Volunteers haven't made a specific commitment, but want to stay involved and help out when they can.
Why join an action team? We asked other MoveOn members that very question:
"We are committed to doing everything we can to stop the downward spiral George Bush is causing in our nation. We must organize to awaken the people in this nation to the reality behind the deceptive rhetoric. MoveOn provides a structure and cohesion around which people can organize to make a difference. Power in numbers! Make a plan, work the plan!" ? Dar, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
"I don't want to have to explain to my kids why I stayed home watching TV, while their civil rights got eroded, their future auctioned off to corporate interests, and their chance of a life in peace sacrificed for oil & wargames." ? Uli, Miami, Florida
"It's time to gather together and create a group of sanity in the midst of all this madness." ? Pam, Portland, Oregon
From the sidelines, politics can be pretty depressing these days. But our members consistently say that getting out into the community and making actual progress on key issues is both fun and rewarding. Joining an Operation Democracy action team in your area is a great way to meet like-minded neighbors and feel good building a better future, one person at a time.
And if there's no team near you, grab a friend or a neighbor and start one! A team is just two or more people who live near each other and are willing to help get the word out. Search for a team near you or start your own.
Where it came from
Operation Democracy is rooted in the work and ideas of tens thousands of MoveOn members. It grows out of the Future of MoveOn houseparties we held after the 2004 election, where 15,000 MoveOn members voted to combine grassroots organizing with a bold, visionary progressive message, and to focus on issues like right-wing Supreme Court justices, election reform, the Iraq war and the environment.
It's also a huge step forward from Leave No Voter Behind, our massive 2004 neighbor-to-neighbor get-out-the-vote drive. Leave No Voter Behind didn't get John Kerry elected. But it did have a groundbreaking political impact in communities across the country and turned out more than half a million voters in key areas. We designed Operation Democracy based on the lessons we learned in 2004: indent the next 4 paragraphs
With teamwork, we can move mountains. In less than 6 weeks last fall, we logged over 6 million door knocks and phone calls to potential Kerry voters. We heard again and again that one key to our success was the mutual support, accountability and just plain fun of working with other MoveOn members. So, learning from that experience, weare inviting MoveOn memberes to form action teams in every town across the country.
Getting out the vote is not enough?we also need to persuade people we're right. During Leave No Voter Behind, we turned out tons of voters, but in the end, key groups of married women, Latinos, and seniors shifted toward Bush in unprecedented ways. Winning a progressive majority in Congress will take more than voter turnout?we need to show millions of people how Republican leaders consistently favor corporations over ordinary Americans. We can do that by fighting Republicans on critical issues that make their priorities clear: right-wing judicial nominations, Social Security, the war in Iraq, electoral reform, and more. On all these issues we will counter Republican propaganda with grassroots action?petition signatures, protests, news conferences, letters to the editor, yard signs and leaflets, and more.
Start early! Precinct leaders who started on October 10th talked to three times as many people as folks who started the week before the election. Imagine what we can accomplish if we build teams now to work on issues, and then begin targeted voter contacts a year before the election!
Neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods. Leave No Voter Behind leaders say that one of the most important things we did was build community?engage with people in the neighborhood whom we'd never met and plug them into politics. So we've made that kind of local outreach the core of our strategy... please see if you can make a diffrence sign up and be heard
-------------------- "Six words: drop out, turn on, then come back and tune it in -and then drop out again, and turn on, and tune it back in-it's a rhythm- most of us think God made this universe in nature-subject object-predicate sentences-turn on, tune in, drop out- period, end of paragraph. Turn the page- it's all a rhythm- it's all a beat. You turn on, you find it inside, and then you have to come back (since you can't stay high all the time) and you have to build a better model. But don't get caught - don't get hooked - don't get attracted by the thing you're building, cause... you gotta drop out again. It's a cycle. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Keep it going, keep it going- the nervous system works that way. gotta keep it flowing- keep it flowing.
Big deal. Where's the substance? There isn't one word that conveys any specifics about the policies or values of this movement, except that it's clearly anti-Bush. Sorry, not good enough. That's like getting all behind Kerry just because he's not Bush. "Election reform", "Iraq war" "Environment", yeah what about them. These are the same people who desparately wanted to get Kerry elected. Are they now trying to tell me that Kerry is separate from the same machine that got Bush elected? The same machine that got the Iraq "war" going? And I'm tired of hearing the buzzword "Environment" as though anyone who says it is automatically right! What about the environment? What are your policies? How would you legislate? What is the scientific basis? How would your proposed legislation affect the rights of business owners and "everyday Americans". Tyranny shouldn't suddenly become sweeter because it makes you feel better on Earth Day.
The plan is to get rid of "judges who favor the rights of corporations over everyday Americans". Ok....in favor of what? Judges who favor the power of the federal government over that of corporations and "everyday Americans". Is "everyday Americans" just code for people who can't get their shit together or what?
Oh, wait....TACTICS! This oughta be good...
"grassroots organizing" "different approaches depending on the issue" "demanding election reform" "Bush's screwed-up budget priorities" "bake sale fundraisers" ???
Looks to me like just another bunch of tired rhetoric that doesn't mean a goddamned thing.
"we'll work together to craft a progressive agenda to show what progressives will accomplish when we have power in Washington"
How about starting by outlining just exactly what that is BEFORE you get to Washington. Okay?
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