Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Progressive Popular Front - I think we're going to do this

     Thanks for all the feedback everyone. There was actually quite a bit of support for this idea, many of you having emailed me directly. There was enough so that I feel like it would be worthwhile to give this idea a shot, so I plan on taking it to the next phase. So what would the next phase be? This is up for debate of course, but a general outline I was thinking about goes as follows:

1). Obviously one of the first things we need to do is really clarify what this project would be about, both in deciding how the idea would be presented to the public and also hammer down the details for ourselves in how the organization would be structured, function, etc. Some of this may be able to be made up as we go, but it would be nice to get some basics down. Additionally, the list of progressive issues that we want the Popular Front to represent has to be decided upon. We clearly cannot ask anyone to 'sign on' to the PPF if we don't have the issues beforehand. To help in both of these purposes, I have set up another blog at Progressive Popular Front. In terms of organizational structure, perhaps that can be done some over email and then a little bit as well on the blog itself. For the issues, I plan on having a post on each potential issue where we can openly discuss the position. We can also invite people who are active in these respective fields (other activists) to come and give us their opinion.

2). Once we've completed the previous tasks, the next stage will be to officially launch the project. This requires a few things:
  • A better website: we will need to get off Blogger and onto a new url and hosting with more capabilities. We may be able to get hosting for free, as there are some small businesses which give free hosting to progressive organizations, but this usually requires that we be a ....

  • registered non-profit (501(c) in the US tax code). This should not be hard to get I believe.

  • Volunteer drive, website design, and shirt, bumper sticker, etc. designs. This is where we prepare to really launch the PPF

  • Now that all the groundwork is done, we begin, hopefully in enough time so that we may influence the 2010 or 2012 elections. All types of activism will start here, and we will also try to raise money so that we may purchase more visibility for the organization and message.


The timescale for the above outline is obviously highly dependent on how well we are able to get a lot of grassroots support and participation.

     Except for comments to these past two posts, let's take all discussion on the PPF over to the new blog. If you'd like to get involved in this endeavor please let me know, either by posting here, at the new blog, or emailing me at progressivepopularfront@gmail.com.

    Also, if there are any strong criticisms of this idea in general or some of its specifics, please bring it to my attention. The more minds working on this the better.

7 comments:

Mookie said...

"how the idea would be presented to the public"

One super big issue I have with politics, conservative politics especially, is the use of fear to induce people to do what politicians want. It is so prevalent because it works. The problem, of course, is that in the course of being stricken with fear, the voter is now prone to making poor decisions. I would like very much to see an effective, issue-based movement that does not resort to the use of scare tactics to change the political landscape. I don't know if that's even possible, but it seems to me that as soon as we start scaring people, we undermine our efforts by encouraging people to vote with fear and emotions, rather than through careful scrutiny and consideration of the issues.

"...the list of progressive issues that we want the Popular Front to represent has to be decided upon."

In regards to this, perhaps a focus level would help. Some issues definitely affect voters on an individual level, while others concern themselves with community, state, or national matters. A conservative, for example, might focus on tax breaks for himself, whereas a liberal might be concerned with big companies skirting tax obligations.

Depending on the level an issue is being addressed, voters may make different decisions. Covering issues from multiple levels may make them more palatable and targeted, and would allow for a multi-faceted approach to solutions. For example, to curb pollution, a city might introduce a mass transit system, whereas a state might monitor pollution from factories in it, while the national level works on a comprehensive plan to switch to renewable energy.

Delta said...

I would like very much to see an effective, issue-based movement that does not resort to the use of scare tactics to change the political landscape. I don't know if that's even possible, but it seems to me that as soon as we start scaring people, we undermine our efforts by encouraging people to vote with fear and emotions, rather than through careful scrutiny and consideration of the issues

I absolutely agree. I also think it's possible that we could build the movement more on the disparity between our current sociopolitical conditions and what's possible living in the world's most 'wealthy country', rather than build it on fear. Another reason to not build it on fear is that, as you say, we need to encourage critical thinking and not simply fear responses. A movement built on fear responses has no defense to a counter movement based on fear, but one built on ideas, that's harder to counter.

Depending on the level an issue is being addressed, voters may make different decisions. Covering issues from multiple levels may make them more palatable and targeted, and would allow for a multi-faceted approach to solutions. For example, to curb pollution, a city might introduce a mass transit system, whereas a state might monitor pollution from factories in it, while the national level works on a comprehensive plan to switch to renewable energy

That is a fantastic point. This kind of organizational structure could also be very effective on the local level. But I think to get this thing started we'll need to build the national level PPF, since we'll be taking in volunteers from all over the country. But I think encouraging other local, independent organizations of this type could also be one of our primary missions. They would be something like, for example, 'Austin Popular Front' or whatever they wanted to call themselves. Yes, that could be very effective in local elections, and easier to do than in the national sense because you could very rapidly build up visibility if you confined yourself to a small area.

Patrick said...

Hey, I don't know if you know about this already, but http://humanists.net/ provides free web hosting to Humanist-related sites. You might want to check it out.

Patrick

Delta said...

Hi Patrick,

No, I didn't actually know that. I checked it out and it says that they are not accepting appliations for hosting at this time, but that is something that we could certainly check out in the future. I'm not sure if the organization would be sufficiently 'humanist' for them to want to support the Popular Front, but it's certainly not obvious that they wouldn't.

Thanks for the link!

Neil Phalanx said...

I am new to the community, having been an loner atheist for the last several years. I like your motivation, it is inspiring. I heard a piece on NPR today about South Carolina voters (due to the upcoming early primary) not being happy with the current not-socially-conservative enough republican candidates. One voter claimed he voted on 3 things, pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and family values. These are the 3 things that got George W. elected.

In a world of executives, would you think a CEO would last long based on his views on abortion, religion, and "family values"? I would like a president that has left the United States a few times, pays attention to the geopolitical climate, and has basic grammar and reading skills. Qualification, not socio-political preference.

I know I am preaching to the choir (and happy to), but it's stories like these that scare me. I don't fear any man, woman, or beast, I fear massive brainwashed fanatical movements.

breakerslion said...

It is a worthy effort, if only to inspire those that come after. The death-grip that the two party system has on power in this country must be tested from time to time. I suspect that your effort might be doomed by scruples. You have them, the short-sighted and greedy people you seek to replace do not. They will say anything. They actually prefer to pander to people who maintain ignorance among the governed. People who feed on confusion, who maintain that the earth is 6,000 years old while using 200 million year old fossil fuel to power their houses and cars. They do this not because they believe it necessarily, but because they can convince ignorant people that it is important that they believe it. Confuse people sufficiently, and critical thinking shuts down. Now you can get these people to believe anything.

You will be discredited. The truth of the assertions is irrelevant, they will be believed. You are, unfortunately, outnumbered and outgunned. That said, count me in. I haven't tilted at a windmill in a long while.

Delta said...

neil,

Welcome! I share your concern. Although I think if we want meaningful change in the country we need to not simply say that we would like a president with 'reading and grammar skills', but actually put forth the idea that we want one who represents our views. Bush is quite likely very unintelligent, but it's his policies and those of the people who surround and support him which make him a bad president.

breakerslion,

I'm glad that you're interested. I think you are absolutely correct that any progressive movement in this country faces substantial obstacles to its success. But I think this requires us to test new strategies to see what works and what doesn't. I hope that this effort will bring some positive results, if not simply to provide lessons, as you suggested, to future movements that will ultimately bring success.