Go ask Nancy; I think she knows

I’m here at Netroots Nation (of course) at the ‘ask the Speaker” event. Nancy Pelosi will be here for about 2 hours answering questions from all these grassroots activists. Gina Cooper (the charming / kick-ass organizer of the conference) is introducing the event.

One item – any  organized disruption  will end the event and the offenders will be thrown out of the conference.

Congressman Lloyd Dogget goes onse. Lots of standing ovation.He seems to know what he’s talking about re-blogging. Calls out the party last night , the local bloggers (well, state bloggers.) Pot-shots at Delay, Gingrich, Bush-Chicanery administration. Now he’s boosting Nancy Pelosi. It’ll be interesting to see how she’s recieved.

OK, she’s onse now with universal standing ovation.Jokes about “I hope I’ll get this warm a reception throughout”. She’s settng herself up for a lot of applause lines.Talks about youth. Talks about how the war isn’t over and uses the whole “60 votes / veto dodge”. Of course, leaving Iraq requiers defunding the war, not passong ay bills. We ended Vietnam through specifically *not* passing any bills, tom defund the war.

Read on for more questions and answeers. Ned Resnikoff is also liveblogging the event.

Update: Al fucking Gore is here! And the crowd goes wild
Continue reading “Go ask Nancy; I think she knows”

Notes – How to stand out outline

John Hlinko (of Grassroots Enterprise) teach. I type. You read.

Lessons –
1: Measure, don’t assume

2: Give people what they want

3: Find the multipliers
Find the influential people who can spread to their friends.

What content inspires multipliers?
topical. in the news
emotionally impactful (humor, anger, etc)
cognitive dissonance
Dash of Beavis and Butthead
117 emails – if inbox has 117 emails, and yours is 118, will they read it?
Ignore the “joy sponges” – people who suck the joy out of life

Joy sponges aren’t offended, but think others will be.

4: Get Creative
use a villian
focus on multipliers in specific community

Find creative / funny friends and bounce ideas off each other.
There’s nothing stopping you from using lots of micro-sites and targeting each to a specific audience.

Insight -“The success of the draft clark movement wasn’t in havin 60,000 people in a database. It was having 6 million people watching our meetups on CNN and so forth.” The power of the web can be in challenging energy and forcing old media to cover it.

Markos-Harold Ford Netroots Nation Liveblogging

Arshad Hasan of DFA is moderating. Hooray for DFA!

For a more amusing take on the whole thing, check out my friend Ned Resnikoff’s liveblog at Veritosity. Much more concise and easy to read.

Arshad talks about his status as a non-impartial person. But oh well.

Markos gives his standard speech. Talks about standing up / trusting Democratic core values. Talks about netroots, how its good for democrats electorally and morally, etc.

Harold Ford talks. This is interesting. He has a very lecturing / speechlike tone. Talks about the history of DLC, how it’s composed of elected leaders, etc. He’s pretty frank, talking about how he represents conservatives and moderates. Talks about how the DLC has people in the Clinton, Obama, Edwards, biden campaigns, etc.

I respect his demeanor. He’s not trying to kiss ass. He’s trying to speak his position / his mind. I still think he’s wrong, but at least he’s proud of what he believes in and not trying ot sugarcoat it. And isn’t that what progressives ask Democrats to do?

Arshad: Howard Dean talks about “not left vs right, but culture of incumbency vs culture of activism”. Harold, how do you encourage a culture of activism?

HF: Not really answering the question. Talks about how Obama, etc needs to attract people who don’t identify as proud Democrats.

Kos: Activists / Voters are encouraged to get involved when theres a real race. People have no incentive to vote in gerrymandered districts. We are the mainstream media. Tallk about the “traditional media”. When media asks about “Obama’s move to the center.” Media has a narrative, won’t listen to what I tell them. In one ear out the other. We weren’t upset about anything really except FISA. We pushed him to reject campaign finance. And we were mad because he didn’t move to the center. THere is no mass of people who want to be spied on. We support conservative candidates who represent their district if its conservatie, as long as they’re proud to be Democrats.

Continue reading “Markos-Harold Ford Netroots Nation Liveblogging”

Success Stories at Netroots Nation

I’m at a panel called “Working from the Inside Out: Success Stories in Netroots Organizing”

Tim Karr of Free Press: Talking about the COPE Act in 2006. (Dealing with Net Neutrality) Worked with MoveOn and the netroots. Mentioned Ask a Ninja even doing videos in favor of net neutrality. Killed the bill. Wonky peeps at free press worked with bloggers to figure out how to do messaging.

Joan McCarter: Talks about FISA.

Liz Rose of the ACLU: How to deal with bloggers: pretty much the same as reporters. Give them information, make sure they understand it, understand who you’re talking to (read their stuff beforehand). pretty much the same as reporters, but 24-hours-a-day. “Know who you’re sending stuff to, do it on a regular basis and have a dialogue with them”

Andre Banks of Color of Change: There are lots of people who don’t think of themselves as activists but talk to their friends about politics, etc. Here’s a success story – Jena 6. No one was paying attention to this except Democracy Now!. So we needed to draw attention, pressure governor, and raise money for legal defense. Partnered with black bloggers. THey did research, investigations, asked the right questions and turned this into a story people care about. We mobilized people to go to Jena, raised money for their defense.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on wonky institutions (ACLU, Free Press) taking complicated legal issues and turning them into digestible issues that people can understand. Perhaps blogs contain people who are good at that sort of thing?

Adam Green of Moveon: When I was lobbying re:Net Neutrality, I heard a lot of this sort of talk: “Net Neutrality is a golden ring, we have to be incremental, etc” What I realized was that staffers on the hill didn’t know that there was a movement of people willing to go to bat for them. Byron Dorgan knows it, because he works with us a lot. We can put pressure on his colleagues where he can’t. We can do stuff a lot more quickly than meetings on the hill – Open Left project of calling a bunch of candidates to see where they stand on net neutrality. Last year re-NN. August last year was a unique opportunity. Senators left the beltway, and then we had constituents see them during recess. 6 new senators came off the fence then because they outside the lobbyist/telco axis. Lesson – look for opportunities to strike, and strike then. For 2008 – we wanted to get people on the record during the primary. We couldn’t do it during the YearlyKos questions, but we got MTV and Myspace forum to ask it to Obama (through 10Questions), and he rsponded beautifully.

Adam Green’s lessons – wait for a moment to strike. And put as many of your people on the inside as possible.

joan McCarter – have an ally in the senate, for example, to tell you who to target, etc.

Tim Karr – 1 million petitions gives us leverage and opens doors in Washington.

Time for questions!

Continue reading “Success Stories at Netroots Nation”

Oil and Energy liveblog

Yesterday I was at the Open Left caucus:

“You need to set up an enemy as the antithesis of everything  you’re for. We at <organization> use CEO’s. People go crazy when you even mention CEO’s”

There was a discussion on how to talk about energy policy and the environment.

“Our energy policy basically consists of a blank check to Saudi Arabia”

Joe Garcia (candidate for house in Florida) showed up and talked about energy. He impressed me with his grasp of the issues and intelligent/competent demeanor.  He said soemthing along these lines:

“Why haven’t we seen our electrical bills quadruple in the lat year? Oil prices did. I’ll tell you why: Planning. The electricity companies saw it coming and invested in alternative sources, more coal plants, more nuclear, yes, but also more wind solar etc.

We’ve known for a long time that oil was going to be scarce. But instead of planning, the 2005 energy bill cut out all incentives for investing in alternatives, etc.  Republicans are great at hobenesian choices – where the outcome is always undesirable-. The real solution is investing in alternatives.”

Now I’m at the Energize America panel. Energize America is a community of people who connected through Daily Kos and now think up solutions / ideas / policy on the internet. They’re really cool actually. Read on for the liveblog!

Continue reading “Oil and Energy liveblog”

Tidbits from the Youth caucus

Ned Resnikoff: There are two traditional ways that old people try to get youth to vote. One is like Rock the Vote: ‘Voting is RADD!!” or through guilt: “HOW DARE YOU not vote???”

How do we grow a progressive youth movement?

My thoughts: We all know the basc tactics of youth get-out-the vote strategies: peer-to-peer, not strangers to strangers, personal messages, authenticity, etc. What’s missing is vision. Not – ‘vote fucker” but ‘i dream of rock music parties on rooftop gardens, with bicycling and block parties for all”. Provide the vision.

Articulate a progressive / activist lifestyle, not ‘vote and you’re done’
More on youth tactics:

Authenticity, authenticy, authenticity.Don’t send a formal email, dash off a real one from the heart. Not ‘dear X, blah blah blah’, but ‘yo dude. Please check this out, show up to our event plz. k thanxbi!”

Question – Who has moral authority with youth today?
Indie bands?

Try to make your ask other than ‘give us money’ or ‘do boring phone calls for us’

Let loose the dogs of blogging

Everything really is bigger in Texas.

The conference center here is cavernous and echoing. Even the free totebags are stuffed full.

What a weird place. Everywhere I go I see people, some well-dressed, some in T-shirts and jeans, 
are sitting in  hallways plugged to the wall, typing away.

Seeing as how Democracy for America paid my way here, I’m chilling at the DFA caucus. The deputy training director for DFA is teaching people how to organize events.

What have we learned so far? We’ve gone through a case study of organizing a student global warming confernence that DFA did in DC.

The takeaway idea so far seems to be this: Set a goal, set sub-goals for discrete chunks of time, and measure your success accordingly. So if you want 500 students to show up at an event in 5 months, try to invite 100 people per month. If you’re not making your benchmarks, maybe its time to re-evaluate.

I’m typing this on my XO laptop (aka one laptop per child). Have you seen me carrying this around on campus? It is small and green and cost 400 dollars.By 400 dollars I mean you pay 400 dollars to “give one get one”  so that you pay for the cost of producing two, get one, and the second one goes to a child in Mongolia, or Nepal or wherever. Check it out.