"You gotta be fucking kidding me," Et alia on a consultant's upbeat account of new media for progressive philanthropy and organizing. Et has great instincts. I hope he will come out into the public square more often and share his private transcripts in a more public way. Lucy Bernholz and he would learn a lot from one another and might some day make common cause. For progressivism to come to raucous life, let us enjoy what we have: No talking points from Head Quarters, no Mandatory Frame of the Week, just the freedom to explore each other's ideas openly and honestly and with passion. Given time that will produce a better result than the Spam of either official party in Wealth Bondage. If we hurt one another's feelings, well, it is better than a rubber truncheon or a taser. We might as well toughen up.
The challenge today for progressives is to build the capacity to manage ad hoc coalitions. The challenge is actually to establish many bonds to the movement that ARE NOT message or policy specific but more personal, social and experiential.... Our goal is to establish an enduring progressive movement which is bigger, more vibrant and more effective in shaping America.... We want to foster a new merged network model of organizing adapted to the age of connectivity....We are suggesting an evolution or mutation of the community today into a new species.... We must change. In any competition, strategic advantage is derived from doing something your opponents can not do. As long as the struggle for control of America’s future is about convincing people to aggregate money in order to counterbalance the influence of the wealthiest special interest and multi-national corporations, we are doomed to fail. If the competition is about our staff skills vs. what the opposition’s, we are doomed. We must shift the basic ways to aggregate and exercise influence. We must avoid wrestling on their turf, debating and measuring on their terms, lobbying and campaigning with the same strategy. We must not be dependent on feeding their media and advertising for distribution our message. They are better funded, better staffed and very disciplined and controlled. We are many.
Let's say we wanted to convene a conversation about the role of philanthropy is a democratic and/or oligarchic society. Let's say we had chapters of a new book or two on philanthropy that could be posted on line, or a series of articles by reputable authors with name recognition. Let's say we also had access to a number of bright and disreputable bloggers, operating under scurrilous pseudonyms. How might we get a conversation going, and keep it going?
Safe Space by invitation only; a listserv to which people would be invited, no online presence. Rules of participation to include proper names and civility. Tom Munnecke's giving list (now dormant( being a good example of a list like this that worked.
Wide Open Web Conversation: Whoever comes are the right people. Some appear in masquerade, others in propria persona. As counterfeit money drives out good, so the maskers will drive out many of the more reputable, but decorous philanthropy figures. Thus, the site becomes a demolition of whatever articles or chapters are published, on the general principal that capitalism is bad and things capitalistic are trash, and that any giver who has not consulted the particular set of misfits trashing the article are "undemocractic."
Open Site with Rules: Invite key figures, set a high tone, moderate comments, have rules about identity and civility.
Two Sites: One to which people of significance are invited, and with rules about civility, etc; the other an open forum in which the first is trashed.
Wealth Bondage Charity Ball: Rule being, come in a mask or don't come at all. We don't care to know who you are in the so-called "real world" and not interested in the reputation that might precede you. Stand and deliver; let your views stand or fall on their merits. If you need PR counsel, a lobbyist, a ghostwriter, a cop, or your Momma, one will be provided for you by the Wealth Bondage Staff. The general rule would be, "have fun," and see that others do as well.