By Dana R. Fisher
Activism, Inc. introduces the US to an more and more general political actor: the canvasser. She’s the twenty-something with the clipboard, preventing you in the street or knocking in your door, the foot soldier of political campaigns.Granted unparalleled entry to the “People’s Project,” an unknown but influential association using left-leaning grassroots politics, Dana Fisher tells the real tale of outsourcing politics in the United States. just like the significant companies that outsourced their customer support to businesses in a foreign country, the grassroots campaigns of nationwide revolutionary movements—including Greenpeace, the Sierra membership, retailer the youngsters, and the Human Rights Campaign—have been outsourced at assorted instances to this unmarried association. through the 2004 presidential crusade, the Democratic occasion the same outsourcing version for his or her canvassing.Fisher examines the heritage and intent at the back of political outsourcing at the Left, weaving jointly frank interviews with canvassers, high-ranking political officers around the political spectrum, and People’s venture administration. She compares all of this to the grassroots efforts at the correct, which stay firmly grounded in groups and native politics.This ebook deals a chilling evaluation of the implications of political outsourcing. Connecting local community at the streets all through the United States to the nationwide agencies and political campaigns that make up revolutionary politics, it exhibits what occurs to the passionate younger activists outsourced to the consumers of Activism, Inc.
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Extra info for Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America
In telling the story of this consolidation of activism on the left and comparing the grassroots campaigns of the Left with those of the Right, I discuss the implications of this process for America’s youth and their current and future involvement in politics. Today, too many progressive young Americans, who make up a whole generation of potential political leaders, are ending up turned off and burned out. indd 18 5/11/06 11:29:04 AM The 3Ms of Politics in America 19 many of the major national progressive groups and serves as the gatekeeper for young people who want to work for them, it is imperative that we understand the effects this centralization of activism is having on progressive politics.
In fact, during my interviews with five different canvassers around the country, they all used those exact words. Many canvassers thought they had received too little information about the People’s Project before being sent out to fundraise. Having canvassed for ten weeks in the summer of 2003, Susie, the college junior I had first seen dancing on the table during the announcements in Portland, looked back on her experience in 2004: [By the end,] I felt like I had more questions about the organization than I did when I came in, and I didn’t feel comfortable canvassing and asking people to donate money.
This experience is managed by the national office of the People’s Project to maintain consistency and control over the grassroots campaigns. Because canvassing is challenging work and the offices have a high turnover rate, canvass directors are instructed to identify canvassers with potential very early on. People at all administrative levels told me how they identified people with promise. indd 29 5/11/06 11:29:06 AM 30 Institutionalizing Activism described the process: The People’s Project has “whittled it down to a set of pretty good basics .
Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America by Dana R. Fisher