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Can grass roots outgrow astroturf?
September 26, 2007 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Avaaz.org was founded by moveon.org and getup.org.au alumni and brings a similar approach to global politics.
posted by flabdablet (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
While I certainly appreciate both moveon.org and getup.org.au, I don't really think they're "grass roots", are they? Having so many people on your mailing list and having so many people sign the petitions you ask them to just doesn't seem to be the same thing as, you know, people getting motivated independently to be politically active in their own communities.

Who runs GetUp?
GetUp has a core team of staff and volunteers in Sydney, who conduct research on new campaigns, develop the website, prepare GetUp email updates and raise awareness of our campaigns in the media.


Top-down control, isn't it? How is it fundamentally different from, say, the religious-right direct mailing I hear about, with a Web2.0 vibe?

Maybe I'm cynical. I guess when I think "grass roots", I think about what's happening in Burma at the moment. I also have trouble getting my head around a divers-policy political group who aren't an actual political party - it all seems a bit wishy-washy. In the case of getup - do they want me to vote Labor? Greens? Democrats? Are they just trying to influence Howard Government policy throught t-shirts and online petitions?

Defining new paradigms, I guess.
posted by Jimbob at 10:45 AM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is like some sort of strange joke waiting for a punchline:

How many organization does it take to empower individuals?
posted by srboisvert at 10:46 AM on September 26, 2007


Maybe I'm just grumpy from being awake a 3am and being unable to get back to sleep. I thought the soothing blue of Metafilter would calm me...
posted by Jimbob at 10:47 AM on September 26, 2007


Republicans and democrats have evidently joined forces and condemed MoveOn.org together.

Got to say, I agree. While I'm against the Iraq War, I seriously doubt the General was lying. I just think he was overly optimistic.
posted by gandledorf at 10:48 AM on September 26, 2007


Gandledorf, do you mean you agree that the House should be spending time thinking about and voting on a resolution condemning what amounts to a juvenile schoolyard taunt? Or do you just agree that moveon.org was retarded and gay (as the kids used to say) for putting the insult in their ad?

I mean, sure, moveon.org might as well have referred to him as General McPoopyhead for all their seriousness in the matter, but is it really the responsibility of the House to get involved in this (which is, in the end, a simple exercise of free, albeit stupid, speech)?

I mean, you certainly don't see them passing resolutions condemning those folks who accuse the Clintons of things like murder, blackmail, and the like, nor any of a thousand other idiotic insults to various public figures, both Left and Right, that are published every week. So why should they get all worked up about this in particular?
posted by moonbiter at 11:13 AM on September 26, 2007


Because MoveOn.org is a threat to the democratic future. Thats why. Things like MoveOn, and Michael Moore push the party more into the ultra-left, which is a mistake if Democrats want to reestablish themselves in 2008.
posted by gandledorf at 11:16 AM on September 26, 2007


The problem with MoveOn and Michael Moore isn't that they're actually politically "left". It's their *tactics* that are problematic for a large number of Americans, not their *ideology*.
posted by Slothrup at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Things like MoveOn, and Michael Moore push the party more into the ultra-left, which is a mistake if Democrats want to reestablish themselves in 2008.

Amen! In with the less-bad! Don't stop the rot, just slow it down a bit.

Social change starts with better marketing, right? Ideology should be inoffensive to have the broadest possible appeal. Democrats need a politician modeled on Budweiser, family sitcoms and the Toyota Camry.

When the leftist agitators are removed, following politics will be exactly like watching sports-- root for your team, if they win you feel great, if they lose there's always next year and the best part is that whether the Sox win the World Series or the Democrats win the presidency, nothing changes. And isn't that what we really want?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2007


I think someone's a little obsessed with the concept of "ultra-left".
posted by batmonkey at 1:36 PM on September 26, 2007


Things like MoveOn, and Michael Moore push the party more into the ultra-left, which is a mistake if Democrats want to reestablish themselves in 2008.

Okay, I'll bite. How is Moveon.org ultra-left? Michael Moore isn't all that "ultra-left" either. Bowling for Columbine turned out to be about organizational and media irresponsibility, not gun control! Sicko got lauded by Fox News of all places.

For us (well, at least me) to understand your perspective here, it is obvious that you're going to have to explain it in more detail.
posted by JHarris at 2:12 PM on September 26, 2007


So what I mean specifically here is that they're drinking the kool-aid by the gallon. These are the left equivalents of Anne Coulter and Bill O'Reilly. They're loud mouthed, often offensive, blow hards who make everyone else look bad.

In the case of Petraeus, MoveOn would have been better served by setting the Kool Aid down and refuting the General's comments with facts. Instead they decided to just blather on in ad hominem fashion, discrediting everyone else.

They're on the ultra-left because for them it isn't about issues, but the party.
posted by gandledorf at 6:48 PM on September 26, 2007


They're on the ultra-left because for them it isn't about issues, but the party.

and here I thought people more concerned about "the party" at the expense of issues were the folks saying "well, it's the right position to take morally, but how will we sell it? We should neuter that sentiment to get more votes."

Why hasn't this astroturf been pulled up yet, moderators?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:53 PM on September 26, 2007


They're on the ultra-left because for them it isn't about issues, but the party.

Really got no fucking idea what you're talking about there, have you gandledorf?

The "ultra-left" want to nationalize private assets. Establish anarcho-syndicalist communal practices. Open the borders. Return power to the trade unions. Practice some good old-fashioned redistribution of wealth. Tear down industries that cause environmental destruction.

The likes of MoveOn and GetUp, by comparison, are pansies with more experience in PR than political theory. You're confusing their habit of being "loud mouthed and offensive" with them actually having something radical to say.

The "ultra-left" doesn't call Petraeus a liar. It calls for the overthrowing of the whole military industrial complex.
posted by Jimbob at 8:07 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


So what I mean specifically here is that they're drinking the kool-aid by the gallon. These are the left equivalents of Anne Coulter and Bill O'Reilly. They're loud mouthed, often offensive, blow hards who make everyone else look bad.

And yet, our good Representatives in the House don't take it upon themselves to pass resolutions condemning Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly.

I mean, I'm not arguing with you about the lack of cleverness or wisdom in printing the ad. In terms of helpfulness, it was the equivalent of inviting a group named Neo-Nazi Militant Clansmen 9/11 TRUTHseekers Against the War (wearing stilts and dressed like mimes) to an anti-war rally. But the fact that the House, on both sides of the aisle, has wasted even a few hours of its time on this grandstanding for political gain tells us all we need to know about their own level of seriousness and maturity.
posted by moonbiter at 1:37 AM on September 27, 2007


You are seriously comparing Michael "wouldn't it be nice to have national health care" Moore to Ann "send liberals to Guantanamo" Coulter?
posted by JHarris at 3:02 AM on September 27, 2007


How is it fundamentally different from, say, the religious-right direct mailing I hear about, with a Web2.0 vibe?

In essence, it's no different at all - but if it works for them, why shouldn't it work for progressives as well? There is no reason why all the effective, expensive spin has to come from the Right.

root for your team, if they win you feel great, if they lose there's always next year and the best part is that whether the Sox win the World Series or the Democrats win the presidency, nothing changes. And isn't that what we really want?

Apparently.
posted by flabdablet at 6:53 PM on September 27, 2007


Maybe I'm cynical. I guess when I think "grass roots", I think about what's happening in Burma at the moment.

Funny you should mention that.

I also have trouble getting my head around a divers-policy political group who aren't an actual political party - it all seems a bit wishy-washy.

The trouble with being a political party is that successful ones just end up supporting the status quo. There has not been a real Opposition in this country since the mid-Seventies.

In the case of getup - do they want me to vote Labor? Greens? Democrats?

Seems to me that GetUp's main effect on voters is to draw attention to certain issues, in the hope that people will think about party policy on those issues when choosing who to vote for.

Are they just trying to influence Howard Government policy throught t-shirts and online petitions?

The lengthy delay in Turnbull's decision on the Gunns pulp mill leads me to believe that they just might be capable of that :-)

It seems to me that the main point of organizations like Avaaz, GetUp and MoveOn is to act as focal points, hopefully counteracting some of the divide-and-conquer that's run the Left into the ground over the last few decades. A bit of PR savvy could well be a very helpful thing.
posted by flabdablet at 7:13 PM on September 27, 2007


As could be a bit of grass roots facilitation.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2007


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