lessons from America

OFA 2.0 – the future?

One answer to the question “what’s next?” for all the activists and grassroots networks of the Obama election campaign has just had its first outing. Across the US last weekend several thousand “stimulus parties” were held. These were structured but self-organised events aimed not just at selling the Obama stimulus package but educating, getting constructive feedback, letting people feel they were taking some ownership of the package and the process, and encouraging them to come up with elements they could advocate or take action on.

Welcome to the world of ‘Organizing for America’ – the Democrat party and Obama’s bold, ground-breaking and potentially hugely politically significant new project. 538’s Sean gives a brilliant first-hand account of what one of these events in Bowie, Maryland was like. Of course not all the stimulus parties were as well attended or productive as that one, and the media has quite happily picked up on some of the less successful cases. And it will be interesting to see how much of the talk then gets translated into action(s). But as a first-try of a model for popular engagement in policy and sustaining grassroots activism, it has a lot going for it. And the word is resources and field staff are going to be committed to it in near 50 states, so there’s definitely more to come. Plus as long as you have passionate people – the like of which Sean interviewed and are quoted below – involved, I am going to be following what happens.

“We’re vested in the campaign, it’s not just something where we’re just bystanders. We’ve put sweat equity in bringing this campaign to fruition. The real campaign started on November 4… A lot of us here have paid so much into it and we want to see the rewards are reaped.” (Curtis Valentine)

“I just want to stay involved, I just want to get as much information as I can. I just want to stay plugged in.” (Ophelia Vanderpool)

“I want to get good information, be an activist, continue to have Barack’s back.” (Vanessa Davis)

“I was fired up then and I’m fired up now. My whole goal here is one of hope, and a trust that we can continue the momentum that we started.” (Toni Byrd)

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment