A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

1) Five Republicans facing netroots endorsed candidates voted for a minimum wage hike in the House (update: I added a link to the bill).  This is a direct result of pressure they are feeling from our activities.  Here they are: Randy Kuhl, Curt Weldon, Mike Fitzpatrick, Mike Ferguson, Mark Kirk

2) LifeBEAT canceled its concert, blaming activists on the internet for fomenting violence.  You know, the activists asking LifeBEAT not to promote artists who call for the murder of gays and lesbians.

Wankers.  But they heard our message because we forced them to.  There's another piece here, and that's that this activism came mostly from progressive African-American gay bloggers.  The blogosphere is not a top-down system, it's more of a pond with ripples that go outward when there's concentrated energy.

Update, here's a list of the bloggers who made this happen:

Donald Andrew Agarrat: http://now.anzidesign.com
Keith Boykin: http://www.keithboykin.com
Clay Cane: http://claycane.blogspot.com
Jasmyne Cannick: http://www.jasmynecannick.com
Steven Claiborne: http://saclaiborne.blogspot.com/
Terrance Heath: http://www.republicoft.com
Andre Lancaster: http://journeyintolight.blogspot.com/
Frank Roberts: http://brooklynboyblues.blogspot.com
Nathan Scott: http://www.7magazine.blogspot.com/
Pam Spaulding: http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/
Bernard Tarver: http://www.bejata.com

Many artists and music industry professionals worked this behind the scenes, and showed integrity and spine here as well. It was a coalition of interested people, and not just bloggers of course. As it always is.

3) We've shocked DC to the core and challenged every major interest group and Senator to figure out where they stand on Lieberman.  I went to an American Prospect breakfast this morning with Chuck Schumer, and he refused to talk about Lieberman flat-out.  

The firepower lined up against us is remarkable.  The DSCC, the Connecticut Democratic Party, Sierra Club, NARAL, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, NALC, NAGE, Food and Commercial Workers, Teamster's, Firefighters, Carpenters, Postal Workers, IBEW, Human Rights Campaign, 40+ Senators, John Lewis, etc.

Lieberman is spending massive amounts of money on direct mail pieces and TV, and who knows how much other lobbyist and interest group money is being funneled onto Lieberman's side.

We did not make this happen, the voters of Connecticut made it happen.  But we created some space, as we do for all our political pushes.

Anyway, we're making waves and making change, all of us blogofascists.

Tags: actblue, Blogosphere, LifeBEAT, netroots (all tags)



Breakfast with Chuck Schumer?

 Matt's been co-opted! Our very own Matt Stoller! He's one of THEM! The progressive blogosphere is FINISHED now -- OVER. Watch for the "MyDD Implodes" report on Fox tomorrow evening. Chuck. Schumer. Matt Stoller, we hardly knew ye.

 (This is SNARK, RedStaters.)

 Seriously, this is great news. The best thing about the netroots is that we can keep ourselves honest, because we're about IDEAS. If a "leader" moves to the dark side, there are plenty of credible  people to move right into his or her slot and keep things humming.

 And if the netroots are meeting with established Dem leaders, hopefully learning how we can work WITH and THROUGH each other to achieve our common goals, we're going to have a whole new country in a couple of decades. In a good way.

by Master Jack 2006-07-12 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

The AFL-CIO is NOT against bloggers. They have a duty and an obligation to protect their members' interests, which sometimes means supporting otherwise unfavorable candidates that have voted in favor of working people. If the AFL-CIO were inconsistent in its bipartisan support of pro-union candidates, it would lose credibility and effectiveness as a voice for the employed persons in America.

by Matt in VA 2006-07-12 04:49PM | 0 recs
How's that labor agenda working out? n/t

by Pachacutec 2006-07-12 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: How's that labor agenda working out? n/t

See my post downthread.

by Matt in VA 2006-07-12 08:54PM | 0 recs
Changing Union Strategy

Actually, union strategy has undergone fundamental transformations in the past, and will undoubtedly do so in the future.  The creation of the Change To Win coalition shows that some degree of transformation is happening now.

The current practice is to support pro-union incumbents, with the definition of "pro-union" being unfortunately narrowly defined, and limited mostly to treatment of existing unions, not to the larger issue of favorability to a union political culture.  This practice is badly out-of-synch with the political realities that have existed since the beginning of Reagan's presidency, when the political culture took on a decidedly aggressive anti-union tone, which has continued without letup to this day.  25 years is a long time to be out of synch.

I am not saying this to "bash" unions.  There is obviously a necessity to not be capricious in changing fundamental strategy.  But change is definitely overdue.

p.s.  These considerations were dominant in producing almost universal union endorsements for LA Mayor Jim Hahn's re-election, despite the fact that challenger Antonio Villaraigosa was a former union organizer.  The rank-and-file did not follow the leadership's direction, however--yet another indication that the model is broken.

If the unions had pressed Hahn for a much higher standard of conduct to earn their endorsements, and he had met that standard, they would have had a lot stronger hand in giving him their endorsement, and the membership probably would have been much more amenable to their leadership.

This is how it works--power is synergetic.  By demanding more for your support, you actually make that support more valuable.  By low-balling your support, you undermine its value.  And the unions, like most of the liberal/Democratic establishment have been low-balling themselves into a downward spiral for the better part of a generation now.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-07-12 05:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Changing Union Strategy

The prevailing union philosophy at the moment is to support those who support the union. That way, political capital is preserved, consistency is high, and consequences are predictable when a representative strays from the path. I do agree that the "pro-union incumbent" strategy is weighted to favor 'incumbent' over 'pro-union'. (Ie. A 75% pro-union incumbent is endorsed over a 100% pro-union challenger) This is due to a conservative philosophy of political capital compounded by the problems in organizing and membership (hence Change to Win). Union political directors have endorsed candidates that they dislike before, and will again, out of loyalty to the interests of its members. People do not join unions to see Net Neutrality pass, or the environment protected, or the Iraq War ended. Members cut across the spectrum on these issues. The only issues that the AFL is on solid ground with are union issues. If a union hierachy were to make a command decision to support a liberal candidate in favor of a pro-union conservative, that would be irrepresentative of the members and a misuse of the trust and power vested in the leaders of the union. Unions do not owe allegiance to the Democratic party. They answer to their members, and their members pay dues to see pro-union policies pursued.

Change to Win is dead in the water. Stern's got a good idea but he's going about it the wrong way, I predict they'll return to the fold and change some policy in the AFL. I have my own reasons for disliking Sweeney, but I can say without fear of bias that he's doing a horrible job as well. All of that said, unions are a cornerstone of civil society.

Also, your example doesn't necessarily fly. I don't have any familiarity with the case, but it can get a lot more complicated than how you described it. In my opinion, the #1 thing the unions can do to regain power is to organize, organize, organize.

by Matt in VA 2006-07-12 08:52PM | 0 recs
Lots Of Straw Men There

I didn't say anything about liberal or conservative, about the environment or the war.

I could easily take you on about the last two, since the most dynamic and most militant unions have memberships that care a good deal about both--largely because they are effected by them, either directly or via close family.  But I won't go there.  Rather, I'll return to my main point, and try to dig it back out from under the rubble.

The main problem--as it was in earlier eras, such as when the more conservative AFL arose in opposition to the Knights of Labor, or the IWW and CIO arose in opposition to the AFL--is a question of mismatches between (a) labor leadership's definition of labor's best interests and (b) the objective forces at work, (c) the intentions of capital (which can vary by sector, or even by company), and (d) the perceptions of works (which can also vary quite widely).

It's beyond dispute that labor suffered enormously in the post-1970s environment.  It's equally beyond dispute that the roots of this failure stemmed from actions and inaction in the generation previous to that--a period in which the conservative Cold War Meany leadership was decidedly not concerned with prioritizing core union concerns.  The epitome of this was the AFL-CIO's refusal to endorse George McGovern in 1972--the most pro-union presidential candidate the Democrats ever ran--because of his position on the Vietnam War, which ruined or took the lives of hundreds of thousands of sons of union families.

This historical betrayal of labor's best interests was matched by Meany's disdain for organizing new workers, his failure to even think about the need to organize the service sector at a time when that would have been easiest to achieve (a particularly heinous failure, given that service-sector unionization been had started by CIO organizers well before the AFL-CIO merger), and his failure to even ask for something in return for his above-mentioned sacrifices of labor's best interests.

And I haven't even begun to talk about the AFL-CIO's horrible role in destroying labor solidarity overseas as part of its Cold War cooperation with US capital, which helped pave the way for neo-liberal globalization, and the massive deindustrialization of America that began in the 1980s.

Note that none of the foregoing is dependent on any sort of ideological or other non-labor concerns--except to the extent that critical ideological perspectives allow one to see through bullshit, that is.  Indeed, the history of the labor movement is replete with numerous examples of radical leaders who had such a perspective gaining broad support from conservative and moderate workers as well as progressives and radicals, because it is so easy and straightforward to translates the insights gained from a radical perspective into non-ideological common-sense terms, such as "an injury to one is an injury to all."

The failure of labor to come to terms with this long history of failure is clearly a major obstacle to developing a coherent plan for regaining power.  Statements such as "the #1 thing the unions can do to regain power is to organize, organize, organize" are utterly vacuous without a sound analysis of how to organize.

The recent disastrous UCFW strike in Southern California is a case in point.  If you can't even properly lay the groundwork for a strike/lockout to defend your own workers, what sort of message does that send to workers you would like to organize, and who would love to have the benefits that unionization can bring--but only when it is competently lead?

There's a larger point here: The UFCW strike/lockout was a disaster in part because the employers engaged in widespread violations of labor law.  The routine, systematized violation of labor law has been a core part of anti-union movement since at least the beginning of Reagan's first term, but the AFL-CIO and their Democratic allies have still yet to come up with a response to it.  This is a clear failure of monumental proportions.

Finally, this:

Also, your example doesn't necessarily fly. I don't have any familiarity with the case, but it can get a lot more complicated than how you described it.
is priceless.  Can there be any clearer statement of "my mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts"?

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-07-13 02:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Lots Of Straw Men There

Well why didn't you say so?

by Matt in VA 2006-07-13 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

I interviewed Sibel Edmonds this week - President of the National Security WhistleBlowers Coalition. They have a new campaign out about the worst dozen members of congress.

Lieberman is on the list. She hates him. Here is the link to the Lieberman part of the interview.

She said that her and some of the other whistleblowers would love to go to CT and campaign against Joe.

by lukery 2006-07-12 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

does anyone have a sense of how "hard" the forces of darkness are actually working to further the Joementum?

I mean, has anyone seen The DSCC, the Connecticut Democratic Party, Sierra Club, NARAL, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, NALC, NAGE, Food and Commercial Workers, Teamster's, Firefighters, Carpenters, Postal Workers, IBEW, Human Rights Campaign actually WORKING for Joe?

(i am only being slightly sassy - i am actually curious if they are working, or if most of these folks just cut their $5,000 check and did the photo-op. I would imagine there are enough folks here who are on the ground for lamont that they could report on it)

If they aren't, can't we turn the rhetoric down between the usual allies and focus it on Joe/Ned?

by steveolson 2006-07-12 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

sorry - by "focus it on Joe/Ned" I meant "hate on Joe". :)

by steveolson 2006-07-12 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins


You seem like a good guy.  Please save these complaints for when I actually use harsh rhetoric instead of simply listing the endorsements on Lieberman's web page.


by Matt Stoller 2006-07-12 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

Matt, I'm not too familiar with the way you think, but in my experience, the fact that a candidate has been endorsed by an issue group is not the same thing as saying they're crazy about him. Simply because two organizations (bloggers v everyone you mentioned) differ on endorsements doesn't mean they're 'against us'...

by Matt in VA 2006-07-12 08:58PM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

Thanks, Matt -

I was transferring a lot of frustration with a lot of similar posts around the interweb... you have been pretty reasonable in all this. No offense intended.

I am still curious to see if there are any reports of the strength of support.

by steveolson 2006-07-13 06:50AM | 0 recs
Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

The groups supporting Lieberman are followers.  Connecticut viters who think we can do better than Lieberman, who think that Ned Lamont is a great candidate, are leaders.  As George Bush might say, "it's hard work" -- it's easy to follow, it's hard to lead.  

I'd add Tester and Webb to the victory list though -- of course -- the real victory is in November.  If the choice had been left up to the interest group list there is no doubt that Morrison and Miller would be the Dem. nominees.  

by howardpark 2006-07-12 06:36PM | 0 recs

It's already becoming cliche, but we're at the "then they fight us" stage, and the beginning of the "then you win."


by neutron 2006-07-12 07:31PM | 0 recs
Just a word of

thanks For Matt

by Lizzy 2006-07-12 09:26PM | 0 recs
Who are these African American

...bloggers? Can you link to them, because I'd be interested in reading them if they put the pressure on.

by MNPundit 2006-07-12 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Who are these African American
Just a few of us; we'll have a full list up soon.
  • Donald Andrew Agarrat: now.anzidesign.com

  • Keith Boykin: www.keithboykin.com

  • Clay Cane: www.claycane.blogspot.com

  • Jasmyne Cannick: www.jasmynecannick.com

  • Steven Claiborne: http://saclaiborne.blogspot.com/

  • Terrance Heath: www.republicoft.com

  • Andre Lancaster: http://journeyintolight.blogspot.com/

  • Frank Roberts: www.brooklynboyblues.blogspot.com

  • Nathan Scott: http://www.7magazine.blogspot.com/

  • Pam Spaulding: www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/

  • Bernard Tarver: www.bejata.com
  • by pamindurham 2006-07-13 07:58AM | 0 recs
    OUR interest groups

    Friends ~ the following list of interest groups were listed as aligned with the Lieberman campaign.....

    the DSCC, the Connecticut Democratic Party, Sierra Club, NARAL, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, NALC, NAGE, Food and Commercial Workers, Teamster's, Firefighters, Carpenters, Postal Workers, IBEW, Human Rights Campaign

    However, their endorsements were made BEFORE the rise of the roots; I feel all of those endorsements were made to solely protect a Dem senate seat.

    Now, I bet their actual ground and financial support will be far LESS for Joe because of the rise of roots.

    No doubt, they will be on board and helping to steer if/when Ned wins next month.

    by dogenman 2006-07-13 05:43AM | 0 recs
    "40+ Senators"

    I assume that number includes about 25-30 Senators on the Republican side of the aisle because Lieberman's support in the Democratic caucus is anemic.  Also, I'm confident that Lieberman cannot even count on each the Senators who've "lent their name" to his campaign.

    Look for a huge sigh of relief among Dems. on Capitol Hill when Ned Lamont wins the primary.

    Please come back to this post on Aug. 9th. Trust me, it will be obvious then that far more Democratic Senators are sick of getting stabbed in the back by their honorable colleague than there are who actually want him coming back to them.  If Lieberman falls flat on August 8th, there will be plenty of self satisfied grins in the Senate Democratic cloakroom.  In fact there is no shortage of Democratic Senators who believe that they have more riding on Ned Lamont than we do!


    by Caoimhin Laochdha 2006-07-13 06:02AM | 0 recs
    How to be a newbie blogger...

    Search for bellybutton...
    Find bellybutton...

    Sometimes problems can arise: inflated chest can get in the way of the navelgazing.

    by NCDem 2006-07-13 06:50AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...
    point 1... the concert was cancelled largely because the LGBT community as a whole opposed it, not typical "bloggers".
    Point 2... The 5 Republicans you cite all have a history of supporting minimum wage increases.
    Point 3... you're correct about Lieberman, though though 40+ senators are definitely NOT "against us"... unless you're including Republicans in that count.
    by NCDem 2006-07-13 07:01AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...

    Gosh you're right.  I'm sure that media and blog attention have no effect whatsoever on why these people changed their minds.  I'm sure that LifeBEAT's press release railing against a small group of activists was not connected in any way to the work that the gay bloggers who did the activism.

    I'm sure that these Republicans are completely principled about the minimum wage, and are not responding at all to political pressure.  

    by Matt Stoller 2006-07-13 08:25AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...

    "Those people" did not change their minds.  They have had a long-term commitment to increasing minimum wages.

    The fact is... LGBT organizations use the internet, as do many other organizations for "organizing". The fact that some of the people in those organizations "blog", does not mean that the "netroots" as we think of it can take credit for this.  This was the "victory" of a special interest group... period... despite the fact that you think special interest groups are ineffective... Because some individuals in that special interest group use the internet as a tool does not take away from the fact that the LGBT community pulled this off... NOT the "netroots".

    And furthermore... 40+ Democratic senators are NOT "against us" with respect to "our" Lieberman push.

    by NCDem 2006-07-13 08:48AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...

    Randy Kuhl has been in Congress for two years.  

    That's a long-term commitment?  Ok.

    by Matt Stoller 2006-07-13 09:20AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...

    He co-sponsored the latest bill, and has been fighting for it since New York upped theirs to 7.15... this has nothing whatsoever to do with him feeling pressure from the blogosphere... It has everything to do with him wanting to bring the rest of the U.S. to New York's minimum wage standard, so that New York's higher wages don't turn off potential employers.  It's a win-win situation for him... and again... nothing to do with blog activism.

    by NCDem 2006-07-13 10:03AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...
    Name one LGBT organization that took the lead on this. Just one.
    by TerranceDC 2006-07-13 10:56AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...

    ...the National Black Justice Coalition, the New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent, Unity Fellowship Church, the Minority Task Force on HIV/AIDS...

    If you want a link... look it up yourself... Type... Google.com
    look up the first news story you find about the event...
    and you'll find a coalition of local gay activists (including bloggers) were heavily involved in this.  I now include you in my list of self-important navel-gazing bloggers who claim an inordinate amount of credit for a multitude of progressive successes.

    by NCDem 2006-07-13 11:50AM | 0 recs
    Re: How to be a newbie blogger...
    Exactly. It's worth noting that none of the major gay & lesbian organization made a peep about this. If we hadn't taken it up and pushed the story it probably woulnd't have registered on anyone's radar. The only people who would have known about it would be the people alraedy paying attention to LIFEbeat's activities.
    by TerranceDC 2006-07-13 10:54AM | 0 recs
    Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

    Hey Matt,

    I wanted to thank you for your post. I was one of the black gay bloggers who launched this campaign, and it was similar to a few other efforts I've been involved in online in that we all decided to do it, posted about it, and then sent it out to our various networks. From there it became bigger news than it might have been otherwise.

    It helped that we'd all collaborated in similar things, in particular covering incidents of violence against black LGBT people (many of which were in NYC area, including a recent attack just blocks from the concert venue). I had experience publicizing Zach's story (the Tennessee kid who came out to his parents only to have them put him in a preparative therapy camp) last year, and Laurel Hester's story this year.

    It was hugely helpful that I could get it out to progressive bloggers, and that you, John Aravosis and Kos either posted about it or linked to it. Your point about the blogosphere not being a "top down" affair is worth noting. A group of bloggers like ourselves can push a story into the spotlight, but along with our combined audiences it requires coordination and effort on our parts to reach a critical mass of eyeballs looking at it. You, John, and Markos probably helped get more people to pay attention to it than our efforts alone would have accomplished in the same amount of time.

    Interestingly enough, we heard nothing from any of the major gay organizations about this, and they didn't do much of anything about it.

    by TerranceDC 2006-07-13 08:26AM | 0 recs
    by Ellen Dana Nagler 2006-07-13 10:38AM | 0 recs
    Re: A Few More Recent Netroots Wins

    "The firepower lined up against us is remarkable.  The DSCC, the Connecticut Democratic Party, Sierra Club, NARAL, League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, NALC, NAGE, Food and Commercial Workers, Teamster's, Firefighters, Carpenters, Postal Workers, IBEW, Human Rights Campaign, 40+ Senators, John Lewis..."


    I wonder if we can include the GOP in that list?   It won't surprise if they direct some resources at the race in support of Leaverman.

    by global yokel 2006-07-13 06:10PM | 0 recs


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