Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

Chris and I write about money in progressive politics quite a bit because money is a statement of our priorities, and priorities and not voting records or rhetoric are the basis of political power.  One of the main reasons, in fact perhaps the reason, that the Progressive Caucus in the House (which is the largest single caucus) has almost no power, and the Blue Dogs have a fair amount, is that the Blue Dogs are funded.  This goes for progressive activists as well - the response to Chris's discussion was remarkable, both here and on Daily Kos. We need to end this starvation diet.  It's very basic - Hillary Clinton's strategy is to cut off money to parts of the party she doesn't like, and that means the progressive wing.

Blogpac is almost at 10K raised for Blogpac's 50 state blog network.  Laura Packard is defining the criteria for the blogs who qualify, and Blogpac is going to pay for their hosting for a year.  The idea is to support community forums in each state, where activists can congregate.  After this network is put together, we'll hopefully be able to find additional ways of serving these local blogs, through training, additional money, or networking with other organizations (like unions that are really keen on figuring out alliances with the netroots).  

Blogpac also channeled $2k and a citizen hero award to Lane Hudson, who pushed the Mark Foley scandal into the news.  We want to keep giving small but critical amounts to progressive heros so they can get back on their feet.  This is going to be an open process, one you will own.  Eventually we're looking to get up to 200 recurring donors of $10 each, so we can give out one prize a month and change the culture of progressive politics away from single-issue nonsense and towards rewarding people who make change.

Chris and I are opening up Blogpac to make it a vehicle for the progressive activist world to take care of those making change.  We're going to try to be as transparent as possible, and push as many decisions to you as possible.  It's also not a one-stop-shop, since Blogpac ought to fit in with what other organizations are doing.  It's not about ownership and control, it's about generating a consistent stream of revenue and institutional security for those making progressive change.  And it's certainly not a total solution - there needs to be a lot more than Blogpac changing the one-way flow of progressive money.

Anyway, Actblue has implemented recurring donations.  If you'd like to make it a priority to increase progressive power on the internet, and if you'd like a place to give money that you know will be used well (and with your input), sign up to give $10/month until November, 2008.  We're going to continue this conversation about money and priorities.  Blogpac will be pushing money to progressive activists that no one else will fund, and it will begin working to support the local blogs that provide a platform for change all over the country.

You can join here, or if you don't have cash right now, you can sign up to get email at the Blogpac site. 

Oh, and there's one more thing.  We're kicking the crap out of the right on the internet right now, but don't underestimate what a well-funded infrastructure combined with a starvation diet for progressives can do to kill our advantage.

Tags: BlogPac, Democrats, progressive movement (all tags)



ACT Blue Tipping

Quick question.  If we tip Act Blue on a reoccurring payment, will that tip be given every month, or just on the first payment?

by maddogg 2007-01-26 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: ACT Blue Tipping

Unless something has changed, it is on a recurring basis, so the tip occurs every month. I tend not to put tips onto recurring donations, but add more generous tips on one-time donations.

by Aeolus 2007-01-26 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: ActBlue Tipping

Yes, that's right -- tips recur just like everything else in a recurring contribution.   (Thinking of the tip as on a percentage basis, it kinda makes sense that way)

by brahn 2007-01-26 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

Blogpac also channeled $2k and a citizen hero award to Lane Hudson, who pushed the Mark Foley scandal into the news.  We want to keep giving small but critical amounts to progressive heros so they can get back on their feet.

Glad to hear it. I also hope you will continue to shame organizations that fire the Lane Hudson's of this world. That should have been grounds for a promotion.

Also the Missing & Exploited Children crowd, who actually publicly regreted Foley's ruin should also be shamed.

by Alice Marshall 2007-01-26 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I hope you also hit up Google and other web 2.0 companies. What would Blogger be without political bloggers? They also need to pony up.

by Alice Marshall 2007-01-26 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

Matt, how do you envision BlogPac evolving to larger scale? I think you're off to a great start - funding for 50 state blogs' server costs and 12 progressive activists is great.

This is the tip of the iceberg, though. How do we scale BlogPac or similar funding organizations to help support even more work?

by PhiloTBG 2007-01-26 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I think that's a great question.  Part of it is to pass people off to foundations and other organizations that are at scale.  Part of it is to just generate a list of great activists who can then be hired elsewhere.  And then there's lots and lots of fundraising.

by Matt Stoller 2007-01-26 09:41AM | 0 recs
I think it should be staff, not necessarily PACs

We need to keep talented people on staff.  They need a forum to advance their careers, and stay in state.  So many people get shuttled out of state because jobs dry up, we lose talent, we lose institutional memory, sometimes they simply burn out on politics.  These people know their turf, and we routinely lose them.  Every election we end up starting from scratch or have to rely on DC imports.  A strong blog infrastructure, funded well enough to pay the rent and for health care/car payment, might be an answer, turn these people into freelance reporters, bloggers, and party officials in the off season.  Another avenue might be stronger State parties that can maintain a stable of high end staff.

by pjv 2007-01-26 10:00AM | 0 recs
there's still one thing missing

The netroots are great at channelling small dollar contributions, and this is a great way to do it (the 200 x $10 thing) but small dollar contributions can be used for candidates, whereas the one millionaire giving a crapload of money cannot.

There has to be a way to bring some big giant donors in on this process. I'm thinking something along the lines of having big donors pledge to match ad-revenue for the liberal blogads network, or something like that, something to maintain the meritocratic aspect of a consumption-driven readership-based blog economy, but still enhance the available resources.

Is blogpac involved in Kos's project to hire activists and send them out around the country?

by msnook 2007-01-26 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I'm signing up for a monthly donation. Sounds like a good use of my hard earned cash, and that's a fact.

We really, really need to find ways to make it possible to make a decent living at progressive advocacy.

by boadicea 2007-01-26 09:36AM | 0 recs
Second that.

We have got to work out ways to support those of us with the energy, talent, and drive to work for change.

by Teach313 2007-01-27 05:32PM | 0 recs
Great idea

I signed up for my recurring $50.00 a month contribution yesterday, based on your original post and the comments that it produced. Thinking along the same lines, I also signed up to sponsor Digby on a monthly basis.

Now, how about putting a Subscribe to BlogPac  button in a prominent position on every page that links to a description of what you're doing?

by Aeolus 2007-01-26 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I don't think money is why the Blue Dogs are more powerful than the progressives. If the progressives vote with the Blue Dogs, everyone stays in office. If the Blue Dogs vote with the progressives, we might lose a few November '08. Add in the fact that the progressives are staying Democrats, but Blue Dogs have been known to switch parties when they don't get their way - and with such a slim majority, we can't afford to lose those seats. As wonderful as pushing harder and harder on our priorities is, we must be realistic about what can get done politically. Something the religious right is pretty good about is maintaining a dual political and cultural focus. Progressives could use a bit more of that cultural clarity.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-01-26 10:30AM | 0 recs
signed up

Signed up for $10/mo -- count me in. I think the idea of decentralizing what is currently an amazingly distorted work-rewards cycle is absolutely fantastic.

As someone who's watched a number of talented people burn out and tune out after putting in thousands of hours of work for little return -- while watching far less hard-working (and usually far less progressive) people rake in the money year after year doing the top-down bidding of those who have the cash -- I think these kinds of ideas are crucial.

Unless we do more of this the progressive wing will lose many of its best thinkers. We will always have the most enthusiastic people willing to live on the equivalent of the Master Cleanse, but unless those who can pony up do, the movement will be shorn of many of our best citizen-journalists and activist-thinkers.

by sdedeo 2007-01-26 10:59AM | 0 recs
Pacifica Radio

a network of progressive radio stations. Sierra Club in essence a network of progressive environmental clubs.

When real wealth came into play, their boards of directors acted contrary to progressive principles.

Could it have been prevented by the right decisions early on? Are there better examples of progressive "institutions" that got it / did it right?

On the other hand, cumbersome supposedly democratic structures have led to premature demise of otherwise worthy endeavors.

I'm comfortable with BlogPac being Matt and Chris.  Large donors likely care more for measurable results than a progressive structure. Lots and lots of small donors likely feel the same.

This is a discussion of structure. Endless discussion of structure can be a huge waste of time and energy.

Someone on our blog needs to write about BlogPac and it will likely be me. Right now our blog has no formal relationship with a network of blogs. That's good and bad.

This is a ramble. Had this been a real comment you would have been instructed to ....

Anyway all the SoapBloxes are down at the moment.

by Jeff Wegerson 2007-01-26 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Pacifica Radio

Nope, this is a discussion of fuel.

This progressive engine needs fuel.

by boadicea 2007-01-26 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Pacifica Radio

Ok not all are down. Blue Jersey and BlueMassGroup are still up.

Well, yes, throw enough logs on a fire and you can get a bonfire. Or maybe you see this as an engine ready for a cross country trip. Just add fuel and zoom.

I guess so. Give Matt and Chris a couple of million and stand back and watch the results.


by Jeff Wegerson 2007-01-26 11:22AM | 0 recs
If anybody has a million laying around

Give it to me, I got lots of ideas. :)

Okay, okay, I'll split it with blogpac...

by boadicea 2007-01-26 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

You got it man.  This shit is important.

by juls 2007-01-26 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I am in for $15/mo.  Matt & Chris, thanks for all you are doing!

by IsThisOverYet 2007-01-26 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

I'm in...

I see that actor Edward Norton donated, loved American History X!

by Kalex 2007-01-26 11:37AM | 0 recs
Funding For Community Blogs

I'm the writer of New Mexico FBIHOP (or, a writer, rather).  We're looking into upgrading to a community blog -- actually, we have decided to do so, but the only problem is the matter of funding.

While upgrading to Soapblox is a $75 one-time fee, and $15 a month afterwards, that is still a high cost for some of us.  I hate to sound like I'm begging, but is the sort of thing that BlogPAC would be helping out with?

by fbihop 2007-01-26 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Funding For Community Blogs

Stay tuned for more info..

by lpackard 2007-01-26 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Funding For Community Blogs

Same bat-time, same bat-channel?

by fbihop 2007-01-26 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

to be relivent on actblue you must consistantly stay in the top five on their list. People seem to donate on that list most readily to whomever has is on the Hot pages. There seems to be a psychological connection to donating to the people who seem to be winning.

by orin76 2007-01-26 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

the problem is the mathamatics of the situation
is you need just to reach the first million with these small donations on the per year basis close to 6k donars

and to reach with one shot donars you need around 67k of them.

that's just to reach the first million.

by orin76 2007-01-26 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

My wife and I are in for $10/month each.  Good luck to us all.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-01-26 02:52PM | 0 recs


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