Slacktivisim: A gateway drug to activism

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On a listserv for progressive activists that I am on there has been a ongoing debate about the term and idea of "slacktivisim" generally defined as the feeling of being a activist by signing e-petitions, joining Facebook groups, changing your twitter avatar or similar actions. The general consensus that I agree with is that it's a derogatory, useless term.  

However I think the debate about slacktivism is a useful discussion related to a important debate that the netroots needs to be having about how to integrate the online activism the netroots is so good at: raising money, signing petitions, writing blogs and spreading messaging and the more traditional tactics needed to win campaigns and legislative fights: calling voters and representatives, canvassing, data entry, organizing events and training activists. And it's a topic I will be discussing at Netroots Nation on the "Yes We Did: How Blogging Can (and Can't) Support a Field Campaign" panel with some awesome activists from around the country.

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Canvass

Oct 30, 2008

Dear Elana,
I am off to darkest Virginia where the fierce Virginianistanis live. Morning becomes elections. I will bring back some native arts and crafts. A voyage to Virginia to see the fierce Virginianians needs no frequent flyer miles, but lots of courage. If one day you see my shrunken head in a Walmart, please reclaim.

Oct 31, 2008
Dear Elana,
I have returned. I am beat and broken and bent and blized. Too tired to smile, too happy to stand.

Obama High Command sent me to York Pa, rather than Virginia. York must be minus 200 Watts more depressed than the darkest corner of VA. I think there has been no employment in York since Wieder closed the barbell factory, which on second thought might not have been owned by ol' Joe Wieder and might not be closed, but you get my point. Things are more bleak in York than in the bottom of a buggy whip mine, but we worked at a fevered pace to spread the good word. We knocked on 110 doors and reminded 29 souls of the election. Never in my life had I expected to be a missionary but it was OK. I saved souls and stayed out of the pot.

Nov 2, 2008

Dear Elana,

I will report my Tuesday experience at the polls on Wed. I am precinct Deputy Chair and expect my hands to be full with the problems caused by long lines of Democratic voters. Dozens of Republicans will also attempt to vote --  at the wrong elementary school. Poor souls have been lost for years. Further reports on Wed.

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Canvassing SE PA: A Few Notes

The following are some notes from my canvass of Chester County PA on Sunday:

  1. My wife and I kicked off the canvass. Both relative rookies, we were fortunate to have some experienced veterans in our midst.
  2. Shockingly, the Republicans did not bite. Heck, some of them were still undecided. And some of those undecided wanted literature on Obama.
  3. Democrats far outnumbered Republicans. And there were many, many Obama  leaners. But there was an unfortunately strong presence of "likely McCain."
  4. One sad observation--compared to the rest of the canvassers, the one African American duo had a highly disproportionate amount of "refused" and "not home."
  5. I know it's been said ad nuaseum, but WTF is up with all the fence sitters?

That's all I've got. I can't wait to do it again, and I highly recommend it to those who haven't tried. There are few better ways to spend a Sunday (or Saturday) with your family.

To help pad this woefully sparse diary, below is a longer, somewhat related (but mostly not) diary that I recently wrote for the dailykos:

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You're Doing it WRONG!!1!

This is intended as a lighthearted break, and a little laugh at the ludicrosity of the primary wars (I posted part of this earlier on kos). If you aren't prepared to have a little fun, save this and read it later. No whining in the comments, unless it's clever enough for mojo.

Seriously, people, these are yard sign wars. You should not have two signs, for different candidates running against each other.  Your family should argue in private, decide on one or the other, and put up one sign. Putting up two signs does nothing, and wastes signs that more decisive households could use.

Yes, we know, they're both wonderful candidates. But that's not what yard sign wars are all about. They were supposed to be about name recognition, but anyone who doesn't know whose running by now is ignorant (if you can't pronounce the name, that's justifiable. but you should know something, by now).  So the next thing is an implied endorsement. I believe in this person, and I ain't afraid to let my neighbors know. You like me, think I'm a reasonable person, give my guy a look, yes?

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Pro Clinton door to door canvassing diaries please

(An appeal more than a diary). This is an appeal for canvassing diaries. I wish I could write them myself, but as my particular part of the country was a Super Tuesday state all is quiet here. And before people suggest I get over to PA myself, I have a couple of young kids who would miss me (I hope).
I find these very personal, door to door, "clipboard gripped in my sweaty palm" diaries amazingly powerful. DKos has a few every week (pro Obama) and they are great reading. I think I have read a few on MyDD (1 or 2 about the Texas caususes?) that were pro Clinton but I haven't seen many recently.
I think they are a great insight into the campaigns and they usually don't get bogged down with the he said/she said crap. Please more pro Clinton canvassing diaries! I want to find out more! It gives us sad types a sense of a life beyond goodnight moon

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Diaries

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