On the Ground & On the Ice for Obama in NH: most undecided but voters are focusing

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

This will be my fourth trip to New Hampshire canvassing voters for Obama.  I've been here for 8 hours & I can tell already that voters are now focusing on the race & getting engaged.

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Edwards Evening News: Report from New Hampshire

Welcome to your Edwards Evening News! I just got back from a weekend volunteering for the Edwards campaign in New Hampshire, so tonight we have my special report from the Granite State. I'll tell you about door-to-door canvassing, making phone calls to voters, putting up a really large sign, and a visit to a house party for Elizabeth Edwards. All this, and the rest of the Edwards news, in tonight's EENR.

Manchester, New Hampshire City Hall

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On A Weekend In NH

I spent the weekend traveling around New Hampshire with a group of Obama For America volunteers from New York and New Jersey. We knocked on doors in Merrimack and Milford, visited the campaign headquarters in Manchester, and talked to strangers in restaurants and gas stations who spotted the many Obama hats, t-shirts, and buttons in our group.

I'm writing this diary today because I want to share why I now feel confident that the assumption New Hampshire is a lock-up for Clinton is absolutely, positively, 100% dead wrong.

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Why the Fund/PIRG and Grassroots Campaigns Inc went so wrong for so long

It has been more than six months since I last wrote about this subject. Recent events warrant an epilogue of sorts. This was cross-posted from Future Majority.

The Fund for Public Interest Research (FFPIR, or 'the Fund,' as it is commonly known) deploys thousands of canvassers each year onto streets and at doors to raise money for dozens of liberal non-profit organizations. Its 'sister' company, Grassroots Campaigns Inc (GCI), has major contracts with the DNC, the ACLU, MoveOn, and the League of Conservation Voters.

The Fund is also being sued by a class of its former employees for systemic labor infractions.

Now before we really dive in here, it's important to establish two more facts.

1. FFPIR has already been found in violation of labor law by the California State Labor Commission. You can find the Commission's ruling here (in PDF).

2. Soon after the canvasser class action suit was filed, the Fund changed its labor policies. Reportedly, the policies now ensure that all canvassers get paid at least minimum wage, plus overtime for all hours of work over 40 a week. The policies now ensure its employees have a half hour lunch break, and short breaks during the day. All additional "campaign work" is now made explicitly clear to be volunteer. (Maggie Mead broke this news yesterday, but as they say, she buried the lede.)

It is good to know that the largest direct fundraising apparatus on the Left now adheres to fundamental labor laws. Of course, the sudden and explicit establishment of these policies is also a tacit admission that for many years--up to two decades or more--the largest employer on the Left has been breaking these laws.

How could this have happened for so long?

Why did it change now?

What does it mean for the future of these organizations?

In this piece, I am going to posit some answers to those questions. If you want to learn more about the Fund's operation, about the story of the canvassers who demanded change to it and ultimately filed suit, or about the for-profit sister Grassroots Campaigns Inc, please look to the reporting I did last year on MyDD and DailyKos.

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Banned: How Organizing Against PIRG, Fund, and GCI got me kicked off Facebook

This is cross-posted at Future Majority where Mike Connery asked me to help fill in for him - but I'm bringing it here too since so much of this issue was discussed on this site.

It took me a while to pick up on this whole Facebook business, but when I finally did... WOO what a blast!  While it lasted anyway.

See, not so long after I logged on for the first time, Facebook shut down my account.
But I don't hold it against them. I wasn't playing by their rules -- it's fair, and it's square.  
So I got some explaining to do.

Now, I was virtually dragged into Facebook--and when I finally joined it, it wasn't just to post silly pictures and update my status. I joined to organize.

I was organizing a group of people who have been institutionally exploited for years, but who have not previously had any viable way to speak up for themselves. This group is comprised of young, progressive activists--fellow veterans of the Fund for Public Interest Research, Public Interest Research Groups, and Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated.

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