by blogswarm, Thu Mar 09, 2006 at 09:18:15 AM EST
Today's San Francisco Chronicle has a front page story, Putting the party back into politics on the events that progressives in the Bay Area and beyond are using to make politics fun as a way to keep interest high during the mid-term elections. It is an interesting article, Kos has some quotes (including, "Democrat John Kerry's loss in the 2004 presidential race "was the best thing to happen to the progressive movement, because it taught people that this wouldn't be won or lost in a year. It's a multiyear-long process, and it is going to take their involvement every year.")
Some of the most innovative action is being driven by young people, using social netroots and technology to reach their peers, especially at the intersection of politics and music/beer.
Interest in liberal political campaigns is being stoked through a network of activist groups that have sprung up since the 2002 elections. From the weekly chapter meetings of drinkingliberally.org -- where lefties gather in bars to tip ales and talk political smack -- to regular clubbing events such as "Hustle for Change" thrown recently by the League of Pissed-Off Voters, organizers are trying to brew a politics-and-fun mix.
But underneath the fun is movement-building. San Francisco-based Music for America organizes politically through club shows supported by its 60,000 members and 350 partner bands. Over the next few weeks, it will roll out a way for on-stage musicians to help young people register to vote via text messaging on cell phones.
This SMS effort is one of the most important new tactics being deployed in 2006. In the Philippines, text messages help bring down the President, it has been used effectively across Europe. But SMS has been used very little in the US politcs, despite the fact that the one effort using it for GOTV in 2004 was very successful. But that will change this year as MFA deploys a major, nationwide registration/GOTV effort via SMS.
And coming soon to the Bay Area: a political party called Kegs for Change. Popularized in Minnesota by a Music for America member, it goes like this: Instead of paying $4 for a cup at a keg party, partygoers pay only $3 -- if they place a call to a congressional representative about an issue.
Disclaimer: The cup-holding lobbyists must call before drinking, as organizers note that drunk-dialing Congress isn't an effective lobbying tool.
"We always try to make the events fun, but many of our members are more interested in issues than candidates," said Molly Moon Neitzel, Music for America's executive director. The group will honor top-selling punk band Green Day for its political work in San Francisco tonight.
Tonight from 8 - 11 PM California time, I'll be liveblogging MFA's first ever Icon Awards, honoring socially responsible musicians, politicians, businesses and donors. Swing by the website, say hi and see what all the fuss is about.