MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Democracy

My name is Takeata King Pang, and mine is the third testimonial from a group of MoveOn Field Organizers (MOFOs) who are going public about the failures of Grassroots Campaigns' MoveOn field operation. Before I start my testimonial, I want to make something clear that seemed to get lost in Kelly and Martin's threads: the MOFOs who are writing these diaries lasted longer with GCI than almost all of the other organizers. Pretty much everyone else quit long before we did--but GCI kept us all isolated from each other and we had no real means of communication, so most everyone is out of touch. But many in this group managed to stay in contact, and we'd discussed these issues even before we'd read the posts here about GCI/MoveOn's 2004 Leave No Voter Behind.

Like the 2004 MoveOn organizers, our concerns are not just about the working conditions - we are also writing about the ways that this campaign is ineffective, and is failing the MoveOn members who join it. At the end of the week, we will post a set of recommendations of actions that MoveOn can take to begin to resolve this crisis. If you find our stories compelling, and you agree this issue must be addressed by MoveOn, please send an email to Eli Pariser (eli@moveon.org) and cc us at ChangeGCI@gmail.com (or contact us there directly, and we will update you with further information about how you can send a message to MoveOn).

I was hired by Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated in May 2005. There 70 or 80 staff who attended the first training I went to that month--including six who were hired specifically for the still-unofficial MoveOn field program. By the time September rolled around, almost all of those 70-80 people were gone; by October, none of the other organizers originally hired for MoveOn were still there. In the GCI world, I was by then an old-time veteran.

I had also just experienced the first major crisis of my employment. The MoveOn program still hadn't launched, so they had put me in a Minnesota canvass office as the director for the summer. In August, my best friend from home had gotten sick. We thought it might be cancer. I tried to leave to go see her--but the GCI office told me I couldn't. My office had only five canvassers, and another director who could easily have handled the work - but I was told that I couldn't leave. But it was the end of the summer, my sublease was expiring and I had nowhere else to live, and I wasn't even doing the job I'd been hired (or was needed) to do. So I packed up my car, informed them I was going home, and left.

They weren't pleased. A week later, I flew to Boston (paying my own ticket) to work for the Central office. (In this way, I had the odd fortune of working in almost all facets of GCI: from Canvass directing, to National Recruitment, to Finance, to Field.) From the Central office, I was able to hear and see everything that was happening in the company--suddenly I saw the process by which those 70 or 80 people had all left. One by one they would drop off, and the general feeling toward each was that `they weren't good enough', `they didn't have what it takes', or my favorite, `they just didn't care enough to make the necessary sacrifices.'

I'd like to talk more about sacrifices in this post.

I finally joined MoveOn's Operation Democracy in October 2005. During the training in Boston, I developed a slight cough.

Briefly after I reached my district for Operation Democracy, a hurricane hit and my whole area was shut down -- no power, no phones, no Internet.  I was unable to do my job, but I was with my family as they dealt with the crisis. When I was finally able to contact my Lead Organizer (LO), she told me that they wanted me to drive to another part of the state to work in an area that wasn't affected. My family was still dealing with this crisis and the whole area was lacking gasoline--but they wanted me to drive someplace, anyplace, so that I could attempt to organize volunteers who were no doubt dealing with the same problems! I told them that my family at that moment was more important than my job. My LO was way less than happy with my decision. The power returned the next day, as if it was a reward for my choice; I'm not quite sure what would have happened if the power hadn't come back. But it did, and I got back to work.

The cough I'd picked up at training was now kicking in harder--but I didn't have health insurance, because I couldn't afford their plan on what I was being paid, nor did I have enough time to leave to see a doctor. So for months I was drinking Robitussin like nothing. The cough kept getting worse and worse, then I couldn't breathe, I was coughing up blood. It turned out I had pneumonia. I tried to work through the first two weeks, until I just had to take a week off.

During the week off, I got a call from my superiors every day. They were like 'oh we hope you feel better but this is really important, can you keep going?' I couldn't even talk!  But I didn't want to hurt the campaign--so I came back during the last week of my pneumonia. When I did came back, even though I told them I wasn't at 100%, I was expected to do the same phone banking for five hours a day--my LO kept saying 'push it as far as you can, keep going, you're farther behind.'...

But everyone was being told how far behind they were. Originally we were supposed to have one district each. Then it was either 5 or 20 districts each, and by the end people had entire states and then some.

Our volunteers were getting frustrated because we couldn't work much with them and it was hard for them to see any tangible result. My very best volunteer, who worked with me for months, got so frustrated. She was working closely on the ballot initiatives, in Florida and nationwide, and couldn't get anyone at MoveOn to even talk with her about the issue. When I brought it up to my LO, I was told to go find another volunteer. But the balloting machines are a huge thing in Florida--they were trying to get the referendum put on the ballot for 2006--and almost all the volunteers were trying to get MoveOn to help them on it, even something as simple as just sending out an email to other members.

MoveOn told us, 'we pick the issues we do from the website forum--whatever issue is in the top five in the Action Forum, we'll work on.' So my volunteers organized an effort to get this issue in the top five -- it was number one and two for over a month. Nothing was done.

We did have a weekly survey to fill out giving suggestions from volunteers. Whenever I'd bring something up to my LO, she'd say, `put it in the online survey'--but nothing we'd put in this survey would ever be addressed. Eventually, that weekly survey page was taken down. I still tried to tell my directors that things weren't working. But my numbers were ok, and so they just didn't believe me when I said volunteers weren't happy. They'd say, 'don't worry about that, call another volunteer.'

Toward the beginning of the campaign, the organizers had tried to form a united front to approach GCI with the issues we were having--like gas reimbursements, housing, hours, and overtime pay. We thought that it would be more effective than going to them each on our own.  It wasn't my decision to keep it secret, but many people felt more comfortable that way.  Then somehow word got out, LO's found out, FOs freaked and just acted as if it never happened. My LO never spoke to me about it, but I know that others were intimidated by theirs. About a month later, I was getting calls again from other FOs around the country who were frustrated. Turned out we were all having the same type of problems with the volunteers and events, and were getting very little help or understanding from our LO's. So I attempted to arrange a conference call with the organizers, just so that we could share with each other the things we were struggling with and how we were dealing with it.  I didn't want it to seem as if I was going behind anyone's back so I told my LO straight out that I was going to do it.  I think she must have said something to other LOs, because all of the sudden no one wanted to be on the call.  I had people actually tell me they didn't want to get fired.

Around January my LO called and excitedly told me that things were going so well that MoveOn had decided to make the regions even bigger, and I would need to move.  My region would now encompass all of Florida and parts of Georgia. I said I couldn't take a bigger region for two reasons.  First, my volunteers all over the state were already unhappy with how the campaign was going.  And second I was barely able to live on what I was being paid--I was only getting by because I was able to live in my family's home.  Without them helping to feed and house me, I would have been drowning in debt.  During this conversation my LO said "maybe MoveOn's not the right fit for you."

They were supposed to call me back to assign me somewhere else, but I never heard anything from them. Eventually I received a phone call asking where I wanted my final paycheck sent, and I was told good luck.  They never formally said it, but I realized then that I was no longer employed with GCI.

But I still wanted to stay! I don't know why, it was this really weird... I can't even tell you, I just felt like I needed to be there. I couldn't give any reason why.

Anyway, then I had to look for another job, but I was completely in debt. (I'd paid for my own plane ticket to the training, they'd refused to reimburse any of my cell phone bills because of a technicality in my plan's billing, and I'd never been compensated for thousands of miles of driving, for which they would have only paid me 12 cents--not even enough to cover gas.) I had worked at GCI over 10 months, just long enough to qualify for two weeks paid vacation. I left all these messages trying to get those vacation days, but they never called me back. (Months later, I talked to a senior GCI manager with whom I'd become really close during the fundraising canvass. He didn't know that I wasn't in the company any more--he was dumbfounded! He was supposed to look into my vacation pay, but never got back to me.)

I still almost feel like it's my fault, like I didn't try hard enough, wasn't good enough. But on the other hand, during one of the trainings, I roomed with the director of the best office in our region. When I mentioned that hers was the best, she was shocked! She'd thought she was so far behind because that's what she was always being told.  It was a mind game--no matter how good you are, it's just 'do more.' It must be what the factory workers in the early 1900's felt like--work that just beats you into submission.

I really believed in Operation Democracy, and so did the MoveOn volunteers...in its original premise of building a long term, localized organization. What Operation Democracy became was not that. Personally, I would love to see the idea restarted and put into action as it was originally planned: one organizer in a House district, helping to create functional, self-sustaining teams of MoveOn members.

But regardless of what MoveOn's plans are, it needs to be aware of what is happening in the field, under its name.  They need to hold GCI accountable, and demand that the Organizers are not only being treated with a basic amount of respect, but being allowed to do their jobs right. It's awful to work for a company that has contempt for the very things that we are fighting for--a living wage, worker's rights--and contempt for the very people we're trying to organize. If GCI is not held accountable to non-numerical standards for success, MoveOn will not only continue to fail in its efforts to win campaigns, but GCI will demean and drive away an entire generation of passionate and driven young organizers like myself.  

If you agree that MoveOn needs to address this issue, please send an email to Eli Pariser (eli@moveon.org) and cc us at ChangeGCI@gmail.com (or just contact us directly there, and we will update you with further information about how you can make your voice heard to MoveOn).

Tags: GCI, grassroots, MoveOn, Operation Democracy (all tags)

Comments

61 Comments

Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

The cough I'd picked up at training was now kicking in harder--but I didn't have health insurance, because I couldn't afford their plan on what I was being paid, nor did I have enough time to leave to see a doctor. So for months I was drinking Robitussin like nothing. The cough kept getting worse and worse, then I couldn't breathe, I was coughing up blood. It turned out I had pneumonia. I tried to work through the first two weeks, until I just had to take a week off.

During the week off, I got a call from my superiors every day. They were like 'oh we hope you feel better but this is really important, can you keep going?' I couldn't even talk!  But I didn't want to hurt the campaign--so I came back during the last week of my pneumonia. When I did came back, even though I told them I wasn't at 100%, I was expected to do the same phone banking for five hours a day--my LO kept saying 'push it as far as you can, keep going, you're farther behind.'...

Holy shit!  Uh, maybe "atrocities" wasn't too strong a word.

by campaign06 2006-09-13 08:26AM | 0 recs
I'll say it again

Nice astroturfing of MyDD. I guess playing by the rules is too difficult a concept for you guys to wrap your minds around.

I don't mind if you talk about your abuses, but don't abuse the blogosphere to get your message out.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-13 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

I've been reading left wing blogs for years, this is the first time I've actually had anything to say that I've felt would move the conversation forwards.  It's not astroturf, it is people giving their honest stories about their experience.  No one is cutting and pasting generic bull@#$ into form letters.

by dansomone 2006-09-13 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

The mass recommendation by people who have clearly been notified ahead of time that a diary is getting posted is the astroturfing that's occurring here.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-13 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Why can't you LOOK UP THE WORD!?!?! You are using the wrong term. You may disagree with the GRASSROOTS organizing these folks are using to get their point accross, but you are simply mistaken in your use of the term.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Who are you to tell them not to post this here or anywhere else around the blogosphere???

And why exactly are you claiming that this is "astroturfing?" Do you think this is another corporation trying to plant bad stories about GCI? Or are you misunderstanding the term?

In American politics and advertising, the term astroturfing describes formal public relations (PR) campaigns which seek to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the "AstroTurf" (artificial grass) is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots," or sometimes "fake environmentalism."

The goal of such campaign is to disguise the agenda of a political client as an independent public reaction to some political entity --a politician, political group, product, service, event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach," "awareness," etc.) and subvert (disinformation) means.

I really don't understand where the hostility towards those of us who work in the field, and all of our attempts to create a sustainable system to provide the basis for a long-term progressive majority, is coming from. What is it about workers and activists standing up for their rights/what is right that disturbs you the most?

Maybe you're uncomfortable with workers/volunteers organizing themselves?

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

I didn't say they couldn't post it. I said that the clear astroturfing behind the posting of these diaries (posting and clearly notifying others ahead of time to recommend the diary) is disingenuous and abuses the recommendation system. In this case, while your beefs may be genuine, your methods of getting these diaries recommended is not. And that's astroturfing - creating the fake sense of community-wide recommendation for a diary when almost everyone who is recommending this are people I have never seen at MyDD in my nearly 2 years here.

Read what I actually post, not what you want to think I wrote. I don't have a problem with the content. I have a problem with the clear manipulation of the recommendation system by you folks.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-13 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

I read what you wrote, you used the wrong term, so either change it or admit you are spreading BS!!!

What Greg and the other MOFOs are doing is not astroturfing: it is organizing. Get your terms straight. You want to ask Chris what he thinks about activists organizing themselves on blogs to get a message out that they feel is sorely neglected? Be my guest.

And- would you call my community (and yes, I feel that Greg and these others activists are part of my online community) and what I believe passionately in (activism that doesn't exploit workers, fosters long term development of movers and shakers for the movement, and keeps realtions with volunteers good and growing) fake to my face? Don't mean to make this personal, and please don't take it as a threat, but I garuntee that you will have to justify your charges to me in person.

It may be hard for someone in your position to understand why this is important, but that doesn't mean that it isn't, and it certainly doesn't make it astroturfing, in ANY sense of the word.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again

Do you have a problem with free speech?  Jerome Armstrong doesn't seem to have a problem with it.  That is why he created MyDD. Maybe you need to read "The New York Times" instead.

by GCILies 2006-09-14 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Sorry, I've worked on many a campaign, and can tell you from experience - EVERY FIELD OPERATION IS LIKE THIS. Swear.  I know you're upset and disillusioned, but I think your anger is misplaced.  MoveOn and GCI play important roles in the progressive movement, and attacking them doesn't help. They're no worse than anyone else on the left when it comes to these things.

If you want to make a difference, why don't you run a positive campaign rather than a negative?  Lobby them to pay their field organizers better.  Better pay means better retention, which leads to better management and leadership.

by Strategically Yours 2006-09-13 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

GCI was not my first nor my last campaign...and I can tell you not every campaign is like this.  It shouldn't be expected that life will be miserable just to create change.  Thats ridiculous.  Why should we be willing to be treated the very way we are fighting against?  

by Future Senator D 2006-09-13 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I too have worked on many a campaign. The difference with most campaigns and GCI campaigns is three fold:

  1. Most campaigns do not require Multi-State Driving on a weekly basis.
  2. Campaigns have a set office with phones and internet that are availible to use and the organizer does not have to eat the cost.

Furthermore the third point relies on volunteers and effectivness of the campaign
3) Volunteer input is appreciated and used to shift strategy when necessary. MoveOn was not doing this, and GCI was not expressing volunteer opinion to them.

I agree with you 100% that MoveOn and GCI play important roles in the progressive movement, but when you have a 99% turn-over rate with it's staff something is not right. Which is why I am  upset but not disillusioned,I am upset that these conditions exist but I am hopefull that if we present our case as best we can GCI will change and the next crop of Organizers can keep up the fight longer then we did. We are organizing to get better pay and re-imbursement policies as well, so I'm glad you agree with us on that. Also I am glad that our anger is not misplaced but rather channeled into an organized effort.  

by MartinSTL 2006-09-13 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Yes, I agree. I certainly wouldn't call myself a professional campaigner, but I've worked for pay on a few campaigns (including GCI's LNVB) and volunteered up to full-time hours on several more.

GCI is all about passing the costs along to the employee in a way that I've never seen from any other campaign (or other employer, for that matter). The most egregious example was a canvasser for the DNC project who I knew who was cited for loitering by a nasty state trooper who didn't appreciate her knocking at his door. GCI wouldn't pay for her counsel (she eventually beat the case easily) until she threatened them with a lawsuit, and then failed to produce its canvass directors to testify on her behalf. I'm fairly sure that if I were in a similar situation on the campaign I'm volunteering for right now, the campaign would hook me up with a pro-bono the next day.

As you point out, GCI's turnover rate, which was bad when I was there, is now surreal. The only campaign that I can think of with a worse staff turnover rate than GCI's is Katherine Harris's senatorial election campaign.

Your point #3 is really important. If I and other volunteers on the campaign I'm volunteering for right now reported that some part of the field operation wasn't working, the field operation would change. When volunteers reported things wrong with the LNVB campaign (the dreaded WAC, bad lists, too much time demanded from precinct leaders on managing subordinates, whatever), they were met by intransigence. Having once been a MoveOn/GCI organizer, I would never be a MoveOn/GCI volunteer.

by bschak 2006-09-13 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

This is absolutely not what every campaign is like.  I am managing a campaign right now with a very robust field program, and we treat our canvassers and field organizers quite well.  They work very hard, and for very long hours, and they are twice as effective because they know we respect them and will actually pay them on time and reimburse them.  The same goes for the half-dozen or so other campaigns with which I interact on a daily basis.

Furthermore, there are other companies that serve a similar function to GCI, and none of them have developed the kind of reputation that GCI has.  They treat their employees with respect--and they still get them to work their asses off.

The key to GCI is that they are not "a campaign."  They are a company.  Can you name another successful company that treats their employees like they're expendable?  Other than Wal-Mart?

by Patton 2006-09-13 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I guess you haven't worked for Kerry-Edwards 2004, a REAL field campaign.  Respect matters. Hypocricy sucks.

by GCILies 2006-09-14 04:59AM | 0 recs
No, you are wrong

Perhaps you've only worked with hacks. I'm an organizer and I have worked on plenty of campaigns that were run smoothly, strategically targeted, and efficiently with respect to all those involved.

GCI doesn't know the meaning of field organization.

by bridgetdooley 2006-09-14 04:18PM | 0 recs
Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

I appreciate it greatly.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-13 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

I gave you a 1 (I mistakenly gave you a zero, but was able to fix it) because you are acting like a troll...

If you want to make scandalous claims about these dedicated activists, then go ahead. If you can PROVE that any of these folks is engaging in a disinformation campaign then I'll reconsider, otherwise you're just spreading lies.

So- what are you basing your (what appear to me to be slanderous) accusations on?

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

actually he is making an accurate statement about abuse of what it means to be community. I am tired of seeing these recommended when other diaries maybe more deserving. We get it after several diaries repeating themselves that this is an issue for some of you. Is this an issue that needs to be addressed 2 months before a major election? And does it need to take up space this often? I find the abuse is by those who are reptitiously posting these diaries- in fact look up troll and you will see that is oen of the cornerstone things- repetition that adds no new info.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

Bruh, he used an incorrect term, and unless you can provide a source for his use of the term astroturf, you are also incorrect.

It may be trolling, though I can't see how people telling their unique stories about working on a campaign are "repetative" so I'd argue against you there as well.

All of this DOES add new info. If you don't like the info, don't read it, but there's no copying and pasting going on here and I for one am offended by the hostility being aimed at our young activists. Would you tell these people that "you're not telling me anything new/useful/interesting" if they poured out their heart to you in person? No? Then don't do it online.

Yes, it needs to be addressed now. It needs to be addressed in two months. It needs to be addressed until MoveOn (and the DNC) addresses the problem.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

wiki it- i am kind of over this- I was just letting you know he wasn't wrong.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

Do you actually read the comments here? I DID WIKI IT! See my first response to Psi, where I block quoted the damn defenition.

Sheesh.

Now find me a defenition that fits what this is, which is a grassroots organized campaign to change the ways in which our activists (and by extension the communities they serve) are treated by some of the largest outfits in the nation.

If you don't want workers/activists/volunteers to organize, and to promote the work of like minded activists, then maybe you are on the wrong site?

BTW- this is how I "met" Greg, and it is an illustration of good organizing, not manipulation: I recommended Greg's first diary, because I have seen what GCI and the PIRG model does and I was disgusted. Greg sent me an e-mail to thank me, and told me when his next piece was up, which I also recommended. I'm assuming that's how things got started with a lot of the people here.

Since then I have enjoyed a truly constructive back and forth with Greg as well as with other folks who I "met" through him.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

That is how I met Greg as well.  His efforts on this matter are a great example of grassroots organizing.  Nobody paid him to do this, he didn't pay anybody to recommend anything, and nobody is lying about who they are or covering up connections to large institutions.  The word "astroturf" is just not appropriate.  

Plus, I have been reading and (sometimes) commenting on MyDD for 2 or 3 years at this point.  I love this blog, and I think it is fantastic to see it used to push for reform in the way groups like MoveOn and the DCCC "farm out" their work.  I worked for GCI because their basic vision was (and is) pretty cool.  I was interested in Greg's series because I think they're doing an irresponsible job of pursuing that vision.

by Patton 2006-09-13 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

Why is it a problem if we tell people about our diaries and then those people read and recommend it. Isn't that exactly what recommendation is about?

I am so utterly confused. If you don't like our topics then don't waste your time (or ours) posting about the fact that we have been recommended a lot.

And I wonder if every time you comment people see that there are new comments and that will bring more traffic to this diary and set of matching diaries, so YOU are furthering our cause even more despite your claims...

AND furthermore....the reason you might not have seen us on this online community in the past doesn't mean:

a.) We never came to this site before until now, even if so why is this a problem?

b.) I hope the creators of this online community are happy that topics like this can bring in new members and new topics and such.. they are expanding through word of mouth because these topics have affected a lot of politically active folks.

c.) Just because people don't post on every single diary and every single topic doesn't mean we don't read others' diaries, maybe we don't feel compelled to write about everything and maybe we don't have the amount of time to do those type of actions.

I just think it is strange that you are hating on these diaries and not for the topics we are discussing but instead because you don't want them to be recommended, well you have to be a member to recommend and so where is the problem with this again... oh yeah you don't have a post to stand on!

by artichoke88 2006-09-13 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

Then let's talk about Darfur.  You go first.

by GCILies 2006-09-14 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

incidentally the reason why this isn't allowed is the same reason that when a homophobe over at d kos did her diaries this way- she essentially wrote: gays are the reason that the dems are losing. then she kept repeating that statement over and over in other diaries. another example is a femnist who doesn't like Webb who did the same thing on her pet issue. It's just rude and manipulates a system that is based on peo acting honorably not to abuse it.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

I disagree on the repetetive nature of these postings.  The point is to build a narrative to a set of concrete proposals.  Each individual story puts one more human face on the harm that GCI is doing on the way to reaching a noble goal.  It's especially important when one of the defenses is "you're just not scrappy enough."  Takaeta was coughing up blood, Martin had to delay getting engaged, and they both stuck with it for a good long while.  I think that is a story worth telling.

One diary a day really isn't that much, is it?

by dansomone 2006-09-13 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

Isn't allowed? By whom?

Do you want to place a bet that it is allowed?

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

is it technically allowed- sure- is it respectful of others- not really, especially when a group is doing this and therefore, if psi is right, rigging the system in its favor. if you want fairness, you should play by the same rules when you enter a new environment rather than trying to use the rules to get around them.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

"I said that the clear astroturfing behind the posting of these diaries (posting and clearly notifying others ahead of time to recommend the diary) is disingenuous and abuses the recommendation system."

The first thing I thought of after reading this is that the commenter should call the blog police. But after a seconds thought, and reading Future Majority's reply, isn't that what real grassroots is about? Finding like minded friends and allies to further a message.

Maybe I don't understand the purity of the recommendation system, but this argument seems like an debate over the designated hitter rule. Does it improve the game, or take away from it. And my answer to this is the same as my answer to that, "Sit down and shut up, your blocking my view of the field."

by TheCapedJackass 2006-09-13 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the troll ratings, guys

yeah okay man good luck and see you later

by bruh21 2006-09-13 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Read my replies above.

You folks clearly are not understanding what I mean by astroturfing, which I have repeatedly spoken about in the diaries on the exact same topic before.

Your mass recommendations (which are clearly a source of coordination) are not the result of the general majority of MyDD recommending it but are instead a part of a group of people who are disaffected with GCI. It's not representative of the regulars who are involved here at MyDD.

by PsiFighter37 2006-09-13 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

You folks clearly are not understanding what I mean by astroturfing, which I have repeatedly spoken about in the diaries on the exact same topic before.

Someone give this man Steven Colbert's balls! You don't get to make up defenitions of words. Find me someplace that includes  organized recommendations by grassroots activists in the defenition of "astroturfing".

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Seems to me like most of the people who are recommending have taken part in the discussion at one point or another. And the MOFOs (of which I am one--2004) have announced their intentions. So, yes, it is an organized attempt to bring this issue to the attention of the progressive community in a PUBLIC realm. But it is not a "fake" group, and I don't think the rules stipulate who is or is not a member of the MyDD community.

I am all about netiquette, but I don't see what's wrong with this.

by esteban 2006-09-13 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

The only coordination that is going on is  posting only one of these gci diaries a day, and, as Takaeta said, the plan to announce our recommendations on friday.  As this is the only topic I feel qualified to actually speak on, it is the only one I recommend and comment extensively on.  I suppose I'm a bad community member for not recommending worthwhile posts that I don't feel that I can comment on, but there is that whole "law school time constraint" thing.  :(

I think that mydd is the only decent sized blog in blogtopia that this conversation is suited to.  It's a bit inside baseball for dailykos, and the Moveon Action Forum is pretty much unusable.

I do apologize if you feel like your space is being invaded by a bunch of outsiders, and that the "regulars" don't have a say in this.  I, for one, recognize that this is not my blog (or yours...), and if one of the owners (bowers, stoller, etc) asks us to stop posting daily diaries on this, I will stop recommending.  Until then, well, I've been reading left wing blogs for years, and now that something has come up that I think I can have an impact on, I'm going to keep recommending and commenting.

by dansomone 2006-09-13 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

OK just to a note. I did not send this link out until literally 5 mins ago, after all your arguments about the recomendation and after it was in the top recommended by many others.  THerefore it would have to be others on MYDD that are reading and recommending.  

by Future Senator D 2006-09-13 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Psi I understand what you are saying, but blog organizing is actually a new and useful technique, and one that is not going away any time soon.  Blogging is all about finding a voice for those who previously did not have one.  This is part of it.

All of their previous letters and complaints did nothing.  Greg decided to speak out in a public forum and his one man crusade has turned into an organized movement.  They have formed groups, formulated a strategy and are executing it.  This is organizing in its rawest form.  I and others who work in this sphere are using and will continue to use similar techniques.

Blogging here at MyDD gives you disproportionate power.  It is much easier to get on the reco list because the traffic is much smaller than on dkos, but the quality of readership is very high.

If you dislike seeing these diaries on the reco list then I suggest you work towards writing an promoting another diary, rather than continually posting the same complaint.

by juls 2006-09-13 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

what y'all are doing is manipulative and isn't about trying to get peo to understand but instead forcing peo to listen to just you by using the geography of how you know blogs work. its underhanded- you may feel justified but there are other groups who could do the same thing with whom you dont agree with. what's to prevent an anti abortion group from doing the same thing? what about an anti gay group? these rules exist to prevent a break down in the ability of everything to have their say. this is like 3 or 4th post I ahve seen with no new info- just repetition

by bruh21 2006-09-13 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I don't even know how to begin on your issue of the homophobic spam. But let's see if we can find the new information presented in this diary:

1) 70-80 of Takeata's co-workers had quit within 4 months.

  1. The general feeling in the office toward these people was: `they weren't good enough', `they didn't have what it takes', or my favorite, `they just didn't care enough to make the necessary sacrifices.' (Which is useful to note in regards to the tone of many of the GCI defenders here.
  2. Every GCI employee works under the constant pressure of being told that they are "behind in their numbers"--even if they are ahead of everyone else.
  3. Takeata's volunteers wanted to work on issues that MoveOn refused to work on. And when they organized to "vote" those issues into action, MoveOn ignored their own voting system.
  4. The MOFOs at one point had a survey page that allowed them to send feedback to MoveOn. That survey page disappeared at some point, and then they could only speak to GCI.
  5. The organizers at one point tried to get together to approach GCI about a number of issues--both with work conditions and with the way they handled their volunteers--and they were intimidated by GCI's management.

All that is to say nothing of Takeata's awful stories about her pneumonia and about getting cast off without the vacation pay that she earned with almost a year of work for GCI. Maybe you should look closer.

by esteban 2006-09-13 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Nice post.

by GCILies 2006-09-14 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I am not a former MOFO, but I am someone who does blog organizing.

There is a big difference between what they are doing and an anti-gay group or anti-choice group doing the same thing.  Their goal is to strengthen the progressive movement, not bring it down.  They are doing this with the goal of changing things from the outside.  They all tried in various ways to change the behavior of CGI from within the organization.  It didn't work and they are using a different technique.

by juls 2006-09-13 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I would hope that if a virulent group (anti-gay, anti-choice, whatever) began to do something like this, the "regulars" psyfigher holds in such esteem would start troll rating them.

I don't think this is that situation.  This is a group of people actually committed to improving the way basic, grassroots, street level campaigning happens on the left.  Do you consider each new "adwatch" post to contain no new information?  They (mostly) all complain about the lack of Democrats advertaising their party, for example.  But I think that each one builds on the one before, it doesn't repeat it.  Same thing here.

As for the timing, in 2004 GCI hadn't even done their big, national training until next week, never mind actually sending people out into the field.  If you think there is no time, then you don't understand how fast these folks can work when they set their mind to it.  

by dansomone 2006-09-13 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

no one is trolling rating you. it's just a matter of requesting respect. i honestly dont use the troll rating function- i have maybe used it twice since coming on this board in 2004. It's not my style. I wanted to just point out that there is reason to be annoyed at these diaries and why.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

You misunderstand.  I didn't say anyone was troll rating us, I was saying that if these dairies were as bad as you seem to think, they should be troll rated.

My question, and this is an honest question, is this:

These diaries are part of an ongoing series leading to a set of recommendations to improve a campaign run by one of the largest presence in the netroots (MoveOn).  Do you really think that one diary a day on a topic like that is disrespectful or worthy of annoyance?

Stoller and Bowers always talk about building a narrative, but when a small group of committed people try to do it, that's disrespectful and breaking the rules?  I guess I really just disagree with your premise.

by dansomone 2006-09-13 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

whatever man- justify your shit however you feel you need to do so. its disrepectful no matter how you slice it. peace.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

LOL!

I guess we wouldn't be the left without the "I disagree for the sake of disagreeing" crowd.

Organizing on a site about politics and political organizing (and run by a couple of political organizers) is disrespectful. Ha!

Thanks for furthering the dialouge, Bruh!

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Again, we are all guests here.  Get Stollers or Bower or another front pager to tell us that 1 diary a day on this topic is too much, and I for one will back off.  Until then, how many dairies a day would be acceptable in your view?  One every 2 days?  Weekly?  Monthly?  Never?

by dansomone 2006-09-13 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

I already asked.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Ho ho, MOFOs. poquito hermano 10-4, 4:20, and the big heave-ho to the Dee-Ko!

toggo the reco-mendo, brohimos!1!

by little brudda 2006-09-13 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

i would just like to comment about the POST if I may this time.

Takeata wrote: my LO said "maybe MoveOn's not the right fit for you."

Funny thats how my Lead Organizer fired me, their excuse "i was not the right fit for GCI"

and i presume the right fit is those folks who grin and bear it instead of trying to create change on all levels. And it is goodbye to those who speak up for what they believve in. GCI was so good at using rhetoric that i found myself believing in the work over and over again but in reality, because i did what they hired me to do out in the field, in their house, try to push towards a better democracy, i was fired for not being the right fit.

by artichoke88 2006-09-13 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Well, this actually gets back a bit to the labor side of it.  With everybody being "at will" employees, they don't need to give "cause" to terminate you.  Now, if there were a written contract, that would change.

Not sure where I'm going with this, except that a lot of stuff ends up going back to progressive labor standards.

by dansomone 2006-09-13 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Well, I can tell you one way that you could go with this.

I was talking with my father, whom worked at a public interest law firm for the past 30 years (he just retired to run for office), about this subject and he told me that at his firm (which is a semi-governmental org.) the starting salary used to be too low to live on.

So what did they do? They unionized. It may have increased salaries, but it led to them being able to retain the best lawyers they met at a reasonable rate, led to a huge increase in moral, and a huge increase in retainment (thus he stayed for 30 years, and raised a family off of his salary).

If he couldn't have survived doing the amazing and selfless work that he did, then all of those thousands of people that he helped (many/most of whom had been ripped off in some form) would have been helped by a green attorney, coming from a wealthy background, and they would have likely been shit out of luck.

So what's the lesson here? Greg has already touched upon it.

by Alex Urevick 2006-09-13 12:19PM | 0 recs
Calling Chris Bowers

Hope you can shed some light on this GCI controversy.

Is this a real thing?

Or a disinformation group to demoralize grassroot activist and MoveOn supporters?

by jasmine 2006-09-13 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Calling Chris Bowers

by little brudda 2006-09-13 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Calling Chris Bowers

Jasmine...

DID you even read our stories? How could we make this stuff up? We are real people telling real true life stories about our experiences working for GCI and ultimately MoveOn. We want to help better the movement of netroots and grassroots organizing and ultimately the face of politics as we currently (and previously) know it.

I just cant figure out why you don't listen to one word we say. If you dislike us fine, but please for the benefits of everyone just leave us alone if you don't have anything to add to the discussion...

by artichoke88 2006-09-13 03:04PM | 0 recs
Congrat to Jasmine

Man you are really on message:
Or a disinformation group to demoralize grassroot activist and MoveOn supporters?

That is like the 68th time you've said that! Way to go.

by MartinSTL 2006-09-13 01:29PM | 0 recs
I thought we were all on the same team here

I appreciate the stories, and I'm embarrassed that moveon.org and GCI may even POSSIBLY be this dis-organized and dis-functional.

So how about we talk about how to get this info in front of some moveon and GCI people and discuss constructive and effective ways to make our effort better.

OR we can can sit around and complain about how those aren't really the blogging rules

Come on people, are we really that arrogant to think that we've won the election already? We need to take it to the freaking republicans every single hour till elections, their onslaught is coming and we're sitting around bickering about blogging rules and debating the authenticity of the author

by Matt248 2006-09-13 04:17PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo
For the few that started in 2004 with GCI and still remain, all of this sounds wrong and silly.
A year at a big, national company is nothing. Arrogance gives you permission to own the story on GCI, and that kind of arrogance is indicative of the largest of social problems.
I hope you've found another job..by now ;)
by zahava 2007-06-22 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI,

Zahava - Arrogance also gives you permission to strut your "badge of courage" for sacrificing your personal life for the greater good of GCI's cause. Of course, that cause also includes putting more money in Doug Phelp's pocket, pimping of PIRG stafftime, and treating your employees like dogs. To you, the end justifies the means even if the means are unjust, unfair, and inhumane. I'm so glad you still remain with GCI, I'm just hope Doug is cutting you in on some of the profits so you too can afford 2 homes in Santa Barbara and a loft in Denver. Enjoy looking in the mirror every morning.

by doonesbury 2007-08-27 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI, and the failure of Operation Demo

Hey- at least I'm straight forward. I understood what I was getting into when I started this. I don't get how you didn't? If it is because you are not fit for this, and you were and still are uncomfortable with the unknown, I would consider shaping your perspective around what you can actually see- like the recruitment information on our website that lists the actual hours and pay ;)

by zahava 2007-08-29 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: MoveOn, GCI,

If I joined the mafia, I would know what I'm getting into, but that wouldn't make it right now would it? And I don't think the recruitment information says that paychecks would often be late and reimbursements would be slower than troop withdrawal from Iraq. By the way, I worked for the PIRGs for over a decade in a number of leadership positions, so you can stop with the snide comments about me being comfortable with the unknown. I am shaping my perspective around "what I can actually see" and I saw it. Like Doug Phelps paying Fund staff with checks from GCI to supplement their salaries while still being able to keep PIRG's "official salaries" artificially low. Keep drinking that koolaid Zahava. Like I said before, I hope Phelps is cutting you on a share of the money that's rolling in.

by doonesbury 2007-08-30 06:29AM | 0 recs

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