Get off the grassroots, Grassroots Campaigns Inc! DCCC drops GCI?
by hoboninja, Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 07:20:38 PM EDT
Let's speak frankly. It was only a matter of time before the right-wing blogs caught wind of Grassroots Campaigns Incorporated's workplace improprieties, its labor abuses in the name of the Democratic Party, and used them as ammo against the Left.
Yes, what Kate described in her post yesterday is awful; sadly, experiences of this type are not the exception, but the rule, as all of us vets well know. However, my curiosity was aroused not so much by the mistreatment she catalogued, but the fact that it seems some of the GCIers are actually standing up to this corrupt system. It left me wanting to know more about what's going on up there in Madison, Wisconsin.
Outsourced Democratic canvassers--protesting their employer?
Because they're not getting paid minimum wage?
This is gonna get ugly.
Now, Greg has taken plenty of care to insist that GCI is not a scam--that it's just bad business and terrible karma. I more or less agree. But now I find myself agreeing (oh Lord forgive me for typing this) with Powerline: it's unbearable hypocrisy.
When the grassroots fundraising arm of a host of Democratic Party institutions is accused of screwing over its young impressionables in ways that make Bush's VA budget cutbacks look genteel by comparison, what are the rank-and-file Dems and independents going to think? GCI's problems are now threatening to become a far larger image problem for the Left as a whole.
And here comes the ubiquitous counterargument:
What's the alternative?
Start your own, why don't you.
It's hard work!
They mean well.
Rather us have a dysfunctional organization than none at all.
Oh you poor sweet bastards. Surely the DCCC--which actually has some concrete stakes in the matter--would see things with a little more clarity.
And on that note, good blogosphere, I have something to report. My old friend Garrit Fishbaum, compelled by the same curiosity as I, went ahead and called up the offices of Grassroots Campaigns Inc in Madison, Wisconsin--where, for all he knew, underpaid canvassers were picketing outside right that moment. On the phone, Garrit inquired about job opportunities with the DCCC. The transcript follows.
GCI: "Would you like to come in to an interview tomorrow?"
GF: "Well, actually, right now I'm just curious about what kind of work you are doing with the DCCC."
GCI: "OK, well, we are currently running a field program with the DCCC, doing direct fundraising for them as they get ready to take back Congress in the upcoming 2006 election. We are working with the DCCC through this Friday."
GF: "Wait--what happens after Friday?"
GCI: "Uh, we'll be picking up a different client at that point. It's in the works at this moment."
GF: "Oh. Which organization would that be?"
GCI: "Well you'll be able to find out more about it when you come in for an interview."
GF: "Um, could you tell me what happened to the DCCC contract?"
GCI: "Oh, well we can tell you about that too, when you come in for the interview."
(Garrit Fishbaum is based in New York City, but even if he was out there in Mad-town, he'd do no such thing. He did ask me to note the eerie insistence with which this GCIbot stuck to the "rope `em in" rap, even without a client to tie `em to.)
So it seems like the D-Trip may very well have taken a quick look at what was going on in its name down there, and dropped GCI like it's hot. If that is indeed the case, let me be the first to commend them for responding immediately to the situation.
After all, it's a tough thing to get your head around, if you don't know what you're looking at--young kids raising money for the Democratic Party on the street, why that's the greatest idea Terry McAuliffe ever heard! It's not easy at first to figure out that Doug Phelps has dressed his long-term base-building cow up in a bogus short-term election-busting mini-skirt. I won't blame these organizations for not knowing in advance what they were really getting into.
But I WILL hold them responsible for knowing full well what is going on and not taking action to address the problem.
Ahem, Democratic National Committee.
I'm sick of watching Greg mince his words in hope that someone takes this seriously.
Blogosphere, here's the bottom line: this business may be dirty laundry, but GCI has more soiled BVDs than most. Let's hang `em out now before they stink up the whole place.
GCI: start running a better canvass. Stop hurting those of us who only want a living wage in exchange for 60 - 100 hour weeks in the service of Democracy. Pay your people on time. Give them a day off. Don't lie to them, and don't lie to Democratic donors. Shape up or die.