By Dana R. Fisher
Activism, Inc. introduces the USA to an more and more standard political actor: the canvasser. She’s the twenty-something with the clipboard, preventing you in the street or knocking in your door, the foot soldier of political campaigns.Granted unparalleled entry to the “People’s Project,” an unknown but influential association riding left-leaning grassroots politics, Dana Fisher tells the real tale of outsourcing politics in the USA. just like the significant enterprises that outsourced their customer support to businesses overseas, the grassroots campaigns of nationwide innovative movements—including Greenpeace, the Sierra membership, retailer the youngsters, and the Human Rights Campaign—have been outsourced at various instances to this unmarried association. in the course of the 2004 presidential crusade, the Democratic occasion an analogous outsourcing version for his or her canvassing.Fisher examines the background and motive at the back of political outsourcing at the Left, weaving jointly frank interviews with canvassers, high-ranking political officers around the political spectrum, and People’s undertaking administration. She compares all of this to the grassroots efforts at the correct, which stay firmly grounded in groups and native politics.This ebook bargains a chilling assessment of the implications of political outsourcing. Connecting local community at the streets all through the United States to the nationwide businesses and political campaigns that make up revolutionary politics, it indicates what occurs to the passionate younger activists outsourced to the consumers of Activism, Inc.
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Extra resources for Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America
We did everything on budget . . [and] there is an expectation of, for instance, if people fly in from out of town for some reason, you’re sort of expected to shuttle them back and forth to the airport, and put them up in your personal home. Because directors worked such long hours, were expected to house visiting out-of-towners, and had to cover the expenses for many of the group’s activities out of their own pockets, many canvass directors left the People’s Project before fulfilling their contracts.
I mean, everybody is motivated about the same things, and this is definitely the best working environment I’ve ever had as far as the people I work with goes . . ” The canvass office is designed and managed to maintain a sense of community. Office walls are covered with quotes by famous progressive activists, including Saul Alinsky and Ralph Nader. After I remarked that the quotes were similar in offices around the country, a canvass director told me that the People’s Project provides them as part of its office start-up package.
Marie was disturbed by what she perceived as the insincerity of the office setting and reported that it contributed to her decision to leave the canvass after six weeks. Like the office procedures, the politics of the canvass itself are also centralized. All of the campaign goals were set for each canvassing office by the regional or national branches of the People’s Project. Jason, a college graduate who was working as one of the many directors in the Portland office, discussed the origin of their campaign goals: “It trickles down from [the] national [office], I think to regional, then per office .
Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America by Dana R. Fisher