If you've been following these AOC posts since its beginning - or backtracked through the archive - you probably know the aim of AOC and how the site came to be. Here's the "Readers' Digest" version: one day not too long ago a lot of savvy Netizens were bemoaning the lack of aggressive activism against an increasingly authoritarian neo-conservative regime. The commutation of Scooter Libby in the Plame case just before Independence Day was particularly galling and stimulated a lot of wailing. My response was to offer this site as a facilitation node for coordinating dynamic activism. Now, it's not really my nature to do this kind of thing. I like to work on solo projects. You give me an assignment and I'll execute it the best way I know how, teaching myself new skills as I go if I have to in order to get it done.
[A digression: Maybe you've heard or read about Keirsey's Temperament Sorter, or the Jungian Archetypes on which they're based, or Meyers-Briggs. Keirsey would type me as an INTP. Google it. Or click over to here or here and navigate around for some general info. I always find typing people interesting and useful. If I know some one's temperament, I can adjust my expectations accordingly.]
Anyway, back to this activism thing. I'm not saying there's a need to reinvent the wheel here. There are already many sites providing information for letter writers; many organizations creating, disseminating, and submitting petitions; many places to send money for good causes. Some of them are linked at this site. And, yes, MoveOn does organize some occasional demonstrations, though it doesn't seem to be a priority and I'm not sure they have honed an effective way to deliver that kind of statement yet.
That's why I'm here.
I envisioned a place where ultimately a pretty large group would divide labor to push effective campaigns. Absent further input, I identified some problems to discuss at AOC. We need snail-mail letter-writers, for example, lots of 'em. Because e-mail, while somewhat useful, doesn't have the impact it used to. It's too easy to simply click in response to a solicitation and our Senators and Representatives know this. But well-written, reasoned letters on paper mean a little more. We need phone callers. Lots of 'em. Angry persistent ones demanding to talk to the Congressperson instead of settling for a staffer. Not that we'd get through, but we must get irate and raise hell! We anti-authoritarians have been too damn reasonable. And we need to bully the opposition, including news media outlets and the judiciary. Just like they (the opposition) do us. We also need to call and write business owners - or their lackeys anyway - to inform them, loudly and passionately, that their support of this regime is going to cost them.
Which leads to another area: boycotts. Targets could be companies that subsidize neocon think tanks, and organizations like The Federalist Society. Established news media outlets would be good.
And we need to organize bodies. We need to put lots and lots and lots of bodies in places they'll be noticed. We need to disrupt traffic and business for a day or two, non-violently and within the law. We need to let the news media know we are serious. We need to let the politicians know we are serious and that we are watching. We need to let the politicians know that it is safe for them to act against the Bush regime, that we have their backs.
We need researchers to weed through all the resource sites and make the talking points accessible to the callers & writers. This information has to be available on the fly. It has to be accurate - most of the time. And when it isn't completely accurate (propaganda & talking points?), we need to know so that we can spin accordingly. Just like the opposition does.
Okay, thus far we've identified the following functions: Information/Persuasion, Boycotts, and Demonstrations/Civil Disobedience. Each function falls into a tactical section. For example, organizers, educators/trainers, and researchers are in the Planning section. The foot soldiers and their leaders - those doing the calling, the writing, and the marching - are in the Operations section. Fund-raisers and disbursers (is that a word?) are in the Finance section. And the good folks making the behind-the-scenes things happen like transportation, food, hygiene, etc... they fall into the Logistics section.
Now, there are a variety of issues that need attention. Some people are hot about the war in Iraq and little else. Others are more into environmental issues. There's a big desire for Impeachment out there. And so on. And of course, most folks are interested in more than one thing. But the issues have to be researched and targets identified for each issue.
So, what's going on in this little reverie of mine is: we are trying to build a Command and Control apparatus. Except there is no we. It's just me. And I can't do it all. I can't do very much.
That's why my focus in these AOC pages is on restoring the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. In my world-view, nothing happens meaningfully without those things in place first. So that is what I'll be working on. As other people come on board, they can focus on the issues and functional tactical sections that move them. We will operate under a Unified Command, meaning we'll have to cooperate for the greater good, keeping ego impulses and turf wars to a minimum, and always be willing to compromise with each other (NOT with the opposition!).
My project: find a way to have a massive demonstration, an impressive presence of law-abiding dignified patriotic Americans, supporting our Constitution and the Rule of Law, with a time targeted for Spring of '08.
It might not happen, but we should try.