By Dana R. Fisher
Activism, Inc. introduces the US to an more and more commonplace 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 exceptional entry to the “People’s Project,” an unknown but influential association riding left-leaning grassroots politics, Dana Fisher tells the genuine tale of outsourcing politics in the USA. just like the significant organizations that outsourced their customer support to businesses in another country, the grassroots campaigns of nationwide revolutionary movements—including Greenpeace, the Sierra membership, retailer the kids, and the Human Rights Campaign—have been outsourced at varied instances to this unmarried association. throughout the 2004 presidential crusade, the Democratic social gathering the same outsourcing version for his or her canvassing.Fisher examines the historical past and intent in 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 venture 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 area people at the streets all through the USA to the nationwide enterprises 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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Additional info for Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America
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. Lori explained the events leading up to her departure: “We had a meeting in Portland and they didn’t have the money to reimburse folks for gas, food, or anything.
The canvass makes no secret of its expectations for the season. Each canvass office had posted fundraising and membership targets on the walls of its “common rooms,” some colorfully decorated with sparkles or streamers. Some canvass offices had novel ways of displaying their progress toward fundraising goals. Images of thermometers, growing trees, and simple bar charts adorn the walls. indd 32 5/11/06 11:29:06 AM Institutionalizing Activism 33 were working on a clean water campaign, any canvasser who brought in more than a specified amount of money on a given night was awarded a paper fish with his or her name on it.
Running the Office in a Standardized Way Beyond the training process for new canvassers, canvass offices are run according to a clearly specified model. This experience is managed by the national office of the People’s Project to maintain consistency and control over the grassroots campaigns. Because canvassing is challenging work and the offices have a high turnover rate, canvass directors are instructed to identify canvassers with potential very early on. People at all administrative levels told me how they identified people with promise.