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Monday, June 11, 2007

Building Local Progressive Blogospheres

I've heard many times on Kos and MyDD, that the trend in blogging is towards the local level. This is absolutely correct. While there is still some frontier left at the state level (not in Florida though) in some portions of the country, the real possibilities lay in counties, towns, and neighborhoods. Local issues, local politicians, and local institutions need to be given the same critical analysis and research that the blogosphere has brought to the state, national, and international levels.

DECs can play a small role here. These local institutions are already home to community activists, who in turn have connections to other activists. Just 3-6 people can form the core of a wonderful local progressive blog. Of course, don't underestimate the power of one person to start a powerful local blog as well.

Individuals inside DECs should take it upon themselves to try and form a local progressive blog, which may or may not be affiliated with the local DEC. Each model has its benefits and drawbacks.

Here are some things that a good local progressive blog can do:

Raise Awareness: For candidates, community leaders, and voices of dissent, having a place to get their message out (other than the MSM) is an incredibly valuable tool. There aren't really any big media gatekeepers standing between you and the public.

Activist Recruitment: The blog world is a much different place that the DEC world. One of the funny (and awesome) things we found in the Marion DEC was that there were nearly a dozen people who were signed up on Party Builder, MyBarackObama, and OneCorps who were from Ocala/Marion County, who we had never met before! There are people in the blogosphere (and non-blog people, too) who don't even know that there is a local Democratic Party or Democratic club in their area. As a local progressive blog grows, it will naturally attract these people and funnel them into the local scene.

Hold Politicians Accountable: Accountability isn't just a scarce commodity in Washington! If you've ever spent time at the local level (particularly in Republican-held areas) - things can be just as bad - if not worse. Developers are buying off politicians, people are getting screwed, and special interests only seem to be benefiting. Sounds like a great set of posts! Rather than a DEC trying to set up something like a Government Oversight Committee to send activists to County Commission, School Board, Water Board, and City Council meetings, they can essentially outsource this critical task to the bloggers.

Push Progressive Issues:
Did you know there are ways to enact public financing of elections at the municipal level? Did you know you can make your city compliant with the Kyoto protocol (here and here)? Sure you can! But why wait for the national groups to get their bloated butts down to your neck of the woods to make it happen? Local progressive blogs can bring these issues to light, and push them hard. DECs really don't have the time or the resources to spend on issues (they're organizing, recruiting candidates, and raising money to get the right people elected), so its up to local blogs to get the necessary policies in place.

Build Community: Having a place for local progressives to congregate besides the stuffy and sometimes frustrating DEC meetings and DEC committee meetings is a great thing. Local progressives need some place to go to vent, share ideas, and rally. A good local progressive blog can build that critical esprit de corps needed to move mountains.

This is all part of a larger idea I have, which I'll try and expand on in the future, which I like to call the idea of having DECs as progressive lend-leasers. Lend-Lease was of course, the WWII program that we used to help fund and supply our allies. Once again, more on that in the future.
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1 comment:

tally said...

A truly inspired and wonderful post. That bloggers' convention is bearing fruit already.

Accountability is a real biggie. I think we can do MUCH more of that on both a state and local issue.

This is where the blogosphere and all us OCD types can do a lot.