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Download Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns by Dana R. Fisher PDF

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By Dana R. Fisher

Activism, Inc. introduces the United States to an more and more widespread 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 unheard of 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 US. just like the significant organizations that outsourced their customer support to businesses in another country, the grassroots campaigns of nationwide innovative movements—including Greenpeace, the Sierra membership, retailer the youngsters, and the Human Rights Campaign—have been outsourced at varied instances to this unmarried association. throughout the 2004 presidential crusade, the Democratic get together an analogous outsourcing version for his or her canvassing.Fisher examines the heritage and motive 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 undertaking administration. She compares all of this to the grassroots efforts at the correct, which stay firmly grounded in groups and native politics.This e-book bargains a chilling evaluation of the implications of political outsourcing. Connecting area people at the streets all through the US to the nationwide organisations and political campaigns that make up innovative politics, it exhibits 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

Sample text

A major effect of this consolidation of grassroots activism is that it severely limits the entry points for young people like Laura, the former student of mine who want to get involved in progressive politics. As a national coordinator of the canvass pointed out to me, after working as a successful canvasser for the organization, canvassers are both funneled into leadership positions with the national canvassing office and guided into positions at any of a number of the national progressive groups for whom they run campaigns.

In addition, canvassers recalled not being introduced to any of the limited information that was in the binder until after their training period. The majority of canvassers reported feeling most at ease canvassing on issues they already knew something about. For example, Alyssa, an Ivy League graduate who worked for the Portland canvass for six weeks, remembered drawing on her personal knowledge while canvassing for the benefit of impoverished children: “I got questions this summer . . and, in order to answer them, I had to draw on information that I had learned elsewhere, other than what had been given to me in training sessions.

In fact, those who were working as street canvassers recalled spending a significant amount of their training time developing their greetings. Rebecca, who had been working for the People’s Project for a year and was a director in the San Diego office in 2003, explained the focus of the training for street canvassers: Beyond learning the Script, she said, training for street canvassers focused on “greeting people [with] smiles and . . [how to] ask them to stop, . . ’ ” But she also echoed Paul’s concern about the verbatim recitation of the Script: “I think the hardest part is [that] you say it so many times a day.

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