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FDL Book Salon: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right (Part II)

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[You can find Part I of this book discussion here.  Author John Javna joins us in the comment thread for today’s book discussion of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right. As always, for Book Salon, please remain on topic discussing the book, and sustain any other conversation in the comment thread accompanying the post directly below. Thanks!]

All across the country, progressives have taken note of the success of the Ned Lamont campaign in Connecticut. People are hungry to learn lessons from the Connecticut experience. What can people do elsewhere to begin to be as successful? What lessons does Connecticut have for Florida, Ohio or Oklahoma?

Every state is different, but the fundamentals of building grassroots progressive networks are not all that different. The Connecticut success we’ve recently seen started quietly, years ago, among committed activists with little or no support, and there were no blogs involved. That’s the real untold story of the Lamont primary miracle, and it has nothing to do with blogofascists.

While it is true that bloggers can have an effect in the age of post modern political campaigning, as Jerome Armstrong points out, bloggers can only help amplify and maybe assist in organizing what on-the-ground people are doing. Bloggers are in many respects the media manifestation of a much larger people-powered movement, but the people-powered movement comes first. How can you build that in your home town?

This book tells you how.

What are the 50 Simple Things? Here are some quick summaries. They don’t do justice to the powerful, readable, practical ideas offered in the book, but here’s a quick taste of what the book has to offer:

Simple Steps (things anyone can do, with no political activist experience):

1. It’s Your Call: Switch to Working Assets for your phone service.

2. Strengths in Numbers: Just join any progressive group.

3. Take Back the Language: Tips on words to use and avoid.

4. Support the Watch Dog: Support media watchdogs like Media Matters and others.

5. A Public Offering: Get your local library to subscribe to progressive magazines.

6. Sign Them Up: Find one or two potential allies and get them registered to vote.

7. Money Talks: Progressive product shopping.

8. Political Theater: Invite friends over to see progressive films or documentaries.

9. Reclaim the Bible: Linking the bible to your progressive politics.

10. Stick it To ‘Em: Bumper sticker activism.

11. Consider the Alternatives: Support, view or read independent news outlets.

12. Hear, Hear!: Tips on listening to others’ thoughts, before you can persuade.

13. Adopt a Candidate: Make small donations to progressive candidates.

14. Know Your Foe: Resources to help understand the right wing movement.

15. Lend Us Your Ears: Listen to progressive talk radio.

16. Play to Win: Get out the vote for progressive candidates.

It Takes an Effort (not the most advanced activism, but steps requiring a little more effort and attention)

17. Adopt a Blog: Find a favorite site and visit often.

18. Write On: Get letters to the editor or even op-eds in your local paper.

19: Random Acts of Patriotism: Visibly reclaim the symbols of patriotism for progressives.

20. Take Back the Churches: Become active in your faith or worship community.

21. It’s A Frame: Understand how words and the use of language set the terms of any debate.

22. Book ‘Em: Make library issues local political issues; support free speech.

23. Social-ism: Build fun, social ties with like-minded people.? Get together regularly.

24. Talk to a Politician: Let elected officials know ehere you stand, with tips on getting through to them.

25. Just Show Up: Show up at local goverment and Town Hall meetings, the front lines for taking back political culture.

26. Support Public Education: Protect public education and be informed on education issues.

27. Got Culture?: Support the arts in your community.

28. Talk Back to Your TV: Lobby television execs and news editors for coverage and programmng that reflect progressive values.

29. Investment Strategy: Support progressive leadership development institutes.

30. Stand Up for Science: For example, make evolution a local and state campaign issue. Other tips.

31. Balancing Act: Subscribe to right wing email and mailing lists. When they get people to lobby for somethng, lobby against it.

32. Volunteer for a Campaign: Join in the fight when it counts, with tips for newbies.

33. Join the Party: Join the Dem Party and change it from within.

For the Committed (a bit more advanced stuff for the most highly engaged)

34. Be An Expert: Be more informed on an issue than anyone else.

35. Build a Bigger Tent: Build ties with important communities, such as the Latino American community.

36. Protect the Environment: Educate others on the?climate crisis, and get the Republicans out of power.

37. Spin Doctors: Tips on how to become a regular local media watchdog.  Grrrrrr!!

38. Poll Position: Become an Election Day poll watcher.

39. Support a Big Idea: Be visionary. Think big. Check out the Apollo Alliance.

40. Be the Media: Start a progressive blog, be a podcaster, think local, find a niche and make a difference.

41. Support Our Troops: Support veterans, soldiers, their families and their causes.

42. Separation Anxiety: Become an expert on religious liberty, protect church-state separation.

43. Start a Wednesday Group: Identify a network of members of various local progressive organizations, and get them to meet together regularly.

44. Religious Voices: Speak about politics explicitly from your religious perspective; support religious left groups.

45. Run!: Run for office, any office; small and local are as good, or better, than big political jobs.

46. Election Protection: Get involved locally to shape election and vote counting policies.

47. Standing on Common Ground: Get involved in community projects that attract cooperation from political opponents.

48. Join the Party, Part II: Become a Dem Party precinct captain.

49. "It’s the States, Stupid": Focus on state action, the laboratories of change in America.

50. Get On the Bus: Start your own Bus Project.

Each of these 50 Simple Things are accompanied by helpful how-to discussions, action tips, snippets of history, case examples, further information resources (online and offline) and lots of inspiration.  It is an indispensible resource for today’s progressive citizen who wants to bring people-power back to American political life.

My quick summary of the action steps is meant just to whet your appetite.  For a book whose incredible value lies in its useful, action oriented lists and information, I felt it best to offer you a summary version of such a list, instead of a more conceptual discussion of why the book is so important.

Our discussion questions today are likewise simple and concise.  First, which of the above actions have you undertaken, and what have been your results? Do you have any success tips for the community here? What would you like to ask John today about any of these action items, while you have him with us? He’s done tremendous research along with his team to bring you this resource, so make good use of the time to pick his brain.

That’s enough from me: please welcome author John Javna in the comment thread.

Update:  Here’s a link where you can download a sample chapter .

Book SalonCommunity

FDL Book Salon: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right (Part II)

50-simple-things.jpg

[You can find Part I of this book discussion here.  Author John Javna joins us in the comment thread for today’s book discussion of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right. As always, for Book Salon, please remain on topic discussing the book, and sustain any other conversation in the comment thread accompanying the post directly below. Thanks!]

All across the country, progressives have taken note of the success of the Ned Lamont campaign in Connecticut. People are hungry to learn lessons from the Connecticut experience. What can people do elsewhere to begin to be as successful? What lessons does Connecticut have for Florida, Ohio or Oklahoma?

Every state is different, but the fundamentals of building grassroots progressive networks are not all that different. The Connecticut success we’ve recently seen started quietly, years ago, among committed activists with little or no support, and there were no blogs involved. That’s the real untold story of the Lamont primary miracle, and it has nothing to do with blogofascists.

While it is true that bloggers can have an effect in the age of post modern political campaigning, as Jerome Armstrong points out, bloggers can only help amplify and maybe assist in organizing what on-the-ground people are doing. Bloggers are in many respects the media manifestation of a much larger people-powered movement, but the people-powered movement comes first. How can you build that in your home town?

This book tells you how.

What are the 50 Simple Things? Here are some quick summaries. They don’t do justice to the powerful, readable, practical ideas offered in the book, but here’s a quick taste of what the book has to offer: (more…)

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Pachacutec

Pachacutec

Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.

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