Birth of “One Nation”: Questions for the New Progressive Coalition

The Washington Post reports:

In an effort to replicate the tea party’s success, 170 liberal and civil rights groups are forming a coalition that they hope will match the movement’s political energy and influence. They promise to "counter the tea party narrative" and help the progressive movement find its voice again after 18 months of floundering.

The creation of this new national, multi-issue coalition may be the year’s biggest news for those interested in building a strong progressive movement. The Post reports that the One Nation coalition will be led by organizations such as the Center for Community Change, National Council of La Raza, NAACP, AFL-CIO, SEIU and U.S. Student Association. And we also know that they’re planning an October 2 demonstration in Washington, D.C., focused on jobs. But beyond that level of information, we don’t receive much more detail.

One question I have is to what extent the new One Nation coalition will go beyond the "usual suspects," (e.g., labor unions, immigrants’ rights groups, and existing community organizations) to reach a broader constituency (like people who spend too much time on FDL, or volunteered for Obama but have since disengaged). Does anyone out there know which other organizations are among the 170 groups referenced by the Post? Do any of you out there belong to one of these 170 groups and have the ability to share more information?

The second set of questions are about how One Nation will be structured. Can anyone join, either as an individual or an organization? If so, how will they be represented among the coalition’s leadership? Will they have a vote on goals and strategies? Will they be able to debate those priorities before taking a vote? Will they elect delegates to represent them on the coalition board? Will the process for making decisions be decentralized to involve many local groups or tightly controlled by a centralized leadership structure?

If One Nation turns into another top-down exercise in which a few self-selected leaders issue marching orders, I don’t see how it differs that much from MoveOn, Organizing for America, Democracy for America, the Coffee Party, Health Care for America Now, or Progressive Democrats of America. What will motivate new groups of people to organize and recruit in their communities and to participate in the coalition, if they have no voice in the decision-making process?

Finally, does One Nation have an address (i.e., a representative who can be contacted)? The Post article (and posts on a number of right-wing blogs that are much more obsessed than their left-wing counterparts with how progressives are organizing) is all that comes up in a Google search. It would be great to know who can answer questions about the new coalition, since this effort should be of significant interest to progressive netroots activists and others who may want to be involved.

If any FDL writers out there can share more information, it would be much appreciated!

Cross-posted at Democratize the Progressive Movement

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