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Membership Call May 11 to Discuss What FDL Should Do for the 2012 Election… and Beyond

Although I’ve been posting somewhat intermittently for the past few weeks, I’ve been working diligently behind the scenes on the new FDL membership program. And I’m delighted to announce that next Wednesday night, May 11, at 7pm ET, we’re launching the first interactive webinar planning session with members to hear their ideas about shaping the future of FDL.

Two weeks ago, we had our first membership webinar, in which Marcy Wheeler moderated a discussion between David House, Col. Anne Wright and FDL members to discuss Bradley Manning’s transfer to Leavenworth. Despite having spent the weekend moving, Marcy was as sharp and informative as always.  The response we got was overwhelmingly positive.

So now that we’ve kicked the webinar tires with a relatively simple format, week we want to shake things up a bit and start having a conversation with members about the role they feel FDL should play in the 2012 election and beyond. What aspects should we focus on? What issues should we try to influence? What positions should we take? How should we structure our coverage?

In order to ensure that a representative selection of ideas and suggestions are heard, this will be the format:

1.  Members should submit their suggestions to FDLmembers AT gmail DOT com by midnight on Monday May 8, and indicate whether they’d be willing to read their idea on the call or if they’d rather the moderator (me) do it for them.

2.  The FDL membership board will collect all the suggestions and group them into categories, then choose representatives for discussion at the webinar.

3.  On the conference call:

  • Jon Walker will gives a presentation on Progressive electoral strategies through history, and systemic problems in the US electoral system.
  • Members whose ideas have been selected by the board as representative, and want to read them, will be called upon to do so.
  • I’ll read the suggestions of members whose ideas have been selected but don’t want to read them.
  • We will open up the floor for discussion.

4.   The goal of the call is not to come to hard conclusions, but rather identify areas for further group inquiry. Based on what we hear from members, we’ll invite guests to present at future webinars in more depth about topics of interest.  If people want to hear about campaign finance reform strategies, or the ballot initiative process, or upcoming redistricting battles or state legislative races, we’ll go out and recruit experts to come and speak to those issues.

5.  At the end of the webinar series, the board will draw up a survey for submission to members including the ideas that are both a) achievable within the resources of FDL and b) supported by the majority of participants on the conference calls.

I’m very excited about this series because I think it’s a way to start engaging our members in a conversation about systemic problems and solutions, as well as long-term strategies for FDL.  It isn’t going to be dominated by the sexy, hot-button issue-of-the-moment stuff that tends to dominate horse race politics and election headlines.  Rather, it’s an attempt at a more substantive and interactive “where do we go from here” conversation that I think many of us are wanting to have these days.  I’m really looking forward to tapping into the collective wisdom of our members for ideas, advice and feedback.

So if you’re a member, please send your suggestions and ideas to FDLmembers AT gmail DOT com by midnight on Monday May 8. We’ll be sending you an email with a registration link to next Wednesday’s webinar later this week.

If you’re not a member, and you’d like to take part in these discussions about shaping FDL’s activism and coverage in the future, you can join the FDL membership program here.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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