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FDL Membership: Finding An Activist Home

You know that feeling, when you arrive somewhere you’ve wanted to be? That satisfaction? The ahhh of having arrived? That’s how I felt about FDL when I finally started commenting here after lurking through just about all of 2007 and parts of 2008.

What I saw here at FDL was transformative. I got a video camera, which I had planned anyways, but really thought about documenting activism. Right after the election in 2008 I was worried – we weren’t going the direction I thought we would, even though we were getting rid of Bush.

And right in January and February after the Inauguration, allasudden my trepidation was confirmed by Jane. So fact #1 – the news here at FDL and the reading of the tea leaves? Irreplaceable. I didn’t see that report elsewhere at the time. So I was hooked. Here.

Stupak_Phone_Bank

Me, Michelle & Tug - just before making calls

The political battles started playing out, and rapidly came to the Teabagger Summer of ’09. And when FDL called to action, I came to witness (video).

And not only then but local Townhall madness, which I found out from FDL too (video), not my Congress critter.

FDL sponsored a “Stop Stupak” phonebanking drive in December 2009 , and the three os uf made 300 calls one night. We had a GREAT time doing it too. We really did! The beer was cold and the peeps were awesome.

It was only a couple months later, early into 2010 when the Healthcare battle was drawing to the close that we were at it again. Jane actually hooked me up with David Sirota as we marched on Senator Thurston Howell III Michael Bennet’s office to make him keep his promise on the Public Option. Bennet didn’t of course.

But that’s not the point.

The point is about fighting, opposing, making a difference, not just winning. Being active, not passive. regardless of the outcomes, the sense of resistance, of being alive, the sense of of simply mattering is huge, at least to me.

And all of that was before the Membership Opportunity.

Just about a year ago, all sorts of actions began to bloom, come into fruition. Tahrir and Madison were covered here at FDL, in an incredible manner. When one looks backward, the irony is intense.  My personal favorite from this time frame basically says “FDL is not radical, we’re boringly Centrist” with poll data – by Jon Walker.

You see what I’m getting at, right?

If FDL is not prescient, it’s at the very least very clearly forward looking.

Because what else happened last year?

Well right before that first Membership drive there was a call to action for Solidarity with Wisconsin Activists.  I answered in solidarity (video).

Later, the drive toward austerity by both political parties angered all of us. We planned a response. I was honored to help plot the database for the map of the FDL National Day of Action, where over 2,500 people reported their efforts to influence their congresscritter – in person. Direct Political Action, before it was cool. I went there, don’t ya know.

Jane herself visited 40 congressional offices that day; and later was on the Ed show, talking about it, and anti-austerity, protecting the Social Safety Net. So see? Sometimes we actually make news.

And everything above was before the Occupy Movement exploded on the political scene.

Which has been, I don’t have the words, so unbelievably important to what is happening politcally today. Occupy changed the National Conversation away from austerity – at least for a now.

I have seen the cops myself, been right there as they’ve deployed, and saw the powers take out Occupy Denver. And I know a bit about how that happened.

Which brings me to my final point.

FDL has always been Occupy-ish, before there was Occupy. That’s just a fact.

But the Membership drive? That’s separate – don’t be confused.

Members make FDL itself happen, and FDL walks and chews gum and supports Occupy all at the same time. So what I’m asking you to do right now, is support FDL itself. To get your news, your tea-leaves, your inspiration, your invitation to activism.

You know you’d rather be a part of this action, if you’re not already.

Let me close with what Brian already said:

To our current members, I can’t even begin to thank you for what you’ve done and continue to do. The difference in our capacity from before and after the start of the membership program is astonishing – like night and day. We’re becoming more stable and confident with time, because we know we have you not just at our backs, but neck-deep in the mud with us. I greatly admire you for stepping up and taking stock in everything we hope to accomplish here, whether it be joining simply to donate $45 or more per year, being an active participant in our webinars or joining the struggle for change in your community by getting involved with Occupy Supply and the Occupy movement. You should all be so proud of yourselves for what we have built together, and I really look forward to continuing to work with all of you.

As we enter our second year of the Firedoglake membership program, we’re brimming with ideas for what’s next and are glad to hear our members are, too. I look forward to what’s next and hope you’ll join the program if you haven’t already and help us continue to organize and innovate for change.

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Kelly Canfield

Kelly Canfield

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