Monday, May 26, 2014

Building Grassroots’ Activism

“…The Kochs, other billionaires and the corporations put their money into think tanks, communication outlets, publishers, various media, etc. with a long-term plan to change the way people see things. This ‘apparatus’ has pounded out corporate/conservative propaganda 24/7 for decades…

“The conservative movement rewards its friends and punishes, smears, intimidates, bullies, discredits and otherwise ‘neutralizes’ its opponents. That is how they were able to get Congress to lower taxes on the rich and corporations, break unions, defund schools and the rest of the things that have made them so much money and wreaked havoc on the rest of us. The money was not for politicians who run for office today (not all of it, anyway); it was to build organizations to execute long-term strategies to get what they want tomorrow…

“[Now], imagine dozens of fully funded, fully staffed progressive organizations reaching out to all corners of America, employing people to write op-eds, appear on the radio, speak to audiences, knock on doors. 

“Imagine TV commercials telling and showing people how progressive values and a progressive approach to issues would do good things for regular people. 

“Imagine our elections after a few years pushing back against the kind of propaganda we constantly have to hear from the right, usually unanswered.

“Money put today into efforts to build an ongoing information infrastructure is money put into every single progressive initiative and candidate in every single future election.”

“It’s the people who are doing the nonviolent organizing at the grassroots that make me think there’s still hope”—Bill Moyers

“…Peter Dreier: Do you see any hopeful signs that America is ready to challenge the plutocracy and restore more democracy?

“Bill Moyers: The most encouraging sign is that 71 percent of the public believe the system is profoundly corrupted by the power of money. Ninety-six percent of the people believe it’s ‘important’ that we reduce the influence of money. Yet 91 percent think it’s ‘not likely’ that its influence will be lessened. Think about that: People know what’s right to do yet don’t think it can or will be done. When the public loses faith in democracy’s ability to solve the problems it has created for itself, the game’s almost over. And I think we are this close to losing democracy to the mercenary class.

“There are people fighting back—that’s encouraging. Bill de Blasio’s victory in New York came about because long years of work by community organizers and advocates laid the groundwork for fighting back against the policies that rolled out the hospitality mat for billionaires and plutocrats while increasing the number of poor people.

“What today’s activists—the low-wage workers fighting Walmart, the immigrant rights activists, the Moral Monday activists in North Carolina, those fast-food workers who have stirred admiration and collegiality among serfs at large, and many more—have in common is a conviction once expressed by Robert La Follette: ‘Democracy is a life, and requires daily struggle.’ If it weren’t for them, I would despair. There’s a scene in Conrad’s The Secret Agent when the anarchist grows despondent over whether even the detonation of a bomb might arouse Londoners: ‘What if nothing could move them?’ he asks. It’s the people who are doing the nonviolent organizing at the grassroots that make me think there’s still hope.”

from An Interview with Bill Moyers by Peter Dreier 


  1. Call/email/write your legislators. Talk to friends, family, neighbors. Attend school board meetings. Run for the Board of Education. Post on Facebook. Share pertinent articles. Volunteer at schools. Sign petitions. Support candidates who share your beliefs and values. If we all start taking action, we can change the climate.

  2. Many of us already do those things. These are small steps that slowly make a dent. There has to be more that can make a bigger impact sooner.