Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Political organizing is the basis for political movements, which in turn alters the climate for politics inside Washington"

We need to apply to the study of political movements the same approach we see in the study of the military and warfare, with its focus on organization and logistics, tactics and strategy. I think this would do a lot to infuse our political system with more strategic and organizational thinking which could mean that people will feel and be more empowered as citizens.

I would also ask why most observers and analysts pay so little attention to the details of political organizing. Politics is not only about what leaders say and do in Washington and on TV. Political organizing is the basis for political movements, which in turn alter the climate for politics inside Washington.

And yet, if I had to tally up all the reporting that I've seen on the actual work of building the Obama campaign organization it would fill, at most, a thimble. Americans have a notably thin understanding of what it takes to change anything, in part I think because our story-tellers and meaning-makers prefer to trade in myth over reality too. (Thus we get Rosa Parks acting on her own, for example.) This cycle of ignorance is self-reinforcing: reporters don't ask power players about political organizing because they don't understand it; power players don't think it matters because reporters don't ask them about it.

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