Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Politics as Usual

Earlier today I read a comment from Alex on a post at GreenCommons. In it, he published a 2004 letter from Donna Warren, a letter that revealed the passion that Warren has for her beliefs and one which, I am sure, Alex is in full agreement.

Wish we had more people in the party who could deliver a message as well as Alex and Donna have done.

Donna was firing back at the Congressional Black Caucus for their attacks on Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo during the 2004 Presidential election. Donna was pretty blunt.
In 2000, Congressman Julian Dixon sold me out like a $2 dollar whore when, as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, he announced the CIA was not complicit in the destruction of the inner cities by crack cocaine. I’m tired of being sold out like a $2 dollar whore by Black people living the good life as my representative in our nation’s capitol.

Recently, I come across a new site, called the Courage Campaign. They have lofty goals, clearly stated.

The Courage Campaign was created to revitalize the California dream from outside the political system. We are progressives who activate and enable the grassroots and organized leadership to take on the problems that have held back our state for the past 30 years.

We have three main objectives:
  1. To create a permanent field organizing presence. We have built a statewide voter file and user interface tools that our friends and allies can use at little or no cost to them in an ongoing campaign to encourage and enable actions and engagement.
  2. To create channels of communication and coordination among progressive groups in California. We have formed The Courage Coalition, a statewide alliance of diverse organizations ranging from the Sierra Club to Justice For Janitors to build capacity, assets and support.
  3. To fight for good government. As a start, we've written The Truth In Initiatives Act which calls for massive new disclosure in the initiative process that will pave the way for broader reform in the future. We are working to pass it through the California legislature but will qualify it as a ballot initiative if necessary.

Yet, when I did though all of this, it appears to be just another front for the Democratic Party, like moveon.org or DFA. The reason that I bring this up is the profile of one of the "bloggers" at Courage Campaign.
Elliott Petty, Blogger. Elliott is a dynamic young community organizer dedicated to empowering his community through grassroots organizing for social and economic justice. A devout follower of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Caesar Chavez and Marcus Garvey, Elliott Petty is earnestly guided by the principles of Justice, Integrity and Self-Determination. After stopping Wal-Mart from taking over Inglewood, CA in 2004, Elliott continues to advocate for core democratic principles including living wages, access to health care, responsible economic development and local job creation. He is also president of New Frontier Young Democratic Club.
Elliott sounds very much like he has the values that Donna Warren was talking about, but he also could be just another Democratic hack.

So why bother to write this? Well, as everyone looks at coalitions for social / political change, it pays to make sure that you know with whom you are dealing and that everyone is clear about your objectives.

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