But it doesn't take a genius to see that my generation is one of the most ignorant, selfish, and superficial generations imaginable.
We're almost as bad as the baby boomers.
Go to a mall, go to a college campus, or walk around your city. Hell, try watching one of those anti-war marches...or read the posts here about the PIRGs, to see the despicable nature of activism in this country.
The only hope for us is in those diverse elements, because really...that's the only place where people are actually organizing and getting things done.
Otherwise, we have all the intelligence of a box of door knobs. And God help you, if you actually depend on us for anything.
Yes, I also agree with being fair. This is why I disclosed my employee history.
I would disagree however on your inference that it is not a profitable business.
If the money that actually makes it to GCI's clients is anything like Telefund, Inc's (which in October 05, gave an average of about 35% to clients according to available Colorado Secretary of State records), and the workers aren't being paid a lot, then obviously someone is making some money.
GCI is a paid soliciter and is obligated by most state laws to disclose their finances. Perhaps when I get more time we can all find out for sure.
Lockse, thank you for your intelligent and well thought out contribution to the discussion.
I was one of the people who used canvassed names (taken by another PIRG outlet) to solicit donations over the telephone. I was not a member of the upper strata, but an entry level worker. My co-workers and I, unfortunately, were routinely exploited and harassed by management at this company that Douglass H. Phelps is incidentally, also the president of.
I'm not denying that the PIRGs and GCI do good work--certainly they do. Nor am I denying the incessant need for funds in any campaign.
However, my question is at what cost?
This model, as Mr. Blum has so painstakingly showed, is not working. It is not working for entry level employees obviously, and most importantly it is not working for GCI's professed mission: "building grassroots support for progressive causes, political candidates, public interest campaigns, and non-profit organizations."
In fact, the website even has the audacity to quote the great Paul Wellstone.
If the founders of GCI have ever attended a Camp Wellstone campaign tract, they should know that while money and resources are important, time is by far the most valuable thing a campaign will ever have. It is, after all, something that you can never get back.
If GCI knows the history of Wellstone's first senate campaign, they should know that it was not contracted fundraisers that earned him grassroots support--that it was instead a dedicated outreach to the community and a commitment to treat all human beings in said community respectfully.
GCI instead, treats workers--fellow human beings interested in changing the world--poorly at times. The turnover is ridiculous and some young people are even taught to believe that this "brand" of activism is all there is--the grassroots.
Worse, GCI makes the "grassroots" exclusive, and turns it into a commodity. No authentic democracy will ever be created in this fashion. History shows this, and current events show this.
All I ask is that GCI admit its own identity and describe itself as a business for fundraising and member retention, rather than a bright and sunny enterprise that honestly cares about grassroots support. It clearly does not.
First of all, it's operated entirely from the top-down. The canvassers and directors who actually do the work have no influence upon their work conditions, the distribution of the funds they raise, or even the choice of causes for which they campaign. An employee who's hired for one campaign can be switched over to another campaign; the 'raps' are created without input from those delivering them; all decisions are made without any accountability to those below.
This is perhaps the most disturbing thing about GCI and its sister fundraising outlets. Grassroots by definition should come from the people, and it should never be an exclusive process. You want to see grassroots; you look at the hundreds of thousands of May Day marchers--or look at The Other Campaign in Mexico right now. These are movements with dedicated individuals--and they weren't made over night.
What GCI, PIRGs, Telefund, and FFPIR offer is a commodity, and a commodity--no matter how efficient or lucrative--will never get us authentic democracy.
Thank you Greg for doing this series, for having the work ethic to take a clear and thoughtful look at this model.