The Young People For blog probably has low interest because the community is still tiny and growing, and because their members (like me and MyDDer Adam Conner and many others using their real names and pseudonyms) are busy reading and participating in larger blogs like MyDD, DailyKos, and others.
Perhaps there could be some systematic way of identifying yourself as an alum of one of these organizations. That would be neat.
Maybe you should talk with the people who run these organizations or, better yet, the young people who have gone through their programs before pondering aloud whether they are "ridiculous PR shops sucking up donor money."
I have. I have plenty of contacts at these organizations, and I actually work with several of them. I've also been in the ridiculous meetings where donors think about how to allocate money to make themselves feel like players.
My claim is actually narrower than what you assume it is. I'm not saying they don't do positive work, I'm saying that I haven't seen real accountability in the system.
Can you say the same of some random FaceBook group? Or a Campus Progress Speakers Bureau event? Blogs and the local blogospheres can be more effective tools for organizing and I want youth organizations to take advantage of that.
One interesting question is why youth organizations aren't taking advantage of these power centers and what that means about these organizations.
I stand somewhat corrected, but I have to say, it's just nonsense to say that youth voters or issues have had a rough time in the blogosphere.
There is a lot of outright fraud in the youth organizing space, 'street teams' that just copy phone books instead of canvassing, fake numbers, enabling of bad habits by unaccountable groups. This is enabled by bad funding choices.
For instance, you were upset about the League of Young Voters losing funding. Why? What exactly have they gotten done? I don't know. I can't figure it out, and I've talked to Billy a number of times. This is not to say that they should have gotten more or less funding, only that there is an unhealthy dialogue around this.
And let's talk more specifically about why youth organizing is fucked over in the political space. It's the media consultants and the fact that field and community organizing doesn't make money. Is Howard Dean dealing with this? I don't think so.
I am encouraging you to dig deeper into the real power dynamics at work here. Young people are organizing themselves in really interesting ways, though I imagine they are doing it against the existing establishment because a new group in politics means an older group is displaced. Given that the emerging progressive America is non-white, young, or non-Christian, figuring out how to disempower those fighting against youth interests within both parties is core.
If it is all about coalition building, why wouldn't you want to use the most effective medium? Or all mediums? Why wouldn't you want to coalition build with the progressive blogosphere?
The internet does not repeal very basic rules of politics, which involves votes, money, speaking truth to power, political pressure and community leaders taking leadership.
'The progressive blogosphere' is not one thing. It is a network that interacts with Facebook, MySpace, all other networks on the internet, as well as books, academia, and other vehicles for organizing and idea dissemination. It doesn't matter if young people are on the progressive blogosphere or not. It just doesn't matter. You also haven't proved that young leaders are isolated from liberal blogs, but that's a slightly different issue.
What does matter is whether we can build structures that allow progressive leaders to emerge and put pressure on the political system to effect social change. It's obviously easier to get lots of people to join groups on Facebook, especially around Obama and Darfur. But that's a reflection of a larger animating argument among young people, who tend to like Obama more and focus on causes like Darfur.
I think what I'm really talking about is that Facebook and/or MySpace hasn't been turned into a center of power yet for progressive politics. Maybe the fifth or sixth generation of the Causes app will do this, though I suspect that what we're really talking about is teaching younger leaders how to wield power, and how Causes is implemented is a spinoff of that overall movement.
So let's talk power. Are there Facebook/MySpace candidates? Are there candidates raising money off Facebook/MySpace? I'm more interested in seeing what's going on with Actblue, where lower ticket candidates are beginning to use the internet to generate dollars from new groups. That's where electoral power really is. I'm curious about the new voting app coming out in July, to see if there's voting registration capacity there.
Anyway, I'm not sure we disagree on any of this. I just think we're looking in different places.
The blogosphere certainly does need to be more receptive to younger voices. Over at Daily Kos, the communities can be downright hostile to younger folks, and the partisanship and reactionary diaries over there can be very discouraging.
The blogosphere isn't any one thing, it is what people make of it. It's a network of independent websites that link to each other. If a young person comes out with a compelling voice that lots of people want to read, they will make a mark in the blogosphere. The notion that 'the blogosphere needs to be more oriented to my pet position' is a disease that we need to work against. I would encourage you to tighten up your thinking about this and really drill into your ideas and their consequences.
That's a pretty big statement. I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on that more.
No, in fact your assumption that these groups do anything or represent youth activism - without proof to that effect - is a big statement. I've never seen you distinguish between a group doing good work and one doing bad work. It's always 'if it's youth organizing it's good'.
Not so. And if you're serious about youth organizing, you'll start making these distinctions.
Believe me, I've been more successful than most in bootstrapping a blog or community into existence, and even with the advantage of an influential readership or a position like my weekend gig here at MyDD, it's tough work. It is way easier for a college kid to just hop on FaceBook and energize his campus network.
Show me someone who has used the causes application to raise real money, versus Atrios who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with Actblue. It's easy to communicate with your network on Facebook, but organizing them to do anything isn't simple.
Organizing is organizing. Young people are not any different than any other group. I'm reminded of Hip Hop activists talking about how awesome hip hop activism is or bloggers talking about blogging. Who cares how you do your organizing? Organizing is about listening and talking to a group of people, and persuading them to do stuff that's in their interest. The medium isn't important, this is about coalition building.
It was not a well-attended panel, perhaps because it was the end of the day, or perhaps because Millennials are so immersed in online media that most people felt their time was better spent elsewhere. One thing that struck me, as I listened to the speakers and their student questioners, was that not a single person - panelist or student - mentioned the blogosphere.
You're leaving out the possibility that youth leaders aren't showing up at that conference. I have never been convinced that the youth organizations pushing youth engagement are anything but ridiculous PR shops sucking up donor money.
Candace is a veteran improv person, and Kent is the guy behind AskANinja.com. I have respect for people who do professional comedy, as it's extremely difficult to do well.
One thing that's perplexing is why people automatically assume that their opinion on comedy is teh one true opinion. As in, 'man, Saturday Night Live is NOT funny and I can't believe anyone likes it'. Well sure, it's not funny to you, just as I'm sure there are many people who hate Celine Dionne. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's badly done, it could just mean that you don't like it.