Get This Party Started!
by Matthew Kerbel, Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 02:33:57 PM EST
Hi, everyone. My name is Matt Kerbel, and I'm the editor of Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win. We're trying to do something creative and important with this book, along the lines of what Chris is doing with the MyDD polling project. During the past year, there's been a lot of insightful discussion in the blogosphere about what progressives need to do in order to become the dominant political force in the United States. Several familiar themes run through that discussion, like defining what progressives stand for, figuring out the best language to use to frame the debate, devising good grassroots strategies for promoting progressive candidates and getting out the vote, and finding a way to get Washington Democrats to listen to grassroots progressives (or, alternatively, to get out of the way). Overarching this discussion is the question of how to turn words into actions - to move from advocating to acting - and to do it now.
One of the obstacles to taking the step toward activism has been the lack of a forum for coordinated discussion. Even on the blogs, those who talk about issues can end up talking past or in parallel with those who talk about strategy or message framing, and so often the ideas expressed in the blogosphere are not engaged inside the Beltway. That's where "Get This Party Started" comes in. It was conceived as a vehicle for coordinating the discussion of what progressives must do to win now and for bringing together a diverse and top-line group of Washington insiders and grassroots activists (like Chris, who has a wonderful chapter called "Blogging for Political Change"). In one place, you'll find Howard Dean issuing the call for those of us with progressive values to get to work; John Podesta proposing a progressive agenda in the context of a long, successful progressive tradition; George Lakoff discussing message framing; Anna Greenberg addressing gender issues; Jim Wallis and John Kenneth White talking about how to re-cast the values debate; and Amy Sullivan shouting, "Fire the Consultants!" - along with clear-eyed discussions of what did and did not go wrong in 2004, how progressives can support effective political reform, why no one has yet to fully realize the power of the Internet as an organizational tool (and what to do about it), and how to chart a blueprint for a progressive era in 2006 and beyond.
The guiding assumption is that if we talk to each other instead of past each other, we can accelerate the progress we've already made. So, this book is a call to action as much as a blueprint for action. If we're going to be successful, we're going to need to talk it through and make it happen.
Starting Thursday January 26 at 9 p.m., MyDD is going to begin a series of weekly book talks devoted to critiquing and developing the ideas in "Get This Party Started". If you would like a copy of the book before the conversation begins, click here (it's an inexpensive purchase -- $10 on Amazon and $15 in the stores). I'll be contributing to the discussion, and over the coming weeks and months you'll see some of the other contributors joining us - including some who make their livings inside the Beltway. We expect it to be a lively discourse that results in effective political action online and in conventional forums, as we build bridges between official Washington and the progressive netroots and win a meaningful victory in November.
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