Skip to comments.Area Obama supporters take next step: Community forms to maintain momentum of campaign
Posted on 12/08/2008 1:35:20 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
They are calling themselves the Mid-South Community Organizers, and if that name sounds a touch triumphant, the people formerly known as Shelby County's Obama-Biden '08 volunteers just want folks to know they are serious about this whole "change" thing.
Nika Jackson, who served as the Obama camp's lone Shelby County campaign staffer for much of the general election campaign, got together with about 50 local campaign volunteers over the weekend to reflect on what was accomplished and to begin plotting a way forward.
In conjunction with Obama operations in other Tennessee counties, Memphis' newest group of community activists adopted their new name and set up a schedule for regular meetings -- every second Tuesday at the Poplar-White Station library.
"You know, someone tried to give him flack for that, for being a community organizer, but we just wanted to make sure we had something that would tie back to the president-elect and resonate his message," Jackson said.
The first task, Jackson said, will be finding community service projects, but their meeting on Saturday also started the process of identifying local issues they intend to engage -- crime, education and city-county government consolidation among the most pressing.
Kerry Hayes, one of the area's more active volunteers, said the key is channeling the enthusiasm for president-elect Barack Obama into a more enduring movement.
"Our big thing is, you've got to stay engaged," Hayes said. "It's not going to all suddenly change in six months."
Jackson saw the transformation of the local campaign's structure from nearly nonexistent in June of 2007 to a hive of activity this fall involving a diverse array of people from throughout the county and region. Jackson said there were days when the local office made 9,000 phone calls to other states.
"If we can make 9,000 phone calls a day to North Carolina, imagine if we have an issue around here we don't like," Jackson said.
Jackson and Hayes both said they are somewhat jealous of the Nashville group, which is coalescing against a local referendum to make English the only language for all government services.
"It's great for them because it's a big thing they can take on right away," Hayes said.
This weekend, the national offices of the Obama campaign -- which remains intact but will eventually disband -- is asking local volunteers to host house parties to discuss how best to utilize the energy and activism built during the campaign. So far, there are nine house parties registered in this area at the Obama campaign Web site.
The idea, Hayes said, is to find ways to use what Jackson calls "Obama-itis" to both further the incoming administration's agenda and to make an impact on more local issues.
"If you look at the numbers, he raised more money than both parties combined," Hayes said. "Effectively, he's his own party. He still has an e-mail list of several million people that can be directed to make calls, go door-to-door to talk about things, do all the sort of grunt work.
"The question is how do you focus that. What we're trying to do is focus it on Memphis-specific issues but also be available when the administration needs us to do something to move people forward."
Even though the next planned election in Shelby County is 18 months away, the Mid-South Community Organizers definitely intend to get back to registering voters and urging them to vote for a preferred candidate.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," Jackson said. "Let's just push it forward."
Why do I get the feeling that without the adrenaline of a campaign race, these people will realize politics is mostly not fun, but hard work, and it's not about saving the world, but (in their view) trying to push people around?
I somehow got on the Obama email list and I got an email about this exact thing. They were called “Change Meetings” or something like that. The idea behind it was this: people would gather at homes and discuss how they could continue the momentum of the campaign and keep moving Obama’s message and agenda forward.
Very, very creepy. Never seen anything like this.
it’s not about saving the world, but (in their view) trying to push people around?
That’s what’s called “empowerment” nowadays,
and in a little while will be called “enforcement”.
Worker/organizer Soviets now forming in your neighborhood.
Say hello to the new “Blockwart” of the neighborhood!
Obama can be as “centrist” in policy as he wishes to be. As long as he builds the armies of the proletariat, he proves his neo-Marxist mettle.
...provided he is elected President.
If the meetings are anything like this, then I don’t think we have anything to worry about! LOL!!:
I won’t fill out any community form or attend a forum, either. How long until there is a block captain and our children are taught to be informers? KGB?
Yep, all the union hype is died down after about a year, and they can’t even get folks to show up for a meeting here, eventually reality sinks in to go live your life
or in 1 year, 2 years or even 4 years. The ghetto will still be the ghetto.
They are persistent.
Locally, there is a core group in each township that has been working on Smart Growth for at least 10-14 years. Other activist organizers have separate issues, but they all have made the monthly potluck a staple of the leftist social scene. This sort of organizing has gone on for at least 20 years, AFAIK. The players change and shift, but even those who have moved away can be recruited to send letters to the editor on important issues of any given moment.
There is another group, which I privately think of as The Nannies. These people show up now and again at all sorts of professional/social/issue-oriented potlucks and lay out the Party Line for those who are only peripherally engaged. I have heard one such stand up in meetings to iterate the list of acceptable local candidates for various county positions, for example. Some of them hang around the township hall on election day, taking serious note of who votes. Those who don’t are targeted for GOTV for the next election.
They are not necessarily just about party, as they will run as Republicans if necessary. They have long term goals, they keep on track, they recruit young people by the use of issues such as bike paths and skate parks and they do not give up. Every time a Federal or State program is announced, within weeks, there are local core groups taking the lead and the chance for grant money to every community activist group in the county. After 25 years or more of this, these people are quite professional and can have an acronym’d group set up, running and facilitating grant applications within 4-6 weeks of any program being established.
And they do have jobs. Some are even professionals or business owners who can provide jobs. Some are professional activists (trustkids) who have set up non-profits ad hoc to whatever the current goal might be. The economy is affecting everyone, but I do see these people and groups doing the grunt work at the grassroots, day in and day out.
I’m envious, frankly. You cannot get even the most ardent conservative to be half as involved. Many of our candidates even seem embarrassed to have to *run* for office. Using my rural area as an example, I’d say the leaders are not fair weather activists, but focused professionals.
Sooner or later the stupidity of these people will come back to bite them.
the people will stay motivated to help fearless leader until the next season of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars starts-then they’ll loose interest.
“The whole point - it’s not any particular agenda, it’s just to get agendas through. It’s just to get movement.” WTH??? What does that even MEAN?
They act and sound like typical Obama voters, lots of fluff but no real substance.
“”If we can make 9,000 phone calls a day to North Carolina, imagine if we have an issue around here we don’t like,” Jackson said.”
Could they not like crime just to get started? It is not too likely, this being Memphis.
when the “Civilian Defense Groups” come to your door they only ask for your guns,cash,papers to your house so they can spread the wealth.
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