Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denver Diary, Day One: Getting Organized

Photo: Ann Wright, Vets for Peace

We Push the
Basics of Organizing
In DNC’s

By Carl Davidson
Progressive for Obama

I rolled into Denver about 3:30pm and Saturday, August 23 after a 1500 mile drive from Beaver County, Pa. A last minute safety issue had be leaving my truck camper “Progressives for Obama” mobile office in the shop, so I made do, loading tents, table chairs, mobile internet setup and everything else needed to survive for a week into the trusty little Madza.

The sky was threatening rain as I passed by ‘Tent State” in the City of Cuernavaca Park. Hundred of tents, but no people. So I moved on to one of our first events, at the Cameron Methodist church in South Denver.

Tom Hayden is holding forth to about 100 people, going over all the upsides and downsides of the campaign. The crowd is most peace and justice activists, a few Democratic local officials, and young people, some skeptical of electoral politics. Tom is is good form, and explains the importance of the sheet going around you people to give their names and emails to our efforts, It get filled. His main points:

--The future is open. Take nothing for granted; everything we can do counts. Obama could lose it, especially due to the closeted racists who will used and excuse to depress his vote, plus those pushing his own centrism toward positions that demobilize his most active base.

--We can counter this through finding our issues, highlighting them—McCain’s threatening resurrect ion of the draft, McCain’s own corruption and elitism, and pressing both the campaign and the mainstream media to run with them.

--The most important task for us is to expand the electorate in the next six weeks. Several people note that they know many young activists who talk all the time bout the campaign. “If you do nothing else,” I say to the crowd, get them registered, and most important, get them to the polls. Keep a list. Don’t take it for granted they will go, plus you need the list to press what will hopefully be and Obama White house in 2009.”

Our message is well received. Everyone “gets it” that there’s no contradiction betweem working the campaign, building the movements around our issues, and building the strength of our own grassroots organizations.

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