The Green Party vs. Barack Obama

A few years ago, a man named Howard Dean, ran for the Presidential Nomination of the Democratic Party (USA) and raised more money than any Democrat in history. His visionary Campaign Manager, Joe Trippi, has held seminars for the Green Party, where we given the tools to take advantage of the biggest breakthrough in political campaigning… ever. While the unknown Howard Dean lost the nomination, the campaigned was mimicked by Barack Obama years later.

The ideas of Joe Trippi and Barack Obama is not to put a conventional campaign on the internet. It is a paradigm shift from centralized leadership driven campaigns to a much more efficient, effective and engaging de-centralized campaign that uses the power of social networking. After all, politics and political organizing is social networking.

Compare your own social network on and off the internet and most will realize that they can communicate to far more people–far more effectively by using e-mail and internet based tools. It is especially vital for the GPC given that we do not have any existing networking framework such as churches or unions to use.

We have seen the power of social networks that spread “organically” and exhibit characteristics that are the envy of all centralized groups, such as exponential growth and spontaneous management. The best ideas spread like wildfire, and nepotism is virtually non-existent. People get motivated, excited or even obsessed, by seeing their ideas adopted in a democratic fashion by a political party that actually listens and responds–which is what we all want from politicians.

Under this new system the central party only need to create the framework for the network, offer assistance to users and communicate messages to the network and the network does the rest, as proved in recent US politics. And even people without internet access can still contribute to the group because of the systematic inclusive internal culture that overtakes the campaign.

For the Green Party of Canada to succeed in campaigning we must also be able to raise money. To succeed like Barack Obama and Howard Dean, the GPC must receive hundreds of thousands of $10-$100 donations. Impossible you say?

For the GPC central party to raise one million dollars in one month is impossible. Yet, a virtually unknown Republican Candidate named Ron Paul, used the strategy pioneered by Joe Trippi to raise 20 million dollars in the last quarter of 2007 (More than any other Republican), set the record for the most money raised in a single day by any Republican Presidential candidate in history, and the most money from internet donations in a day by any candidate ever. And the best news for the Green Party is, Ron Paul had only 7% support (among Republicans).

What if we could raise more money than any political party in Canada? We can… Greens across the country learned how to do this two years ago. So what is GPC Director of Organizing Sharon Labchuk waiting for? and why are Greens waiting for her? There is a site started by concerned Greens like yourselves that are working on grassroots organizing. Lets prove to the Central Party that this works. Join here.

I keep hearing from Sharon’s friends, most of whom also have no political experience and have never been part of a winning campaign team, that she is good at her job, though they never site any proof. Let’s assume that Sharon is good at political organizing, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Regardless, one organizer will not win the Green Party–or any Party–even a single seat.

Given the tremendous disadvantage that Greens face as the fifth major political party in the country, most Green Party Members need to become organizers. One hundred volunteers putting in just two hours a week are better than five full-time paid staff. We have all heard “If everyone signed up just one member we would double membership”–except for Sharon Labchuk–as she has made no effort within the last two years to make any attempt at a Trippi/Obama strategy.

In fact, Sharon and the current Leadership has done the exact opposite of the Joe Trippi strategy. Adriane Carr once proudly displayed to me 1970’s NDP campaign material as if it was a break-though for the GPC. It should be no wonder how years of federal funding, a new Leader, increased media coverage and inclusion in the televised leaders debate only improved the election result by 2.3% from 2006-2008.

One of the reasons that the GPC is using an outdated organizing and campaigning strategy is that many in the current leadership are motivated by power and control more than results.

The criticisms of Joe Trippi’s strategy are mostly an example of outdated theories. To counter this, every Green should automatically ignore anyone who concludes that less engagement, involvement, and ideas somehow equals more members, money, votes or seats. It can’t–it won’t–and it never has (at least not in any democracy).

In conclusion, Sharon Labchuk owes it to the Greens that pay her salary to tell the grassroots why she, despite never coming close to electing anyone, thinks she knows more than Barack Obama and the most successful organizers in US politics.

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6 responses to “The Green Party vs. Barack Obama

  1. bluegreenblogger

    Good points TQM, but I want to caution you. Trippi himself was the first to agree that the meet-up/blogosphere/email-list dynamic served limited functions WITHIN a campaign. It wasn’t a substitute for conventional campaign and Party structure, it was a complement. I remember working with certain Greens in the past who were convinced that this was a magic bullet, that would replace hard work on the phones, door to door, and in the metaphorical trenches. I recently blogged on a related topic, but really tried to keep it simple:
    http://greencanada.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/green-politics-is-fun-the-role-of-the-pub-night/
    If you look at it, this is the essence of Trippi. social networking as an adjunct to political organising. The potential is huge, but still requires direction and infrastructure. I see gpra.ca is a start. Make it simpler to join, don’t project great expectations, build the lists, then the groups. I’ll move this offline tonight.

  2. thequantumbuddha

    Indeed BGB, door knocking, envelope stuffing, election signs, phone banks, speaking events, press releases and all other conventional campaign activities must be undertaken.

    The difference is in how these people are engaged, inspired and managed through a much larger and adaptable network that allows groups of people to do activities that motivate them.

    So how do we get you into GPC organizing?

  3. We would be better without our organiser in our
    province…since he discourages individual initiative. Maybe he will improve with time-
    personally , he never wants me to talk to him again.!!…Hopefully this will be all a blessing in disguise…and I was told to ignore him- but how
    do you ignore your organiser during an Election?…Deal directly with his doorman??!!
    You can not leave legal papers with a doorman of a condo!? ….Cheers, O.

  4. Dan, your intelligence is overwhelmed by your arrogance, militant tactics, and your need to intimidate. Just because you don’t get the job that you want as a regional organizer doesn’t mean you need to tear down the person who didn’t pick you.

    If you keep behaving like a hostile person to the brass of the GPC and Sharon Labchuk, you’re going to end up alienating yourself further from everyone.

    Why not try working with people instead of against them. No one at the GPC is goiong to hire you, especially now that you’ve turned into such a nasty prick.

    Grow up.

  5. thequantumbuddha

    Sorry anonymous “Quit Whining”, you are incorrect. I WAS the Regional Organizer until Elizabeth/Adriane/Sharon took over–then I wasn’t allowed to do any organizing, just like “O.” above your ridiculous self serving, arrogant, militant comment. Remember, all but two staff members have been purged since the new regime took over.

    As far as alienating myself, you have no idea what is going on in this party if you think this blog is alienating ME from rank and file Greens. lol

    Are you on council or a Provincial Organizer? Why not leave your name?

  6. Just an outsider’s perspective here, but it seems a bit uprofessional to publicly criticise someone else’s job performance. As Chris Rock put it “do I come to your place of work and knock the dick out of your mouth?”

    It seems a bit naive to suggest that the Green Party could pull off anything close to what a major American Presidential campaign could do. When Ralph Nader starts competing with Ron Paul, then we’ll talk. Also that all could be fixed by simply switching to a revolutionary new mode of campaigning. Also that power-hungry politicos would settle on the green party.

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