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.