S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Activism's "Little Black Book"

Activists usually are the focus of Wednesday posts here at South by Southwest. What to look for, actions to take, news from the active blogosphere, organizations to join or support, environmental concerns, etc., all have had a place at one time or another. Today the focus is more basic -- how to adjust to the changing circumstances of governance and citizen participation.

"Grassroots for Obama." What now? Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist asked, "What To Do With Obama's Army?" in a recent thought-provoking article, from which I quote:

As noted in an LA Times story today by Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger, one approach is to fold the Obama organization into the Democratic National Committee and state party affiliates, which is normally what happens after a successful presidential campaign. The other is to keep his organization intact as something of a personal army that will work with, but not under, the national and state parties. . . . This is an issue with more complex strategic implications than might at first appear, and bears watching as the transition turns into governing.

The Campaign Manager at Obama for America, David Plouffe, e-mailing me from Obama's website,, asked me to to respond to a member/volunteer survey in the same vein, which I did. The questionaire asked for my feedback on how the Obama movement should move forward. Personally, I committed to activism in the form of progressive blogging every day. I also offered to do what I have done in the past, to call Washington. I offered to join organized efforts from the blogosphere, such as FiredogLake and DailyKos. No doubt they will again be asking citizens to call their Congress persons or Senators, to urge passage of President Obama's legislative offerings. For anyone who wants to join me then, here are the U.S. Capital's toll-free phone numbers (operators will transfer to legislators' offices): 1-800-828-0498, 1-800-459-1887, 1-800-614-2803, 1-866-340-9281, 1-866-338-1015, 1-877-851-6437.

President-elect Obama's Internet presence is not confined to merely the old campaign website. There is now a brand new website for the transition, called which all of us have been watching closely as it is evolving. ProPublica's (investigative journalism's non-profit) Jennifer LaFleur reported yesterday that the " 'Agenda' pages are back." To quote (her links):

The agenda pages that we told you disappeared from, President-elect Barack Obama's transition Web site, have returned in newly retooled form. Within the 22-plus agenda categories are items that address how the new administration will increase transparency in

. . . The items listed on the new page are basically the same as before, but they are more tightly written and no longer include derogatory statements about the Bush administration such as:
"The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history." Apparently, that's now a secret.

To conclude this little black book of useful names -- What follows are lists of general activism resources, along with the more specialized resources at the end that I use to find out what is happening in the world of national security, the rule of law, Constitutional questions, domestic surveillance and the other obscure stuff that still piques my interest.

Other e-mails that make my online activism easier include:

  • Democracy for America - says, "We can still hit 60!" You can contribute to the cause they say: "The road to a filibuster-proof majority is in your hands. Let's get Barack another ally in the Senate."

  • American Civil Liberties Union - Director Anthony Romero's newsletter says: "I’ve never done this before. In my entire seven years as the ACLU’s executive director, I have never asked you to sign a presidential petition written in appreciation and support, rather than in outrage and protest."

References on general "activism":

  2. Activism - Wikipedia

  3. Posts on "activism" at South by Southwest

References regarding civil liberties activism, intelligence or investigative journalism:

  1. South by Southwest: "Little Black Book" post on FISA (regarding civil liberties activism)

  2. Glenn Greenwald -- my civil liberties guru

  3. TPM Muckracker - in the honored tradition of old newspapers

  4. Wired Blog Network -- Threat Level

  5. Secrecy News: Stephen Aftergood at the FAS project on secrecy

  6. Emptywheel at Firedoglake -- one of the best at investigative blogging

  7. Jeff Stein's SpyTalk Blog at CQ Politics

1 comment:

Tom Atlee said...

Do you know if anyone is blogging about the specific "citizen participation" initiatives Obama is planning?

I so much wish he would move beyond citizens as individual agents to use an integration of technology and powerful face-to-face conversations (dialogue and deliberation) to transmute our differences into community wisdom that actually guides policy-making. Together we can be SO much smarter/wiser than we are individually -- but only under the right conditions...

I've started a blog to explore that at -- beginning with a proposal for a Department of Democracy which covers the range of things that need fixing and maintaining about our democracy. Comments very welcome.