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bE A sPiRiT! nOt A gHoSt!!

In the movie Bulworth (1998), Warren Beatty plays Jay Bulworth – a U.S. Senator up for re-election who starts speaking his mind – after putting a murder-for-hire contract on himself. He's sick of politics as usual and is having a breakdown. 

Since he expects to die soon anyway, he starts speaking the truth as he knows it – even if others don't like it. When he does, all the respectable company around him begins to lose it. But then Halle Barry's character arrives on the scene, and the jaded white-guy Senator gets the fever. He wants to rap, and he starts speaking in rhyme.

And throughout the movie, an old homeless man (played by Amiri Baraka) who's black and has a warm poetic voice keeps turning up. He urges the Senator to keep telling the truth: "You gotta be a spirit, Bulworth! You can't be no ghost!!"

Well, ok, the plot does sound pretty outrageous, but let's bring this to reality. 

You’re not a jaded Senator who's ready to die. Halle Barry isn't hanging with you to spice up your final hours. And neither is Denzel Washington. And you're absolutely NOT being followed by a  homeless man praising your actions with song. So what is it that puts the life back in you? 

When do you feel like a spirit, not a ghost? Talk to me.

Posted by Quintus Jett on October 31, 2005 at 09:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

Democracy for America -- Setting the Agenda

Founded by Governor Howard Dean, Democracy for America (DFA) empowers Americans to take their country back.  We value fiscal responsibility, social progress and the power of grassroots activism.  Our strategy calls for standing up for what we believe, regardless of how “red” the state or district.  Tactically, we conduct on-line campaigns to engage and grow our membership, promote hundreds of monthly organizing events in all 50 states, advise a growing coalition of like-minded state-based organizations, conduct grassroots activist trainings, and encourage our members to run for office.

Join the conversation at 8:00 PM Eastern and let’s discuss how you and DFA can set the Democratic agenda for next decade.

Posted by TomHughes-DFA on October 24, 2005 at 06:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (47)

Robert Greenwald Guest Blog

I am happy to meet all of you on line. We at brave new films are looking forward to getting the wal-mart film into all of your hands so you can begin using it as an tool to organize around. The film shines a bright light on wal-mart, its practices and several personal human stories.. But rather then my type away in a vacuum, send me your questions and ignore my typos. robert

Posted by RobertG on October 17, 2005 at 07:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (60)

The Next Generation of Online Organizing

The Dean campaign was known for its innovative online tools. The Internet was a phenomenal way to get Governor Dean's message directly to supporters -- bypassing the media. Dean for America showed us that campaign websites could have life and vitality. Thankfully, we'll never see another stale, brochure-like website from a presidential candidate again.

Innovation often starts with a problem. DFA's upcoming grassroots organizing software was actually born out of a problem.

Democracy for America has outgrown its blogging software.

Blogging during the campaign was akin to cheerleading; a cacophony of voices, all shouting in support of a single common goal. A few examples from September 2003 comments (September to Remember):

"I'll be with all the house partyers in spirit tonight. Dr. Dean is the best thing to happen since the founding fathers wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights."


"I just contributed $10 to the campaign and it is the first time I have ever contributed to any campaign of any kind. I know it's not a lot of
money, but I still feel like I am a part of something really great happening in this country. GO DEAN!!! We will be there to support you
all the way. Keep being yourself and you will be fine."

"For each debate, we are the Dean Attack! site will count the number of times the Good Governor comes under attack. Then, like feeding the goal, not the troll, Deaniacs can contribute through the Dean Attack! site. Say, 50 cents per attack?"

The blog was great for cheering on our candidate and posting. The format lent itself to hundreds of voices talking about the same topic (Howard Dean) at the same time.

But now, two years later, our community is no longer united behind a single candidate. The Democracy for America community is filled with experienced activists who have sophisticated organizing skills. AT HQ, we hear often that members want to share information, collaborate on projects and organize within the community; however, collaborating on projects and organizing people is difficult among the constantly-moving threads with so much in-between chatter.

More inside the discussion...

Posted by TaraLiloia on October 10, 2005 at 08:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)

Demfest and that Latino community

Earlier this year, I participated in Demfest in Austin, Texas. Over 1,000 progressives came together from across Texas and around the nation to participate in this event for the grassroots.
Through educational workshops, motivational speakers, political satirists, and performances from regional musicians, we were inspired, informed and entertained and we were given the tools necessary to empower our political success. We came together as a community and were called by our peers and our leaders into action- to take ownership for the political process and for our political views.
The ballots are now in and counted and the decision is official. Next year's Demfest will be in San Diego, CA.
We, at Latinos for America, believe that this choice presents the progressive community with a tremendous opportunity on several levels, but today we will be blogging about the historic opportunity that this represents for progressives in the outreach to and involvement of the Hispanic/Latino community.
According to the census, 34% of the population in California is Hispanic/Latino.  With the most Latino elected officials of any state, California is also the state with the greatest political representation of the Latino community.
Last year, the Demfest organizers did a fabulous job partnering with Latinos for Texas and reaching out to the Latino community and facilitating a conversation about the political involvement and engagement of Latinos. I would like to propose that this year's Demfest build on the success of last year's and that in its third year of existence there be an eye on ensuring that the conference reflect the 34% of the CA population which is Latino.
I think that Demfest could help to lead the rest of the Progressive movement if it chooses to through outreach to prospective participants, those that facilitate the educational workshops, the motivational speakers, political satirists, and even the regional musicians. Seeing that kind of engagement of the Latino community would truly be inspirational and a testament to the progressive community's commitment to engaging the growing Hispanic/Latino voice.

Posted by Kety Esquivel on October 3, 2005 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)