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June 20, 2003

Freepers Stuffing Moveon Ballot Box

Internet activism such as the Moveon.org primary is nice, but this post by a member of FreeRepublic.com shows the problem with the ease of "joining" a group with a simple email-- lots of other folks can jump in and try to manipulate the results. The big Freeper idea is to have conservatives register under multiple names and vote heavily for Al Sharpton. The idea is to pump up his candidacy in hopes it will embarass the Democrats.

The reality is that MoveOn should require at least a nominal contribution, say $10, to get a ballot for their "primary." That shows basic commitment by those voting to the organization-- especially important for a group that is selling its ability.

And for those who think membership contributions are not inclusive or discriminatory against poor people, the reality is that if poor folks are not contributing, they don't have any real power over an organization. Malcolm X, for example, was scornful of the low membership fees of the NAACP, since he argued that organizations either raised serious money per member or they would be dependent on a small coterie of big funders who would ultimately call the shots.

Which, by the way, is another reason why union activism is superior to most other "grassroots activism." The working class membership is paying the bills, so they actually control the organization.

Posted by Nathan at June 20, 2003 05:31 PM