Hold GCI/PIRG/Fund accountable: only progressive campaigns can build the progressive movement
Changing Grassroots Campaigns (CGCI) is a group comprised primarily of veterans of Grassroots Campaigns Inc, as well as from the Fund for Public Interest Research and PIRG campaigns. We are canvassers, assistant directors, canvass directors, field organizers, lead organizers, admin staff, and more. We are committed progressives who believe that grassroots activism is necessary to bring much-needed change to this country.
Furthermore, we believe that the Fund/PIRG/GCI model is hurting the progressive grassroots.
We do not think that this is because the people who work at these organizations are bad people (we worked there, we have friends who still work there, etc). Rather, we believe that there is a crisis of leadership in these organizations. This crisis fosters and sustains a war-time mindset in which basic notions of respect and fairness (as well as legality!) are dismissed "for the cause"; in which all decisions are made without transparency or accountability; and in which people who ask questions are isolated and people who call for change are pushed out.
As a result of this crisis of leadership, the commitment of thousands of young activists has been soured. It also is producing campaigns that are less organized, innovative, and effective than they could be.
The crisis will only be resolved when GCI is held accountable for its use and misuse of human resources. It can be held accountable in two ways: either by the organizations that hire it (like the DNC, MoveOn, the ACLU, etc) or by legal means. Ultimately, it is the right and responsibility of young progressives to demand this accountability.
1. Grassroots Campaigns Inc's workplace standards are poor, even illegal, and its internal culture is structured to disempower its workers.
2. The experience of working in these campaigns is, far more often than not, a negative one. For the thousands of young progressives recruited by GCI, too many are turned off from progressive politics forever.
3. It is the responsibility of the organizations that contract to GCI (the Democratic National Committee, MoveOn, the ACLU, etc) to ensure that the working conditions in their own campaigns are satisfactory by their own progressive standards.