Mobilizing or Movement Building?

This past weekend, the fifth annual Environmental Action Conference was held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The conference offered more than 20 skill-building and issue-oriented workshops to over 250 participants. It featured a video address by governor-elect Peter Shumlin and a keynote by Professor Patrick Parenteau, who among other things is a former Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Vermont.

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Brewing Strong TEA

Although I am not at all attracted to the TEA Party’s principles, I have been fascinated by their organizing success and have been watching it for some time now. The TEA Party (TEA = Taxed Enough Already) did see some success in the mid-term races. At least five of their U.S. Senate candidates won, and perhaps 40 of their U.S. House candidates will be sworn in this January.

The TEA Party Patriots claim that the movement began with Rick Santelli’s Rant in February 2009. A few dozen key organizers met after that event to capitalize on the energy that was sparked by the rant. Santelli gave the TEA Party national recognition and a jumping off point that the organizers could use to mobilize activists.

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7Days: At All Costs

One key campaign manager looking for work is Amy Shollenberger, who ran Doug Racine’s campaign.

With scant resources but an army of union supporters and volunteers, Shollenberger fully applied her grassroots organizing skills.

If a job doesn’t turn up within the party, however, Shollenberger says she’ll focus on ramping up her consulting biz, Action Circles, whose slogan is “building movements with action and hope.”

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