With two weeks until the Midterm elections, we are barraged with polls telling us what likely voters might do on November 6th and what early voters have already done every day. As astounding images of early voting in states such as Florida, Nevada, and Texas, everyone is wondering what will happen.
Having just completed follow-up interviews with the leaders of many Resistance Groups that are working to organize people around the election, I have heard all about how these groups have been working to channel activism into electoral campaigns. One of the leaders told me about the relationship between the Resistance in the streets and the Resistance in the Districts: “You can’t just march and think that things are going to change, we march and we organize and we vote.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the focus on electoral campaigns and the Midterm elections is that these groups are working to varying degrees to embrace a distributed organizing model for electoral outcomes. As a Netroots Nation panel on the mess and magic of distributed organizing describes it, distributed organizing involves “participatory campaigning” that is more bottom-up and relies on technology to mobilize and connect people. Beyond that, each organization and organizer has a somewhat different definition.
As I wade through the interview transcripts to understand the full range of perspectives on and executions of distributed organizing, one of the big questions that remains is: in the face of the current local infrastructural deficit on the Left, can distributed organizing fill the gap and contribute to a Blue Wave? We should know the answer soon.
In the meantime, here’s a wordcloud of the distributed organizing node. It’s really interesting to see what made it and what did not..