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Taking on the System: An Interview with Markos

Christian Avard, over at the Huffington Post, just posted an interview with Markos Moulitsas, founder of DailyKos.com and co-author of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. In the interview they discuss Markos’s new book, Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era from Penguin Books. Having been involved in blogging for a long time, here’s my favorite bit of the interview. It describes perfectly my attraction to the medium.
Critics often say blogging is chipping away at the power of community and activism. Do you believe it’s replacing the current means of activism or is it adding to it? Well as you read in the book, I’m a critic of traditional protests. I think an effective modern activism campaign requires a strong media component, because if you do something and nobody hears about it, you’ve basically wasted your time. What you want to do is maximize the number of people that find out about your action and use that attention to bring people over to your side. In the book, I talk about street protests that didn’t work. It’s not that the tactic is bad, it’s the way it’s traditionally been done. “Let’s all get together and make a lot of noise! Yay! Free Mumia!” That is absolutely useless. It’s almost counterproductive. So you have to have a media strategy, and blogs are a medium. It’s one way to get the message out and what I talk about in the book is you work your way up the media hierarchy. If you are effective and your activities are compelling enough, they will jump over into traditional media outlets. One excellent example was Cindy Sheehan. Her protest in Crawford, Texas, began as a blog and e-mail list phenomenon. It worked its way up the ladder. MoveOn started promoting it and then it jumped over to radio, television, and newspapers. It became a huge national sensation. It almost certainly had a huge affect on the national sentiment on the war in Iraq. But then it started to disintegrate. More causes showed up in Crawford to get their own media attention. Sheehan also began marching in traditional protests, demanding attention, visiting Hugo Chavez, etc. It all fell apart at that point. But that initial strategy was very much effective. I don’t think she would have gotten as far without the blogging component. I don’t think the Obama campaign would even exist if it weren’t for people-powered media.
Keep up the good work Blogfather.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

Author David Stroh: First Steps to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Systems thinking is often seen as something relegated to scientific and business analysis – economics, resource depletion, and climate. However, Systems Thinking for Social Change focuses on how to use systems thinking to make breakthrough progress on intransigent social problems. We asked author David Stroh how this approach can make an impact, and how readers […] Read More..

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More..

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates this fall!With the second Democratic debate to be held on November 14th in Des Moines, it’s […] Read More..
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