A veteran of over 100 grassroots campaigns Jim shares his experience in his books.
Available Now: Organize to Win
In his description of what he feared America would become, Alinsky said the middle class would become apathetic and terrorized by crime, baffled by computerization, alienated, and feel rejected and hopeless. Lacking the ability to participate in the political process, they would become terminally disillusioned. In this state, they would tend towards fascism or radical change. In a bewildered and frightened state, they would grope for alternatives, their impotence and paranoia “…making them ripe for the plucking by some guy on horseback promising a return to the vanished verities of yesterday.”
Most campaigns Today don’t do any of the things successful grassroots leaders of the past said you must always do, while doing all the things they said you mustn’t. But all of their tools and guides are always embedded in a few foundational principles which are indispensable in any campaign which seeks a long-term impact.
Never overestimate the knowledge, intelligence, or courage of elected representatives. When a really good politician does a bad thing, there are four things activists should do:
- Ask them to explain exactly why they did it.
- Tell them you are very disappointed.
- Ask them not to do it again.
- Forget it.
The 2016 election elevated Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos—major supporters of teaching creationism—to the vice presidency and leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, respectively. DeVos is a billionaire funder of efforts to pass state laws that give science teachers the right to present anti-evolution materials in science classrooms under the guise of protecting academic freedom. At every political level, from local school boards to the U.S. Department of Education, anti-evolution advocates are active and gaining ground.