Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns by Dana R. Fisher

By Dana R. Fisher

Activism, Inc. introduces the USA to an more and more prevalent political actor: the canvasser. She’s the twenty-something with the clipboard, preventing you in the street or knocking in your door, the foot soldier of political campaigns.Granted unheard of entry to the “People’s Project,” an unknown but influential association using left-leaning grassroots politics, Dana Fisher tells the real tale of outsourcing politics in the US. just like the significant firms that outsourced their customer support to businesses overseas, the grassroots campaigns of nationwide innovative movements—including Greenpeace, the Sierra membership, shop the youngsters, and the Human Rights Campaign—have been outsourced at diversified occasions to this unmarried association. through the 2004 presidential crusade, the Democratic get together the same outsourcing version for his or her canvassing.Fisher examines the background and reason in the back of political outsourcing at the Left, weaving jointly frank interviews with canvassers, high-ranking political officers around the political spectrum, and People’s venture administration. She compares all of this to the grassroots efforts at the correct, which stay firmly grounded in groups and native politics.This e-book bargains a chilling evaluation of the implications of political outsourcing. Connecting area people at the streets all through the USA to the nationwide enterprises and political campaigns that make up innovative politics, it exhibits what occurs to the passionate younger activists outsourced to the consumers of Activism, Inc.

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Although they were asked to recite the Script verbatim when they were canvassing, some canvassers did recollect deviating from it to make it more conversational and natural-sounding. Paul, a 20-year-old college student who had been working in the Portland office for three weeks, for example, explained why some canvassers went off Script: After a while, [the Script], which is what we say at the beginning to just kind of hook people and get as much information as possible out there for them, it becomes very automatic and I think you lose .

When I asked whether they would consider canvassing again, many reported that they would, but not for the People’s Project. Managing the Directors The unintended consequences of the centralized management of the canvass also affected the directors of these grassroots offices. Although working as a canvasser involves long hours and difficult work, and canvass directors only canvass an average of three days a week, their jobs are much more demanding. Stephanie, a long-term canvasser, declared that she made significantly more money than the directors in the Atlanta office because her salary was based on commission, and for that reason she had never sought a promotion: “[Canvass directors] were pushed past the limit in terms of, you know, things being difficult .

I’m just here because I want to do this. I mean, the people here are so inspiring, they’re so positive and I don’t know, I really look forward to going to work every day. After working for the entirety of summer 2003, Steve returned to canvass out of the Portland office during his winter break, as well as in the summer of 2004. This instant community provided by the canvass was particularly useful for college students who were only in town for the summer. indd 31 5/11/06 11:29:06 AM 32 Institutionalizing Activism words of Emily, who went to school out of town and was working for the Portland canvass during the summer before her junior year in college: “It’s a great summer job and everyone you’re working with is in a similar age group.

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