When I came to Firedoglake in 2009, I never could have imagined setting up a program like the Occupy Supply fund. Getting online and ‘offline’ organizing to complement one another in new and interesting ways was an interest of mine, but I knew the amount of resources and capacity it required would be hard to come by at an organization of our size.
Thankfully, the Firedoglake Memberhsip program is helping us explore the intersection of online and traditional activism more and more – and Occupy Supply is a prime example. Without the support of our over 1,400 members, Occupy Supply would have been nothing but a fantasy, and from what we’ve seen, the over 70 Occupy groups we have supported would have been on their own for the winter.
And don’t forget, the membership program supports the blog and its staff, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to do actions like Occupy Supply (whose contributions are separate and go 100% to Supply), or support the Bradley Manning, Just Say Now, Audit the Fed and many other FDL activist campaigns.
But we rose to the challenge together: from providing critical union and American-made supplies, to Kevin Gosztola’s 3 Occupy tours and in-depth reporting on the movement since Day 1, to holding fascinating talks and supporting online actions around things like Occupy evictions and protests. I am so proud to be part of this community and of all we’ve done together to help Occupy.
I need to point out that our Firedoglake members have been integral to the Occupy Supply fund’s growth and success for several reasons. First, the financial support our members provide helps us pay the bills and keep the lights on, and as the lead fundraiser here at FDL, I cannot tell you how much stress and pressure that takes off of Zach and me, allowing us to spend more time thinking about and working on activism.
But financial support alone would not have made Occupy Supply what it’s become. Our extensive network of member-volunteers providing intimate ground support across the country is what has made Occupy Supply an important fixture of the movement. These passionate, devoted members have taken up the important and often difficult role in the movement of caretaker, source of moral support and sometimes even mediator. They do so much more than just deliver supplies; they attend GA’s, march, protest, do maintenance work, speak with the protesters about their problems and concerns, provide a hot shower, warm bed or hearty meal when Occupiers needed a break, help fight eviction, do outreach to the community, etc.
In short, our Occupy Supply member liaisons have forged indispensable relationships with the movement in their communities. They have allowed us to work closely with protesters to provide for their needs to the absolute best of our ability. I did not raise over $205,000 to support the Occupy movement; it was the kind and generous deeds of our members that did.
[Occupy Supply is just the tip of the iceberg, and with a spring resurgence of the movement on the horizon, there’s already a lot that needs doing. We need anyone and every one committed to fighting for a more just, humane and equitable society to come aboard and help us.
To those of you who have been on the fence about joining, please consider this: by joining and contributing $5 once a month or $45 once a year, you can not only keep our unique space, writers and activism programs going, but you can provide the support we need to continue to innovate for change as well. The more support we have from our members and the more members we have, the more we can run different kinds of new and exciting projects and the more of them we can get going simultaneously. If there’s an issue you want to tackle with Firedoglake, join the membership community to let us know, and work closely with us to get it started.
To our current members, I can’t even begin to thank you for what you’ve done and continue to do. The difference in our capacity from before and after the start of the membership program is astonishing – like night and day. We’re becoming more stable and confident with time, because we know we have you not just at our backs, but neck-deep in the mud with us. I greatly admire you for stepping up and taking stock in everything we hope to accomplish here, whether it be joining simply to donate $45 or more per year, being an active participant in our webinars or joining the struggle for change in your community by getting involved with Occupy Supply and the Occupy movement. You should all be so proud of yourselves for what we have built together, and I really look forward to continuing to work with all of you.
As we enter our second year of the Firedoglake membership program, we’re brimming with ideas for what’s next and are glad to hear our members are, too. I look forward to what’s next and hope you’ll join the program if you haven’t already and help us continue to organize and innovate for change.