On the DK rec lists is Sunday 1/20 in NYC, Yas/Ono, a Very Special Meetup!!
Good for them! Even though I’ve been banned from there, and didn’t appreciate the hostility and nastiness of some of them, even kossacks have rights, and those rights include the right to associate freely. Considering the utter weakness of the public versus plutocratic interests, I’d like to see citizens of diverse political stripes become friendlier, more cooperative, and more public. It seems inevitable that cooperative political action will result from politically minded people socializing in a more compelling way than is possible online. Political blogs appear to be very self-limiting, ito activism, and there is little social capital acquired by even the most prolific posters.
It’s sort of a no-brainer that online political blogs, of any appreciable size, would facilitate local meetups, but this seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.
I would suggest that the kossack meetups also establish a parallel presence via meetup.com. If they’re looking to recruit aggressively, they can also create a facebook page, and hand out and post flyers giving their facebook name/address.
The tech meetups that I’ve attended, via meetup.com, also suggest a model that mixes business with pleasure. Basically, you just get a speaker to give a 20 minute talk about some interesting topic. By ‘business’, I don’t mean the drearier, but necessary planning and maintenance stuff. Think ‘Ted Talks’, i.e., some structured activity that educates. The drearier, but necessary planning stuff should be done by people more committed, and willing, to do drudge work. In the real world, you won’t be able to build a mass movement with an egalitarian distribution of drudgery. :-)
You probably can’t pull this off (i.e., meetings with an educational speaker) without a little bit of a budget, but I did attend a smallish tech meetup (about 20 people) in a bar in Newark. (The budget would be for a meeting room.)
In Newark, Audible.com is now sponsoring a lot of the tech meetups, and they provide a very nice room in their corporate building, along with pretty decent eats (as well as beer, if you’re into that, which I’m not.)
Of course, similar considerations apply to other online communities, like FDL; and also across the political spectrum, like Ron Paulians and Tea Parties.
We also need a common space, for Kossacks + FDL’ers + Greens + Anarchists + Tea Parties, as was ‘pioneered’ by Occupy. This was one of the most positive aspects of it, but when I was in Manhattan last week, Zuccotti Park was basically empty. Not one sign, not one hippy, not even a covert government agent or homeless dude! How sad is that?
In light of where we were, Occupy-wise, less than 2 years ago, the dailykos shindigs are more like baby steps. Nevertheless, I’ll take even little bits of good news, happily. Todays little bits can grow into tomorrow’s big bits, if nurtured properly.
UPDATE: Please see my comments, below, re 350.org’s localization and organization features. Considering what else is out there (that I know about), it’s rather impressive. OK, I brainstormed similar stuff years ago, but didn’t implement it. 350.org is implemented, and shows the way forward to an online activism platform.
I recently made a minor suggestion for nudging blogs in a more activist-friendly direction. In the end, though, what you want is tighter integration with whole activist platforms (like local.350.org) that span online communities. By doing such integrations, the blog platform will become an activist platform, itself.
(In case anybody is wondering, I haven’t changed my mind about 350.org being a veal pen organization, nor about their embrace of what is essentially a scientistic myth. However, I am giving credit, where credit is due. They definitely deserve credit wrt local.350.org, considered as an activist platform, regardless of what it is that they are espousing. Likewise, I have credited the Tea Parties electoral efforts, without embracing all of their agenda, either.)