At our caucus in Detroit this past Thursday I was asked to describe the work I’m doing and planning for the community. Many of you know I run a morning diary series called Connect! Unite! Act! which posts every day at 7:30 AM Pacific. In that series we encourage readers to join their local In-Real-Life Kossack group for socializing, bonding and activism. Upcoming events of these groups are listed to encourage more people to attend. Events in the past have included happy hours, dinners, picnics, protests, meetings with candidates and registering voters. I have a group of volunteers who produce the series each morning. We currently have 62 groups. We hope to have 200 by mid-2016. Our ultimate goal is to have one in every congressional district to influence the progressive agenda. We think this is particularly important in red states.
To bolster this effort many of the Daily Kos staff are offering to contribute time and expertise. Chris Bowers, Director of the Activism Team, has the ability to use the Daily Kos email list to target ZIP Codes with invitations to join our local groups and attend events. Faith Gardner and Jen Hayden, who manage the Daily Kos Facebook interface, have offered to feature selected events on the Daily Kos wall and send invitations to target cities. To qualify for this boost, a group needs to have strong leadership that can catch and process every response from these invitations. Rachel Colyer on the Activism Team has offered to provide training to any Kossack group that would like to be part of a delegation to visit their state representatives (and sometimes deliver petitions) about important issues, such as Net Neutrality. These are valuable tools for expanding existing groups and initiating new ones. All of us are enthusiastic about this effort of on-the-ground work in your districts.
My adviser, Meteor Blades, and I are also in the process of selecting regional and state leaders to supervise and assist the efforts of local Kossack groups. More on that another time.
Today, I’d also like to announce that MB and I are in the planning stages to bring one-day Daily Kos mini-conferences to you. With the help of David Nir, our Political Director, we are in the process of selecting regions for these mini-conferences where we think progressive inroads can be made or where crucial fights and political challenges are under way.
There are some good opportunities to enhance progressive influence via these mini-conferences, which will be face-to-face day-long programs that include panels, speakers and trainings. These have the advantage of letting Kossacks and progressive friends network, become better informed and build enthusiasm for getting out the vote, supporting local progressive candidates and working in coalition with existing action-oriented groups like Moral Mondays.
Agendas will be set by the group leaders in each region and tailored to their political needs. Various Daily Kos staff will attend, often including Markos.
Again, we are only in the planning stages and considering the many ways to fashion these events. The first is being targeted for the first quarter of 2015, likely March. Obviously, strongly established Kossack groups will be needed to make these mini-conferences successful.
This coming Sunday I’m traveling to Arizona to meet with the Phoenix and Tucson Kossack groups and their respective leaders, Mother Mags and Azazello. Although Daily Kos will not be sponsoring Netroots Nation 2015 because it is being held in Arizona, we are in no way abandoning Kossacks and other progressives there. We hope to expand these groups and add more groups in other cities throughout the state.
Would you like to lead a group in your area? We just got Colorado Springs' Pike Peak Region Kossacks up and running. Please visit our interactive map of Kossack groups to find an existing group to join and if there isn't one near you consider leading one. Send me a kosmail if you're interested in being a part of this.
We need to mobilize a vast number of volunteers in this movement and we’re hoping to inspire you to raise your hand to join us.