It was almost exactly four years ago, some time in February of 2007, when I showed up to a meeting in a rented church hall with a lot of like minded individuals from my community for the first gathering of what became East Bay for Obama.
If you read my diaries over the last four years, you would know what happened next: Barack Obama ruined my life. Rewrote all my plans. Worked me harder than I ever imagined. And I couldn't be happier about it. Of course I thought I was done in November of 2008. Of course I was totally wrong about that.
Now here we are four years later, and the stakes are actually higher. We have to defend what we've managed to win -- at such great cost -- all over again. Which means we have to be the most organized and effective volunteer political force in history. Again.
Now we have an online space to meet, talk, share, plan and organize.
It's called 4more, and it's a new Daily Kos User Group.
If you want to get involved in the re-elect, or just learn more about it, that's where we'll be.
Fortunately, I have amazing partners to help in launching and managing this endeavor: Benintn,casperr, Eclectablog, and Populista. You probably are already familiar with their blogging from reading their diaries about their experiences with grassroots organizing, the 2008 and 2010 campaigns and the fight for health reform. (I should mention that casperr gets the hat tip for the name, which she thinks makes a great hashtag too - #4more - let's get it out there).
But we need you! We need lots of people to write diaries and read and comment and participate, and to share what you are working on, how you are organizing and what it's like on the ground. I've been hearing stories already about neighborhood teams and volunteer organizers who are not waiting for anything or anyone, but creatively thinking about how to counter the tea party or talk to their communities about what this election means. Or simply beginning to build and rebuild local organization so it's ready for the fight. Other people need to know about that, and about how to get involved.
We're organizers, so we know a few groundrules and norms can make the difference between success and failure. Here's what we propose as the organizing principles of 4more:
1. We are organizers promoting action and engagement, and building relationships among participants, in order to increase our collective political power. We recognize that hope, confidence, empowerment, accountability, and belief in the possibility to make change are qualities that support organizing and action and help us overcome the many obstacles to making change in this world. We will share knowledge, celebrate success, and build community. We will respond to and challenge fear, despair, cynicism and disillusionment.
2. This group's diaries will all relate to one central topic: volunteer grassroots organizing and action on behalf of President Obama's re-election campaign. This is not a policy forum. This is not a general group about democratic politics or the Democratic Party or other 2012 campaigns. It's about winning one critical election campaign, and it's about doing something other than just talking about it. This includes sharing information about volunteer opportunities supporting the re-elect, teaching and "best practices" diaries about organizing and fieldwork, sharing stories of what volunteers are doing on the ground, measuring and documenting our results, learning from our mistakes, and collaborating on effective strategies for organizing and messaging. Meta conversations about the relationship between the netroots and the President are too often a distraction from the serious work that needs to get done, and a hindrance to building community -- we will be focusing on action instead.
3. This group is a completely unofficial, grassroots effort, by and for volunteers who have a personal interest in and commitment to making sure Barack Obama is re-elected in 2012. No paid staff of the re-election campaign itself, or of OFA, the DNC or any Democratic Party organization can be administrators or editors of the group. If there's an outstanding and useful diary by a staffer, who properly discloses his/her status and identity, we might decide to post it to the group page. But all editorial decisions will be made by volunteers. (And just for the record, the founding admins came up with the idea of having this group totally on our own -- no one from the White House, OFA, or the DNC, or involved in building the formal re-election campaign structure has asked us to do this -- or even knows about it.)
4. We support and respect all organizing work in support of Democrats. On this site, and on the ground, we work in coalition and we play well with other action groups. We will seek out opportunities to share content with other groups supporting general calls to action, organizing and field work, and action in support of other Democratic campaigns, even as we focus on one campaign.
5. We will make every effort to do no harm to the campaign or the President. We know even though we are unofficial our work, statements, and actions will be the basis for how other people decide to support the President and the re-elect, and we will write and act in ways that make us effective representatives.
6. We welcome broad participation in this group and its diaries. All diaries written by admins and editors and posted to the group, and any diaries we republish to the group page, will follow these guidelines. Anyone can request an invitation to join as a member by posting that request in a comment to a diary by an admin or editor, or by messaging to the group. Any diary written by a member and posted to the group queue that follows these guidelines will be published to the group page by the admins and editors. We hope that over time members who significantly contribute to the group will become editors and admins. We welcome any Daily Kos users who are interested to follow, read and comment in the diaries, following existing site community moderation guidelines. We will promote and encourage a culture of respectful and productive debate.
7. We will be flexible and open to improvements in how we carry out this core mission. We recognize this group, its mission and how we all participate in it will evolve between now and November 2012. We look forward to input from all of you that will make it even better as an organizing forum for the re-elect.
Want to join us? It's easy:
Go to the 4 more profile page, and click the word "follow" next to the little heart in the profile box. Then you will start seeing content of the group on your page. It will be a little slow at first, but we expect it to pick up.
If you want to do more than just read and comment and get information, and you want to be a writer for the group, send us at message at the group profile, or comment below, and we will add you as a member. Even if you don't want to commit to be a regular writer or an editor, if you have a diary that fits our group, send us a message about it and we can re-post it to the group for you.
I look forward to seeing what we can collectively build online here, and how it can support active offline engagement. Because I know that Change Is Possible, as long as we work together, share our knowledge and help keep each other engaged and motivated. Welcome to 4more.