Building a movement
August 22, 2005
The Democracy Alliance plans to spend a whole lotta money remaking progressive politics, according to Salon.com:
The effort has already attracted a group of about 80 wealthy donors who hope to eventually raise upward of $200 million for the cause. But their work has so far been kept a close secret. Eight months after forming, the Alliance has almost no public profile. It has yet to hold a press conference or issue a press release. [LINK]As the article goes on to explain, this secrecy is part of "a decidedly top-down approach":
In April, the group met for the first time at a private retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz., where Soros ran a question and answer session with donors. Experts presented data on the spending and structure of conservative think tanks, and the political impact of bloggers. "The quality of the people who were gathered together in Scottsdale was breathtaking," says the Alliance donor, who did not mention their other benefit: a massive net worth.
People close to the Alliance say the group plans to meet again in the coming months to hear reports from task forces that have been established to research four broad areas of possible investment: ideas, media, leadership and civic engagement. This could lead to funding all manner of new or expanded think tanks, media outlets, leadership training programs, as well as programs to organize the grass roots at the state and national levels.How nice that all we plebians have to do is follow their plan. We can always hope for the best, but this kind of closed-door elitism usually makes for bad politics. Most of the "experts" on the progressive side tend to be white, educated D.C.-oriented professionals. When major decisions about spending are made by folks with little or no knowledge about grassroots politics, we'll most likely end up with a more progressive version of the DLC -- better politics, but not all that more effective.