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News ::
Messaging O3: Pro-Democracy Protests
17 Sep 2000
Are you tired of being characterized as against something! What are we for? What is our vision for the future? The way we frame our vision and movement greatly influences the public perception and the media's ability to twist our message. In framing the message at the debates who are we?
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Messaging O3: Pro-Democracy Protests
17 Sep 2000
As the excitement builds for actions against the
presidential debates, I've become excited that we
can use these events to greatly expand our
coalition and create a clear message that cannot
be negatively characterized in the media, but
also somewhat concerned that the focus of the
actions has become too narrow. These actions have
the chance of becoming campaigns with winnable
and measurable goals rather than simply another
mass action. Just a few ideas:

1. I'm tired of being characterized as against
something! What are we for? What is our vision
for the future? The way we frame our vision and
movement greatly influences the public perception
and the media's ability to twist our message.
Right now - we are considered and framed as
"anti-corporate," "anti-globalization," etc. In
framing the message at the debates who are we?
Are we going to be framed as Anti-Debates,
Anti-Republican/Democrats, or possibly even worse
characterized as simple Pro-Nader (which entirely
separates us from those supporting the other two
candidates)? How can we create a
characterization for us that is inclusive and
hard to portray in a negative sense (we know
that's what the media will attempt) For
instance, the Anti-Choice movement has been great
at framing themselves as "Pro-Life." No one is
going to come out and say they are "Anti-Life",
thus abortion supporters have successful labeled
themselves as "Pro-Choice".

Proposal: We need to frame/label ourselves
before the media or our opposition does. A
single word keeps coming to mind whenever I
ponder this issue. While our exact definitions
vary, most of us characterize ourselves as
"pro-democracy" - If we could pull this off,
think of the possible headlines "police attack
pro-democracy protesters," "pro-democracy
activists rally in Boston to restore people
power" While patriotism makes many of sick, it is
a powerful force when it comes to public opinion.
Framing the call to action and media work around
"pro-democracy rallies" accomplishes this goal.

2. The only issue I keep hearing discussed in
reference to the protests is Nader's inclusion in
the debates. While I fully support Nader and
plan to vote for him, this leaves out a whole lot
of people that may be our allies. The issue of
inclusion needs to be broader than a simple focus
on Nader. We do not want to seem beholden to any
Party, but beholden to the idea of a democracy
free from corporate control. The same forces
that area excluding Nader are also excluding
other candidates who are on enough ballots to
hypothetically win. While it could be very
messy, I'd love to see citizens who are pissed at
Buchanan's exclusion from the debates out there.
While the man makes Bush look like a Saint, he
still does have a following and has a right to be
heard. Let's not let the media portray us as
Left-wing. This is about up and down not left
and right. So, let's send a message "open the
debates up or we'll shut'em down" and attempt to
stomach outreach to folks to would agree with us
on this issue, but we'd in general be at odds
with and view this not as just another mass
action, but rather a campaign with a winnable
short-term goal.

3. So what about the rest of the population that
support neither Nader nor Buchanan or any other
Third Party candidates? How about another all
inclusive demand. Demand that the candidates not
accept any more soft money (the unlimited
corporate gifts to the parties) and donate the
soft money they have on hand to non-profits
working on voter registration and getting out the
vote. Not many people can disagree with a goal
of revitalizing our democracy in that way. And
it makes the candidates look as undemocratic as
they are when they refuse.


So . . . .

CALL TO ACTION
Come to Boston October 3rd for Pro-Democracy
Rallies at the First Presidential Debate

1) Open up the debates to all viable candidates
or let's expose them for the anti-democratic sham
they are. Open em up or we'll shut em down through non violent direct action!

2) Give Democracy back to the people. Current
political campaigns run by the Democrats and
Republicans resemble more of a brothel for
corporate interests than a forum for the people.
Demand that all political parties either return
all soft money contributions and refuse all
future offers or donate the contributions to
non-profit, non-partisan organizations working to
revitalize our democracy through voter
registration and getting out the vote
My Two Cents
18 Sep 2000
What I beleive the first and foremost goal of this movement should be is Campaign Finance Reform.
It's funny that as I was reading your post I just happened to be wearing my GrannyD T-shirt
that I picked up when I went to DC to March down K-Street with her.
There were only about 2000 of us. There should have been 2,000,000.
I find it extremely frightening that most people just don't see that no other
progress can be made on any front , be it Environmental , Human Rights, Labor ,IMF ,World Bank,
WTO , the debates etc. until corporate contributions to politicians is declared ILLEGAL.

I proposed in an E-mail to our "GrannyD Network" that we reach out to all of the above
and stress this point.

I proposed that the response that any protestor should give to the press is this.

"We're here to see that fat cat
lobbyists can no longer bribe our public servants and destroy our people ,our democracy
or the planet.... we want campaign finance reform and open debates.

Only after this is accomplished can we move forward on other fronts.




Election Reform should be primary focus
20 Sep 2000
Dear Tolstoy1:

When you say....
I find it extremely frightening that most people just don't see that no other progress can be made on any front , be it Environmental, Human Rights, Labor ,IMF ,World Bank,
WTO , the debates etc. until corporate contributions to politicians is declared ILLEGAL.

I would rather say...
I find it extremely frightening that most people just don't see that no other progress can be made on any front, be it Environmental, Human Rights, Labor, IMF, World Bank,
WTO, the debates etc. until Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation is implemented.

Think about it...wouldn't there be SO much less "campaign finance" problems to reform if it weren't a big two-party monopoly, winner-take-all system? Where the winner taking all doesn't even need to get a mjority of the votes?

You have to address the root causes first: corporate money comes in BECAUSE there are ways for politicians to give out pork to corporations. They can get away with it on the scale they do--the corruption can grow to the levels it does--because the choices have been narrowed to two parties (and to only ONE party in some areas of the US).

I agree that we need to change the rules: we need to change how the election system works. We need more than two choices. We need to make it possible for different views to get represented. Proportional Representation for the House of Representatives would do that. And, "Instant Runoff Voting" would let you vote for who you really want to for President, without worrying about swinging the vote toward the lesser of the two evils. If you didn't have your vote narrowed to two choices, the 'corporate Republocrats' couldn't buy the elections so easily.

After election reform, the campaign finance problem will be a *much* easier problem to address!

See also:
http://www.igc.org/cvd/irv/muppets/index.html