Sunday, March 28, 2010

An interesting article about strategy and discipline

There's an interesting article at the online version of Atlantic Magazine:

Although I don't think there are many parallels between adoption reform advocates and the Tea Party activists, I do think that it would be fruitful for adoption advocates to think about message discipline.


Blogger joy said...

I just heard an interesting radio show on the Tea Partiers and the Republican party leadership on NPR with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This also makes me think of a movie I saw recently based on the book "What's wrong with Kansas?"

Which really connects the dots from a time I remember, Terry Randall and Operation Rescue's "summer of mercy" ? was it, or some sort of whatnot. How those extremists spread their message, politicized their followers and hijacked the Republican party. The Republican party of the 1980s disappeared by the mmid 1990s.

I mean it truly is amazing how quickly and bloodlessly social change can occur. Mostly, just by people talking, velvet revolutions and all that.

Also, the clip in the article that you linked is all about ridicule, a tatic that is embraced by some, some you endorse.

So I am not sure what you are saying here, perhaps you could extrapolate?

It was an interesting well-written piece you linked to. While I like the premise, I don't have faith in it. I don't see anyone being held accountable. Last I heard Sarah Palin's website featured a graphic of democratic politicians in cross-hairs. I haven't seen it, so this is second hand, but still?!!!!

Where is the outrage?

I am not seeing the accountability or the decent people speaking up when they call Obama "Hitler".

I am seeing apathy and growing foot-holds, and hearing about conferences being held teaching the tea-partiers how to organize more effectively, which the Operation Rescuerers did quickly and effectively accomplish.

I mean the whole "birthers" movement, which I saw someone link to on obc discussion. Of course completely disregarding the fact that Obama is an American citizen due to the fact that his mother is, and McCain wasn't born in America.

Oh, and see now I have gone-off. As this relates to adoption, adoptee-activists and our own fractured dilemma, I would ask you be more specific.

If you are suggesting, as I am interpreting, that olive branches are offered, and more respect is afforded between fractions, leading by example is a terrific start.

Although, as I said before, am unclear to the exact meaning of this post and do not like approximation.

11:14 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:08 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

I just thought it was an interesting article on organizing, discipline and accountability, and wasn't actually thinking it had a direct correlation to adoption politics. I'm fascinated by all aspects of organizing and politics and reckon there are always lessons to be learned from the struggles of others. The meaning of the post is what it is, a link to a well-written article.

I have no idea what factions I would hand an olive branch to, the reform movement is not generally organized well enough to actually have factions. None of them have done any serious work in outreach, so none of them can realistically claim to represent anyone but themselves. I think if I were to reenter adoption politics I would ignore the existing groups like the AAC and BN and outreach to adoptees who haven't been sucked into the existing internecine squabbles. There are millions of them, there are only a few hundred in the various factions.

As for ridicule, "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, which then react to your advantage." RfR page 128

There you go, chapter and verse.

12:08 AM

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's possible that if the Tea Partiers cleaned up their ranks--purged the birthers, publicly rebuked people like this guy, banned Hitler signs, loudly rejected any instances of racism--that they simply wouldn't have much of a movement left"

That is where adoption politics differs somewhat in a positive way. If you banned the equivalent of the birthers, the toters of assault weapons and the Hitler lovers you'd still have plenty of people to approach and message. I suggest you do it.

12:10 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

The mainstream of the adoption reform movement is so conflict-averse that they wouldn't want to offend anyone by banning anyone...

1:43 PM  
Blogger joy said...

I share your fascination with the organization of people, how it happens, when it is effective. Like the use of song in the civil rights movement, stunning. Really stunning.

We need adoptees who can sing. Lol.

I mean while I am very interested in these things, I also get very discouraged, our "community" or lack thereof as adoptees, faces unique hurdles.

Shame and loyalty issues seem to be the biggest obstacles I see. That is why I see the ridicule that worked for Alinsky, not working for us, unless it is only directed toward the real power brokers in this game.

While there are exceptions, there are a lot of adoptees, I would say the majority, who embrace their subjugation, who think it wins them praise and acceptance.

Organizing this community requires and original approach. Not, that I know what it is, but that issue I recognize.

It is very daunting and sad.

We aren't fighting for jobs, we aren't in ghettos, we are fighting for something much more elusive, the right to be not 75% citizens, but whole ones.

How do you convince other adoptees that they have that right?

1:22 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

The actual goal of adoption reform is to change relatively small bits of state law that regulate our lives. That is immensely doable.

In my experience, adoptees are like most people. Most of the adoptees I've met support open records. But then I don't spend much time trying to convince them that they're psychologically damaged or immersed in some fog. That can be a real buzz kill. Most people have conflicted relationships with their parents. I know adults who can't tell their Republican parents or even their spouses, that they've registered as Democrats. My job isn't to be their family therapist, but to get them to the polls.

You know, it's real easy to piss and moan about how hard it is to reach adoptees when you don't have a clear strategy in place to do so, or to do so would entail critiquing the strategy you do have. Classic organizing uses concentric circles of contact, start with ten people you know, and convince them to spread the word to ten people they know. The keys are metrics: measurable growth, databases, and achievable goals that demonstrate growth, in real life.

It's been interesting watching the recent spate of petitions around open records, specifically the ones on In reality petitions, especially online petitions, don't have much impact. Their primary purpose is to gather information on the people who sign them, and as such they are a good organizing tool. They are instant lists of supporters. The and other online petitions? Not so much, because the authors of the petitions don't get access to the contact info of the people who signed, did.

The goal of the open records advocates, IMO, should be about growing the base, first and foremost. Take a two-year moratorium from legislative lobbying, retool. Set a goal, in two years have half a million supporters. This is doable. Eveything else is just doo wop.

10:12 AM  

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