The Organizing 2.0 site has been live for about a week, and the number of signups to our announcement list is already over 50. This affirms our initial understanding: that a huge hunger exists in the social justice and activist community for taking online organizing more seriously in New York.
KJ and Fureigh have been working on a questionnaire meant to elicit the themes and workshops from those intending to attend. This process of turning the audience into content creators – essentially sharing control with anyone who raises their hand – is what makes something ‘2.0.’
It’s an approach that shares a lot with popular education philosophy, and in that sense shouldn’t be seen as a new approach. But for many of us, the institutions that have or seek to gain power are fairly top down, hierarchical structures, and it’s not easy to make the mental switch to allowing the grassroots to become the visible decision makers.
That said, it’s a model that seems to be working quite well for some of the behemoths of the new economy – Amazon and eBay come to mind. Many in the philanthropy world have raised millions of dollars following this approach, as Kiva and DonorsChoose are doing. Finally, some very successful candidates gained tremendously by unleashing the power of grassroots supporters to take charge.
What prevents our organizations from taking advantage of this approach? What can we do to address those challenges?