Is It Possible to Fight Back?

(Cross-posted at american street)

In the last couple of years I have researched and written about the massive communications “infrastructure” that the Right has built. Many of us bloggers refer to this infrastructure as the “Wurlitzer.”

The Right’s infrastructure is massively funded. One study, $1 Billion for Conservative Ideas, by David Callahan, showed that in the 1990s the Right’s funders pumped more than $1 billion into this ideological indoctrination campaign.

A good description of this infrastructure can be found in my report The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law. This report is written to trial lawyers and their organizations, discussing how and why they are under attack from the Right. (The real fun of this report is following the footnotes and reading the online sources I used.)

I wrote this report because believe that we can — and must — recognize and fight back against the Right’s machine, by building a counter-infrastructure or our own. But doing so takes money. Trial lawyers are a major source of funding for moderates and progressives, which is why they are being attacked by the Right. So I did the research and wrote the report, describing what is happening to trial lawyers, and how, and why, appealing to them to begin funding organizations to counter the Right’s machine. The report has been embraced by the American Trial Lawyers Association, and they have passed it along to the state trial lawyer organizations, and several of these have publicized (another example here) and/or sent the report to their members.

I am working on similar reports (if I can find the funding to continue) written for Organized Labor, School Employees, Mainstream Religious Organizations and Philanthropic Foundations, each describing the Right’s attack on their particular interests and making the case for funding a counter-infrastructure to counter the Right. Each of these groups have been major funders of moderate and progressive activities in the past (which is why they are under attack from the Right) and I am hoping that with enough information about the Right’s efforts to attack their interests they can be persuaded direct their funding efforts toward a broad counter-attack. If you know of individuals or organizations that would be interested in assisting me with this effort by helping to fund these reports, please contact me.

Also, for your enjoyment and terror, I have collected what I think is the most complete collection of links to online sources of information about the “conservative movement” here. (Please let me know of any significant articles, reports, etc. that might be missing.)

So all of this is my humble attempt to help trigger an organized, funded response to the Right’s decades-long effort to swing the country toward their ideological belief system. It’s a dirty job, but…

It IS Possible to Fight Back

The beneficiaries of the Right’s efforts are the corporations, and the corporations have donated a lot of money to the Right’s efforts.

But the beneficiaries of OUR efforts are THE PEOPLE. And there are a LOT of people! In the last national election Al Gore received 51 million votes. (Actually, 50,999,897, but who’s counting — especially in Florida.)

Howard Dean is on to something when he talks about raising $200 million from 2 million people, each giving $100. He is really, really on to something. I want to push this idea further. If each committed Progressive donated $100 each year toward fighting the Right, we would raise hundreds of millions of dollars – over the next decade this would add up to billions, far surpassing that $1 billion the Right spent in the 1990s on their organizations.

I think we should introduce a new ethic into Moderate and Progressive thinking. I think we need to see that it is our duty to donate money to help build and continue to fund organizations that will fight back against the Right. I think we can all see the need for this now. I think we can all feel the urgency. I propose a campaign to persuade every single Moderate and Progressive that it is their duty to donate at least $100 each per year to Moderate and Progressive organizations. We can call this effort something like “The Earth is Worth $100,” or “The Fight-the-Right Tax is $100 Per Year.” Think of it as cheap tithing.

If each Gore voter donated $100 this would raise more than $5 BILLION each year. This is not realistic, but I am demonstrating that even without the traditional funding sources – labor, foundations, etc. – it IS possible to raise the amounts of money necessary to take on the Right.

The site counter for this [american street] website shows that the average daily readership of the american street is 1470 individuals. If each of these readers gave $100 american street would raise $147,000. Yes, if our readers followed the $100 commitment principle, just this weblog alone could raise $147,000, which is almost enough for seed money to launch one organization. With this money an organization could begin hiring and start serious fundraising and PR efforts to reach another 10,000 people donating $100 each, raising $1,000,000 for operations. I’m not saying we should do this today — I’m showing how the $100 principle would enable even small groups to start building an organization that works to counter the Right’s propaganda.

DailyKOS’ hit counter says its average daily readership is 109,610. If each of those readers donated $100 that would raise $10,961,000, sufficient to launch and fund for a year three or four serious organizations. And those 109,000 people are still only a fraction of the number of Moderates and Progressives in the United States. This is serious money we’re talking about.

Projecting an aura of defeat is one of the Right’s tactics against us. So many of us believe the fight is hopeless, that the RIght has all the money and it is useless to even try to respond. But never forget that there are more of us than them, and never forget that we are fighting AGAINST war, and FOR the earth, and FOR helping others, and that Progressive ideals of sustainability, and building community, and sharing, and cooperating and nurturing are healthier and stronger than the dark, negative, intolerant, fearful, materialistic, divisive, hateful, jealous and cultish ideology of the Right. We not only CAN win, we MUST win!

So what do YOU think? Is this an idea worth persuing? And if so, how? Are YOU giving at least $100 per year? Is a commitment to give $100 per year to Moderate and Progressive organizations too much to ask to take America back from the nightmare we find ourselves in?