On July 12, the Washington Post ran an unintentionally humorous article from staff writer Krissah Thompson about an unintentionally humorous organization, “One Nation,” a new coalition of liberal groups designed to combat the tea party movement. They are not to be confused with One Nation, about Islam in America; or One Nation, a far right Australian nationalist splinter party; or One Nation, a California initiative to end bilingual education; or One Nation, a free newspaper in the twin cities; or One Nation, an Internet Gospel FM radio station; or One Nation, who describe themselves with the following:
More than 300,000 American citizens who have joined together to defend our private property rights, protect the free enterprise system, and reform seriously flawed federal Indian policy for the benefit of Indians and non-Indians alike.
I could go on but you get the idea, and maybe you should be confused, at least until the new “One Nation” gets an address and starts posting information about itself. Even its friends are confused, such as the writer of this post on the left-wing blog Firedoglake, who has “questions”:
One question I have is to what extent the new One Nation coalition will go beyond the “usual suspects,” (e.g., labor unions, immigrants’ rights groups, and existing community organizations) to reach a broader constituency (like people who spend too much time on FDL, or volunteered for Obama but have since disengaged).
Does anyone out there know which other organizations are among the 170 groups referenced by the Post? Do any of you out there belong to one of these 170 groups and have the ability to share more information?
The second set of questions are about how One Nation will be structured. Can anyone join, either as an individual or an organization? If so, how will they be represented among the coalition’s leadership? Will they have a vote on goals and strategies? Will they be able to debate those priorities before taking a vote? Will they elect delegates to represent them on the coalition board? Will the process for making decisions be decentralized to involve many local groups or tightly controlled by a centralized leadership structure?
If One Nation turns into another top-down exercise in which a few self-selected leaders issue marching orders, I don’t see how it differs that much from MoveOn, Organizing for America, Democracy for America, the Coffee Party, Health Care for America Now, or Progressive Democrats of America. What will motivate new groups of people to organize and recruit in their communities and to participate in the coalition, if they have no voice in the decision-making process?
Finally, does One Nation have an address (i.e., a representative who can be contacted)? The Post article (and posts on a number of right-wing blogs that are much more obsessed than their left-wing counterparts with how progressives are organizing) is all that comes up in a Google search. It would be great to know who can answer questions about the new coalition, since this effort should be of significant interest to progressive netroots activists and others who may want to be involved.
Good questions all, but they too don’t get the joke — not surprising, since “progressive netroots activists,” like the mainstream press reporters they so often resemble, are also not known for their sense of humor.