I was running down some names of investigative researchers I haven't heard from in awhile, and noticed that the Center for Democratic Renewal in Atlanta hasn't published anything in three years. Unable to locate anything more recent by two of the top undercover operatives in the US is more revealing about the state of affairs than I was prepared for.
Somehow I naively plugged away at my academic research and weblog writing, wrongly assuming that the Pacific Northwest was the only region devastated by philanthropic withdrawal from the pro-democracy movement. Now I understand what Devin Burghart from the Center for New Community in Chicago meant last December when I asked him how the network other than those present at the national human rights conference was doing, and he replied, "this is it."
Observing the current public process in Washington state, I notice the Democrats and organized labor have successfully hijacked the pro-immigrant human rights campaign, but have yet to overshadow the grassroots advocates. What is not clear at this point--just prior to next Monday's launch of the Minuteman/GOP joint campaign to retain Congress in the November election--is what organizing and subversion is taking place in the shadows.
Ten years ago, Public Good and our colleagues would have been on top of that, sharing information, as well as publishing reports and updates. As far as I can determine, no one is doing that today--a very unhealthy sign. But that's what happens when resources are withdrawn.
I'll be the first to admit our network has been impaired by starvation, and the Pacific Northwest is particularly vulnerable. One thing any potential funder will need to understand is that while we can hit the ground running on some stuff, other areas will need repair and rebuilding; you just can't neglect sociopolitical communications infrastructure for a decade and expect no deterioration.
If the Democrats get beat again in November, let alone in 2008, this country will likely have a nervous breakdown with unforeseen consequences, some indications of which we've meticulously elaborated on in recent posts at our weblog Skookum. Avoiding panic and confusion in our ranks might be aided by an estimate of the situation in the form of a white paper, which I am not inclined to produce, but would be willing to contribute to.
From where I sit, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, things are not looking good.