Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Live from Las Vegas: Building Infrastructure

I just finished watching the panel on building progressive infrastructure. It was a lively and interesting discussion, focusing on assembling the people, organizations, and tools we'll need to take back our government and our country from the radical right.

A lot of the examples cited by the panelists (Markos, Jerome, Dave from Seeing the Forest, and David Sirota) are, unsurprisingly, recent ventures. Mentioned progressive groups included The Center for American Progress, Air America Radio, Media Matters, Progressive States Network, and others.

Markos, who was on the panel, reminded the audience that "the tools are there to build organically." What he meant, of course, was that the Internet has made it possible to create your own blog, venture, or grassroots political organization.

NPI itself is a such an organization - a volunteer think tank - built not using traditional resources, but mostly with the Internet, and at little to no cost. We're building infrastructure. And we're creating, maintaining, and using online tools for offline organizing.

It was good to listen to a discussion about creating infrastructure - think tanks, progressive media outlets, leadership institutions - because without it, the progressive movement can't win. This is strategic, long term thinking, planning for the future. The more organizations we have in place doing this kind of work - like Wellstone Action and Progressive Majority - the more quickly we'll be able to find our way out of the political wilderness.

Other panels going on at the same time as this one were: Changing Education, Communicating the Progressive Vision, Legal Roundtable, Environment Roundtable, and Engaged Television.

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