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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Permanent Defense turns nine

Nine years ago today, Permanent Defense was born... and I became an activist.

It's hard for me to believe, but an astonishing one hundred and eight months have gone by since NPI's first project (which actually predates NPI) came online. I can still remember drawing up the initial plans for the site, channeling all of my frustration and concern about voters' mindless acceptance of Tim Eyman's initiatives into something much more solid than unhappy feelings.

I became an activist that day without realizing it.

I knew I was taking a stand against a threat to Washington's future, but what I didn't know is that I'd discovered my destiny.

My involvement in politics has greatly shaped who I am and what I believe. There's been ups and downs, and some of the downs have been rather painful. But what surprises me is how determined I still feel after nine years of doing this. I've never burned out, though at times I've been quite weary. (I can certainly empathize with those who have decided they just don't have the time to be an activist.)

If I had to choose this path again, knowing what it would entail, I would, because improving the human condition is that important to me.

I have been fortunate, in this endeavor, to meet some truly wonderful people, who have assisted me in helping to realize NPI and PD's potential — and are continuing to do so. I started this journey myself, but these days, I've got plenty of company in NPI's staff and board, and for that, I am tremendously thankful.

I couldn't do what I do without them.

Nine years is a long time to be committed to something. It's an even longer span of time when you consider how relatively young the digital age still is. Permanent Defense is older than most of the local blogosphere and even much of the national blogosphere (Daily Kos, for instance, is several months younger than PD).

Permanent Defense is also many years older than much of the technology it now runs on. It was originally built with a buggy Java applet which took a long time to load over the slow dialup connections that were more common at the time.

Now it's powered by a robust free software stack that NPI's staff can manage over broadband from just about anywhere, even when we're in motion.

The evolution in the project's technology is symbolic of the larger evolution the project has undergone, and that I've undergone as an activist.

When I started Permanent Defense, I had no training, no resources, no volunteer help, no advanced knowledge in server administration or even website construction. I used a few basic tools that were available to me to build Permanent Defense in its first incarnation. I resolved to keep the project going and keep improving it for as long as I could. To date, I've been successful, and as I mentioned, I've got the best help I could ask for.

As I do every year, I've posted a statement recapping the last year of operations and looking ahead to the next one.

You can read this anniversary message on PD's site.

In conjunction with PD's ninth anniversary, we're launching a Rapid Response team, comprised of supporters who'd like to help NPI's staff man the first line of defense against right wing initiatives that threaten Washington's common wealth.

If you'd like to become part of the team, you can sign up over at Permanent Defense's volunteer page. Serving on the team is a great way to make a difference if you don't have a lot of time to devote to the cause, and allows NPI's staff to do more organizing and infrastructure-building.

Thanks to all who have supported Permanent Defense and NPI in the past, especially early on. Here's to a successful tenth year of opposing right wing initiatives and fighting Tim Eyman.


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