Monday, April 13, 2009

Netroots Organizing Beyond the Blogosphere

There are some people who are very quick to claim that bloggers just sit in their basements spinning out editorial after editorial. In some cases that might be correct, but it's been my experience that most credible bloggers usually take part in the political discussion in an "offline" manner as well. One example of this appears to be Aimee Fausser over at New Dominion Project who is organizing an event on April 16.
On Thursday, April 16, I will be leading a student led peaceful protest to commemorate the second anniversary of the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech, and an attempt to change some of the lax gun laws in Virginia and nationwide that allow criminals to easily purchase guns.

Exact place and time are to be determined, but we are planning on doing the lie-in sometime in the afternoon on April 16. The facebook group for the event is here:

We will lie down on the ground for three minutes in silence. Three minutes is the length of time it took the Virginia Tech shooter to purchase his weapon.
Now there are going to be some people who might disagree with this tactic since it focuses on the gun show loophole instead of addressing the overall concerns of the shooter's mental health. I tend to agree that there should be attention brought to these concerns, but I also believe this event isn't designed to necessarily cover the entire discussion surrounding gun safety -- it's supposed to serve as timely reminder of why many people want the gun show loophole closed.

Setting aside where you stand on the gun show loophole and the actual content of this peaceful protest, I think this helps to illustrate how bloggers are organizing outside of the blogosphere in order to stand up for what they believe is important. In this particular case, the netroots are simply being used to increased the influence that the event might have by drawing more attention (and potentially more participants) to the protest. Depending on what the bloggers are passionate about, many of Virginia's other progressive bloggers have spent time organizing similar grassroots efforts on their respective issues. I've done a lot of organizing around economic justice issues, for instance, and Miles Grant from The Green Miles has done a lot of work surrounding the environment. (There are obviously more, but these are just a few that quickly came to mind).

With all that being said, the question now comes down to whether you think the netroots are doing their part both online and off to influence the political discussion and make a difference in our community. If not, what would you like to see more action on? If so, what type of action have you seen bloggers take that you are enthusiatic about?

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