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Activism, Inc., by Dana Fisher

By an everyday book reader
April 1, 2007

This book introduces America to an increasingly familiar political actor: the canvasser. She's the twenty-something with the clipboard, stopping you on the street or knocking on your door, the foot soldier of political campaigns.

Granted unprecedented access to the "People's Project," an unknown yet influential organization driving left-leaning grassroots politics, Dana Fisher tells the true story of outsourcing politics in America.

This book offers a chilling review of the consequences of political outsourcing. Connecting local people on the streets throughout America to the national organizations and political campaigns that make up progressive politics, it shows what happens to the passionate young activists outsourced to the clients of Activism, Inc.

Activism, Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America
by Dana R. FisherBook Picture

Hardcover: 168 pages
ISBN: 9780804752176, 0804752176
Lonely Planet
September 2006

Like the major corporations that outsourced their customer service to companies abroad, the grassroots campaigns of national progressive movements - including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Save the Children, and the Human Rights Campaign - have been outsourced at different times to this single organization. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the Democratic Party followed a similar outsourcing model for their canvassing.

Fisher examines the history and rationale behind political outsourcing on the Left, weaving together frank interviews with canvassers, high-ranking political officials across the political spectrum, and People's Project management.

She compares all of this to the grassroots efforts on the Right, which remain firmly grounded in communities and local politics.

It's an unprecedented look at grassroots level progressive politics, the connection between the young people canvassing on the streets and the national organizations, the different strategies of the Right and the Left, and what happens to the passionate young activists outsourced to the clients of Activism, Inc.

"This book describes how grassroots politics has withered and what must be done to revive it. A timely message for America in the 21st century." - Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

"Dana Fisher's Activism, Inc. is an extraordinarily important and incisive book, both readable and extremely well informed. An insider's look at today's civic activism and Democratic Party campaigns, it could well catalyze a national debate on the future and nature of progressive politics." - Harry C. Boyte, Co-Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

"What a delicious political irony! Progressivism, champion of the 'little person,' has organized its grassroots outreach like a 19th-century meat-packing plant, burning out young workers with low pay, long hours, and regimented, alienating working conditions. In this imminently readable, insightful volume, Dana Fisher brings us face to face with this counterintuitive state of affairs. Conservatives may draw some comfort from it. But as Americans, we should all be alarmed at the pitiless strip-mining of our young peoples' idealism." - William A. Schambra, Director, Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, Hudson Institute

Dana R. Fisher is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Her first book, National Governance and the Global Climate Change Regime, was published in 2004.

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This page contains only one entry posted to Everyday Citizen on April 1, 2007 12:11 PM.

The blog post previous to it is titled "The Impossible Will Take a Little While, by Paul Rogat Loeb"

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