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2009 Strategy Backgrounder
|Background information for the 2009 Strategy discussion|
As usual, there are discussion threads at the bottom of the page. Please discuss!
- Suits by the ACLU and EFF mean that telecom immunity has not yet come into force. See ? for the most recent legal roundup.
- Obama's executive actions in the first 100 days will tell us a lot about his intentions. The Liberty and Security coalition's Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress, EFF’s What Obama Can and Should do to Stop Telecom Immunity , CDT's Reform of the National Security Surveillance Laws and Procedures, and ACLU's transition plan have more
- With the PATRIOT Act sections 206 and 215 expiring at the end of the year unless extended, expect Congressional debate of wiretapping in the fall.
Deborah Pierce's FISA: A brief history is a short overview of FISA since 1978, and links out to more detailed discussions.
Thomas Nephew's FISA in the Bush years is a detailed timeline of actions and statements related to FISA by the executive branch and Congress from 2001-2008.
A brief history of Get FISA Right
In our first two weeks (June 26-July 9 2008), we became the largest group on my.barackobama.com, wrote an open letter to Barack -- and he responded. Some good reading here:
- Mardi's Please Don't ... Senator and Mike Stark's Will Obama feel the sting of social networking? kicked it off.
- Carlo Scannella's Nomadic Democracy covers our technology and organization
- Ari Melber's Online Activists Keep the Pressure on Obama sets us in the context of net movements
- Dawn Teo's Networked Obama FISA Group Takes Fight Forward is the definitive (so far) history of this time period
- Mike Stark's Why progressives should keep organizing on MyBarackObama.com has some forward-looking perspectives
- After the FISA vote on July 9, we shifted our attention to attempting to influence the Democratic party platform, via the "listening meetings" and the netroots platform. Reports from Platform Meetings from the discussion forums and Ronit Aviva Dancis' Reflecting on the Platform Draft are good overviews of this phase.
- Partnering with SaysMe.tv, we produced and aired two rounds of cable TV ads/YouTube videos. Sarah Lai Stirland's Opposed to Wiretap Amensty? Run a TV Ad for Six Bucks discusses Don't let our Constitution die; Jon Pincus' On the air in St. Paul covers the ads we aired at the Republican National Convention.
- After the conventions, members generally turned their attention to the election and there was virtually no activity other than fund-raising for a Senate candidate who was strong on civil liberties. Discussion resumed in mid-November; the Now what? page has an overview and links out to various topics.
- In December 2008, we began focusing on the Ideas for Change competition, continued our collaboration with SaysMe.tv onour next ad, and started planning for 2009, concentrating initially on communications channels and strategy
Key 2009 goals for anti-FISA forces
- Obama living up to his campaign promises: acting against immunity, respecting privacy and the rule of law
- Significant change in public opinion to the point where there's strong evidence that the vast majority of Americans (60%+) oppose continuing the "national surveillance state" approach to providing the illusion of security
- Congressional action: repeal of the PATRIOT Act and FISA reform
Challenges (and opportunities) for anti-FISA forces
- Explaining the problems with FISA in a succinct and emotionally-engaging way. FISA is an extremely complex topic with a long history, and there's no good "FISA 101", so it's been hard to reach people who aren't already engaged.
- Countering the inaccurate framing by proponents of surveillance that the underlying issue is a tradeoff between security and privacy.
- Getting beyond our traditional constituency (primarily older, white, progressives and libertarians) and engaging youth, immigrants, overseas military -- all of whom should be natural allies on this.
- Coordinating efforts more effectively. There are some difficult legal and organizational obstacles here (restrictions on activities of 501(c)3's and Congressional staffers), but 2008 saw substantial progress. Can we build on it?
- Communicating feedback to Congress. In July 2008, phone lines were backed up and voice mail boxes were overflowing; most Senators still believed that this reflected the views of only a small minority, and that most Americans don't care about accountability. How to change this dynamic?
- Applying activism lessons from the 2008 Obama campaign and other movements in the US and abroad to leap from activities online (and on op-ed pages) to the "real world".
Get FISA Right's mission and visionWe are in the process of developing both a mission statement and a vision statement -- although no work has been done on this for the last several months. For now, we have two versions of a mission statement currently in use on our various websites and materials:
We are a proud group of Obama supporters who believe in his call for hope and a new kind of politics. We ask Senator Obama, and other legislators, to reject the politics of fear on national security, and work to get FISA right.
We are a proud group of (organized but unofficial) Obama supporters who believe in Obama's call for hope and a new kind of politics. We are asking Congress and all Americans to reject the politics of fear, revisit this flawed bill, and safeguard the people's rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Get FISA Right's major strengths
- our members (the 23,000+ current ones and the ones we'll attract in the future) and their ability to collaborate effectively on different projects: our initial growth, the open letters, the platform work both in person and online, scripting and funding ads, strategy discussions
- Caveat: we don't currently have a direct communication channel with most of our members; see 2009 communication plan for more about how to improve the situation.
- our brand (as "the Obama supporters who organized on my.barackobama.com", although not yet as Get FISA Right)
Get FISA Right's major challenges
- communications. Our initial MyBO email-based communications orientation didn't scale and we haven't yet moved to something sustainable. See 2009 Communications channels for current thinking.
- our current partisan nature makes it difficult for 501(c)3's to cooperate with us
- all-volunteer group means that resource availability is hard to predict
- since mid-July, the progressive blogosphere has essentially ignored us; since they were a key component of our initial media strategy, we need to either recover the relationship or route around them
Latest page update: made by JonPincus
, Dec 26 2008, 1:15 PM EST
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