The corporate-ness of anti-war organizing

What’s the difference between grassroots organizing and “other” types of organizing?


When groups organize events, rallies, and protests, they usually solicit “sponsorship” from other organizations.  I have a problem with the word “sponsorship” because it implies financial backing – a concept completely antithetical to grassroots organizing.    Nonetheless, the groups with which I participate use that word even though we do not ask for money.  Most groups I know of around the country also use “sponsorship” in the same vein as our groups.   I prefer to use the words “participating organizations” or “endorsers”.  I am going to try to be more aware of this as I continue my activist activities.

Recently I learned of a group organizing protests that has been soliciting funds from various groups and businesses.    I learned that the group has a tiered level of sponsorship:  Gold, Platinum, and Silver.   

Additionally, some groups are charging as much as $100 tabling fee for the privelege of doing outreach at events, rallies, and protests.  Further, I was also recently informed that it’s not good “business or marketing sense” to use the word “solidarity” in publicizing our events.

It seems to be that some organizing is going corporate and grassroots concepts are being tossed for the big bucks.  Money is what gets the big names.  Money is what gets the best advertising in the newspapers and radio ads. 

But does money stop the war and occupation?  In the end, when it is all said and done, what is it REALLY that makes/will make the difference and the most impact? 

The Bushites and other corporate whores will not be stopped until there is an uprising BY THE PEOPLE.  I’m talking direct action.  People need to realize that all the money spent on rallies and protests, in the end, does not stop anything. At least so far.   I have never seen any direct actions coming out of the rallies and events here.  Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett are still supporting the war effort.

And now Hillary Clinton says she will continue the Iraq Occupation if elected president

So sure, money buys things but so far hasn’t made a difference.

What happened to the concept of passing the hat, of doing grassroots fundraising?   Are people really convinced that all the glamour and glitter of the big things money can buy will attract more people and, more importantly, get people inspired enough to do direct action?  Are masses of people boycotting businesses, turning off their televisions, getting rid of their cars because of the corporate-type rallies? 

No.  People get their feel-goods by attending rallies in their crisis-driven mentalities but then crawl back into their comfortable lifestyles and do not, as a general rule, get out and get active. 

I learned yesterday of a woman in Salt Lake who has never ever orgnanized anything in her life.  But something snapped this time and she has organized a small, brief vigil for folks after work on Monday night.  I wrote to her and told her way to go.  This is what is needed – more folks taking on actions in small steps – with no money needed, just the power of the people.

It’s the grassroots that will make a difference.  Not money.


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