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Change is no simple matter in American politics-a fact that Americans have recently learned well. Elections rarely produce the change they promise. After the vote, power vacuums fill with familiar values, if not faces. Promises give way to fiscal realities, hope succumbs to pragmatism, and ambition concedes to inertia. The old tricks of interest groups - confuse, diffuse, scare - prevail over the better angels of American nature.But populist energy can get change making and ...
Change is no simple matter in American politics-a fact that Americans have recently learned well. Elections rarely produce the change they promise. After the vote, power vacuums fill with familiar values, if not faces. Promises give way to fiscal realities, hope succumbs to pragmatism, and ambition concedes to inertia. The old tricks of interest groups - confuse, diffuse, scare - prevail over the better angels of American nature.But populist energy can get change making and change-makers back on the right track.
The key to success, though, says acclaimed consumer advocate Jamie Court, is getting downright mad. It's anger, not hope, that fuels political and economic change. And in 2010 America, anger rules. But it needs to be vectored and focused if it is to succeed in fueling the type of change that the majority of Americans believe in.
If we want that change, the kind that polls show 60 percent of Americans believe in, we need to do more than vote every two to four years or wait for a new president to learn the tactics of confrontation. The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell is a road map filled with concrete tips and rules of the road that average people can use to force change between elections.
How can progressives get what they believed they voted for? Court, a longtime organizer of ballot campaigns and other initiatives, tells readers how to heat up their issue, take grassroots action, organize their community, use publicity to their advantage, employ internet and social media to build support, and get the change they want.
Americans angry about the state of their government or the fallout from the BP oil disaster might find in Court's persuasive manifesto a cause for action. As the president of Consumer Watchdog, the California-based consumer advocacy organization, Court has gone toe-to-toe with powerful politicians and corporations--and won. Without straying far from Advocacy 101, Court provides a how-to on taking a stand and making a difference. Following "10 rules of Populist Power," "Rousing Public Opinion in a New Media Age" explores the use of the Internet to rally and mobilize support. For instance, MoveOn, with over five million members, has become "one of the most successful Internet-based political groups in America." Court also outlines how to build a "Populist 2.0 Platform" using e-advocacy, blogging, social media, and other technologies. Other chapters serve as case studies for taking on energy companies (the author was once recruited into a California task force on gas prices), Wall Street, and Governor Schwarzenegger ("Taming Arnold"). With great accessibility and a fired-up attitude, Court brings his lessons in empowerment to the people.
"Tough, smart, strategic. Read it and take action. NOW."--Robert Greenwald, director and producer of Iraq for Sale and Out-Foxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, founder of Brave New Films
"Political 'leaders' can only lead if there is a parade for them to get in front of. They can act effectively only if the public forces them to. Progressives need to start many more parades. Jamie Court tells you how in this guidebook to action."--George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant! and The Political Mind
"I've often said, 'First we will elect people who we can talk to into positions of power, and then we will hold their feet to the fire so we get real change. This book is the manual for holding Democratic feet to the fire."--Howard Dean, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Vermont governor; author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform
1 The Art of Change 1
2 Ten Rules of Populist Power 15
3 Rousing Public Opinion in a New Media Age 44
4 Building Your Own Populist 2.0 Platform 60
5 Getting the Affordable Health Care You Voted For 75
6 Taming Arnold: A Blueprint for Confronting the Audacity of Phony Change 105
7 Direct Democracy: Using the Ballot Measure to Get the Change You Want 128
8 The Road to Cheaper and Cleaner Energy 144
9 Bringing Wall Street Back Under Control 165
10 Stopping the Wars and Reinvesting in America 180
11 Making Your Opinion Count 185
About the Author 211