Organizing for America, the Obama campaign’s vast army of foot soldiers, wants your children.
OFA is basically the endless email list of activists and supporters compiled by Obama operatives during the 2008 campaign. Below is is a copy of an email sent out by OFA Deputy Director Jeremy Bird to its members.
The message, titled “Know any good organizers?” proposes a kind of summer camp devoted to training fresh new Obama campaign recruits.
OFA has always spooked me a little bit because it is the first mass political organization in the United States that I can remember that is devoted to a single politician who has actually achieved power. It’s technically housed within the Democratic National Committee, but it came out of the Obama campaign – where it was called “Obama for America” – and its allegiance to the president is clear.
That said, I’ve never seen any indication that this is a dangerous thing or that it could become one. But it makes me uncomfortable anyway.
Here’s a portion of the email. The bold lettering is from the original missive, not added by me.
This summer, Organizing for America will train a new team of summer organizers. The Summer Organizing Fellowship is a grassroots program that aims to put boots on the ground and help foster a new generation of leaders — not just to help win elections, but to strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.
We’re reminded nearly every day of the power of organizing — of people standing up and speaking out in their communities. And that kind of effective organizing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes commitment, time, and hard work to build a movement around a cause.
That’s exactly what our team of summer organizers will do.
They will be trained in the basic principles that have always built and powered effective grassroots movements, and will be assigned to a specific community where they’ll work to organize supporters street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood. They’ll recruit volunteers, run events, knock on doors, and do what it takes to support the President’s agenda. And, in the end, their work will take our grassroots power to an impressive new level.
And remember, it’s not just to help win elections, but to strengthen our democracy.