Obama’s grassroots organizers return

| May 6, 2009

I attended a meeting hosted by Organizing for America Monday May 4 at Joyful Furniture on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, about 120 people present, with 2 state organizers presiding. The goal was to solicit ideas about how to organize Obama supporters, what was right and wrong about how they did the campaign at the grassroots level, etc. The two state (paid) people, Jennifer Cheyne and Gabriel Lifton-Zoline, were quite impressive, and the process went well.

One interesting note is that (as I am perhaps the last to figure out) there also exists a Boulder County Organizing for America organization that says it has 3500 people on its mailing list (see text of their flyer, distributed at the meeting, below). There’s confusion – in my mind, at least – about how BCOFA relates to the formal OFA structure; my hunch is that the national and state OFA people are going to have to bring the spontaneously-born Boulder County group somewhat more under their control, as the latter seems not ready for the big leagues at times. Text of the BCOFA flyer is provided below.

I offer this info because these people, too, are calling themselves progressives, and Boulder’s progressives need some clear thinking about how we relate to them, if at all. The number of activities that BCOFA have pursued is impressive; in my personal contact with the North Boulder members of BCOFA, they seemed pretty amateurish. The objective of the formal OFA effort nationally is to help Obama gain grassroots support for his three goals of education, healthcare and energy and the environment, so in that regard, my opinion is that “true” progressives are mostly in sync (except most glaringly not so on healthcare).

The text of the BCOFA flyer follows.

Connecting the Boulder County progressive community to local, state, national and global ACTION

Boulder County Organizing for America (BCOFA) is a partner for Colorado OFA in our

Since the November election, a number of independent groups have arisen in our county and are pursuing the progressive agenda in various ways. We believe BCOFA can help Colorado and National OFA by linking these groups, and thousands of engaged progressive individuals, to President Obama’s national agenda for America.

The BCOFA Council already has a current network of over 3,500 people, people who were active in the campaign, have attended several BCOFA post-election events, have signed on to BCOFA through Internet groups, and/or are members of independent groups.

Through our network, progressive activists can:

• receive our countywide calendar of progressive events via email

• solicit volunteer involvement from our large (and growing) network

• share information and ideas

• create educational and training opportunities

• coordinate and collaborate on local and countywide projects and events

Although we are still getting organized, since the November election we have:

• Developed a member list (with contact information) of approximately 3500 people interested in engaging actively in civic action to advance progressive change.

• Created a core organizing committee.

• Hosted the Keep the Ball Rolling inaugural ball that raised over $11,000 that was donated equally to Community Food Share, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

• Recruited volunteers to participate in a successful food drive for EFAA in Boulder.

• Emailed our monthly countywide calendar of progressive events to our members.

• Mobilized our members to take urgent action on a variety of progressive issues.

• Held several meetings with campaign volunteers to identify what BCOFA can do to help connect people and help them take progressive action.

The core group organizers of BCOFA are Boulder County people who were very active volunteers in the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Principle Contacts:

Carse Pustmueller [email protected] 303-494-2772
Diana Caile [email protected] 303-245-0988

Contact at Organizing for America in Colorado: Jennifer Cheyne, (970) 708-1425