“You can bet that with this summer’s debate about the deficit, the right-wing will be out in force again, because this is a tried and true way to reach elected officials and force them to listen to their constituents.” Democrat Socialists of America
Taking a page out of that Radical Rulebook, I recently spent some time on theDemocrat Socialists of America website.
Yes, I felt skeevy doing this and I kept looking over my shoulders while reading their pages, afraid someone would see me consorting with such evil. I figure this is probably the way guilt-ridden porn addicts feel–but someone needed to do it so I took one for the team. (It helped that I took a LONG shower after leaving the DSA website. Ick.)
Some of the topics on their site are:
“How-To: Impacting Congressional Town-Hall Meetings”
“Speak Up at Congressional Town Hall Meetings: Make DSA’s Voice Heard on Raising the Debt Ceiling, Progressive Taxation and Defending Essential Social Programs”
“Q&A on the Debt Ceiling:The right’s use of the controversy to gut social programs”
“The US has low taxes on the rich and corporations and small government not ‘big’”
“We must grow our way out of the deficit”
They also provide lots of handy downloadable forms about the debt crisis including sample talking points, flyers and letters to the editor. Everything you need to be a revolutionary! And if you’re still not sure, they have links to lots of Che Revera books to help inspire you along the way.
From their Where We Stand page, this is what the Democrat Socialists of America believe:
We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
And to spare you from having to visit their website, following are some of their top-secret stealth plans for infiltrating Town Hall meetings. (Just an fyi–there are a few typos; they are theirs, not mine.)
DSA How-To: Impacting Congressional Town-Hall Meetings:
The Tea Party exploded onto the national debate by disrupting Congressional town hall meetings with scare mongering about health care reform. You can bet that with this summer’s debate about the deficit, the right-wing will be out in force again, because this is a tried and true way to reach elected officials and force them to listen to their constituents. It’s very important, therefore, that we make our presence known as well. Ideally, we can even take back the debate. The best part? That you really only need a few people to pull this off, and it can be really fun.
Start with research:
Find out how Representatives in your area have voted on key issues, like whether they have signed on to co-sponsor the Progressive Caucus’ “People’s Budget” and if they supported the Paul Ryan GOP budget.
Recruit people to participate:Call and recruit a group of at least 2 people, including some that live in-district if possible. Remember, some people can’t make it at the last minute, so recruit as many people as possible.
Decide on your exact message(s) and messanger(s): Thank Representatives that have voted the way we like.
Give clear facts and messages for those you need to punish, and make sure to end with a very pointed question.
Decide who will do the talking (ideally everyone will chime in, but you need one person to be the one assigned to “get the ball rolling”).
Realize that the point is to be maximally disruptive, so think up a few chants to convey your message and make sure everyone is comfortable with chanting and knows the chants.
Make signs, maybe even pie charts or graphs, which include the DSA logo and/or website, as well as illustrate or clearly state your message. If you have enough people, some (non-constituents) can stand outside the venue with large signs. You can also smuggle small signs (on 8×11 paper) inside the town hall and bring them out later.
Send press-releases to local media outlets before the event. Make SURE that you’ll have a good turnout of progressive folks who aren’t afraid to be loud before you do this, though. Also, be SURE that the people who are actual constituents with your group are prepared to talk to the media about why they are there. If you cannot recruit constituents to be part of your action, DO NOT send a press release or you’ll be outed as carpet-baggers.
Arrive VERY early. Sometimes these meetings can fill up several hours early, so make sure you get there before the Tea Party does.
Sit scattered around the room (like a diamond shape), so you look like a larger group than you are. BUT, don’t forget to wear DSA buttons and tshirts, if you have them.
Assign several people the task of starting chants, and give them cues at various times throughout the meeting.
Remember to take pictures and videos and send them into the DSA national office ASAP afterwards so we can publicize your good work and inspire other DSAers to do the same!
So there ya have it—the enemy’s game plans. I think the best we can do to combat their sneakiness—especially at Town Hall meetings– is to be aware of whom you’re sitting next to.
If you don’t recognize someone or think they might be a plant, GO OVER AND TALK TO THEM. Kill them with kindness and maybe even initiate a conversation about the topic of the night. As my grandmother always said, “You can attract more bees with honey than with than with vinegar.”
Arm them with the real facts—not simply the propaganda they’ve been fed by (literal) socialists. One thing I noticed while visiting the DSA website, it isn’t necessarily the informed Socialists they’re trying to reach but rather the uninformed.
So who knows–maybe if you’re able to initiate a debate before the meeting starts you may be able to spare your Town Hall speaker from being interrupted (or worse) by these trolls.