An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Doing Nothing

A lot of progressives wonder why we don't seem to make any progress. Despite formidable foes, sometimes it's something within that stops us. Karyn Strickler details how she first saw this and how it has invaded national organizations.

The Do Nothing Strategy was a detailed plan with very specific strategies and tactics about how we, the pro-choice community, would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and boundless energy—to do nothing. That way none of the Chair’s friends in the State legislature would ever have to make a tough vote on the contentious issue of abortion. The Chair had this strategy elaborately detailed on flip charts and went through it point by excruciating point. I looked around the room several times at my coalition partners and waited for someone to laugh.

America’s national environmental organizations who made up the Steering Committee of the ESC had become giant bureaucracies where self-perpetuation, the quest for funding from large foundations, and the desire for a seat at the political table has replaced environmental protection as the primary goal. It’s arguable whether environmental protection even remains on the list of goals for some national, environmental organizations. At best these groups have been out of touch with the public and grassroots activists, engaged in destructive competition for media coverage and funding and resistant to change for more than a decade. At worst, they have been cavorting with industry to destroy the environment...