How to Fight Back in the Universities: Right Wingers want to Silence Liberals. Progressives Must Build this Weapon or They Will Lose America; Starting a progressive Policy Promotion Think Tank in Your University.
by ROB KALL
Now the right wing is trying to shut down one of the last bastions of free speech and independing thinking --the university classroom. They (the fascist idiots) want professors to get permission from state legislators before they discuss anything controversial.
I think this is a good time to tap the resources of universities to build the strength of progressives and the left. A little background:
The right wing almost totally out-arms the democrats and progressives with one weapon -- a weapon which has proven to be the most effective and powerful in American politics. The right has literally dozens of "think tanks " that are really policy promotion organizations and these are funded with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding annually. These operations have produced the most devastating effects in the form of won elections and seduced special interest groups. They 've developed language and concepts to turn arcane
I 've written about 10 articles on the need for progressives to develop progressive counterparts to this unholy plethora of right wing policy promotion organizations, euphemistically called "think tanks " like the Heritage Foundation, Judicial Watch, Cato Institute, PNAC, etc. Recently, a sophomore from a major northeastern university who 'd read my articles asked me for some advice on how to start up a progressive policy promotion "think tank. "
Here 's my advice:
Set some goals. Develop a vision statement and mission statement.
While the vision and mission statements can have a big picture forest versus trees perspective, take smaller steps in your shorter term goals.
Identify one or two issues you want to work on.
Decide how you want to make a difference.
Build a strong advisory board. Entice them with the university resources you have access to. Identify local resources in your university. The big multimillion dollar think tanks build studios so their spokesmen and women can easily and conveniently appear on network interviews. Your school probably has similar resources that you can access for free. Tie this availability in to your invitations to local activists and political pundits. Go for the best names when you are setting up your advisory board. This will help you with fundraising. Offer them access to your studio facilities so they can appear on national network interviews. This could also get you national media exposure.
Keep in mind the language you use. Read Lakoff 's Don 't Think of an Elephant or, better, Lakoff 's more comprehensive book, Moral Politics. You want to be sure you are reclaiming the language and not unknowingly helping the right wing by passing on their toxic memes.
Identify who you want to influence. Start out local, and stay focused, but keep in mind that you may be creating a model that can be adopted nation-wide.
Recruit members from your areas local progressive organizations.
Raise money. Hold a seminar, a house party, a dance, an art show. Go to local foundations that support local non-profits.
Currently, the strongest progressive policy promotion organizations is the Center for American Progress, headed by John Podesta, Study the way they do things.
Remember that the big think tanks have ten to fifty million dollar a year budgets. You won 't. Aim high, hold onto your ideals, but accept realistic goals. Take small steps and build a successful track record. That will prove that you can plan, execute and succeed, which will help with fund raising.
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is editor of www.OpEdNews.com Read over 150 of his articles at Rob Kall's article archive Rob lives in Bucks County PA, which, went for John Kerry in the 2004 election. He also organizes the Futurehealth Meetings ( www.brainmeeting.com )
More articles by Rob Kall on Progressive, Policy Promotion Think Tanks
How To Take Back the Moral Turf from the Right by ROB KALL
The Echo Chamber as a Political Weapon by Rob Kall
Understanding the Difference Between a Think Tank (TT) and a Right Wing Policy Promotion "Think Tank": Why the left desperately needs to "get it " and create about five of them.
Starting a Progressive Counterpart to the Neocon's Most Powerful Weapon-- the Policy Creation and Advocacy Think Tank; Join the Grassroots Effort to Build One Rob Kall
Envisioning a Progessive Counterpart to NeoConservative Think Tanks like Project for a New American Century Progressive Bows and Arrows against Neocon Cruise Missiles; Time for Friends of Democracy to Help Contribute $$ to OpEdNews