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January 13, 2006

The Netroots and Our Role

We here in the progressive Internet world usually call ourselves bloggers but collectively it may be more useful to call ourselves by the word the big guy bloggers use for themselves - the Netroots.  It's a bigger picture word for what we do and who we are. 

This definition comes from the guy who most represents it, Markos Zúniga, creator of The Daily Kos, one of the most popular blogs on the Web, with about 2 million readers a week.  This is from a Dec. 29th interview of Kos, by Susanna Schrobsdorff in the on-line edition of Newsweek. 

NetRoots are the crazy political junkies that hang out in blogs. They’re people who use technology to participate in politics. They do a lot offline, but they do their organizing online. The issue of whether you’re liberal or conservative is not relevant to us. The issue is: Are you proud to be a Democrat? Are you partisan? Will you take the fight to the enemy? Will you roll over when the Republicans say boo?

Now, we’re Northwesterners.  We do care that our Democrats are progressive and we’re friendlier than that.  But you get the idea.

The Netroots in turn is part of what I call the emerging progressive infrastructure - the Democratic legislators, staffers, the Party, Labor, particularly the more innovative labor folks like SEIU, Progressive Majority, the many small environmental organizations we have in this state like Washington Environmental Council, Washington Conservations Voters, the Sierra Club, Futurewise, the Institute for Washington’s Future, the list goes on . . . (and forgive me for anyone I've left off)  – everyone determined to create a more coherent, effective, collaborative movement that will build consensus in our state for a progressive, economically sound, human-oriented governmental agenda.

In Washington State, we Democrats are blessed to have the governorship and a slim margin in both Houses.  We appreciate our Democratic electeds.  They have been doing wonderful things and we are grateful for our wonderful blue toehold on this country. We live in a place where government focuses on providing assistance to people who can't afford heat in winter, on making school class sizes smaller, on cleaning up our waterways, on developing innovative jobs for our citizens for the future, on establishing a fairer tax structure, on funding unfunded state pensions and on maintaining a sound financial footing. Good on you!

We think our job as the Netroots, all of the many progressive blogs, NWPortal, our new community-based Washblog, our zany and savvy Horse'sAss, all of us is to knit together these disparate groups of people and help get a consistent message out and help build a consensus for continuing and enhancing our progressive legislature and our quality of life.  It is also our job to nudge and sometimes kick the Democrats into action - around using the technology, organizing the grassroots, actively building a big-tent base, and standing up to the Republican nay-sayers and Initiative-mongers.  In return we will cover the backs of our legislators and other Democratic electeds so that they can take more risks.   

That’s what we have to offer.  Make use of us and of this new medium.  It will change everything. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on January 13, 2006 at 02:37 PM in Inside Baseball, Media | Permalink


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Two interesting essays I've been reading lately on this topic, both by Peter Daou, are:

THE TRIANGLE: Limits of Blog Power


THE (Broken) TRIANGLE: Progressive Bloggers in the Wilderness

The make the point that the "netroots" are impotent without the media and the political actors holding up their ends of the stool, and offer some specific ideas about how bloggers, Democrats and the media can work better together.

Posted by: Jon Stahl | Jan 13, 2006 3:36:18 PM

For the record, Markos's last name by American convention is Moulitsas. Zuniga is his mother's maiden name ... by Latino convention, that name follows the father's last name.

Posted by: N in Seattle | Jan 14, 2006 1:38:49 AM

Thanks to both of you.

Posted by: Lynn | Jan 14, 2006 2:04:36 PM

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