By Patrick Appel
Chris Hayes profiles MoveOn. A sample graf:
In many ways MoveOn’s relationship to its members looks a lot like a business’s relationship to its customers. If a product isn’t selling, they take it off the shelves. For activists rooted in an earlier generation of social movements, which tended to prize long, disputatious meetings and the unwieldy process of forming bottom-up consensus, this approach is at best alien, at worst insidious. Customers, after all, aren’t part of the creation of the product: they’re not running the meetings where new packaging is designed; their input is limited to the final result and expressed through the transaction of purchase. And the role of customer imposes no obligations. You are free to buy or not buy, or in MoveOn’s case, sign the petition or not sign the petition. Oscar Wilde once complained that the trouble with socialism was that it took “too many evenings.” MoveOn holds out the promise of progressive change without the evenings.
I imagine the MoveOn-as-Netflix model will eventually prove potent on the right, most likely in the form of single-issue pressure groups, includ[ing] new-model taxpayer groups. I wonder who will step up to do the heavy lifting.
Manzi notes another lesson conservatives should learn from MoveOn: interactivity.