Gillogly On Wellstone/NOI

Kevin Gillogly has some thoughts on the Wellstone/NOI consolidation.

To our readership here at Maryland Scramble you might have skimmed past this article in the Huffington Post yesterday: Two progressive organizations merging. Yawn. Next story. But THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR DEMOCRATIC activists everywhere.

I’m guessing most of you know of Wellstone Action. They provide training for Progressive Activists across the country. Created as a living legacy to Paul and Shelia Wellstone who died tragically in a plane crash just days before the 2002 General Election. Wellstone Action, headquartered in St. Paul, MN, has now trained 75,000 progressives in the mechanics of running campaigns and ballot initiatives. If you want to know how to run a shoe string campaign and give your soul to the large monied interests of the country then you go to a Wellstone Training.

Not as many of you know about New Organizing Institute (NOI). Started in 2005, originally started by some of the more activist unions, MoveOn and Emily’s List , it has been located in downtown DC for its entire life. The new digital metrics of campaigns – both in field and social media – can point to NOI trainings as the basis education for fighting for the left. Many of the successes of the Obama Administration can be traced back to the founders of NOI and their devotees. NOI did not create our President but the folks that drove ran his two national elections, the online petitions on his behalf, the low budget social media campaigns all have one thing in common: they were trained by or their supervisor was trained by NOI.

For a more in-depth look at how campaigns and communications are run in the 21st Century I would highly recommend Sasha Issenberg’s 2013 book “The Victory Lab”.

So today’s story is a BIG STORY. The merging of the two most progressive organizing groups of the modern era are now one. I have gone through trainings of both groups and loved them. I am both happy and sad. Happy that two groups I cherish are getting together and sad that NOI does not exist as a separate entity.

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