Chapter

Netroots as Networks—Building Progressive Infrastructure

David Karpf

in The MoveOn Effect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199898367
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949717 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199898367.003.0005

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

Netroots as Networks—Building Progressive Infrastructure

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Chapter 5 turns our attention beyond membership-based advocacy associations to the expansive set of “netroots infrastructure organizations” populating the landscape today. The chapter begins by evaluating the historical circumstances present during the development of these “netroots” political associations. Consecutive losses in several U.S. elections, along with grassroots partisan frustration over the Iraq War, culminated in the formation of the Democracy Alliance, a collaborative effort among progressive patron donors to better direct their donations and build new “political infrastructure.” The resulting infrastructure supports the new generation of political associations in a variety of ways and helps to flesh out our understanding of how new media has affected the organizational layer of American politics. The chapter includes profiles of five distinct forms of infrastructure: training/ideas (New Organizing Institute), fundraising technical support (ActBlue), for-profit technical support (Blue State Digital/National Field), progressive social networking (Living Liberally), and networked backchannel conversations (semiformal listservs like TownHouse and JournoList). The backchannel lists in particular demonstrate the more porous political networks that now constitute the American advocacy group systems.

Keywords: internet; netroots; counter-mobilization; listservs; political networks; social movements

Chapter.  10195 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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