Owning the Medium, Delivering Your Message – Lessons from Progressive Ballot Initiative Reformers (Part Four)

By: Sunday January 9, 2011 8:00 am

Politics in a democracy is about changing minds, and to change minds you need to get your message to the people you hope to persuade. Reformist groups throughout history have often run into opposition from the established mainstream media, which tends to be supportive of the current status quo structure. Being able to speak directly to supporters and the population as a whole has been critical to independent political movements. I have previously stressed in my Non-partisan League series the importance of owning your own means of communication and being a financially independent organization, but it is a message that bears repeating because history is always repeating itself.

Empires Strike Back: Status Quo Will Fight Reformers on Many Fronts – Lessons from the Nonpartisan League, Part Five

By: Wednesday July 7, 2010 6:00 am

The people who benefit from the status quo will fight tooth and nail against movements to reform it. Any grassroots movement that tries to put the power back in the hands of regular people will inevitably be attacked by those who profit from having the power. As we have seen with the Nonpartisan League, its [...]

The Primary Directive: Ignoring Tribalism to Take Advantage of the Electoral Process – Lessons from the Nonpartisan League, Part Four

By: Tuesday July 6, 2010 1:12 pm

Nonpartisan League founder A. C. Townley had a simple strategy to elect NPL members to state office in North Dakota. It relied on getting members to ignore their old political tribalism while taking advantage of others. Townley figured out that he could make use of a very recent development, the primary election of party nominees, [...]

Paying Your Dues: Members’ Investment Produces a Powerful Base – Lessons from the Nonpartisan League, Part Three

By: Monday July 5, 2010 6:00 am

A.C. Townley was the founder of the Nonpartisan League, which within only three years of its founding in 1915 took over the government of North Dakota and enacted several major reforms. That makes the NPL one of the most impressive political organizations in American history. Townley was able to do this through a combination of [...]

Paying into Politics Makes Politics Pay – Lessons from the Nonpartisan League, Part Two

By: Sunday July 4, 2010 7:30 am

At the turn of the 20th century, North Dakota’s population was mostly rural farmers, yet a small number of powerful corporate interests dominated the state’s politics and finances. Most of these powerful financial interests could have served an important role in the economy of the plains but had decided instead to embrace maximum profitability through [...]

Communication First: Making Media to Move the Mainstream – Lessons from the Nonpartisan League, Part One

By: Saturday July 3, 2010 7:30 am

Large corporations with a huge corrupting political influence are exploiting regular people. Bankers and traders on an exchange are selling phantom commodities to make huge profits to the detriment of the working class. A left-leaning group turns to politics to address these grievances, and the Chamber of Commerce and the mainstream attack it as “socialist,” [...]