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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

MoveOn Rally

Posted by Bob Brigham

I enjoyed tonight's MoveOn rally in the heart of San Francisco. It was easy to get to, efficiently organized over email, and only lasted an hour -- it was almost a flash mob.

If anyone is fool enough to doubt the people power potential of e-organizing, it was on display tonight. I've worked on a similarly sized rally thrown together in 72 hours, but it took twice as much local staff to turn out a crowd in San Francisco as MoveOn used to turn out people for 150 rallies in 48 states.


If you look at the signs, you'll realize that they are tiled with four sheets of printout for each sign. Not only did MoveOn turn out a crowd, but they worked towards message consistency while giving people the tools to quickly make their own signs. At the edges of the rally early on, I noticed lots of people walking up, proudly carrying the sign they made in 5 minutes with 8 pages of computer printout, a piece of cardboard, and some tape.

The minimum level of staff intensiveness didn't hinder the flow of the event. There were brief speeches with a bullhorn, but the rally was spread out across such a long area of sidewalk that most people were content to hold their signs, wave at the honking cars, and of course: tell stories of past protests.

You can't attend any protest, especially in San Francisco, without hearing battle stories of the protests against the Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam wars...the tales of the Free Speech Movement, strikes and lockouts, Governor Reagan, Richard Nixon, President Reagan, President Bush, President Bush, and the recent protests against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Moveon deserves a great deal of credit for making tonight as easy as possible for supporters. People joined up, stood together on principle, and still had most of the evening to spend with loved ones.

It was very impressive.

Posted at 10:31 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati