Michael Crawford

Jewish lesbian crime-fighters and building progressive political power online

Filed By Michael Crawford | July 15, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Politics
Tags: Batgirl, Batwoman, DC mayoral race, Green Lantern, New Organizing Institute, online organizing, progressive movement, Spider Man, Super Man, The Atom, Wonder Woman

Despite being a Jewish, lesbian crime-fighter, Batwoman didn't win.

Wonder Woman did.

The race was a mock mayoral campaign for DC mayor that was part of the New Organizing Institute's BootCamp 2009. It wasn't a two-way race between Batwoman and Wonder Woman. Other superhero candidates were involved including Batgirl, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Spider Man, Super Man, and The Atom. I was among the lucky 53 to participate in the NOI BootCamp '09 and let me tell you it is an experience I will never forget.

I was also campaign manager for the incredible Batwoman team.

In a week fueled by massive quantities of Red Bull, a passion for progressive politics, and a thirst for new and creative ways of organizing, we learned from some of the best and brightest by day and by night we put the lessons we learned into practice with our mock campaigns.

NOI runs the only progressive advocacy and campaign training program focused on cutting-edge online organizing techniques. The staff focuses on developing a new generation of technologically enabled organizers skilled in the use of political technology, social networking sites, blogs and blogger outreach, online fundraising, website design, and email to win campaigns, build the progressive movement and empower activists and advance social causes.

The amazing work of the BootCampers in their mock campaigns didn't stay in the comic universe. More than 30 different blogs wrote about NOI BootCamp and the superhero campaigns including After Ellen, Bilerico, Huffinton Post, Open Left, and Wonkette. Bloggers from NPR and Tech President endorsed Batwoman.

This may seem like an exercise in geekiness, but the result is 53 organizers armed with new skills, an enhanced network of colleagues from across the country, and a determination create bold progressive change.

The BootCampers are now moving to use their new skills to elect progressive candidates, strengthen advocacy organizations, and develop new strategies for organizing. Many are looking for jobs on campaigns, with non-profits, or consulting firms. You can hire a NOI BootCamper by contacting the NOI staff at [email protected]

We learned a lot in those 7 days. We made new friends, developed new contacts, and made superheroes contenders for DC mayor. That's just the beginning.

As I said to a few of my fellow BootCampers, "Can you imagine what we could do if they gave us more than one week and more than a few hours of sleep a night?"

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