By Harold (admin) on May 5, 2011
The grassroots efforts during the 2008 presidential campaign season spoke to the power of collective action toward a common goal. One of the most striking examples of this power was the success of “moneybombs” for Republican candidate Ron Paul. Rallying under the banner of the Paul campaign, thousands of people — most of whom had never met — donated money and worked together on a scale unprecedented in US electoral history.
In November 2007, these moneybombs helped Ron Paul raise more than $4.2 million in a single day. The very next month, Paul raised more in a single day than had ever been done previously; a total of more than $6 million, a record that still stands. Other grassroots campaigns also sprouted, each putting hundreds and thousands of hours and dollars toward the goal of raising money and awareness for Paul… and I was one of them. Motivated by Ron Paul’s presidential announcement, I launched my own grassroots effort to put up billboards in the early primary states.
The sum of all of these efforts became an important historical moment for grassroots political activism via the internet. It demonstrated what could be accomplished by “crowd-funding” projects using social media and other online platforms. The only problem was that it was all directed toward electoral politics; so all of that time, energy, and money was essentially wasted on trying to get “the right person” in office in order to make a change. A counter-argument is that even though Paul lost, his message was able to be spread throughout the country. The issue with that argument is that there are numerous individuals and groups already educating the public (and not just during election season) on a host of important viewpoints and issues; people whose efforts we could support to greater effect, given the same amount of time and money.
And who ends up with this money anyway? Large media conglomerates and corporate banks are often the final destination of funds; due to the fact that so much of it is spent on television advertising and other high-overhead, centralized methods — the (in)famous Ron Paul blimp, for instance. The term “moneybomb” seems pretty appropriate… considering that the money is essentially blown to bits by being used this way.
Now is the time to change the concept of moneybombing from something for politicians, to something for each other. We are increasingly living in a peer-to-peer world thanks to the internet; we need to utilize this technology to cut out the political middlemen, by working on solving issues for ourselves. Who is more fit to address the issues that affect us but us! Whether you have a great idea that needs funding, volunteers, or materials; or you want to contribute to others instead (or both!), we can achieve this without the bureaucracy and inefficiency of politics.