Why does National Intervention suppress its digital footprint? Why so behind-the-scenes?
Why does National Intervention suppress its digital footprint? Online and on social media, you encourage supporters to avoid the short-term gains of clicktivism and focus on the long-term benefits of analog, not digital, relationships. Why is this your policy?
It's true! We focus on in-person human interactions when possible and safe, and we ask our chapters, affiliates, associates, and members to keep our digital presence rather light. In fact, a driving ethos in our work is that no one takes credit for our accomplishments, which overlaps nicely with both the anonymity of the 12-step traditions and the hope that our relationships can be built with neighborhood-based bonds that are free from any of the troubling consequences of:
-increased screen time
-digital-only movement building
-anti-democratic trends in social media data-mining abuses, cyber-bullying, artificial intelligence manipulations, risks to personal safety, identifying data, mental health, and overall well-being linked to social media or its algorithms,
-digital addiction trends
Other reasons vary. Malcolm Gladwell once claimed, "The revolution will not be tweeted." In today's crowded landscape of constant digital information, National Intervention has experienced the many benefits of relying on digital connections less, and investing in interpersonal, live, and face-to-face connections much, much more.
Our primary constituency has been the sometimes 50% or more of the population who can, but often just won't, vote. People who quit voting don't tend to trust anyone who would run for office. Along with that mistrust is the sense that large, slick organizations pay canvassers to knock on doors and convince the household to again give their money and power to others, to giant orgs who may only be in it for their own aggrandizement. We don't encourage a giant, slick image or organization for our work. Instead, we want our local chapters to actually know their neighbors and those in their precincts, counties, and congressional districts. If the revolution won't be tweeted, it's because it has to be as organized or more organized than the system of greed that runs our lives and world. That means trading the shortcuts of digital "organizing" for the hard, but meaningful, work of building real and lasting relationships and, subsequently, building the chapters of our organization that rely on the infrastructure of those relationships. For us, this approach has been much more durable, reliable, and formidable than feeding data-miners, evermore-shortened attention spans, and clicktivism as viable ways forward.
When our volunteers meet nonvoters at their doors, they affirm their choice to look for ways to end their otherwise toxic, abusive, co-dependent relationship with politicians and their corporate sponsors. Instead of shaming our neighbors and fellow citizens for feeling overwhelmed with political ads and election choices ranging from bad to worse, we want them to see that we understand the powerless feeling among those who don't feel inspired to participate in our system. We want to show them we understand the symptoms experienced by those living under the control and abuses of an addiction system, and then show them exactly why we now test candidates running for office for the addiction to corporate power and money in politics. When non-voters avoid elections because they don't know who to trust, the Official Sobriety Test gives them a way to support recovery from the onslaught of money in politics.
Money & Power
There has been a five-fold increase in political add spending in just the past three general elections. Fewer and fewer voters are afforded the the time, energy, and resources required to properly investigate what is true and what is false. Amid the multi-billion deluge of election information, disinformation, misinformation, and mass for-profit media (which is only required to drive up stock value via advertising dollars, not necessarily report all the facts), one natural effect is that would-be voters cannot possibly know what to believe is real, and so they are inclined to skip voting rather than make the wrong choice. We have known for years that pro-democracy advocates must find a way to undermine the power of all this money dumped into the industry of our elections.
National Intervention has found, that --across the board, across all demographics of nonvoters, and across all our chapters' regions in the United States-- the single most effective way to undermine virtually all of the mess, manipulation, and confusion sown by our massive elections industry, is to knock on a door and talk about who may be bought, for sale, or vulnerable to the control of corporate power and money that intoxicates and addicts far too many of those behind the wheel of our democracy.
The investigative mission of the folks at The Center for Humane Technology (CHT) and their podcast, Your Undivided Attention, has corroborated or influenced our approach to digital vs. analog organizing options. One episode, "Rock the Voter", focuses on the harmful role digital participation can play in the public discourse, discusses social media's addictive and manipulative underbelly, and how imbalances of power and the concentration of data for nefarious or for-profit interests can overwhelm democratic institutions. More recent investigations also imagine scenarios in which online interactions with AI could aggregate massive sums of potential voters unaware of the manipulation, or the agenda behind it.
In addition, another episode from the CHT goes into detail about the many ways addiction in general has taken root in our system and some methods for recovery, which we aim to replicate wherever possible.
We encourage other organizations and change agents to help us search for ethical and uncorrupted means to work with the best of social media and digital organizing without the negative effects. One way to participate is to enroll in the Foundations of Humane Technology course at CHT. We'll see you there!
For us, the goal is to replace the internal personal void that initially invites all addiction with the kind of connection to one another that science has shown eliminates our vulnerabilities to addiction, the need for its intoxicating substances, and its eventually disastrous control of everything and everyone it touches. More on these practices of connection in place of addiction can be found in the work of leading addiction and recovery scientist, Gabor Maté.
National Intervention is almost entirely membership-funded, by small donors across the country. We do understand the frustration of our chapters and members who want to use a large-scale digital presence to raise more money from many more potential members. It's of course attractive to raise more resources to support more chapters succeeding in their recovery work. For now, we remain committed to building our organization in real time, with real people, in real communities, neighborhoods, workplaces, and precincts. Despite the draw of the virtual, the personal and interpersonal realm has been where virtually all our most transformative power has been concentrated. So support your volunteers here and start knocking on doors!
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