Not Worth the Risks: Why We Still Suppress Our Digital Footprint
Posted by Taryn Filha · May 11, 2023 4:22 PM
Why does National Intervention suppress its digital footprint? Why so behind-the-scenes?
Online and on social media, National Intervention encourages supporters to avoid the short-term gains of clicktivism and focus on the long-term benefits of analog, not digital, relationships. Why is this our 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!
71% of This Bill's Sponsors Also Passed the Sobriety Test
Posted by Taryn Filha · April 01, 2022 9:24 PM
Sponsors of identical US House and Senate bills aim to prevent Wall Street from turning a vital and precious resource into a for-profit commodity. As with private commodities like medicine, energy, and food, Wall Street will now be free to buy, sell, and trade water.
The first law from Congress to allow the private purchase of water from billionaire and corporate farmland owners to cities passed in 1992. Due to the impact of climate disruption, including drought and radically shifted weather patterns, as well as major water-eliminating practices, like fracking, water is not only a new commodity on the markets, but also a scarcity.
My father warned me that water would become a monetized limited commodity in my lifetime and we’ve been inching towards this moment ever since https://t.co/56HaZALPhP @business @KimChipman1— Erin Brockovich (@ErinBrockovich) December 7, 2020
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) has authored a bill, The Future of Water Act, to prohibit the purchase, sale, or trade of water as a private commodity, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has introduced the Senate's version of the bill, identical to Khanna's. In total, 12 out of 17 initial co-sponsors of the bill have passed National Intervention's Sobriety Test (NIST) for addiction to corporate power and money in politics.
Clean, drinkable water is one of our most basic human rights. Today, @SenWarren and I introduced the Future of Water Act that will protect our water and prioritize human needs over corporate profits.— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) March 22, 2022
"If you were wondering what happens when candidates who are not under the influence of corporate campaign cash become your representative in Congress, it's that they fight to keep Wall Street from sucking-up and selling all your water, " says Darcy Lundstrom, an organizer who has worked to activate non-voters in southern California, including in Khanna's district.
"The thousands of non-voters who finally turned out to vote after candidates like Katy Porter, Ro Khanna, and Cori Bush all passed their Sobriety Tests, are the voters who make the difference in these elections. Without these voters' enthusiasm for National Intervention, we wouldn't have these legislators, and without these legislators, we wouldn't have these bills," says Valeria Marquez, a Student National Intervention Coordinating Committee (SNICC) coordinator.
Other national organizations, like Food and Water Watch and the National Resource Defense Council, point out the importance of protecting water as vital to the public interest. A recent Biden administration EPA decision echoes a Trump-era failure to keep the rocket fuel chemical waste, perchlorate, out of drinking water in the US, and 26 states have found their residents are exposed to it. To pass the NIST, National Intervention asks candidate's to support language that would affirm in the US Constitution that "corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as natural persons," a protection that currently allows corporations the right to poison water or profit from it, as long as profits are maximized for shareholders.
As some congressional maps have yet to be passed and approved, the US Supreme Court and a number of states' courts and legislatures continue to determine whether voters in several states will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is not too "under the influence" of wealth and power in the political and electoral systems.
Text "SOBER" to 202-600-2653 for updates to the list of current candidates who have passed this year's National Intervention Sobriety Test.
You might also like to see how we make gerrymandering less of a problem:
We Organized 100,000 New Voters in Texas
Posted by Shawn Kerry · October 15, 2020 9:51 PM
HARRIS COUNTY, TX -- Four years ago, National Intervention volunteers began adopting their precincts and working hard to organize the state's millions of nonvoters, congressional district by congressional district. By the midterm elections in 2018, students and community interventionists had brought to the polls 40,000 neighbors who were previously inactive.
Today, among those who have already voted early, the Texas National Intervention Coordinating Committee (Tex-NICC) celebrates an astonishing 100,000 newly activated registered voters who felt inspired by the message, narrative, and in some cases, candidates, behind a commitment to recovery from a system overrun by those "under the influence."
In Texas' 10th Congressional District, Mike Siegel is running to represent residents in and around the Austin area. He passed the Official Sobriety Test on addiction to corporate power and money in politics, generating a new wave of enthusiasm for constituents hoping to have conversations with nonvoters about the "sober" candidates on their 2020 ballot.
"Big moneyed interests and corporations are buying our politicians," says Siegel, one of dozens of congressional candidates in 2020's election cycle to choose recovery over greed. "I want to represent the people, not large corporations."
Other student and community chapters are following Tex-NICC's lead, deepening their community relationships and expanding their membership. Included in the states that could decide the presidential election this year are Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona, and now, remarkably, Texas.
A recent National Intervention Research Center review of forecasts puts Pennsylvania at a 26% chance of tipping the US presidential election, but new data may soon be available about the role of new voters in states like Texas and Georgia, where tightening US House and US Senate races could turnout voters who decide the Electoral College outcome for the White House.
Chances your state will decide or delay the #PresidentialElection results. pic.twitter.com/1gqZXFt3bt— National Intervention (@InterventionUSA) October 10, 2020
Find or build your chapter by visiting the state-by-state National Intervention list of chapters, sign yourself up, or text SOBER to 202-600-BOLD (202-600-2653) to join us in making more history on the road to real recovery and deep democracy.
The Science of Wealth & Power Addiction
Posted by Marin Thompson · February 13, 2020 4:06 PM
Specialist on the underlying causes of addiction, Dr. Gabor Maté, explains not only the power of addiction, but addiction to power, and why the aims of recovery, like ours here at National Intervention, require us all to cultivate connection in our work.
AOC Breaks-down "Under the Influence" of Corporate Power in 5 mins.
Posted by Shawn Kerry · February 07, 2019 7:45 PM
#SoberCongressperson, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, takes five minutes to explain to the world exactly what it means to have lawmakers, the White House, or anyone in US politics too "under the influence" of corporate power & money in politics.
Bannon's Billionaire: Greed and the Trump Cartels
Posted by Marin Thompson · August 19, 2017 5:36 PM
If power and money in politics are addictive substances, then today was a big day for feeding the addiction. It may or may not come as a surprise that a $10 million investment in Breitbart News from a silent billionaire moved Steve Bannon from investment banking into his lead role in his extreme brand of politics.
Five years later, what was Steve Bannon's first stop on his way out of the Trump White House? Now free, once again, to be openly in service to the interests of his long-time billionaire backer, Bannon met this this week with none other than Robert Mercer, the billionaire hedge fund tycoon behind the cash-infusion for Bretibart's once collapsing veins. Mercer, though, may also be the-most-powerful-"megadonor"-behind-Trump-you've-never-heard-of. In the 2016 elections alone, he infused $22.5 million in political contributions around the country. He quickly and easily became the top donor to Trump's campaign before abandoning the Ted Cruz SuperPAC he had originally funded.
Mercer knows how to move his product. After taking such a controlling interest in making Breitbart News the zygote for a would-be "Trump News Network", it was reported that the Mercers had injected millions into SuperPAC funds controlled by the Koch brothers. Moreover, though, Bob Mercer, whose income equals about $68,000 per hour, is also known for his massive financial support of the group Citizens United. That is the "Citizen United" whose Supreme Court strategy led to the 5-4 ruling that money is unlimited, protected free speech for corporations because, as Mitt Romney put it, "corporations are people, my friend." If Trump's campaign brought together the cartels, then Robert Mercer is the kingpin and Steve Bannon may very well be his top lieutenant in securing turf primacy for control of the American political addiction system.
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Faces of the Addiction System
Posted by Shawn Kerry · August 12, 2017 10:00 PM · 1 reaction
We identify "wealth" and "power" as the substances of the addiction system. We call that addiction, simply, "greed". The Koch Brothers each put a face to those controlled by the disease, and this piece explores a network of corporate cartels and distributors, some of the lobbyist pushers, and a few political enablers who prop-up the disease of addiction that could never survive on its own.
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BLOW. Georgia's $50M Lesson in Addiction to Power & Money in Politics
Posted by Tim Wayne · June 22, 2017 9:03 PM
Blinded and Blowing it, the Democratic Party and SuperPACs in Georgia Lose to the Addiction System Once Again...
Trump submits to the addiction system
Posted by Scott Silber · February 06, 2017 6:31 PM
'He has brought Wall Street right into the White House'
President Trump is pushing back against Obama-era financial regulations, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., says that Trump has brought Wall Street right into the White House.
Six donors that Trump appointed gave almost $12 million with their families to back his campaign and the party
Posted by Scott Silber · December 09, 2016 12:00 PM
With his choice of restaurant executive Andrew Puzder to serve as his Labor secretary, President-elect Donald Trump has now tapped six big donors and fundraisers to serve in his administration, lining up an unprecedented concentration of wealthy backers for top posts.
Together with their families, Trump's nominees gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign filings.