Learning from success

Democrats, giddy from electoral success on Tuesday, are already gearing up for the Presidential election in 2008 (no doubt, Republicans, while less-giddy, are also gearing up). To steal a line from Stephen Colbert, if November 7 was known to most Americans as "next Tuesday," then November 8 was to be known as "the start of the 2008 campaign."

Among the cacophonous outburst of blogging, real-time news reporting (I got 2 emails announcing Rumsfeld's resignation while I was waiting for the streaming audio of Bush's press conference to start), media-analysis and self-congratulatory puffery floating around the web, I found this post by Zack Exley on Roots Camp. This is a series of "un-conferences" for democratic political leaders and the grassroots organizers who made the victory possible to come together and make sure the infrastructure isn't lost in the victory. Roots Camps will be held in DC, San Francisco, Bloomington, IN, and Columbus, OH with support from the New Organizing Institute and Emerging Progressives.

As the Council on Foundations prepares for its Philanthropy 2008 event, there is lots to learn from these kinds of unconferences (foo camp, bar camp and, now, Roots Camp). Inclusive agenda setting, participatory discussions, the use of dance cards and back channels, smaller real-life gatherings networked into a larger movement - this is how to get together and make change happen.

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