Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Long Beach Review

JackL is back from the conference and checks in with a rave review. As usual, the only complaint is there are too many good sessions and not enough time to attend them all.

What was really notable about the conference was something that the conference organizers obviously wanted to highlight and acknowledge: the success of a few particular orgs recently in getting the message out and becoming significant actors in the policy debate. Each of these organizations -- LEAP, SSDP and MAPINC.ORG -- and some other up and coming orgs like the Denver SAFER folks and the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative, all share some things in common. They are all grass-roots political organizing efforts which are largely staffed by volunteers, and try to reach a focused audience of opinion makers on particular issues or audiences.

...the MAPINC.ORG people, who in addition to their success at creating the preeminent web archive on drug war press and fomenting anti-WOD letters to the editors of those papers -- , also serve a largely unseen role in providing the computer infrastructure for may of these grassroots orgs and anti-WOD websites, including LEAP, SSPD, NORML, Cannabisnews and a number of state drug policy forums in FL, TX and MI in particular, for members to communicate with each other and the world, including listservs, websites, a live talk chat, and a "leaders only" coordination list, ARO.
Indeed. We owe Media Awareness Project a larger debt of thanks than we realize or acknowledge enough. Meanwhile, Jack notes it was an affirming and inspiring conference.
But like most of these conferences, the most fun was during breaks and after hour parties where you could get to hang with many ppl who were involved in these efforts and chat with some very interesting people from across the US, Canada, Bolivia, Holland and Italy who are big movers and shakers in what is becoming a much bigger movement which is spreading its roots far beyond the organizing efforts of the "grasstops" leaders (new word I heard a lot there)...
They actually use that term in political campaigns in general these days but it works especially well for drug policy reformers, don't you think? Thanks for the report Jack.


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