MayDay PAC Tries To Buy Grassroots With David Perelman
The core idea of grassroots activism is that it’s supposed to come from the bottom up, through the spontaneous acts of motivated individual citizens who don’t have much money or other forms of power themselves, but can join together in organizations that they control themselves in order to make change take place.
The MayDay PAC is an example of the opposite of grassroots. It’s an organization that was founded by wealthy politically-connected insiders who have maintained power, and control MayDay PAC in a top down manner, not allowing citizens outside of their small circle to have a say in how the group is run.
Just yesterday, however, the MayDay PAC made a gesture toward grassroots activism. I choose the word “gesture” purposefully, because I’m not talking about genuine grassroots activism. I’m talking about fake grassroots – astroturf.
Yesterday, the MayDay PAC used its big money power to purchase what it calls “grassroots and communications services” from David Perelman, a political marketing specialist living in Boston. Perelman was paid to create “grassroots” services hundreds of miles away from where he lives, in the 6th congressional district of Michigan.
A basic requirement of genuine grassroots activism is that it’s performed by people who actually live on the ground, where the activism is done. Political consulting packages shipped in from far away don’t count.
As the 2014 congressional election has progressed, the MayDay PAC has shown itself to be increasingly divorced from honest political activism. This new astroturf campaign is just the cherry on top.