Friday, March 17, 2017
The Indivisible SF chapter is part of the political problem. It's not been fully transparent from its inception and recent steps by leaders of the group need to be question.
First, after weeks of a few folks pushing for ISF to tape or stream their meetings and getting rebuffed, told that the privacy needs of a few outweigh the transparency practices of effective direct democracy, so no videotaping allowed.
Notes from a recent weekend session, and let's remember the advocating behind getting simply minutes, report that a crew from Japanese TV was allowed to tape and folks who had privacy concerns (is there something wrong with being at an ISF meeting?).
Local democracy activists who simply don't have the time to attend ISF meetings but want to know what transpires and request taping are told no, but foreign television reporters' requests equal a yes.
Second, ISF continues to never identify who the heck the aides are that they are regularly meeting with from the Feinstein, Pelosi and Harris offices. It's a serious problem when activists don't identify the public servants who give them meeting-time.
ISF shares fotos from the meetings, everybody all smiles and no one from the group or the electeds' office is named in the caption. What's wrong with including the names, known facts, of at least the public servants?
Btw, ISF says they now have weekly meetings with Feinstein and Harris aides. Fine enough, but as we enter the third month of pressuring these officials to be accessible to all not just a handful of ISF members, I don't see any movement from the electeds committing to town halls.
Why should they agree to open forums when they have ISF showing up every week and doing a lot of PR for the electeds?
Third, after weeks of asking ISF if they are demanding, or even politely asking for, their meetings with the aides to be streamed or taped, I've still received an answer. Actually, the answer is in the failure to be accountable to the larger citizenry on ISF's part.
Are they too giddy having regular access to the aides and they don't want to jeopardize having their regular sit-downs and foto-ops.
Since the launch of the Indivisible project, started and controlled mostly by former and current aides to Members of Congress, there's been much laudable engagement by a lot of folks. Many quite new to serious political organizing and maybe deeply unaware of the frustrations long-time activists have with the officials whose aides they meet with.
Fourth, ISF announced yesterday that an unnamed aide to Harris agreed to attend one of their Sunday meetings. Great, while Harris aides fail to hold a single town hall of their own, they'll be making an appearance at one of the ISF sessions.
Is there any quid pro quo involved with the Harris aides or not?
I believe naivete on the part of ISF folks leads the Feinstein, Harris and Pelosi aides to string them along about potential and genuine town halls for all, and co-opt their anger. Access diminishes anger and demands, in my view.