Torie Osborn: March on DC;
Once upon a time, in Fairyland, there was a charade of a bottom-up grassroots engagement when planning national actions, but many moons have passed since that time.
Without question, or a single public meeting, a group of elite LGBT leaders have informed the masses that there's to be a march on DC in October. A decree was handed down this week from dictatortress Torie Osborn, who operates training camps for neophyte activists on behalf of Rick Jacobs' Courage Campaign in California.
From Friday's Southern Voice:
Osborn said this week that march organizers have been discussing issues surrounding the date.Anyone know who participated in those conversations? My invitation to join those talks got lost, as I'm sure do did yours.
“It is going to happen, it is just a question of when,” she said. “What might appear to be some of the barriers are not in fact actual barriers, but I do think there are a political and timing considerations that have resulted in some ongoing conversations.”
Osborn and her fellow march organizers' approach is very much in keeping with a top-down style of LGBT leadership and organizing in the past few years.
Here in CA, after a not-so-public Leadership Summit, with limited access for the media, was held last Sunday in Fresno, lots of criticism from gay sunshine activists and reporters was raised, accusing summit organizers and advisers from the Courage Campaign about the same-old disastrous method of non-transparent, not-fully-inclusive organizing that lead to Prop 8 passing and $46 million going down the toilet.
In Thursday's LA Weekly, an empty promise was articulated, as if the Fresno summit and its problems never happened:
“The campaign [in either 2010 or 2012 for another gay marriage proposition] will be wildly different from the last time around,” says Torie Osborn, former executive director of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and co-founder of Camp Courage, a training seminar for grass-roots activists that’s been traveling around the state. “It will unleash this growing, and huge, grass-roots effort.”It's going to take more than words from Osborn to convince me things will be radically different with a gay CA ballot prop, or a march on DC.
Who is working with Osborn on the march idea? An AP wire story from last Sunday gives the answer:
The [CA gay marriage] campaign's next phase will train thousands of volunteers and faith leaders to canvass door-to-door to talk about the issue with neighbors, said Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign.Good luck, getting lots of folks to show up in DC in four short months and carry out that plan.
Representatives from all 50 states will march on Washington on October 11 to coincide with National Coming Out Day, Jacobs said.
"We're not doing what we used to do, which is meet West Hollywood," Jacobs said. "We want people from all 435 congressional districts to tell their stories in Washington."
So, we know the march is going to happen, the date of it, and the plan to have people from all 435 congressional districts attend and lobby their elected officials. What about a march route, has that been decided?
Yes, according to a speech NYC gay leader Corey Johnson gave at a rally the day the CA Supreme Court issued its decision on the Prop 8 case. We'll be marching from Union Station, up Constitution Avenue, to the Lincoln Memorial.
Johnson told me on the phone this week that much of what he said at the rally about the march will be discussed further, and I hope he soon holds a public meeting somewhere to start the public conversation on the march and route.
But what about our demands? Will the larger community be allowed input into that? Um, apparently not. A recent interview with gay youth leader Kip Williams of San Francisco with Socialist Worker, informs us a decision has been made already about our sole demand at the march:
The call to action has a single demand of full equal protection on all matters covered by civil law, and the philosophy that we're part of a broader movement for peace and social justice across the world. We believe in a decentralized organizing strategy that involves people organizing by congressional district across the country. So the hope is that the organizing of the march will lay the groundwork for an ongoing infrastructure after the march, based on 435 congressional districts across the country.A decentralized organizing strategy? I doubt Osborn, Jacobs, Johnson and Williams would recognize such a strategy if they tripped over it.
And how will these organizers carry out their strategy? Their one-page web site provides insight:
We will organize grassroots, from the bottom-up, and details will be shared on this website.Speaking of grass, what are these people smoking, and will they share it with the rest of us?
To recap: We've had no open meetings with march organizers, they've announced no plans for such meetings, it's been decided we're going to DC, the date for it, the route of the parade, our single demand, and how the organizing committee will supposedly be structured.
I guess the only thing left for me, and thousands of other LGBT persons, to do is to get our poor asses to DC in October and be ready to act as spear-carriers in the grand opera being planned by our elite leaders.