All Politics is Wiki: Kentucky Bloggers Wikify their Party
BY Michael Whitney | Wednesday, February 27 2008
Kentucky bloggers are taking back their state's Democratic Party, one wiki entry at a time. This week Ben Carter and Joe Sonka, proprietors of the progressive Kentucky blog BlueGrassRoots, announced the creation of BlueGrassWiki. The project aims to organize information about Kentucky's 120 county parties in order to "infiltrate" local leadership in upcoming party precinct elections.
Carter and Sonka describe the BlueGrassWiki as a:
...community-based, collaborative effort to compile and organize
information [that] will empower Kentucky Democrats to engage their local
Democratic Party organizations...
The immediate goal of BlueGrassWiki is to provide all the information Kentucky Democrats need to be involved in the party's reorganization process this April. Essential to that goal is providing as much contact information we can for the individual counties.
After the party reorganization, we hope to use BlueGrassWiki to help the county parties and activists hoping to get involved find each other.
Why the infiltration? Kentucky progressives' favored Senate candidate Andrew Horne was, as Sonka says, "forced out" of the race by higher-ups in the state party and the DSCC in favor of an establishmentarian. Incensed, Sonka penned a piece in which he called for progressives to build their own infrastructure to take back the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Bluegrass bloggers aren't strangers to the limelight. The Nation profiled the rise of a homegrown anti-war movement with its sights on Sen. Mitch McConnell this summer. To progressive Kentuckians, Horne's exit signaled their party's capitulation of the Senate race; now, BlueGrassWiki looks beyond November 2008's races to building a friendly and sustainable infrastructure to prevent similar incidents in the future.
To show what they envision for the Wiki, Fayette County's wiki was pre-populated with a plethora of information about the local party structure. Besides the obvious inclusions of the website and name of the top leaders, the party's pages also feature details of precinct chairs, elected officials, and organizations that work in the county- including their email addresses. Here's a small sampling:
Phone: (859) 268-4448
Email: FayetteDemocrats [at] qx [dot] net
Day: 1st Thursday of every month
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: 431 South Broadway, Lexington (map)
The Executive Committee is comprised of 31 voting members including:
The Chairman of the Executive Committee - David O'Neill
The President of the Fayette County Young Democrats - Colmon Elridge
The President of the Greater Lexington Democratic Women's Club - Joanie Taylor
BlueGrassWiki marks a significant step in grassroots online organizing. As the bloggers note, "building a wiki is not a two person effort." As Kentuckians fill in the gaps of the wiki and start to connect, we'll begin to see an actual uprising - all through the power of online collaboration.