Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Combing the Alleyways

Ask anyone knowledgeable about the Civil Rights Movement, and they'll tell you that one of the keys to success was good research and intelligence work by people like Jack Minnis and his staff in the Atlanta SNCC office. Ask anyone informed about the human rights movement in the US today, and they'll tell you the same about Political Research Associates in Boston, the Center for New Community in Chicago, and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama.

Other than that, what exists of opposition research and intelligence capacity in America is largely a network of ad hoc freelancers living hand to mouth without any regional or local support or coordination. Which means that there's basically no infrastructure west of the Mississippi to get the goods on right-wing organizations and agents.

There are, of course, considerable resources committed to liberal, religiously-oriented, advocacy organizations like ADL and American Friends Service Committee, but almost nothing going to the intrepid individuals combing the alleyways of fascism to garner the information these worthy pressure groups depend on to be effective in what they do. It'd be like the Allied Forces fighting the Nazis without the benefit of the OSS.

If philanthropists like MacArthur and Ford really want to save our republic from ruin, the most effective thing they could do is to get dough into the hands of this network pronto. I don't need to tell them how; that's what their staff is for. What I can tell them, though, is that they don't need to wait until a report is completed to get started; they could begin tomorrow by giving out such things as research grants and fellowships.

Call it the Jack Minnis endowment for research.


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