Sunday, June 04, 2006


Sow and Reap

Further developing a theme I've driven home so many times I've lost count: without opposition research, there is no opposition.

As any experienced, effective activist can tell you, sans regular, reliable, comprehensive intelligence on the plans and operations of the enemies of democracy in this country, no amount of advocacy, protest, or litigation after the fact will set them back one iota. On the other hand, if we know what they're scheming in advance of it appearing in the media or on the street, we have half a chance of jamming a stick in their spokes.

And as all the top researchers in the country--most of whom are unfunded--will tell you, intelligence is not something you can get off the Internet or in the newspaper. Rather, it's gathered through field agents and network contacts painstakingly cultivated through personal connections and nurtured through reciprocal deeds like covering someone's back from attack, and constantly sharing resources and information.

For a brief period of time, back when militias and Aryans were blowing up federal buildings and dynamiting human rights activist's homes, a trickle of dough got into the hands of some very good opposition researchers from philanthropists who were rightly terrified that their regularly-funded do-gooders might get their heads blown off. But ever since the right-wing terrorists of the moment were convicted in the latter half of the 1990s--largely due to the tireless and mostly unrewarded efforts of protector societies like the Public Good network--liberal funders went back to financing environmental poster-coloring contests and multi-cultural parades.

Nothing wrong with either, of course, but knowing how lame law enforcement is in preventing such things as hate crimes, and being at least vaguely aware of the malicious intent of the American right-wing, you'd think that progressive bankrollers would consider investing say ten percent of what they lavish on career complainers in keeping them alive. Just a thought.


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