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Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when grassroots agitation melds with good organization.
One group that is doing a great job of applying organization to agitation is Wellstone Action. Named for the legendary progressive senator, Paul Wellstone, this group holds intensive training sessions around the country to hone the political skills of potential candidates, campaign workers, and citizen activists. Called “Camp Wellstone,” these sessions empower regular folks to act on their progressive principles, to challenge even the most entrenched political establishment… and to win.
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Begun in 2003, Wellstone Action has been educating and motivating a whole new generation of grassroots leaders who are not beholden to the money interests, not tied to old-line political hierarchies, and not afraid to offer a new politics based on ideas and ideals. And now, graduates of these citizenship camps are running winning campaigns all across the country.
In the November 7th election, Camp Wellstone alumni ran for local, state, and federal offices, and 78 of them were elected in 18 states. They will now be state senators, country commissioners, secretaries of state, and even members of congress – three Wellstone grads (John Hall of New York, David Loebsack of Iowa, and Time Walz of Minnesota) were elected to the U.S. house this year. In addition, one of Wellstone Action’s trainers, Keith Ellison, was elected to the house, becoming the first Muslim to serve in congress.
Just as important are the scores of alumni who worked on winning campaigns – or who were involved in campaigns that didn’t win this time, but laid a base for future wins. Democracy is not a quick-fix project; it’s built over the longhaul by grassroots people who are principled, passionate… and skilled.
This is Jim Hightower saying… To get involved in Camp Wellstone, call 651-645-3939.
“35 Camp Wellstone Alumni Win Election in Minnesota,” www.wellstone.org, November 17, 2006.