Pressure building on OFA over Keystone Pipeline betrayal

Last week we wrote about Obama`s back-pocket `grassroots` organizing group, OFA, refusing to help progressive activists challenge the Obama administration on the Keystone XL Pipeline battle.

(Why did I put `grassroots` in quotes? Because a real grassroots group listens to its members. The name for a top-down group that appears to be grassroots but really represents only the money that funds it is … astroturf. Is OFA just a Democratic astroturf group? You decide.)

It now looks like the conflict between real Keystone activists — most of whom, I would bet, voted for Obama — and OFA, which claims only to represent the president`s `agenda,` is growing. There`s a battle brewing. From Ruby Cramer at Buzzfeed:

President Obama’s organizing operation is warning its volunteers that they may be the target of progressive protests and urging its membership to stress their “mission of changing the conversation on climate!” in any confrontations with environmentalists.

Organizing for Action — Obama’s outside grassroots organizing group designed to put Republicans’ feet to the fire on behalf of the administration — has found itself on the receiving end of late for its refusal to take a position on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Why would OFA get into a `confrontation with environmentalists` if their mission is to `change the conversation on climate`? Only if the second statement were untrue, of course. Or, more generously, if all OFA wants to change about climate is … the conversation (as opposed to the actual climate).

Please read the whole thing. There`s a ton of good info in the article. I just want to pick out a few pieces to highlight:


OFA circulated a set of talking points to its members for use in dealing with unruly activists. The document, obtained by BuzzFeed, includes information on the science behind climate change and the president’s environmental positions, and ends with a section titled “Keystone Talking Points.” …

The talking points come with a warning: “Volunteers from Credo Action or other organizations may attend your planning session and want to demand that we work on the Keystone XL pipeline.”

See why I`m bringing up CREDO lately? They`re really doing Keystone Pipeline stuff that counts. From the article:

Earlier this week, CREDO Mobile called on its 3 million members to attend OFA planning sessions “to make sure stopping Keystone XL is part of the conversation.

OFA is on the bad side of the news in part because CREDO is organizing resistance and directing it where it can do some damage, at Obama`s OFA. Excellent.

Action opportunity

CREDO is just one of many, but right now they`re leading the charge. I`ll bring up other actions opportunities as they evolve. There will be many; McKibben`s just getting started. In the meantime, if you`re interested in what CREDO is doing, click here.

(And if you want a fun read, go back to the article I quoted and read the full leaked OFA talking points doc appended to the bottom. As you do, ask yourself which part of it does Keystone-ignoring OFA actually believe. As I say, a fun read.)

À la résistance,


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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