The netroots often receive credit for energizing and organizing the progressive movement. Using social media tools, these activists have had a profound effect on national and local elections. Indeed, Barack Obama has largely built his campaign and its coffers by embracing the netroots.
Alas, these online activists aren’t always accorded respect by political insiders. At times there’s been tension between the DC hacks and the netroots about tactics and effectiveness. And I’ve heard a local democratic leader refer to the movement as “the nut-roots”.
The netroots, though, perseveres with its brand of activism that is shaping the future of politics and the party. Its third annual conference, Netroots Nation, is in mid-July in Austin. And Lawrence Lessig will be a keynote speaker.
Lessig, of course, is a tech intellect and superstar who has advanced efforts toward ensuring the Internet remains democratic and open to all. In late 2007 Lessig announced that he would dedicate significant time to the issue of corruption.
In the meantime, the members of the netroots are ecstatic that Lessig will speak at the coming conference. This tech giant’s presence gives the movement more legitimacy, connecting the netroots’ political emphasis with the technological and cultural elements of the Internet. One netroots leader, Chris Bowers at OpenLeft.com, described the importance of Lessig’s participation:
It is an expansive moment where the netroots demonstrates a wider focus on more than just elections and party politics, but also on the broader social trends that make the netroots possible.
Posted by Jody Chatalas