The Power of Online Fundraising in the Left
"With these local successes through the web, I’ve recently come to terms with the power of the online fundraiser for leftist causes..."
The Miami Tenants Union raised over 2,000 dollars for a tenant to move out of an apartment. The place they’d been living before was not only roach infested, but harmful to their health and to the health of their children and grandchildren who also lived in this space. The nearby Palm Beach Tenants Union also had a successful fundraiser for over 10,000 dollars for tenants at the Stonybrook Apartment Complex, which was infamously left in severe and criminal disrepair.
From an organizer from the PBTU, “We struggled raising money face to face, holding fundraisers that ended up costing a lot to start and with minimal results. We thought about grants but few of us had the experience in grant writing and we didn’t want to tie ourselves to the big foundations with their strings attached. Seeing that our only other choices were begging for pennies or becoming an NGO, we started really amping up our social media coverage of our tenant-led campaigns at Stonybrook and elsewhere. It’s weird because in tenant organizing most of the work is on the ground, face to face with the tenants, and dealing with urgent issues that come up as well as building natural leaders and recruits. So while it was not our primary focus and tough to juxtapose the two, we managed to raise a ton of social media awareness, press coverage, and we even got a full hour show on the podcast El Chapo. Due to these efforts, we were able to raise $10,000 for tenants at Stonybrook + thousands more for other tenants who were being evicted in other neighborhoods where we aided organizing efforts. For instance, we raised $3,000 in a donation drive for a tenant leader whose car was wrecked in retaliation, and the property manager claimed there was no video coverage in spite of being in full view of four different cameras on the property. Supporters really identify with these specific incidents, in the middle of struggle, and they tend to be far more successful than 'donate to my tenant union.'"
With these local successes through the web, I’ve recently come to terms with the power of the online fundraiser for leftist causes. This is due to more often than not people relating to these types of existential and working class struggles that they themselves most likely have either already been subjected to or worry about constantly in the back of their minds.
This is the main strength of the left overall. We directly address the strifes of the working class with solutions, not deflections, and these solutions are always community-led. This transfers well to the net. Because the solutions we present are always directly influenced by the problems in our society, they appeal to a greater base than we’d be reasonably able to find locally due to a lack of funds or manpower.
The Internet allows us to build beyond our abilities to canvas and be physically present in our struggles and into another area where we desperately are in need-direct fundraising. Hopefully in future there will be more opportunities for locals to put these near infinite resources to good use.
Miami Tenants Union social media accounts are listed as @MIATenantsUnion on ALL platforms!
Please support them online here :)
For the Palm Beach Tenants Union, click here for information,
and here for their most recent fundraising effort!