Facebook Pickets

Los Angeles Listening to the story of the development of the organizing campaign for car washers in Los Angeles (there are up to 15,000 such workers in the county), my ears picked up when the organizing director mentioned that they students with UCLA had meticulously analyzed the peak traffic at car washes. Not surprisingly perhaps the most crowded time is between noon and 2 PM on Saturday afternoons. Organizers might call that the peak time for vulnerability for such operations. If you were going to have an informational picket line to let people know that the car wash was not under contract, then that was your time. The organizer also mentioned that they had determined they did not need an army to have the necessary impact but could handle each car wash with between a dozen and twenty pickets to maximum effect. Getting them was no problem he indicated, because they could alert their “Facebook friends,” and reliably turnout students and others to support their Saturday activities. Relating the story to the organizers at the National Day Laborers Network where I was spending the day, they look that ante and doubled it, saying that they had build a list of over 2500 “friends” on their Arpaio campaign in Phoenix. They were able to communicate effectively on every development, mobilize when it counted, and message directly. I’m becoming a broken record about the fact that we all need to start getting our arms — and minds — around this social networking thing. It’s got untapped power for helping us create change.