Verity Burgmann

Getting out the vote for Barack Obama

Issue section: 

I am normally a Politics professor, but in late October I entered a parallel universe doing "participant-observer research" as a Democratic Party activist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

I began to understand the extraordinary ground-level campaign to elect Barack Obama as a social movement fusing aspirations for economic levelling with hostility to racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and environmental degradation.

People not normally involved in elections were engaged and enthused. Campaigners chattered about replacing the discredited "trickle-down effect" with a "trickle-up effect". Grotesque degrees of class inequality angered people as much as the war on Iraq.

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