Netroots Nation holds annual conference in San Jose

June 20, 2013 5:17:51 PM PDT
A gathering of liberal bloggers and activists is drawing some big name politicians to San Jose this weekend.

This is the first time Netroots has held its annual conference in California. It's made up of about 3,000 mostly young, mostly left wing political activists who are using social media to organize and flex political power.

"People meet here and end up working together to make campaigns online and really build strengths in their relationships," said Ben Zolno with New Message Media.

Three years ago Zolno and a small group of volunteers spearheaded opposition to a PG&E backed initiative and wound up beating the utility company even though they were outspent 500-to-1.

"This conference is about bottom up people power," said Adam Green with Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Green's committee raised $100,000 to convince Elizabeth Warren to run for the Senate.

"We wanted to show her how much grassroots support would be there and it worked," Green said.

Organizers of the Netroots Nation have 80 panels, 40 training stations, 100 exhibitors, and the attention of some big names.

"John Perez, Darryl Steinberg, Pelosi, Senator Boxer, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee," said Mary Rickles with Netroots Nation.

And we ran into former presidential candidate Howard Dean, who was a pioneer in internet organizing.

"So I know that the stereotype among older people of this generation is they do their computers all day and sit around, when in fact there is a core group of activists, and that's what this convention is about, who make things happen," Dean said.

The conference runs through the weekend most of the heavy hitters from Congress will be showing up over the weekend they're still on their way here from DC.


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