A Progressive Paradox | Beaufort County Now | College Students are often thought of as two things: eager and broke - and a far-left extremist campaigning organization bases its whole process on this notion.

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   Publisher's note: This post, by Carrie Leggins, was originally published in the Corruption & Ethics, Issues, Justice & Public Safety section of Civitas's online edition.

    College Students are often thought of as two things: eager and broke - and a far-left extremist campaigning organization bases its whole process on this notion. Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. (GCI), a third-party progressive organization, is hired by the likes of MoveOn, Greenpeace and other leftist groups to do their bidding. Young, perhaps well-intentioned liberals are easily sucked in under guises of slogans such as "Fight for equal rights!" and "Save Mother Earth!" alongside the promise of a substantial income. (See the accompanying ad -- the company promises $1,200-$2,000 per month). To a broke college liberal, what could be better? Advancing progressivism and making money at the same time!

    Little do these workers know they're being sucked into something that is quite possibly a scam. After being recruited by the promise of a liberal cause, employees canvass for the flavor-of-the-month organization currently outsourcing its fundraising to GCI. At the moment, these include the ACLU, OxFam, and Save the Children. To a young liberal, this is comparable to a kid at Disney World - their excitement is unfathomable. Then, the real work starts.

    The new Grassroots canvassers are sent out on the streets with T-shirts and clipboards, asking people to help their cause - in other words, they become solicitors for the third-party payer. With high hopes for progressivism, many try to stick it out, but there are many more who realize the injustice of it all within the first week. Just Google the company and you will easily find stories from numerous people full of animosity towards the organization. It's also interesting to wonder where the money goes - surely some percentage goes to Grassroots Campaigns itself.

    In any case, who knew that advancing political causes would turn into a high-pressure sales job? Numerous claims have appeared across the U.S. accusing the group of violating fair wage standards. Some workers were paid far less than what federal and state wage laws guarantee. (Ultimately, I believe that minimum wage laws actually hurt the poor, but that's another argument for another day.) The group was even sued in 2007 for its labor violations. What's also interesting is the foundation of this group. Since its inception in 2003, the group has been prone to questionable activity, and it shares owners with Public Interest Research Group (NCPIRG), the group accused of voter registration fraud right here in North Carolina.

    The irony of Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. is overwhelming. The "Progressive Movement" was heavily based on values that this organization seems to be blatantly ignoring - better working conditions and mandatory higher wages. If numerous personal accounts of past employees are anywhere near correct, GCI is overlooking these issues and is instead extracting money from employees who fail to meet their idyllic quota. GCI is using a corporate model to "do good" in the progressive world, bringing in the dough to the top. (I thought they hated anything and everything about the corporate world!)

    What a way to exploit America's youth! Pull them in with what they want to hear and then skid around labor laws because they're too young and na´ve to do anything about it. This organization is a joke. I wouldn't wish this kind of fraud on anyone, even if they are the hippy-trippy, granola-munching, "save the whales" liberal type. The Left needs to hold organizations like this accountable for their hypocrisy and immoral treatment of employees.
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