- Executive Director of MoveOn.org
- Created the website 9-11peace.org, which called for “moderation and restraint” in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Born December 17, 1980 in Lincolnville, Maine, Eli Pariser is the Executive Director of MoveOn.org. The son of two 1960s activists, Pariser graduated from Simon’s Rock College in Massachusetts at the age of 19.
An outspoken critic of globalization, in April 2000 Pariser participated in the International Monetary Fund/World Bank gathering in Washington, DC. Eventually realizing that Internet activism could reach a larger audience than street rallies, he shifted his attention to creating websites to disseminate his political convictions and promote his agendas.
Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Pariser created the website 9-11peace.org, which implored the U.S. government to exercise "moderation and restraint" in its response. More than half a million people signed the anti-war petition on Pariser's website.
When the United States and its allies were preparing to topple Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, MoveOn founders Wes Boyd and Joan Blades hired Pariser as a consultant to head their organization's efforts to discredit the imminent invasion. Pariser rallied 9,000 MoveOn.org members to descend upon 400 government offices across the United States to voice their anti-war sentiments to Members of Congress. He was also instrumental in raising more than $400,000 for anti-war advertising.
Pariser has worked directly with former Vice President Al Gore on drafting MoveOn-sponsored speeches; he appeared at a February 2003 anti-war rally in New York City; and he helped arrange neighborhood bake sales across the United States to raise money for the 2004 John Kerry presidential campaign.
In December 2003 Pariser collaborated with Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros, and techno-rocker Moby to organize "Bush in 30 Seconds," an online contest for the best half-minute anti-President Bush television advertisement. MoveOn pledged to air the winning commercial on national TV. Among the 1,500-odd submissions to the contest were two ads juxtaposing footage of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler. MoveOn posted these entries on its website. Ultimately, under pressure from Jewish groups and Republicans, the organization pulled the Hitler ads and apologized for them.
On December 9, 2004, a month after Kerry's Election Day defeat, Pariser declared that MoveOn had effectively taken control of the Democratic Party. "For years," he said, "the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base. But we can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers. … In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."
Pariser is currently working to enlist young activists to join future leftist initiatives. In an e-mail distributed to MoveOn members on November 22, 2005, Pariser announced that his organization had created a spinoff entity called the New Organizing Institute, "a unique grassroots program that trains young, technology-enabled political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations."
In addition to his duties with MoveOn, Pariser is the board chairman of Avaaz.org; he serves on the advisory board of Res Publica; and he is a board member of the Campaign for America's Future.