Gary Wolf is preparing a story on the Dean campaign for Wired, focusing on the online Dean campaign. As part of this he is interviewing the usual suspects of the Wired/Cluetrain/Well set - Weinberger, Rheingold, Kelly asking them all what's so special about the Dean online momentum. They give various interesting forms of the same answer: give up control. By providing means to let people do the organizing themselves, and more importantly by not controlling the grassroots very carefully, the campaign has been able to grow very quickly, and with an completely different feel from your usual grassrots campaign. So say the pundits, anyway - being 'not there' and 'not American' it is extremely difficult to tell to what extent the claims are true.
What's really interesting so far is that none of the pundits frame their answer in quite the same way, nor do they give the same example of the defining liberating quality. This indicates to me the true difference to any standard way of organising several hundred thousands of people. It's not just about finding some technique to grow the organisation, its a completely different idea about what it means to be organized at all.