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Democracy Center releases guide on corporate campaigning

The Democracy Center has just published a free downloadable 55-page guide called "Beating Goliath: a resource for corporate campaigners."

I think this "Beating Goliath" guide does a very good job at selling the strategy of corporate campaigning and also explaining the basic components that make up a corporate campaign.

I also appreciated the authors' decision to tease out best practices by showcasing case studies of successful corporate campaigns.

The people of Bolivia's campaign to stop Bechtel from privatizing their water teaches us that targeting individual decision-makers can be effective, as can choosing a playing field that suits your strengths (in the case the streets of Bolivia and not the World Bank's trade court).

The campaign to stop a Germany energy company from building a new coal plant in England teaches us that it helps to make your local issue (stop this coal plant) the emblematic example of a bigger issue (climate change) (Authors note, this is easier said than done) and using satire and humour. The authors also maintain this campaign was successful because it built broad-based alliances that included established environmental organizations and anti-capitalist groups.

I wouldn't say an alliance between environmental groups and anti-capitalist groups is that "broad," but I do agree with the strategy of building coalitions. I typically strive to build alliances between issue groups typically pitted against each other by corporations and governments, like union-environmental or environmental-indigenous rights alliances.

On the flip side, I think the summaries of the tactics groups can use to execute their campaigns is a little on the slim side to be especially useful. Still, the guide acknowledges this and quickly directs readers to better websites. If you want to know about direct action then check out Ruckus; if you want to know how to research a company go to the Corporate Research Project.

Anyway, the guide is certainly worth a read.

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