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Advocacy Groups Vow To ‘Protect The Protest’ As Government And Corporations Challenge First Amendment Rights

With wealthy corporations, state legislatures, and the federal government finding new ways to challenge Americans’ right to protest, several nonprofit groups have banded together to fight back on behalf of those facing legal jeopardy for peacefully blocking pipelines or using civil disobedience to resist other fossil projects and destructive policies. The “Protect the Protest” initiative was established this month by 20 non-profit groups—including the ACLU, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), and Amnesty International—in response to lawsuits commonly filed by large companies against protesters with the goal of taking advantage of the power imbalance and exhausting activists’ resources, forcing them to end their actions against the corporations.

Behind Today’s Breakthrough Advocacy Campaigns

By Tom Liacas and Jason Mogus for SSIR - It’s not easy being a systems-busting campaigner these days. Competition for funding is intense, attention spans have shriveled (especially among Millennials), and wicked problems lie behind many of the causes now championed at the national level. Despite these challenges, new sources of power and grassroots energy are driving certain campaigns to scale with surprising speed and force.

What Do Corporations Think When The Public Is Criticizing Them?

Typically the first reaction of any organizations that is being criticized is an emotional one, which is exactly what the chocolate company had. They became defensive and in an effort to appease the activist organization and cease the attack, they created an expensive advertising campaign to say they were sorry and promised to do all they could to correct this terrible wrong. In essence, they admitted guilt. The consequence of this strategy was permanently losing market share consisting of anyone who felt strongly about defoliation, global warming or the needless killing of animals. This indelible admission insured those consumers never return. To successfully combat this attack you must first consider the driving motive that supports the attacker's existence.
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