Friday, October 30, 2009

Civil society and citizens protesting against corporate power

In the US public anger at the obscenity of executive salaries, the role of out- of- control banks and corporations, and the power of business lobby groups is beginning to translate into concerted action against corporate and business power.

At the moment this consists of localised outbursts by citizens and civil society groups. In Chicago the group Showdown in Chicago organised a week of events protesting the banks role in the financial collapses that are hurting so many ordinary people and calling for major reform and criminal prosecutions. The events culminated in an alliance of unions, citizen groups, small business people and ordinary citizens protesting for three days outside the National Conference of the American Bankers Association.

It will be interesting to see whether these small localised actions transform into a larger citizens movement to challenge corporate power and demand change. What is clear, from the example of the attempts by the US Chamber of Commerce to silence the Yes Men and hundreds of other activist web sites, is that the corporations and business lobbies are worried about the growing public outrage and level of protest, and will fight back.

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