For years now union organizers have used a body of tactics to literally coerce targeted employers into submission – this body of tactics is collectively referred to as a “corporate campaign.” As we’ll see, that “corporate campaign” methodology has recently been adopted by Progressives to (in effect) coerce our Second Amendment into a nullity, while insulating their efforts from any legal challenges asserting the unconstitutionality or violation of Constitutional rights.
Progressives Hate and Fear Our Second Amendment
Progressives aspire to herald-in a globalist secular utopia, and nation states and patriotism are roadblocks. The United States of America, by virtue of its very existence premised upon our founding principles and governmental structure has, since WWI, stood as the global embodiment of a strong nation state and patriotic population – if the United States stands strong, the globalist Progressive vision remains an impossible dream. So for over 100 years Progressives have been engaged in an undeclared war against our Constitution, and they well recognize that our Second Amendment rights is the rampart of liberty that must be overrun before they can secure ultimate victory.
It is with good reason that Progressives fear Americans remaining armed, and so by “whatever means necessary” intend to disarm us – for an armed population is one that is empowered to resist totalitarianism – whether the economic version imposed by Communists, or the secular dystopia that the Progressives envision for us. (They cling to delusional belief that they are on their way to realizing a global social justice utopia; that the “arc of history” is leading us there, notwithstanding the protestations of “bitter clingers.” Yet, historical experience and human nature inform those of us grounded in the real world that the opposite of a utopia will occur should the Progressives attain full power.)
The Progressives’ Plot
Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow…they have form but are formless. They are skilled in both planning and adapting and need not fear the result of a thousand battles: for they win in advance, defeating those that have already lost. – Sun Tzu
The Parkland school shooting occurred on February 14, 2018. The then blindingly fast rise of media darling David Hogg as “leader” of a “do gun control for the children movement,” the school “walkouts” and “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. (March 24, 2018) had to be planned well in advance. The logistics for the Washington march alone could not have occurred post-Parkland – permit applications, review, approvals, publicity, transportation of “children” from around the country, food, PortaPotties, and so on. Not to mention arranging the funding.
Oh, and let us not forget that there were also “demonstrations” elsewhere in the country and the logistics required for those. Though the “children’s movement” has been portrayed in the media as grassroots and organic, when one follows the money, it is indisputable that this is classic AstroTurf; the signs all point to the Progressive gun control movement having had a plan mapped-out, and that it was just waiting for the “right” incident to execute the plan.
Accompanying this, and still rolling out after the demonstrations, is what appears to be the heart of the plan (the “children” and their “movement” being props useful for media). That is, the simultaneous demonization of the NRA and efforts to hobble the firearms industry by cutting off its sources of its and its customers’ financing; by making anyone associated with the firearms industry subject to what is called “reputational risk.”
Since Parkland we’ve witnessed banking institutions such as Delta Air Lines and Citibank and Bank of America engage in high profile disassociation with the NRA and/or firearm manufacturers, and even threats to stop processing credit card payments for retail customers who seek to purchase firearms and related products. And we’ve seen Governor Cuomo of New York weaponize that state’s regulatory apparatus to (in effect) blackmail financial firms into divest themselves from doing business with the firearms industry (against which the NRA has recently filed suit).
While for those not familiar with labor organizing this may all appear to be new and unique to Second Amendment issues, it is nothing new, but is actually a classic Leftist tactic – one adopted first by the Marxist Left, then labor union organizers, and now being employed by the Progressive movement generally. This strategy and the body of tactics accompanying it are called “corporate campaigns.”
Though “corporate campaigns” have generally flown below the radar (at least outside of labor circles), they have been subjected to academic study. Circa 2000, Professor Jarol Manheim of George Washington University published a fascinating book titled “The Death of a Thousand Cuts: Corporate Campaigns and the Attack on the Corporation”. Over the intervening years, he has testified before Congress on the subject and, in 2005, discussed “corporate campaigns” for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [Henceforth, when quoting from these, I’ll refer to them as “Congress” or “Chamber” as shorthand to identify the source document.]
Keep in mind that Leftists carry an affinity for Marxism, which in turn means that there is within them a visceral sense that all free-market (Capitalist) enterprises are inherently exploitive and their existence illegitimate, and so if “justice” were truly served they would be stricken from the face of the earth. This attitude gives them psychic license to pursue any and all tactics against corporate targets – legal or illegal, ethical or not – traits all of which can be ascribed to “corporate campaigns. In the Commerce document Professor Manheim tells us that:
Corporate campaigns trace their origins to several sources. Two of the most important include the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and long-time community activist Saul Alinsky. In its defining 1962 manifesto, The Port Huron Statement, drafted by then-president Tom Hayden …
Before we proceed further, we should recall that history informs us that genocides are a repeated occurrence, particularly since the beginning of the twentieth century – and that a disarmed population is far more susceptible to massacre because, by definition, it lacks viable means to resist or defend itself. As regards the United States, many will dismiss such talk as merely academic “since something like that could never happen here.” Ah, but it nearly did, and within living memory.
Plotting the Genocide of 25 Million Americans – For Real
The SDS, cited by Professor Manheim as a primary source of “corporate campaigns,” begat the even more radical “Weathermen” / “Weather Underground.” The Weather Underground terrorist group was established by none other than Bill Ayers, who later became the political mentor of one Barack Hussein Obama, even hosting Obama’s very first political event in his living room! Ayers’ Weather Underground was planning for the genocide of 25 million Americans, right here in the good old US of A. Yes you read that right; see for yourself: FBI informant – Weather Underground plan to kill 25 million Americans.
Thank God for our Second Amendment! With it intact, if necessary, we would have been able to disrupt their plans. Mr. Ayers is, to this day, a respected and influential figure in Progressive circles. It is plausible that it “can’t happen here” – so long as we continue to enjoy our full Second Amendment rights. But if those rights are stripped from us, that “can’t happen here” quickly becomes “pray it never happens here.”
“Corporate Campaigns,” Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton
The other origin of “corporate campaigns” mentioned by Professor Manheim – Saul Alinsky – was the author of “Rules for Radicals,” and was a friend to one Hillary Rodham (as in recent Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton); so much so that he had offered her a job with his organization, and was the subject of her college thesis.
As we see with Ayers-Obama, and Alinsky-Clinton, the radical lineage of “corporate campaigns” extends directly into current Progressive leadership. So what are the dynamics of “corporate campaigns?” How do they work? In the Chamber piece Professor Manheim stated that:
Corporate campaigns employ “power structure analysis” to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in the critical stakeholder relationships on which all companies depend.
So what does that “stakeholder relationships” mean? In Congress Professor Manheim elaborated as follows:
A corporate campaign is an organized assault – involving economic, political, legal, regulatory and psychological warfare – on a company that has offended a labor union or some other group. The attack usually centers around the media, where the protagonists attempt to redefine the image – and tarnish the reputation – of the target company until it yields on whatever the issue in dispute might be.
The central idea is to undermine the company’s relationships with its key stakeholders: customers, employees, shareholders, bankers, insurers, regulators and the general public, among others. In effect, the goal of the campaign is to define the target company as a corporate outlaw – a pariah institution – that must be stopped before it does further damage to our society, and to make anyone who deals with the company feel a sense of personal embarrassment for having done so. I have identified and studied more than 200 such campaigns.
Hmmm, does that not sound like the reputational jihad now being waged against the NRA and the firearms industry? And note that in his 2002 testimony Professor Manheim had already studied over 200 such campaigns; as stated above, though the reputational and financial assault against the entities affiliated with Second Amendment rights may appear to be new and unique, they’re just the latest targets of a now-classic Leftist battle plan. Recall that we mentioned the (AstroTurf) “March for Our Lives?” That’s straight out of the playbook too. Again from Congress:
It is also important to understand that, in corporate campaigns, “communication” includes much more than simply issuing potentially persuasive messages. Identifying or creating events that highlight the campaign’s principal lines of attack or otherwise contribute to the general vulnerability of the target company are essential parts of the communication strategy. So in addition to carefully shaped messages, these campaigns rely heavily on litigation, legislative and regulatory activities, shareholder actions, boycotts and demonstrations, and the like.
Lawsuits (including every allegation, filing, hearing and decision), regulatory proceedings (inquiries, investigations, routine inspections or even non-actions), congressional or state legislative hearings, action requests from key legislators to regulatory agencies, policy and issue conferences, letters to corporate officials, third-party research reports – these and other “events” become the focal points of efforts by its antagonists to distract corporate management from its day-to-day responsibilities of running the company and, in the process, to generate an image of risk and uncertainty associated with the target company. Collectively, they are designed to keep the pressure on.
Some of these events are real and naturally occurring, but many of them are manufactured by or with the encouragement of those attacking the company. One early advocate of this technique, Robert Harbrant, at the time president of the AFL-CIO’s Food and Allied Service Trades Department, put it this way: “We think you can rewrite the rules of the game by creating circumstances and exploiting them.”
So what’s that “power analysis” stuff really all about? Well, by analogy, let’s consider a military operation. To formulate a battle plan the officers and military planners and intelligence assets are going to conduct an assessment of the adversary’s strengths, weaknesses and areas of potential vulnerability. Everything from the adversary’s reserves of troops and supplies to the logistics required for resupply, and so on. This is analyzed as a totality – to gain a complete picture of strengths, weaknesses, how they interact and how they may be exploited. In “corporate campaigns” the Leftist – Progressive planners engage in a similar exercise. Again, Professor Manheim from Chamber:
Power structure analysis is illustrated in Figure 1. In applying this technique, a prospective attacker locates the target company in the center of a diagram, and arrays around it all of the key stakeholder relationships upon which it depends for its success and well-being. These will vary, of course, from one company to the next, but will generally include some or all of the categories identified in the figure. Once this list is complete, the attacker then examines each relationship in detail looking for its principal strengths and vulnerabilities. The identification and assessment of these stakeholder relationships requires extensive research, and can take months or even years to accomplish.
Once the assessment of the stakeholder relationships is completed, the results—and primarily the vulnerabilities that have been identified—are set against the capabilities of the attacker. These might include supporters within the company, existing alliances with interested third parties, the availability of themes or data of particular potential value in attacking a given company, or the like. The juxtaposing of attacker capabilities with target vulnerabilities will produce a prioritized list of strategies and tactics to be deployed.
If Firearms and Ammunition Disappear from the Market, the Second Amendment is a Dead Letter
Does that not sound military-esque? Note how since Parkland the anti-Second Amendment “corporate campaign” has been simultaneously targeting (and/or encouraging desired action by) several “stakeholders” of the firearms industry and Second Amendment supporters: retailers (e.g., Dick’s Sporting Goods); financial sources (e.g., Citibank; Bank of America); political support (the NRA); and individual Second Amendment supports (e.g., Hogg calling them, in effect, accessories to murder). Right out of the playbook (again from Commerce):
When fully deployed, a corporate campaign will generate a rising crescendo of pressures on management, most of them coming from traditional allies, business partners and other supporters whose concerns cannot be ignored …attacks on the company will be designed to stigmatize those who continue to engage in business-as-usual with the target—whether that means selling it goods and services, remaining a customer or client, accepting its claims to be following extant regulations, or merely acknowledging its contributions as a corporate citizen.
In effect, the objective is to embarrass key groups into altering their behaviors with respect to the company, the operative assumption being that those behaviors in the pre-campaign period were central to the company’s success, and that changing them will prove disadvantageous to (generate pressure on) the company. If all of this works as intended, the net result will be to change the target company’s decision-making calculus …
Such as causing the management of a conglomerate to exit the firearms business completely, and thereafter concentrate on other lines of business.
Such as choking-off financing sources to companies intending to stay in the firearms industry by having banks refuse to loan them money or otherwise transact business with them – including the ability of retail customers to use those banks’ credit / debit cards to purchase firearms products.
Such as by driving up the cost of doing business, so that firearms products prices rise so fewer can afford them.
Such as by (if possible) forcing all firearms related businesses into other product lines, or out of business entirely – and so effecting a de facto “gun ban” and “ammunition ban” without the need for legislation and so, on paper, without risking a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court for “violating” Constitutional rights.
At this point the a complimentary concept should be noted: while this piece has presented “corporate campaigns” in a more “classic” sense in that the discussion has focused on the tactics being deployed against the NRA and firearm-related commercial endeavors, it could well be said that actually what we’re seeing is the use of the “corporate campaign” strategy in an entirely new way: executed to accomplish a de facto Constitutional amendment by other means.
That is, the Second Amendment itself is the actual “target” of this “corporate campaign.” That under the Progressive “power structure analysis” the NRA and commercial entities are (in effect) “stakeholder relationships” that are being used as levers to achieve the ultimate goal (albeit they in turn are still having “corporate campaign” tactics deployed against them via their “stakeholders”). The ultimate goal? To deprive U.S. citizens of their Second Amendment rights by making unavailable to implements and supplies necessary for them to exercise those rights.
History has shown, over and over, that totalitarian regimes of all stripes, for self-preservation, work to disarm their populations. Our Founding Fathers knew this, and so we are blessed that when all else fails, our Second Amendment rights are our final backstop, providing the most effective safeguard of liberty. Thus, so long as Progressivism (nee Liberalism) remains a viable political movement in our country, the battle for our Second Amendment rights, and thus our country, will remain an existential one.
Young Master Hogg, the foul-mouthed poster child for gun control, and the media activities seen post-Parkland, are but façades – “the children” and the public utterances are about “saving lives,” but those exist only to pave the way for accomplishing the actual goal: eliminating Second Amendment rights.
Which in turn would pave the way for “fundamentally transforming” the United States of America into something that would be unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers – something along the lines of a “Democratic Socialist” or “Socialist state” (at least initially).
To understand the “corporate campaign” currently underway is to understand what is at stake – which is a necessary prerequisite to develop our counter-strategies for protecting and preserving out Second Amendment rights.
Mr. Wigand is the author of Communiqués From the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, which is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Comments or questions for Mr. Wigand may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org— he will make every effort to personally respond to every email.