Benjamin Geer on Mon, 22 Jul 2002 16:32:18 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Oh dearie me

Bruce Sterling quoting PR watch:
> For years, activist groups in Europe thought that Manfred
> Schlickenrieder was a leftist sympathizer and filmmaker. [...]
> In reality, Schlickenrieder was a spy [...]
> "BP countered the campaign in an unusually
> fast and smart way," Greenpeace Germany spokesperson Stefan
> Krug told the German daily Die Tageszeitung. Since BP knew
> what was coming in advance, it was never taken by surprise.

Greenpeace's problem seems to have been that their strategy depended on 
secrecy and surprise: they were trying to use advertising to compete with 
corporations for the sympathies of the public.

If you don't bother doing anything that depends on secrecy or surprise, 
espionnage becomes useless against you.  Everything we do in ATTAC London 
is completely out in the open; we put the minutes of all our meetings, as 
well as all our work in progress (leaflets, brochures, ideas for future 
projects, etc.), on our web site.  Our strategy doesn't depend on 
carefully calculated advertising campaigns, and we don't care about media 
attention.  Instead, our work involves a long, slow process of 
self-education.  Each member of ATTAC forms his or her opinions not by 
reading a glossy insert in a magazine, but by participating in public 
discussions and debates, and by doing our own research.

No hypothetical corporate infiltrator could use us against its 
competitors, because we don't target individual companies.  We aim to 
understand how the market economy as a whole affects livelihoods and 
democracy; we champion proposals that would alter the effects of markets 
on society in general.  New proposals slowly gain credence among ATTAC 
members though a process of public debate, with the participation of a 
broad network of academics and other knowledgable people; like the peer 
review process used in academic journals, this allows us to separate the 
wheat from the chaff.


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