By Alex de Waal
interpreting the influence of western mass tradition advocates, Advocacy in Conflict evaluates the successes and screw ups of advocacy campaigns and provides optimistic feedback of ongoing efforts. Alex de Waal makes use of high-profile case reports, corresponding to campaigns on the topic of democracy, human trafficking, incapacity rights, and land rights to problem the assumptions and agendas that advocacy organisations perpetuate.
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Additional resources for Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism
Ultimately, and to the total surprise of both superpowers, citizens’ mobilization in eastern Europe to defend human rights became the lever that brought down the Berlin Wall. The internal contradictions in the communist bloc proved more life-threatening to the Soviet rulers than were double standards to the Americans, because the Soviet system was unable to acknowledge them, respond to them and accommodate them. The peaceful end of European communism was one of the great victories of social movements led by Solidarity in Poland, the churches and organizations such as Helsinki Citizens’ Assemblies in various countries.
By contrast, the ‘conflict minerals’ campaign spearheaded by Enough, while similarly targeting an intersection between ESC and civil and political rights, showed a very different character. As detailed by Laura Seay (in this volume), ‘conflict minerals’ advocacy was constructed from the top down and designed for impact in Washington, DC. Contrasting these campaigns highlights the question of who defines the issue. Such power dynamics drive radical critiques of the international human rights project, such as those of Issa Shivji (1989) and Tony Evans (1998).
Advocacy is driven by a dominant Western NGO or network, run by specialized lobbyists who act as brokers with policy-makers, adapting their agenda and methods to accord with the practicalities of that lobbying process. Under these conditions, the boomerang model at once gains enhanced efficacy vis-à-vis the target Western government, and is likely to neglect or distort the Southern movement’s issues and framings. The Western advocacy/lobby organization can take different forms. Some become institutionalized, focusing on providing expert policy analysis.
Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism by Alex de Waal
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