When grassroots activists dared to challenge the global biotech giant Monsanto, it hired the world’s largest private army, Blackwater, to infiltrate and monitor their groups. And when a union stood up to Walmart’s unfair treatment of its workers, the retail chain sent in an undercover employee to spy on their organizing efforts.
These are the sort of dirty tactics that the world’s multinationals are using to undermine and eliminate any opposition to their corporate abuses. And increasingly, our community at SumOfUs is a target. Not just because we’ve already hit Monsanto, Walmart and other serial abusers with dozens of fearless campaigns this year — but because we’re showing that together, we can win. The only question is when they will come for us.
We’ve already been threatened with crippling legal action by a Canadian extraction company determined to silence our opposition to the Tar Sands, and alerted to a potential attempt to access our internal documents without authorisation. That’s why we need to act now to ensure we can keep standing strong against the world’s worst corporations, and protect ourselves from underhanded or outright illegal attacks.
Over the last year, SumOfUs has already achieved impressive things. Together with brave partners around the world, we pushed dozens of global brands to protect Bangladeshi garment workers, challenged Pepsi to to work with LGBT people to fight homophobic laws in Uganda, and much, much more. And our profile is growing — major international media have covered our successful campaigns, and corporations are starting to recognize the power of our community.
We didn’t expect our collective work to be popular. But we do need to be prepared to stand up when the big guys come after us. The tactics that corporations are increasingly deploying against genuine, popular opposition to their dangerous policies and corrupting influence are frankly scary. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been caught investigating how to entrap political opponents and trade unions, and Dow Chemical is being sued by Greenpeace after hiring a private security firm to steal thousands of documents. And this is just what we know about.
And the honest reality is, we’re not yet ready to stand up to these threats. We’re far from defenseless and our data-protection is amongst the best in the business, but we need to do more to get ready for the big fights ahead.
We urgently need to boost our security infrastructure, by:
- Hiring top-notch security experts and hackers to make sure we protect our data from meddling corporations;
Upgrading our communications systems so we can communicate securely with whistleblowers and partners in the developing world — many of whom are putting their lives on the line to stand up for a fairer world;
- Improving our website protections so that it can withstand any attack designed take it down and interfere with our campaigning.
Corporations may have big pockets, while here at SumOfUs we run on a razor-thin budget. But what we lack in million-dollar budgets we make up for with huge, distributed people power. If we all come together now, we can make sure that our community can keep up the fight when it counts most: when companies start to fear that we might actually force them to listen to the demands of the world’s workers, consumers, investors and citizens.
With corporations more powerful than ever, our mission has never been more important. Let’s keep proving that people around the world can challenge corporate power, and win.
Thanks for standing up to corporate power,
Martin, Kaytee, Marguerite and the rest of us.