Betreff: Rachel's News #894: Corporate Campaigns
Datum: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 20:02:58 -0500


Rachel's Democracy & Health News #894

"Environment, health, jobs and justice--Who gets to decide?"

Thursday, February 15, 2007.............Printer-friendly version --

Featured stories in this issue...

Corporate Campaigns: Are We Asking Enough?
  Corporate campaigns are now a fixture of the activist landscape.
  Here Charlie Cray describes some of their strengths and weaknesses as
  a means for creating a stronger democracy.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
  This important essay describes the author's journey of discovery,
  from understanding male privilege to understanding white privilege.
U.S. Demonstrates A New Weapon -- A Ray Gun Delivering Pain
  "This is one of the key technologies for the future," said Marine
  Colonel Kirk Hymes, director of the non-lethal weapons program that
  helped develop the new weapon, which is intended to make people feel
  as if they are going to catch on fire.
Details of New U.S. Pain Weapon Revealed
  "The US marines and police are both working on portable versions
  [of a microwave pain weapon], and the US air force is building a
  system for controlling riots from the air."
Investors Says Toxic Chemicals Burden Companies with Liability
  An investment research firm says companies using toxic chemicals
  may find themselves at a serious disadvantage. Here's evidence that 30
  years of work by toxics activists is beginning to affect thinking on
  Wall Street.


From: Rachel's Democracy & Health News #894, Feb. 15, 2007
[Printer-friendly version]


Yes and No

By Charlie Cray

Charlie Cray is the director of the Center for Corporate Policy in
Washington, D.C.

I. Reasons for optimism -- what we are doing right

1. Corporate campaigns are being taken seriously by most corporations.

As an article from the Public Policy Intelligence Report[1] suggests,
after more than a decade of corporate campaigns, corporations are
trying to blunt the challenge by paying more attention to their own
accountability by (a) measuring their own social performance, (b)
adopting voluntary codes of conduct and certification regimes, and (c)
creating an infrastructure for negotiation, not merely handing off the
"crisis" to public relations experts.

2. Our campaigns are now international

Each year the Business Ethics Network gives Benny Awards for
excellence in corporate campaigning. In 2006 the winners were

** Corporate Accountability International's water rights campaign,
"Think Outside the Bottle"

** Pacific Environment's Sakhalin II campaign against Shell, Mitsui,
Mitsubishi, and Gazprom.

** Amazon Watch's Clean Up Ecuador campaign

These campaigns all illustrate how we have learned to work globally,
and they teach many lessons about how the best campaigns are run:

** We respect our partners -- "frontline" communities and foreign non-
governmental organizations [NGOs];

** We frame our struggles around human and natural rights (campaigns
for water as a basic right reached a new high mark with the recent
Mexico City summit, providing an example for other essential
services and industrial-sector campaigns),

** Our campaigns need to persist over long periods of time, digging
into the crevices of Byzantine international financial arrangements,
export credit agencies and, increasingly, private financial

3. Toxics activists and anti-tobacco groups have created sophisticated
international networks of NGOs and civil society groups (e.g. IPEN)
and alliances with key public health professionals, elevating the
voice of activist groups in the global south and institutionalizing
our demands within global legal frameworks (POPs Treaty, Framework
Agreement on Tobacco Control
). These in turn have embedded key
principles such as the Precautionary Principle -- into legitimate

In fact Corporate campaigns have made a major contribution to the
development of a body of treaties that begins to articulate the
vision of the kind of world we want to live in. These treaties provide
an answer to the imperious corporate design that has enshrined
property rights and commercial values into treaties that support
corporate interests, such as the WTO [World Trade Organization], and
the institutions that reinforce those interests, including the IMF
[International Monetary Fund], World Bank, and dozens of other export
credit agencies and quasi-governmental institutions and banks that
continue to prop up the "Washington Consensus."

4. Meanwhile, we have virtually stalled the WTO (Doha agreement),
the main trans-national corporations' investor-rights power grab,
forcing the U.S. Trade Representative and other proponents to inch
forward with bi-partisan agreements. At the same time, global north-
south alliances and discussions of alternative economic development
are taking place within the International Forum on Globalization,
the World Social Forum and other key activist arenas.

We have deepened our financial analysis beyond a few international
financial institutions to a range of global, regional and national
financial institutions (e.g. OPIC [Overseas Private Investment
Corporation], other export credit agencies in Europe, Japan) as well
as key private sources of destructive, unsustainable, and harmful
investment (e.g. Rainforest Action Network's campaigns against
Citi, others). Meanwhile, fledgeling networks such as the Tax
Justice Network and the Derivatives Study Center have formed to deepen
our understanding of global corporate financial questions.

5. The sophistication of corporate campaign work in the area of
investor activism has grown, as witnessed by the increased number of
shareholder resolutions, and creation of As You Sow and other

The sophistication of our market strategies has also grown,
particularly in the area of supply chain analysis. A number of groups
have embarked upon the "mother of all market campaigns" -- Wal-Mart, a
major challenge that has already resulted in early-stage concessions.
(For example, see Wakeup Wal-Mart.)

We have also witnessed the explosive growth of campaign activism in
specific sectors, including public relations (PR Watch),
pharmaceuticals, media reform (2,000 activists came to the second
national media reform conference in St. Louis in 2005 sponsored by
Free Press, and war profiteering, efforts that are particularly
crucial in the U.S.

6. Meanwhile, the grassroots populist wing of the movement to
challenge corporate power, as small as it may be, has continued to
grow, with new experiments in community-level organizing around
fundamental rights beginning to take hold in places like Pennsylvania
(CELDF) and Humboldt County, CA ( Groups
like POCLAD and the education provided by the Democracy Schools and groups like Reclaim Democracy, the New Rules Project (ILSR)
and CELDF continue to plant the seeds of populism in communities
across the U.S.

Other progressive groups have made significant gains at the state
level, helping frame questions of economic justice (Living Wage -
) and public funding of elections (Public Campaign, Fair

II. The Basis for Pessimism -- What is Missing and What We Might Do
About It

1. Most of our campaigns still operate in isolation. We rarely tie the
strategy to broader challenges to corporate power, settling at best
for concessions from single companies that might eventually lead to
standards across an entire industrial sector. Often these are quite
significant, but they rarely build bridges to the next step, galvanize
longer-term activist engagement among masses of people, etc.

The NGO wing of the corporate campaign movement, for example, largely
grew out of the environmental movement, and still has few ties to
labor, few ties to the leading environmental justice groups (who have
much to teach about holistic thinking and organizing), the peace
movement (e.g. it's quite surprising that there are so few
environmental groups working on the link between war and oil,
security, etc.), the voting rights and democracy movement, and the
media reform movement.

There are good examples, however, of "bridging campaigns" out there -
such as the "Separation of Oil and State" campaign (Oil Change) and
the Center for Political Accountability's work to force companies to
disclose their political contributions through aggressive shareholder

2. We are still not very nimble in choosing our corporate targets
outside of the specific sectors we are mainly focused on, nor do we
seem to be willing to risk using our expertise in waging corporate
campaigns to build broader alliances with these other movements --
e.g. where's the campaign against Diebold? After all, we learned a
lot of this stuff from Labor. (On the other hand, during the 2004
presidential campaign, the media reform movement sort of stumbled
into an informal campaign against Sinclair Broadcast Group that was
waged pretty well.)

We don't often discuss how to organize a "movement of movements"
around common concerns among all these allies -- especially around the
question of democracy.

3. We're not always adept at challenging fundamental corporate power,
including the basic right to do business -- in ways the public
understands. The right to vote. The right to water.

We are not always willing to push our victories into legislation, or
willing to risk looking foolish by waging campaigns that set
"impossible" goals that shift the debate by educating a broader public
about much deeper notions of democracy or stronger measures of
corporate accountability -- the way the Unocal campaigners did when
they filed for the company's charter revocation (few took the next
step of pushing for related legislation, especially when liberal
democrats in the California state assembly would not support it).

4. This is a good reminder of something else we need to do -- educate
funders to keep the eye on the long-term goal. The point is not to get
liberal Democrats elected, but to build a movement that will dictate
terms to both parties, or even build its own party if it has to,
either through tools like fusion balloting or electoral work in third
parties. Liberal foundations outspend conservative foundations by 10
to 1, but many of them act like a "drag anchor" on the movement. On
the other side, it's clear from the history of right-wing foundations,
starting with the Chamber of Commerce's strategy outline by Justice
Lewis Powell
, that many right-wing foundations are willing to fight a
"permanent revolution" on behalf of corporations, grabbing power
through deep analysis of the institutions of power in government and

5. We seem to have given up on Washington, settling for market
strategies instead. By doing so we reinforce people's understanding of
themselves as consumers rather than citizens. We have allowed the
right wing to perpetuate a "vicious cycle" that instructs Americans to
be cynical about their government on the one hand, while they use the
instruments of government to pick their pockets and undermine their
rights. And after a major scandal like Abramoff, etc. what happens?
It only confirms the story that you can't trust government. But we
don't see Grover Norquist or the Competitive Enterprise Institute or the Washington Legal Foundation closing up shop. Instead, they
attack our groups (Rainforest Action Network) using strategies very
similar to ones that our movement once espoused, but has long since
forgotten because we haven't built much institutional memory.[3]

Our ability to advocate effectively for new policies has atrophied as
a result. For example, we don't seem to be interested in paying
attention to debates that might directly affect our ability to
campaign, including SEC proposed regulations requiring mutual fund
voting disclosure or shareholder rights to nominate their own
candidates to the board. Not that these are the most important
reforms, but they clearly would strengthen the power of shareholder
action strategies. Labor unions devote some resources to following
these issues (as well as related questions like CEO pay and offshore
re-incorporation) and have found them to be a key part of a dynamic

6. We have a very poor understanding of the importance of the Courts.
We don't push proactive framing of the law to reflect populist
campaigns. We could learn something from the Civil Rights Movement in
this regard.[4] Instead we have seen the erosion of our ability to
hold corporations accountable through civil lawsuits (tort reform),
long- term corporate assaults on local zoning and
environmental/conservation protections (the so-called "Takings
"), etc.[5]

We have defended the Alien Tort Claims Act from attack, but we are
still seeing its slow erosion.

While corporations are using SLAPPs and food disparagement laws to
attack our speech rights, where are we in challenging the notion that
Money = Speech -- a key assumption (created by Buckley v. Valeo)
that allows corporations to dominate political processes?

We have no institutional presence in law schools or business schools,
whereas the other side has a juggernaut known as the Federalist
, not to mention judicial "education" seminars at Hilton
Head, the Pacific Legal Foundation, Washington Legal Foundation,
and well over a dozen other groups that "campaign" for corporations
through the courts.[6]

We need to learn from movements in other countries (e.g. through
global campaign meetings like the ones organized by labor unions).

In the short-term we need to use tactics that take advantage of the
fundamental design of corporations, including working with some
sectors to challenge others, such as health care.

And we need to develop strategies leading to reinvigorated challenges
to corporate size and reach, not trying to play the technocratic
antitrust laws (except when it's tactically necessary), but by framing
our demands around simple, bold policies that transcend single
industrial sectors, such as the need to prevent related businesses
from joining to form large market-controlling conglomerates:


Analyst/commercial banking Broadcast/print/other media

Media/other corporations

Meat packers/cattle ranchers

Wal-Mart/Banking, etc.

We need to identify key challenges that provide important
opportunities for our movement -- esp. global warming, CEO pay (flash point). We need to take on new institutions, such as the New York Stock Exchange, putting demands on them that force them into our frame. The right has built a structure that is quite logical in terms of values. They talk about "family values" not because it's simply a good "frame" for the conservative agenda, but because it fits with the constructions of institutions that sustain their agenda for the long- run -- the takeover of school boards (which allowed them to develop a farm team of candidates for higher office) and churches. How will we build our base? I'm not sure, but I do think that one thing we want to push for is simply "democratic control of corporations." The strategies for doing so are both internal (e.g. by forcing companies to put CEO pay up for a vote, as they do in England) and external (when "We the People" take back our own government, we will be more able to make decisions about the kind of economy we want, including those that force or incentivize businesses to live within ecological realities) It not only means joining with voting rights and democracy activists to drive corporations altogether out of politics, but joining labor in the struggle to fight privatization and protect the commons, and joining consumers in the struggle for the right to essential services, plus joining with media activists in the struggle to take our airwaves back. Although some of us may see the internal game as quixotic, we can understand its value at least as a way of engaging the people who work within corporations (what did Gandhi say about how to engage your
opponents?) and exposing the inherently anti-democratic nature of
corporations (with their fallacious assertions of "shareholder
democracy" and other softer reformist approaches that will only
obstruct our way as we strive forward in the struggle for real
democracy if we let them).

It was the great ecologist Barry Commoner who taught us that the
first rule of ecology is that "everything is connected to everything
else." I think that's a good rule for strategic campaigners, too.

Another environmentalist, Emerson, once said that a "foolish
consistency is the hobgoblin of petty minds." That would be us if we
see ourselves simply as "market strategists" or even "corporate
campaigners" or "corporate reformers."

Democracy is a much bigger vision. And one that is quite ecological.
Thus, by looking at our struggle with this kind of ecological
sensibility (without receding into nouvelle vague fantasies) we will
continue to be able to get through whatever dark moments we are
certain to face with the kind of spirit and perspective that will
allow us as activists to continue to love the work we do.

Finally, one question:

Q. What was the First Corporate Campaign-related action in American

A. The Boston Tea Party -- an act of civil disobedience against
the British East India Company.

Corporate campaigners are true patriots, the same kind that hundreds
of years ago fought for democratic self-determination against their
own day's illegitimate and massive corporations.


[1] Bart Mongoven, "Corporate Campaigns Find a Peak," Public Policy
Intelligence Report, September 27, 2006.

[2] The Powell Memorandum is available at: http://reclaimdem
. Related
analysis is here: ly-
as well as in National Committee for Responsive
Philanthropy, "Axis of Ideology," March 2004. Executive summary
available at:
[3] Oliver Houck, 1984 Yale Law Review Article "With Charity for All" -- which argues that corporate front groups should have their tax- exempt status revoked because they violate IRS rules on non- profits. [4] See Richard Kluger, Simple Justice. [5] Oliver Houck, cited above. [6] See ========================================================= Return to Table of Contents :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: From: Independent School, Dec. 1, 1990
[Printer-friendly version] WHITE PRIVILEGE: UNPACKING THE INVISIBLE KNAPSACK "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not
in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group."
By Peggy McIntosh** Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to improve women's stature, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended. Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage. I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks. Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "Having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?" After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence. My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us." Daily effects of white privilege I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions. 1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. 2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me. 3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. 4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. 5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. 6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper
and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization,"
I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials
that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this
piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which
I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's
voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my
race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which
fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find
someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin
color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people
who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic
racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers
will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief
worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to
my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer
letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad
morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my
race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a
credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of
color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my
culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its
policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in
charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return,
I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting
cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to
feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place,
outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another
race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than
to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person
of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to
cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues
disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a
racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either
position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and
minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but
in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from
negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives
and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor
will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without
having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each
negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to
talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or
professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be
accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on
my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of
my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will
not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to
experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race
is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give
attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to
testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have
them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting
embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of
our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support
our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of
domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public
life, institutional and social.

Elusive and fugitive

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I
wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive
and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing
it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true,
this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it;
many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed
conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I
think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think
that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for
some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a
just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious,
arrogant, and destructive.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a
patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person.
There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I
was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset
for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself
as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I
could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything
outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I
could also criticize it fairly freely.

In proportion as my racial group was being made confident,
comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made
unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from
many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being
subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.

For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We
usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or
conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have
described here work systematically to over empower certain groups.
Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex.

Earned strength, unearned power

I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned
power. Conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact
permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on
my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that
neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count
against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others,
like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the
humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.

We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages,
which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which
unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For
example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as
Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few.
Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few
have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from
a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally
saw as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted
in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned
male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and
others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get
truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and
conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In
any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually
affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in
the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they
are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial
identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging
systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of
having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or
advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are
many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the
advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In
addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that
rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and
ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions
are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective
pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977.

One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They
take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as
a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class
and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to
recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my
group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance
on my group from birth.

Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was
taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed
their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many
doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has
been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end,
these problems.

To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal
unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are
the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or
equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred
dominance by making these subjects taboo. Most talk by whites about
equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try
to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of
dominance exist.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like
obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculcated in the
United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that
democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people
unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small
number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in
the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing
questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise
our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light- skinned.
What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it
is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage,
and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to
reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

**Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley College Center
for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189.
"White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To
See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988), by Peggy
McIntosh; available for $10.00 from the Wellesley College Center for
Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a
longer list of privileges.

This excerpted essay is reprinted from the Winter 1990 issue of
Independent School.

Return to Table of Contents :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: From: Taipei Times (Taiwan) (pg. 7), Jan. 26, 2007 [Printer-friendly version] U.S. MILITARY UNVEILS RAY GUN By The Associated Press Moody Air Force Base, Georgia (Associated Press) -- The military's new weapon is a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they will catch fire. The technology is supposed to be harmless -- a non-lethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons. Military officials say it could save the lives of innocent civilians and service members in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The weapon is not expected to go into production until at least 2010, but all branches of the military have expressed interest in it, officials said. During the first demonstration of the weapon to the media on Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters. The crew fired beams from more than 450 meters (1/4 mile) away, nearly 17 times the range of existing non-lethal weapons, such as rubber bullets. While the sudden, 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit) heat was not painful, it was intense enough to make participants think their clothes were about to ignite. "This is one of the key technologies for the future," said Marine Colonel Kirk Hymes, director of the non-lethal weapons program that helped develop the new weapon. "Non-lethal weapons are important for the escalation of force, especially in the environments our forces are operating in," he added. The system uses millimeter waves, which can penetrate only a few millimeters inside the skin, just enough to cause discomfort. By comparison, common kitchen microwaves penetrate several centimeters of skin. The millimeter waves cannot go through walls, but they can penetrate most clothing, officials said. They refused to comment on whether the waves can go through glass. Two airmen and 10 reporters volunteered to be shot with the beams, which easily penetrated the many layers of winter clothing they were wearing. The system was developed by the military, but the two devices under evaluation were built by defense contractor Raytheon. Copyright 1999-2007 The Taipei Times . Return to Table of Contents :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: From:, Jul. 23, 2005 [Printer-friendly version] DETAILS OF US MICROWAVE-WEAPON TESTS REVEALED By David Hambling Volunteers taking part in tests of the Pentagon's "less-lethal" microwave weapon were banned from wearing glasses or contact lenses due to safety fears. The precautions raise concerns about how safe the Active Denial System (ADS) weapon would be if used in real crowd- control situations. The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage (New Scientist, 27 October 2001, p 26). Little information about its effects has been released, but details of tests in 2003 and 2004 were revealed after Edward Hammond, director of the US Sunshine Project -- an organisation campaigning against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons - requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. The tests were carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two experiments tested pain tolerance levels, while in a third, a "limited military utility assessment", volunteers played the part of rioters or intruders and the ADS was used to drive them away. The experimenters banned glasses and contact lenses to prevent possible eye damage to the subjects, and in the second and third tests removed any metallic objects such as coins and keys to stop hot spots being created on the skin. They also checked the volunteers' clothes for certain seams, buttons and zips which might also cause hot spots. The ADS weapon's beam causes pain within 2 to 3 seconds and it becomes intolerable after less than 5 seconds. People's reflex responses to the pain is expected to force them to move out of the beam before their skin can be burnt. But Neil Davison, co-ordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at the University of Bradford in the UK, says controlling the amount of radiation received may not be that simple. "How do you ensure that the dose doesn't cross the threshold for permanent damage?" he asks. "What happens if someone in a crowd is unable, for whatever reason, to move away from the beam? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?" During the experiments, people playing rioters put up their hands when hit and were given a 15- second cooling-down period before being targeted again. One person suffered a burn in a previous test when the beam was accidentally used on the wrong power setting. A vehicle-mounted version of ADS called Sheriff could be in service in Iraq in 2006 according to the Department of Defense, and it is also being evaluated by the US Department of Energy for use in defending nuclear facilities. The US marines and police are both working on portable versions, and the US air force is building a system for controlling riots from the air. Return to Table of Contents :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: From: Innovest, Jan. 15, 2007 [Printer-friendly version] NEW INNOVEST REPORT ANALYZES CHEMICAL RISK ACROSS SECTORS Value at Risk from Toxic Chemicals in Company Products Electronics, cosmetics, and pesticide manufacturers are among the many companies that could face loss of market share and access to major markets due to "toxic lockouts" according to a new report just
issued by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, Inc.

The international investment research firm examines this double-sided
issue as well as other risks in four industry sectors (Household and
Personal Care Products, Multi-Line Retail, Healthcare Equipment and
Supplies and Household Durables) in their most recent analysis just
released today.

Innovest's report, Cross-Cutting Effects of Chemical Liability from
, offers a pioneering analysis comparing companies' chemical
management policies. "This is an issue for the value investor" said
Senior Analyst Heather Langsner. "Those concerned with the long-term
viability of the brand and future competitive value of these and other
large cap firms will need this information to understand potential
challenges to companies retaining and maintaining market share for
their products."

On the upside, growing consumer and market interest in "safer
chemicals" is spurring the development of new markets for higher value
added and differentiated products. Companies such as Herman Miller,
Steelcase, and Marks and Spencer are differentiating themselves in the
marketplace with safer products. Chemical companies like DuPont are
also entering the green chemistry space, winning recognition for new
products even as they face continuing liability and market exclusion
risks for their older product lines.

Innovest cites new laws and regulations in California and Europe as
driving market transformation. The report also comments that Wal-Mart
"will fundamentally alter the marketplace this year by announcing a
chemicals screening policy for all its suppliers." This and other
private sector environmentally preferable purchasing programs are
likely to create economies of scale that bring down the costs of safer
alternative products.

Innovest's report was commissioned by investment managers representing
$22 billion in shareholder assets, who are collaborating as the
Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) to encourage companies
to adopt safer chemicals policies. Ten shareholder resolutions were
filed in the 2006 proxy season and 13 have been filed for the 2007

Copyright 2007 Innovest Strategic Value Advisors

Return to Table of Contents :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Rachel's Democracy & Health News (formerly Rachel's Environment &
Health News) highlights the connections between issues that are
often considered separately or not at all.

The natural world is deteriorating and human health is declining
because those who make the important decisions aren't the ones who
bear the brunt. Our purpose is to connect the dots between human
health, the destruction of nature, the decline of community, the
rise of economic insecurity and inequalities, growing stress among
workers and families, and the crippling legacies of patriarchy,
intolerance, and racial injustice that allow us to be divided and
therefore ruled by the few.

In a democracy, there are no more fundamental questions than, "Who
gets to decide?" And, "How do the few control the many, and what
might be done about it?"

As you come across stories that might help people connect the dots,
please Email them to us at

Rachel's Democracy & Health News is published as often as
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