The public relations industry manipulates activist movements to benefit their corporate clients. The strategy has been outlined in detail by Ronald Duchin, senior vice-president of the PR spy firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin [They eventually became Stratfor.] In a landmark 1991 speech, Duchin described how Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin works to divide and conquer activist movements. These manipulative tactics are now common among PR firms and their corporate clients.
Activists and organizations, Duchin explained, fall into four distinct categories: "idealists," "realists," "opportunists," and "frontliners". [ PR firms call frontliners "radicals” ]. That is how PR firms label activists in every movement. Then, they use a three-step plan using these four types to divide activists and defeat them. They don't have to totally defeat a movement to win. They only have to weaken it enough for them to succeed.
Idealists want what is morally best for everyone. They generally fight for what is fair and just. They want to solve societies problems.
They are capable of creating change but they do have a vulnerable point, and industry puts a lot of effort into exploiting that vulnerability. Some idealists can be co-opted into believing they cannot get everything they want so they believe they must compromise to get anything at all. Compromise weakens the activist and they become easier to defeat. Many idealists are also somewhat naive on the issues so they can be manipulated more easily. Idealists often can be coerced over time to take a more "realistic" view. Getting activists to trust that industry wants to solve the problems by listening to them is an important part of the manipulation. Industry tries to turn as many idealists as they can into realists. That is the biggest part of their strategy. "Educate" idealists into becoming realists.
Realists are willing to live with trade-offs and are willing to compromise. They are willing to work within the system and are not interested in radical change.
For industry, the realists should receive the highest priority in any strategy. This is the most important piece of the puzzle for industry. They want to sway as many activists as they can into becoming realists. Industry can weaken activists movements by convincing them they cannot get everything they want. They might be convinced a corporation is too powerful so they may falsely think they must compromise to get what they can. They may also be manipulated into thinking they can trust industry enough to work with them. That coercion is a fundamental part of industries strategy to defeat activists. They refer to the manipulation of idealists as "educating" them into thinking like a realist. Then bargaining with them further into agreeing with industry "solutions." The only thing industry would agree with will not fundamentally solve the major issues that need to be fixed.
Realist views are often in opposition to frontline views. If industry can create enough realists then the credibility of the frontliners will be diminished.
They are only interested in personal gain. It might be for money or attention, or to rub elbows with the rich or powerful. They would be happy to have his/her followers move in another direction if that works to his/her personal benefit. If the opportunist becomes influential they can be made to take the side of industry in the guise of making progress. Industry just has to give them the spotlight if they choose to and then the opportunist is easy to control.
This is the type of activist that scares the industry the most. Frontliners are anti-corporate, do not compromise, they fight to change the system, fight for justice, and want to fix the evils in whatever area they have chosen. Frontliners are the ones best able to truly solve the problems and they adopt the strongest methods to create real change.
From Toxic Sludge is Good For You regarding frontliners ...
"They are often treated with contempt by the professional environmentalists, health advocates and other public-interest organizations ... Many times they lack organizing expertise and money. They don't have budgets or polished grant proposals needed to obtain funding from foundations and major donors. But corporations and the US government are spending tens of millions of dollars on PR and lobbying to fight these local community activists whom they derisively label "NIMBYs"-the abbreviation for "Not In My Back Yard."
No national environmental group is fighting the dumping of sewage sludge onto farmland, or exposing the risks inherent in the "biosolids" scam. Rural families, whose health or property has been damaged by toxic sludge, are heroes for spending their own time and money while enduring personal attacks from government and corporate PR flacks. Forget the EPA they're in bed with the sludge industry. The public interest is better served by citizen activists like Jane Beswick of Turlock, California; Jim Bynum of Laredo, Texas; and Linda Zander of Lynden, Washington.
Today, grassroots anti-toxic environmentalism is a far more serious threat to polluting industries than the mainstream environmental movement. Not only do local activists network, share tactics, and successfully block many dumpsites and industrial developments, they also stubbornly refuse to surrender or compromise. They simply cannot afford to."
Duchin called frontliners radicals. The derisive term “radical” represents the contempt PR firms and industry has towards this type of activist. They use it to appeal to their corporate clients. The term frontliner is a more appropriate term and we will use it in place of their radical term.
PR spy firms use a corresponding three-step strategy to deal with and defeat an activist movement:
If industry can successfully bring about these three steps, the idealists and frontliners will be weakened and the realists can be counted on to share in the final solution. A "solution" which will not solve the problem in any meaningful way.
This section is short because the Duchin Formula is all about defeating activists. It's not about undoing it.
The best way to fight back is founded on the PR industries own words regarding how they defeat activists. The solution is, become a frontliner by adopting their views and strategies. That is the way to win.
The four activist types as defined by the PR industry:
And they use a three-step plan to weaken and defeat activist movements:
The general framework to undo their plan and move forward...
Industries use the Duchin Formula to weaken and defeat activist movements. This formula may seem abstract at first, but these methods can be applied in any activist arena. Information gathered in one area can provide insight to understand their tactics elsewhere. The formula has worked very well for them. This should become common knowledge to all activists everywhere. Industry cannot manipulate activists if activists understand their tactics.
There are many parallels going on in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Gulf War Illness, Lyme, Myalgic Encephelamyalitis, Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, and medical freedom communities. They are all subjected to the same PR manipulation tactics. They have made more "progress" in weakening some activist arenas than in others. They are early in phase 2 in one arena I listed and far into phase three in another.