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  • Hubert Marlin

Lobbyism and politics


Lobby is an English word meaning "vestibule" and this vestibule has since been understood as an antechamber, or hallway that governs or at least influences decisions in the arcane of political power. According to Alexis de Tocqueville, it is essential that the aspirations of civil society be taken into account by the state, which in this sense represents the decision-making power or the executive. According to Tocqueville, the state, this cold monster, alone, cannot ensure the common good by its decisions, which without the participation of the civil society would be less efficient, because it would not take into account the experience of those that, these decisions should affect in the theory. "For Jean Jacques Rousseau, lobbying is the expression of purely private interests that ultimately threaten the public interest, which only the state can arbitrate. However, the notion of state arbitration implies its neutrality, a neutrality that is severely tested in democracies of the 21st century. The notion of lobby and political power since the 20th century has another meaning that is more related to the subjugation of political power, to the most influential Lobbies. The civil society that counts, is the one that has an acute influence on decision-makers, and it has been for eons the economic power of big bosses, opposed to the less affluent civil society represented by unions and ordinary citizens. If citizens and trade unionists have at their disposal censorship by their vote, voting in 21st century democracies, remains dependent on the notion of leverage of those with interests. Also, the interests that prevail in general are those of the strongest, who more and more have the means to influence the careers of politicians in what it is opportune to call capitalist democracies, since they are subject to economic power, with governments often judged through the economic performance, by their constituents.In basic lobbying, it is considered that a fluid relationship between civil society and political power is the key to a governance that meets the expectations of the people, and thus ensures the proper functioning of the state. However, the reality is complex as lobbies generally have diverging interests that often clash. A biodiversity conservation lobby would thus logically oppose a forest exploitation lobby; and this divergence of interests often leads to clashes that can held decision-makers in hostage, when they are not purely and simply halted by maneuvers of terror, that have nothing to envy to the twisted shots of John Le Carré's spying novels. It often happens that politicians receive their mandate not from the people, but from zany interest groups that set their agenda. Nepotism, corruption and trading in influence are not left behind in this policy of speculation.

The first political uses of the term Lobby date back to the 19th century in England. As early as 1830, the expression "the lobby of the House" referred to the "corridors of the House of Commons", the "hall of the lost" where the members of pressure groups could come "to make the halls". that is to say, to discuss with the members of Parliament. Similarly, in the United States, during the American Civil War, General Grant, after the White House was burnt, had settled in the Hotel Willard whose ground floor (lobby) was invaded by interest groups.

The lobbies have greatly influenced contemporary history, since behind any war or scourge that the world has known for at least five centuries, there have always been lobbies that defended or promoted their interests. Also, the papal bull introducing slavery in 1454, under Pope Nicola 5, is the result of negotiations of Western shipowners and monarchs, who by this anointment of the supreme power of the time, wanted to cover the crimes against humanity that would wreak havoc for more than 4 centuries.

It was necessary that a moral and divine authority in quotation marks, condone this inhuman crime to make it something human in the conscience of the Western peoples. Apart from this lobbying towards the papacy, a host of philosophers and Western thinkers such as Voltaire, who had invested part of his fortune in this trade of hatred, will continue the work of lobbying for the benefit of the slave industry, by multiplying far-fetched theses on the inhumanity of Africans, because the secular arm of lobbying is false propaganda. In the less obscured contemporary history, some decisions that have changed the face of the world are the result of a lobbying cleverly dosed. In 1902, when it was necessary to decide which country between, Panama or Nicaragua would benefit from the titanic construction of the canal, that was to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, it took all the genius of engineer Philippe Bunau- Varilla and business lawyer with sulfurous reputation, William Nelson Cromwell, to take away the kitty. The site of Panama, in difficulty, splashed by bankruptcy and scandal still recent, was then in competition with that of Nicaragua. The Panama construction site was shut down because of the difficulties of financing of The Compagnie universelle du canal interocéanique de Panama (Universal Company of the Interoceanic Canal of Panama), created by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1879 to raise the necessary funds and carry out the project. While the project proved more expensive than expected, Lesseps had to launch a public subscription, which saw the contribution of small shareholders. Part of the funds raised was used by financier Jacques de Reinach to lobby, bribing journalists and illegally obtaining support from political figures. The Universal Company of the Interoceanic Canal of Panama was finally put into bankruptcy, a bankruptcy, which ruined over 85,000 small savers. The Baron de Reinach who in fact was a banker of German Jewish origin, was found dead while several French politicians who had been greased to advance the project of Ferdinand de Lesseps were accused of corruption.While the Panama site was splashed by bankruptcy and scandals of embezzlement, William Nelson Cromwell and the engineer Philippe Bunau-Varilla who although a shareholder in the previous project of the Canal, had rather managed to enrich himself in the ruinous venture, will approach the White House and the American Congress to convince decision makers, developing a strategy that will be promising. They sold the project to the United States, exaggerating the natural danger of building the Canal in Nicaragua. On June 16, 1902, the members of the American Congress received envelopes containing stamps showing the volcanic activity of Nicaragua. Also, against the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee Walker, the Spooner amendment allowed the acquisition of the rights of exploitation of the Canal in the United States for forty million dollars. The vote of June 19th, 1902, gave five votes in advance in favor of Panama. The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of November 18, 1903, concluded the sale of the rights of exploitation and construction of the canal to the United States. Panama, which had recovered its independence from Colombia two weeks before, will not recover any rights to this canal until 1999, after the Carter Torrijos Treaty of 7 September 1977, which amended the 1903 treaty of the perpetual exploitation of the canal by the United States.Beyond seeking the support of the executive and parliamentary power of the States, in the realization of the economic projects, it often happens that the lobbies initiate steps to change, or create laws that favor the realization of certain agendas. Also, tacitly the high-tech lobby has always supported politicians who pledged to create liberticidal laws that involve increased monitoring of citizens by technological means produced by the proponents of these lobbies. Similarly, weaponries lobbies would always support military intervention that means wars, as well as the rights of citizen of a country like the United States to carry weapons, for the obvious reason that, it’s a huge source of business opportunities.However, more often the lobby par excellence that is the government, is also putting pressure on companies producing high technology to enlist their help it in the realization of wacky diaries. Dexterously handling the carrot and the stick, when the awarding of the lucrative markets is not enough to convince the leaders of companies like, Microsoft to introduce a spy program on behalf of the American government in computers used by those who use Windows, threats or legal attacks are often used in retaliation, such as the anti-trust lawsuit against Bill Gates and Microsoft. Even if it is necessary to recognize the oligopoly of Microsoft in the construction of certain software like Windows, it is not less true, as some analysts admit, that the attacks against Microsoft would be the retributive counterpart of the US government against companies that do not want to cooperate While Windows remains the most used operating system with billions of people worldwide, if one can imagine that the US government could have managed to convince Microsoft to put for example a back door that would allow access to the data of billions of individuals across the world that uses Windows, it would have been the holdup of the millennium in matters of espionage. In the same vein, for some time the steps that would allow the US government to access data from phones and computers of people who use Apple, have made significant progress, the fault may be that several departments the US government have recently been provided in terms of computer by Apple, and it is easy to understand that the award of multi-billion dollar contracts to Apple by the US government could well have secret clauses implying the access to data of Apple customers.Israel has been cited several as country that use lobbying to infiltrate internal policy of foreign countries like The United States or the United Kingdom, in London the Zionist stat embassy has been accused of attempting to smear activists who question the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by helping to build racism cases against them, an investigation by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit revealed. The investigation, The Lobby , also uncovered Israel's extensive, well-financed propaganda campaign in the UK to counter negative news stories about its policies and to fund trips to Israel for young activists from left and right.In his Dictionary of Politics (1992), Walter John Raymond describes the term "Jewish Lobby" as "A conglomeration of approximately thirty-four Jewish political organizations in the United States which make joint and separate efforts to lobby for their interests in the United States, as well as for the interests of the State of Israel." He also notes that "among those organizations which are most actively involved in lobbying activities at federal, state and local levels of political and governmental institutions are: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Committee... and the B'nai B'rith."Dominique Vidal, writing in Le Monde diplomatique, states that in the United States the term is "self-described" and it "is only one of many influence groups that have official standing with institutions and authorities." The efficient realization of interests infers the control of information. Also, lobbies resort to espionage to know in advance the content of bills. Thus, they are able to influence them by repealing them or by including certain clauses. In France, the amendment banning the glyphosate introduced by the Minister Delphine Batho ended up in May 2018 in the hands of the UIPP (Union of Plant Protection Industries) a lobby that represents, the main pesticide producers including BASF, Bayer and Monsanto, well before its official publication. Delphine Batho will later be removed from office in the government of French President Emmanuel Macron who has since been presented as the puppet of super bosses.Pressure groups outside clientelism, often go further by using ransom, threats, and even death. In Africa, for example, the multinationals lobby finances bloody coups, as it was the case in 2011 with the arrest of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, or the summary execution of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya the same year.In Latin America the assassination in December 1988 by a ranch owner member of the loggers' lobby, of Chico Mendes, a Brazilian trade unionist and environmentalist who fought to preserve the Amazon rainforest and the fundamental rights of Brazilian peasants and indigenous peoples, and many others are still live in memories.

If the profession of lobbyist is legal, it remains no less true that behind the name of consulting firm, is often hidden real networks of corruption, which are used by dictators, vicious businessmen and politicians, to polish their images both in the media and in international relations between states. It’s clearly witnessed in the West, that a significant decline of democracy towards the Synarchy, which constitutes the real ascendancy that has now, the economic power and the big bosses of the multinationals, on the leaders whom they choose. Henceforth, the term authorities without power, is used with accuracy, the latter being held by the corporations which compose the oligarchy, that design, the internal and international politics of Nations, to serve their interests.

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Hubert Marlin Journalist


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