"Find your voice and take back your power!" a book on Citizen Lobbying by Alberto Alemanno
Many democratic societies are experiencing a crisis of faith. We cast our votes and a few of us even run for office, but our supposedly representative governments seem driven by the interests of big business, powerful individuals and wealthy lobby groups. All the while the world’s problems – like climate change, Big Data, corporate greed, the rise of nationalist movements – seem more pressing than ever. What hope do any of us have of making a difference?
In his new book "Lobbying for Change : Find your voice to create a better society" Alberto Alemanno, Professor of Law at HEC Paris argues that lobbying is no longer a prerogative of big business but can – and should – be embraced by citizens to voice their concerns and find purpose in life.
“Many people feel powerless today and they sense that the system is rigged against them. And they are actually right.” says Alberto Alemanno. “The vast majority of meetings between the decision makers and external actors are with corporations, and some vested interests. Where are the citizens? We don’t know. Populist politicians like Trump, Farage, Le Pen and Wilders sell an idea of society in which every citizen can make decisions via referenda. Yet, direct democracy is an illusion because ultimately it gives leaders more power and is not a sustainable option for our society”.
Alemanno has a much more constructive and viable solution: citizens must become lobbyists themselves. “This way individuals can exercise pressure on their elective representative every day. This is a recipe for success for the citizens who become more critical, more realistic about what is possible and what kind of tradeoffs policy makers face daily. Societies inhabited by active and assertive citizens are not only more accountable but also happier and more in harmony with themselves. And that’s key today. Once we overcome the current polarization we are facing, populism will disappear”.
After providing an analysis of the state of our liberal democracies, the book offers a ten-step process that anyone can use, bringing their own talent and expertise to make positive change. This process works: Alemanno has spent years teaching individuals, non-profit organizations as well as public authorities how to meaningfully engage citizens, and the book is full of inspiring examples of citizen lobbying in action. They range from cutting down international roaming charges for cell phones to championing whistleblower protection in Europe. Most recently Alemanno advocated and obtained from the EU full transparency of the BREXIT process.
10 steps to becoming a citizen lobbyist:
1. Pick Your Battle
2. Do Your Homework
3. Map Your Lobbying Environment
4. Lobbying Plan
5. Pick Your Allies
6. You Pay?
7. Communication and Media Plan
8. Face-to-Face Meeting
9. Monitoring and Implementation
10. Stick to the (Lobbying) Rules
“Lobbying for Change: Find your voice to create a better society” is an easy to read book blending powerful insights from academic research and Alemanno’s personal experience gained through his community: The Good Lobby.
The genesis of the book--Why now? and the creation of The Good Lobby