Citigroup, America’s largest financial institution, announced earlier this year that it was giving in to demands by the environmental activist group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to stop funding projects that RAN claimed were harming the environment. RAN’s four-year campaign against Citigroup involved campus student rallies and boycotts, anti-Citigroup TV ads, street protests, and even banner hangings in front of Citigroup’s New York headquarters. To a casual observer, this might seem like a spontaneous grassroots movement spurred by concern over a financial giant’s business practices. But, as a valuable new book makes clear, nothing could be farther from the truth.
In his new book, Biz-War and the Out-of-Power Elites: The Progressive-Left Attack on the Corporation, Jarol Manheim, professor of media and public affairs and political science at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., documents the rise of the new anti-corporate Left (or progressives, as they now prefer to be called). The book looks closely at the ideology, organizing strategies, and communications tactics that liberal activists are using to challenge both this country’s business elite, as well as politically ascendant conservatives.