Network Analysis in Political Activism

“… Corporations offer us more opportunities to apply network analysis than any other formation in which we are interested, save perhaps for the Israeli government itself. Corporations can be bound to other entities through parent-subsidiary relationships, through overlapping boards of directors, or through R&D or marketing partnerships. They may rely upon supplier networks in order to manufacture their products, or upon distribution networks to deliver them to consumers.

“Large corporations can possess a staggering array of relationships with other entities:

  • Customers/clients
  • Investors, funders, or creditors
  • Employees, unions, or staffing agencies
  • Licensors, franchisors, or IP owners
  • Corporate giving recipients/Grantees
  • Professional services firms (including ad agencies, PR firms, training providers, and countless others)

“These relationships all exist within networks, and within these networks lie all manner of exploitable weaknesses. Mapping these networks can allow us to discover opportunities for tertiary boycotts, to locate key dependencies and bottlenecks, reveal hidden paths of influence, identify potential allies, and even to anticipate the impact of changes to the competitive landscape or relevant market conditions. It’s like having the blueprints to the Death Star. Sort of. …”

The network structure of “the establishment” is what gives it its resiliency.  It’s why the 60s and 70s never produced structural changes in power relationships in the USA.  You can be sure that such sophisticated analysis is being directed at political activists right now, both by governments and corporations.

Complexity is the stuff of life.  It’s a force of nature.  Use it or it will use you.

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