July 2, 2000
3:17 AM   Subscribe

Dial a CEO: Every month, Working Assets Long Distance, a phone plan managed by a progressive San Francisco-based citizen-action group dedicated to environmental and social-justice issues, highlights on its customers' phone bill two issues currently under debate (violence against women, gun control, road-building in national parks, etc.), plus the telephone numbers of the top corporate or political people involved in the issue, whose cage you can rattle at no charge. Targets have included senators, congressmen and the US president, as well as CEOs like Exxon/Mobil's Lee Raymond and Home Depot's Arthur Blank. "It's important to target the CEOs directly because they have ultimate responsibility for these issues," says Working Assets citizen action director Janet Nudelman. "They don't like it when they receive four or five thousand calls, but it certainly gets their attention"
posted by palegirl (4 comments total)
A perfect example of my general pessimistic attitude towards our gov't system. One cannot be an individual and have their voice be heard. You have to share the opinion of corporate entities. If you happen to find a politically active corporate entity that shares your views, you support it. Yay. Am I the only one who finds this constitutionally offensive?

There's a fourth branch in our gov't now. It's called the Stock Market. That wasn't exactly how our gov't was supposed to work.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:51 AM on July 2, 2000

Anyone else dislike phone calls during dinner time, having people trying to sign you up or sell you something over the phone? Multiply that by 4,000 times and see how you like receiving and answering phone calls.
posted by brent at 7:06 AM on July 2, 2000

Try multiplying it by seven times seven and then again. The only way we can get our civil servants to listen to us now is to annoy the crap out of them. Gee what a great political system this is! "Sorry Joe. Can't go bowling tonight. I have to berate and stalk my congressman until he gives in to my phone company's demands." Sheesh.

posted by ZachsMind at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2000

I've been using Working Assets' long-distance service and credit card services for several years now, and I have to step in with a commendation for any company actively encouraging civic participation.

I myself have been "annoying the crap" out of elected officials for a long time -- writing letters, making phone calls, lobbying personally -- and I appreciate that occasionally WA makes it possible for me to do that efficiently and economically. It's not a lock-step, hive-mind thing; now and then there are issues or challenges raised that I either disagree with or don't feel passionate about. So I don't make the freebie call. It's active citizenship, pure and simple.

Plus, my WA long distance account pays micro-dividends to some 60 progressive causes for every minute I spend on the phone (and that's a lot of minutes) and my Visa card gives them a kickback too. Every year, I get a chance to nominate other organizations I think would be worthy of donations. I'd rather have that good work being done on my behalf supported than a few extra frequent flyer miles any day. (And the service is cheap and reliable, too.) Here ends the unsolicited product endorsement.
posted by bradlands at 11:41 PM on July 2, 2000

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