Enclosing the Democratic Commons: Private Organizations and the Legislative Process
20 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016
Date Written: January 1, 2016
The freedom of association is regarded as a key civil right. It is enshrined not only in many national constitutions but also in international law. The private organizations formed under protection of this right are often regarded as positive forces that help to increase democratic participation as well as economic equality. This Paper aims to seriously question that perception by examining the considerable role that private organizations play in public decision-making both nationally and internationally. Such organizations may include humanitarian organizations, unions, corporate syndicates and professional associations. Data on these organizations and their influence has been collected via an ongoing research project that suggests that private organizations use these lobbying mechanisms to engage in activities that often explicitly subvert democratic processes in pursuit of their own interests. The Paper will examine both results obtained as well as the methods used in influencing decision-making to quantify the impact that private associations have and how the law governing them could be modified to better serve the public interest in greater political and economic equality.
Keywords: lobbying, ALEC, UN, United Nations, TTIP, European Commission, net neutrality, astro-turf
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