Contesting unfair international capitalism: Assessment of the effectiveness and impact of campaigning and advocacy from the NGO sector
Campaigning and advocacy are fundamental strategies that the NGO sector now employ to tackle the adverse effects of the international capitalist system, which has affected impoverished groups of people and countries in the last 30 years, imposing unfair rules and practices. The strategies of campaigning and advocacy (in principle based on the strong links between the North and the South, and between NGOs and community organisations) have been backed by some governments, the media and many other actors from the civil society, both at local and global level. However, these strategies have also been criticized and it has been argued that campaigns and advocacy work are more directed to NGOs own objectives. Issues regarding legitimacy, representation, autonomy, motivation and impact are at the core of that debate. This paper presents an assessment of all these issues from the point of view of the local activists themselves. Two main campaigns are used for the discussion, the Trade Justice and the Jubilee Debt campaigns. The evidence presented in this paper relies on the authors’ reflections, interviews with campaigners and the Campaigns teams’ documentation. We conclude that campaigning is effective for combating dominant international capitalism and increasing the accountability towards the poor.
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