"And in this corner, wearing the corporate trunks…"

Not everyone thinks that The Corporation is a book/film with good ideas. Take this news release from

Activist film aims to destroy the corporation:

Capitalism, democracy, health, education and environment threatened

© ePublic Relations Ltd 2004

Posted February 2004



are sending corporations on wild goose chases. At the urging of

activists, businesses are pursuing ideas such as the triple bottom

line, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and smart growth. But

these pursuits are merely ruses to keep business leaders and their PR

consultants preoccupied and distracted.

While businesses

“invest” enormous amounts of time and money in attempts to earn

accolades and recognition for “successes” in these areas, activists

have a different goal. They want to redefine, dismantle, destroy and

reassemble – in a manner more to their own liking – the entire

corporate world. The first step is to totally malign virtually every

corporation along with its managers, directors, shareholders and even,

in some cases, employees. What better way to do this than through a


The Corporation

has opened to critical acclaim at movie festivals in Europe and North

America. It recently won the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at

the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

For the film’s producers,

corporations and the pursuit of profit are sources of many social evils

including planetary destruction;

The documentary’s web site ( states:


    amoral, callous and deceitful, the corporation’s operational principles

    make it antisocial. It breaches social and legal standards to get its

    way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and

    altruism. It suffers no guilt. Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment

    of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria or a



reach this judgment the film takes a creative and effective approach.

It runs through a checklist used by psychiatrists and psychologists to

diagnose mental illness. The list is based on the diagnostic criteria

of the World Health Organization and DSM IV. By going through the list,

the film attaches the following characteristics to a corporation:

    • callous unconcern for the feelings of others

    • incapacity to maintain enduring relationships

    • reckless disregard for the safety of others

    • deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit

    • incapacity to experience guilt

    • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours


on this assessment corporation, the film concludes that corporations

are psychopaths. To support this contention, a former FBI agent

familiar with psychopathy is interviewed.

The Corporation

is playing in theatres across Canada; will be aired by TVO in Ontario,

Canada; and, American distribution is expected. DVD and VHS copies will

be available.

Must viewing for activists


Corporation is important viewing for activists around the world.

Regardless of the business or industry you work in –- biotechnology,

banking, ranching, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, fishing,

chemical, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology, financial services, computer,

retail, fast food, etc. -–- NGOs and activists who oppose you will be

inspired and motivated by the film. And regardless of where your

business is located – Canada, the United States, New Zealand,

Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, India,

Pakistan, South Africa, Japan, you name it – the film will successfully

recruit more activists, invigorated to challenge the corporate world.

(A visit to the film’s online discussion forum reveals how activists

are reacting to the film.)

In making their anti-corporate

film, the producers interviewed many people from the business world,

including spokesman for the Disney-built town of Celebration Andrea

Finger, Goodyear Tire Chairman and former CEO Sam Gibara, former Royal

Dutch Shell Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Landor and Associates CEO

Clay Timon, Initiative Media Vice President Lucy Hughes, Canadian

Council for International Business President and CEO Robert Keyes,

Pfizer Vice President Tom Kline, Burson Marsteller Worldwide CEO Chris

Komisarjevsky, and IBM Vice President Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

The Corporation

is a powerful film. Its perspective is clear. In an interview,

commodities trader Carlton Brown says that when the terrorists directed

planes into the Twin Towers in Sept. 11, 2001, the question on brokers’

minds was “How much is gold up?” In other interviews, the corporations

are described as modern slave owners and CEOs are seen as monsters

because corporations are monstrous.

The anti-corporate

movement is strong and getting strong. Dealing with it is probably the

most difficult and important challenge confronting PR folks. It’s

certainly far more important and challenging than dealing with a

crisis. A crisis comes and goes. It’s usually pretty clear-cut and

business generally resumes when it’s over.

Activist attacks threaten democracy, health, education and environment


on the idea of the corporate are attacks on capitalism. They are a

vague and ill-defined. When they start and when they end is impossible

to determine. They occur at anytime from any direction from any of

hundreds of special interest groups and NGOs. If they are successful,

however, they destroy capitalism and the associated democracy, both of

which have paved the way to improved health care, greater longevity,

higher education standards, enhanced environmental standards, and ever

improving standards of living around the world.

This is

grand thinking and conceptualization. It’s beyond the scope of most PR

folks who focus on the next news cycle, the next fiscal quarter, and

the bottom line. Yet, if the anti-capitalism movement isn’t viewed in

this larger context, the consequences are much more dire than a merely

tarnished brand.

The Corporation

and its web site provide valuable insight to the

anti-corporate/capitalist movement. All PR folks are encouraged to view

them to understand what activists are really up to.

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