What is lobbyism? Concept, history and examples of lobbying
Politicians and political scientists can tell about lobbyism in the most detail, because it is in such activities that one regularly lobbies the interests of a group. In general, the concept means just that - promotion of a certain social community, its interests, activities through state bodies. Lobbyism is the area of responsibility of non-state communities, institutions, organizations, if they are ready to support the interests of a certain social group.
What is it and why?
Understanding what lobbyism is, a person engaged in this type of activity can most effectively represent the interests of a certain community so that they can be taken into account when formulating decisions of the state level. This applies to the activities of various government agencies, including adjustments to the ability to formulate laws. Lobbyists, achieving their goals, can stimulate faster decision-making on the issue or force them to postpone consideration, slow down.Defending the interests of their group, such activists can actively prevent the entry into force of the postulate voiced by any government agency.
Any modern lobbyist, taking part in political, lawmaking and other processes that are important at a local or state level for a certain category of persons, understands perfectly well what lobbyism is and for what he does it. Figures are well aware of what state decisions will be in their interests, which contradict them, and therefore must be slowed down. Such persons may force the state system to take into account the public interest. In practice, lobbyism is most often considered in relation to the sphere of formulation, adoption, and introduction of legislative acts.
Reality and stereotypes
If you ask a man in the street in our country what lobbyism is, most likely, they will first of all recall corruption and the use of “unclean” money to advance the interests of a group of people to the detriment of all others. This opinion is really widespread. Many researchers have noted that in other powers stereotypes are often the same. Despite the confidencethat the activity is based on bribery and neglect of laws, in reality, the term is used to denote a multifaceted and extremely complex phenomenon, which in some cases can actually be combined with a violation of the rules established by society, but more often occurs in full compliance with them.
If we consider this in practice, lobbying can be compared with the following situation: the concept of trade, for example, is just as diverse, and some observe the laws, while others sell prohibited goods. It is impossible to condemn the phenomenon of trafficking in general only because of the non-observance of the rules by a certain specific group of the population (for example, traffickers of illegal drugs). A similar situation arises with the concept of lobbying: while some activists act strictly within the law, others do not shun any methods in order to achieve the goal. Of course, this casts a shadow on the industry itself as such; at the same time, it is impossible to unite all lobbyists into such “evil”.
An important element of social life
Is it possible to prohibit lobbying only becausethat individuals cast a shadow on the whole sphere as a whole? As many researchers in this field have noted, it is completely natural for our society to lobby the interests of certain social groups. This is due to the structuredness, hierarchy of society and the interest of each and everyone in improving the conditions of existence. Lobbyism as a phenomenon is completely inseparable from the human community, has always been and will be an element of our civilization. Of course, the word itself appeared relatively recently, but it was precisely the phenomenon that was characteristic of our ancestors many centuries ago.
It is impossible to deny the fact that the promotion of interests in some situations is based on not too legal activities. There are always people who are ready for the sake of achieving the goals set for themselves “to go over their heads,” to violate the law and commit immoral acts. This phenomenon, unfortunately, is characteristic of our community, it is difficult to exclude it due to the very nature of man.
Scandals, intrigues, investigations
A specific area of activity related to the ability to lobby interests is that its activists are always in the public eye. They are much easier to "catch the hand" when committing unseemly or contrary to the laws of acts.For this reason, scandals flare up regularly in various powers, and the original source is always the reprehensible behavior of some public figure, a representative of a community. Such situations beckon the media, like honey, to which flies instantly fly, and in today's conditions, when news spread all over the world at a speed of current flow through wires, scandals inflame frankly serious. They write, talk about them a lot, and for such a hype, many simply do not pay attention to the routine.
What is a lobbyist's routine in government? This is such a daily activity to protect the interests of a certain social group by legal means, which does not attract the close attention of journalists. As a result, they rarely write about it, so the public practically does not hear about the “correct” lobbyists, except perhaps for those moments when activists are really serious successes in high-profile issues. This imbalance led to the incorrect formation of an understanding of the term "lobbyism" among the broad masses.To some extent, this is eliminated by educational programs at universities and institutes, but at the moment the political and legal literacy of the population in our country (and not only) still leaves much to be desired.
Rights and opportunities
Every citizen of our country, as declared by the Constitution, has the right to take part in governing a power. One of the ways to implement such a right is political lobbying. A certain person, perplexed by an important issue for social life, may find like-minded people ready to hold his position, unite them into a cohesive group and begin lobbying interests, thereby correcting the activities of various instances, bodies, including those adopting laws of power. There is a known set of techniques, techniques, which make it possible to most effectively influence the Duma and certain people who have real power.
Non-governmental organizations that come into contact with state bodies receive quite wide opportunities. You can develop an individual approach that will make the activity more efficient and effective. Using the right words and forms of action, you can attract large populace to your side, thereby strengthening your position and influence on the law-creating officials.Many experts note that in our country the development of this area of social activity is still proceeding at a slow pace due to the insufficient regulation of such activities by laws, generally accepted rules. Estimates are heard regarding a significant increase in efficiency, the benefits of lobbyists, if it is possible to adopt legal norms governing their activities, thereby structuring this area.
Laws and their absence
As lawyers, legal experts, lawyers assure, it is precisely the lack of wording in the current legislation that does not allow making the interests of lobbyism more official, and this type of activity itself is strictly ordered. The law does not recognize such public activity as an important element of influence on politicians who formulate legal acts. As a result, people interested in promoting their position resort to all available methods and methods in order to draw attention to a specific area, interest, or question. Illegal acts are indeed quite widespread. Many are justified as follows: if the legitimate approaches do not work, you have to get out how it turns out.On the basis of this, forecasts are made regarding the streamlining of this sphere, increasing its efficiency, if at the state level it is possible to adopt the relevant norms.
Lobbyism in Russia really needs legal regulation at the highest (federal) level. Lawyers, jurists of many countries adhere to the same position with respect to their powers. It is assumed that the introduction of effective and fair legal norms will help everyone and everyone equally successfully promote their own interests. Having real rights, and the same as other representatives of the same group, lobbyists will be able to work in an orderly manner, distribute obligations, create optimal conditions and effectively interact with government agencies and individual officials.
Getting Started: First Steps
The word “lobbying” implies a complex multi-stage activity that allows you to protect the interests of a group and to draw public attention to the problems it faces. At present, progress at the level of formulating draft laws involves first revealing one's own position, after which one can begin to look for allies who are ready to support the position of an activist.Among the entire list of deputies, it is necessary to determine who will be the main opponent. The search for like-minded people is most simple and effective through the analysis of electoral programs and promises of various parties and individuals. This helps to understand the extent to which the statements of the program correspond to real activity after the elections, as well as to reveal the degree of compatibility of the promises of politicians and ideas that are promoted by a particular lobbyist.
The history of lobbying knows many other ways to seek support from the deputies. Often, personal acquaintance plays a role, allowing one to reasonably conclude whether a particular deputy is interested in a bill promoted by a lobbyist. With the support of at least one person, it is already possible to expect that the project will be put forward for official discussion, although non-state associations were involved in its preparation. Chances rise if the idea is ready to "push through" several deputies. The best opportunities are for those whose allies belong to the dominant party, especially if its provisions generally correspond to the ideas of the new project.
And our, and your
It may seem otherwise that lobbying in the United States, Russia and any other country implies the identification of supporters and further work with them, provided they ignore the other participants in the legislative process. This understanding is categorically erroneous. To achieve success, it is necessary to pay special attention to the opponents of the promoted idea. Some lawyers and jurists are convinced that opponents deserve even more attention than deputies who already support the idea being promoted.
The fact is that the workflow often helps to understand that skeptical minded individuals are not even against the idea, but simply have not yet understood its essence and have not understood why it would be reasonable to hold it. There are many such situations where the deputies were not at all aware that an impressive percentage of society is worried about some specific issue so much that it even caused the formation of the union. This lack of information leads to an underestimation of the importance of the problem. High-quality work with rivals, full information on the situation help to reduce the number of opponents and increase the number of supporters.Many examples are known when effective work with information led to an absolute change in the power balance among deputies regarding some initiative.
Examples of lobbying
Such an example that took place some time ago was quite resonant in the media: a cafe in the center of the city was closed in Yekaterinburg, but a feature of this place was the absence of competitors nearby. Resourceful entrepreneurs, who have observed for several years that employees of nearby institutions, offices, enterprises are forced to look for snacks in the form of cakes, dissatisfied with the situation, have decided to promote the idea of restoring a public institution. In order to draw the attention of officials to the situation, they offered to organize a meeting with a buffet in this place. The officials who arrived at the scene were forced to find food in the same stalls with pies, where people who constantly work in this area take their meals.
During the meeting, they discussed the issue of opening a new cafe to the previous address, and soon the project turned into a reality: a catering establishment with complex lunches is actively working and discussing quite a large audience every day.The case became widely known due to a successful, non-standard approach to lobbying interests.
Work efficiently and versatile
Lobbyism involves interaction with opponents of their position, and with those who are ready to support it. When it comes to allies, special attention needs to be paid to the information component: all the data that comes to activists from a public organization, community, should be distributed among diplomats who support the idea, so that they can build a line of behavior in accordance with the most relevant information about the social situation.
If proponents of the project will not receive timely notifications about updates, events, positions, it is likely that they will sit in a puddle, promoting any outdated ideas and provisions. Of course, in such a situation, you can immediately forget that the person supported the idea - it automatically turns into an angry, extremely aggressive opponent. The formation of a working group is not an easy process, requiring coordinated movements, the ability to keep abreast and communicate with all interested parties.
To some extent, a lobbyist can be compared with a lawyer, but forced to work in more difficult conditions of a non-existent law. The task of such a figure is to defend the interests of the person, the group of persons on whose behalf he speaks. There is no need to try to take care of the general interests, and this is not possible. The task of the activist is to defend the private position of those on whose behalf he is nominated for action. At the same time, it is necessary to realize that private interest is only one of the components of general interest. The adoption of laws that make social relations more equitable in relation to a certain group of persons at the same time benefits the society as a whole.