The fiscal madness in Washington has now intersected with a recent development, the sellout of certain progressive organizations. Change.org recently announced they would rebrand themselves as less a progressive social movement site, but a one-stop shop for anyone of any ideology that wants to use petitions to leverage a particular policy.
Change.org allows users to launch and sign petitions, and the company has had some high-profile successes. Change.org currently operates under a values-based client policy, only accepting advertisements from progressive organizations that share its values. The new policy will be closer to “a Google-like open advertising policy in which determinations about which advertisements we’ll accept are based on the content of the ad, not the group doing the advertising,” according to a company FAQ sent to staff [...]
Change.org did not plan to reach out to its base of progressive users about the change. “[W]e have no plans to proactively tell users about the new design or our new mission, vision, or advertising guidelines,” reads one document.
This policy has been instituted quickly. In fact, Change.org, while still the location of petitions to keep Erskine Bowles out of the Treasury Secretary job, also welcomes corporate CEOs – whose spokesperson is the one and the same Bowles – on the site to promote cuts to social insurance programs.
The so-called “Campaign To Fix The Debt” is using Change.org tools to get members and build its e-mail list. Recall that the Campaign To Fix The Debt is a group run by corporate CEOs and bankers that is trying to cut Social Security and lower corporate tax rates.
The group is running a petition on Change’s site calling on Congress to endorse the Bowles-Simpson plan to cut Social Security and corporate taxes. In the three months the petition has been up, it has gained 255,846 supporters.
If you go to the Campaign To Fix The Debt’s website, you’ll see that it brags of having over 300,000 signatories to its petition:
Put two and two together and you’ll see that it appears that almost the entire membership list of the Campaign To Fix The Debt comes from Change.org’s petition tool.
Change.org can do whatever it wants, I guess. Having leveraged progressive voices to build their brand, if they want to cash in and let anyone use their architecture and have access to their users, I suppose nobody can stop them. I wonder why any progressive organization would have anything to do with Change.org at this point, however.