Philips joins Brazilian protest campaign brouhaha

WITH MUCH amusement we learned about the latest hot political debate in Brazil, that has European behemoth Philips as one of its participants.

The information came to this correspondent through Argentina’s centre-right paper La Nacion which reports that there’s a “war of slogans” in the South American country between those who oppose centre-left president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and those who support him.

After the chaos on commercial air traffic and the recent crash of an Airbus 320 plane from TAM airlines which killed 199 people, a new “grassroots” campaign which started in Brazil’s upper class directed its rage against the government, with the title “Cansei” (meaning “tired” of it). According to Argentina’s La Nacion, the movement was started by a group of businessmen and then joined by the powerful Sao-Paulo Attorney’s Association.

According to a blogger “Within 48 hours of the TAM crash at Congonhas airport, a group of business owners began to organize the “I’m Sick and Tired” movement, launched with advertising campaigns all over Brazil”. It continues saying that “The Web site of the campaign, which is officially known as the Civic Movement for the Rights of Brazilians, is signed by the Order of Brazilian, São Paulo chapter, but has the declared support of business owners, other industrial and trade associations, and NGOs.”

But what does this have to do with European electronics behemoth Philips? Well, this would be really part of the politics news had not Philips’ Brazilian branch decided to join the anti-government protest campaign. A report from Stratfor “strategic forecasting” describes the situation as follows: “The day after Cansei’s launch, the top leadership of Philips in Brazil decided to join the campaign, claiming it complements the company’s ethic of social responsibility”.

The report – which you can read for free and without requiring a login if you do a Google News search for “Philips joins the tired” then click on the resulting link – is worth reading and continues saying that “A satirical piece called “Os Neocansados” (essentially, “The Neo-Tireds”) in the Folha de Sao Paulo called the campaign an initiative of the “white, southern elite”. According to the lengthy StratFor report, this movement “will face the challenge of crafting a more specific agenda without feeding accusations of partisan objectives. The most likely outcome is that, despite its best efforts, the campaign will be too politicized for ongoing corporate participation, and companies will continue their lobbying efforts more quietly through their trade associations.”

As a result of this involvement by Philips into politics, several Brazilian bloggers have said they have become “Cansei (tired) of Philips” and a blog dubbed “Friends of President Lula” started urging visitors last week to write to Philips’ Sustainable Development office at the email address with the following message:

I understand that Philips Brazil is supporting a political
campaign against President Lula Da Silva. I support our President
and therefore, I feel that Philips company is acting against me.

According to La Nacion, the anti-government movement which was joined by Philips sparked the birth of another movement and slogan “WE ARE tired” which with a bit of irony was launched by the Workers Union (CUT) and which lists the reasons for which the workers are tired “tired of slave work, tax dodging, the press which makes social protesters criminals, and the low salary increases”. The paper then concludes that the ‘Cansei’ protest movement cannot hide “the fact that ideologues from the movement had direct links with the opposition social democrat party, the one of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, identified with the country’s elites”.

While some wonder for how long will Philips remain embarked in this political campaign, this humble scribbler thinks that when it comes to corporations get into lobbying and politics, the only solution is to get mad.

News source: THEINQUIRER


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