Town Hall Meeting

20 Jan 2011

How to Win Votes and Influence People – The Wrong Way

Filed under: — Al @ 11:55 am

Mother Jones magazine has a great article this month exposing the “Tea Party Patriots” organization as a pyramid scheme derived from Amway and Herbalife, whose founders are not coincidentally Right Wing, and now Tea Party activists. The idea in Amway and Herbalife is to convince others to work for you, and give you a cut of their money, and then get others to work for them, and so on, hence the pyramid. The money flows up in the billions, if you are Amway. This is also called “Multilevel Marketing.” In Stephanie Mencimer’s article, she shows how the TPP does this too, by getting activists to send them money, so they can get more activists, so they can get more money. The network itself is the product, which as we know (because its how Google and Facebook make their billions) is worth a lot of money, and of course has serious privacy implications. Another very informative point Mencimer makes is that the Multilevel Marketing pitch of “freedom from bosses, schedules, and financial worries” fits right into the Tea Party pitch.

How to Win Votes and Influence People:
Is the tea party movement’s biggest group just a marketing scheme?

Mother Jones, Jan-Feb, 2011 by Stephanie Mencimer

There’s a book Mark Meckler recommends to reporters and others seeking insight into the tea party juggernaut. Called The Starfish and the Spider, the popular business text explores the “unstoppable power” of decentralized organizations. (Cut off a spider’s head and it dies; cut off a starfish’s leg and it may grow into a new starfish.) “We’re like the starfish,” Meckler, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, the largest of the movement’s factions, remarked in February. “There is no head, there is no leader of the organization. There are thousands of starfish out there, and they are self-replicating in that way.”

Meckler, it turns out, is intimately familiar with this kind of self-replication: For years, he was a top distributor for Herbalife, a company with a long history of runins with state and federal regulators that has been accused of preying on consumers with promises of easy money and health miracles via nutritional supplements. Multilevel marketing (MLM) companies like Herbalife (and Amway, Prepaid Legal Services, and others) make the bulk of their money not by selling retail products, but by recruiting independent distributors, who then make money by recruiting even more distributors. The more people you recruit, the more income you get. Like the tea party movement, these companies tout a bottom-up approach and depend on a never-ending supply of people willing to work long hours with no assurance of pay.

Read the rest here

Democracy Now!
April 18, 2024

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