American Interest group and Australian Interest group

American Interest group and Australian Interest group
Why are some interes groups more effective than others?

Contents Page

3.1.0 Introduction

4. 2.0 American interest groups

5. 3.0 Australian interest groups

6.4.0 Effectiveness of interest groups

7. 5.0 Conclusions

9. 6.0 References

1.0 Introduction

This essay looks at the role of interest groups and why some are more effective in their missions than others. There are different types of interest groups categorized on the basis of membership and their missions. These groups are formed for various reasons such as to pursue a political or social agenda, to celebrate a common heritage among others, (Binderkrantz, 2008). However, the formation may also elicit counter groups which may be formed in response to a given interest groups who will champion a completely different view from that of the initial group. It also analyses the role of interest groups in the business and politics ofAmericaandAustralia.

2.0 American interest groups and their roles in politics and business

The most influential business groups in theUSare the chamber of commerce representing over 200, 000 companies in theUS. The group lobbies for the laws and regulations aimed at promoting economic growth and commercial activities in the country. Another prominent and powerful interest group is the national association of manufactures, (NAM) which lobbies for the laws and regulations that create manufacturing jobs.

Others are labor unions, an examples being American federation of labor and congress of industrial organization consisting over thirteen million members and contributes greatly towards political campaigns in the country, through finances and grassroots support with most of its support and financial contributions going to democratic incumbents and challengers. They include American medical association, (AMA) screen actor association, (SAA) and American bar associations, (ABA) being the most powerful professional associations in theUS. American medical association made a record contribution towards political campaigns in the year 2000. The screen actors associations are known to use the star power of their members to influence political campaigns in the country.

The oldest among these is the American libertiesUnion, dating back to the First World War. It fought for rights of people in matters of civil liberties and bill of rights. Public citizen is the modern form of public interest group formed by Ralph Nader, it fought for the legislations supporting voting rights among the youths. National abortion rights action advocating for the legalization of abortion and the right to life committee fighting for the delegalization of abortion.

The role of interest groups in 2012 US elections have been intensified with massive financial contribution expected to rise due to the proliferation of outside interest groups and supreme court’s decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited funds to elections, with independent groups having spent over $270 millions to date towards the 2012 campaigns.

So far super PAC has spent over $3 million in support of Democrats this year. Obama is likely to call on unions and other traditional Democratic groups in raising to supplement his campaign funds. American crossroads and cross GPS have reported spending over $40 million on 2012 political campaigns. American chamber of commerce(ACC) has so far spent $32 million in favor of republicans, an indication of how interest groups are shaping the politics of theUS.

2.0 Australian interest groups: political and business role

Interest groups in Australiahold certain political values just like political parties and they greatly influence government decisions. Get up action is an independent Australian political movement consisting of five hundred plus members. Its main objective is to build a progressiveAustralia and promote peoples’ participation in democracy. Its apolitical movement involved in human rights advocacy and an end to mandatory detention, having campaigned for the abolition of detention debt and radical changes in the Australian refugee policy. It’s on record for fighting against political huge political donations and economic fairness especially among the marginalized and unemployed people.

Australian new right (ANR) is a radical neo-liberal social movement inAustralia. It played a big role of demonizing and opponents of neo-liberalism in the dying days of labor federal government from 1983 to 1996 and was very influential in changing political debates and a key player in policy battle within the liberal party, (Cahill, 2004). It received massive support from different sections of capital making it a strong political force inAustralia and led to formation of government much more sympathetic to neo-liberal radical agendas since 1996.

Political activism inAustraliahas gained momentum in 2012 with more people rebelling against the government and ruling class, (political activism, n. d). The year is experiencing a push from all sectors of Australian community and interest groups against federal and state governments. The country has recently seen protests organized by various groups citing fundamental problems withAustralia’s democracy, (political activism, n. d).

 

4.0 Effectiveness of interest groups

Interest groups give members an opportunity to express their opinions and actively engage in political participation. According to Dalton et al. (2003), effectiveness of interest groups highly depends on its internal democracy which helps in building loyalty and allegiance. Members therefore provide maximum support to the group in return and this makes the group to be more effective in championing its goals as it will have the required support from its members.

According Bosso (2003); Jordan & Maloney (1998) the mode of communication highly determines the effectiveness of interest group. Communication in public interest groups is not very official (mostly done via mails, internet, newspapers and magazines) which limits their level of participation in decision making process hence reducing the effectiveness of this type of interest groups.

The relationship between members and the officials of the group also determines the effectiveness of a given interest group. Trade movements and professional associations exhibit direct correspondences with their members unlike most public interest groups. This means that the influence of members on the group is more pronounced in economic and single issue interest groups than in public interest groups, (Dunleavy 1991; Halpin 2006).This explains why most trade unions and professional associations are more effective than public interest groups.

The exit from a given group is another reason why some groups are more stable and solid than others. Exit in public interest group is much easier unlike in economic interest groups such as trade unions. A member can easily terminate his membership in the case of public interest group because it pursues broader objective which may not be of much interest and also because there is availability of an alternative group to join in, (Hirschman 1970), a scenario unlikely to be found in economic and sectional groups, where members do not have substitute groups to turn to when dissatisfied and might not also be able to exit fully from enjoying the

Why some interest Groups are more effective than others

We find that some groups are more effective because they have full support of its members than others; examples are trade unions and professional associations like AMA,ACC,NAM, ANR and political activism groups inAustralia. Public interest groups such as transparency international represent broader public views hence they do not have the full support of its members like trade unions and professional associations.

Political connections have played a huge role to the effectiveness of these groups. Groups engaged in political activism seem to be more effective because many people have interest in politics hence motivating the group. InAustraliaandAmerica, trade unions and professional association have been successful in their missions due to their connection to political leaders.

Internal democracy within interest groups have made some groups more effective than others. In professional associations and trade unions, democracy is heightened and every member contributes towards the group’s actions. This creates a sense of ownership by members towards the moves and decisions of the group and they provide enough support in return which has made them more successful than groups with no or little internal democracy.

Leadership style adopted by interest groups determines why some are more effective. Some groups have aggressive leaders who take on their opponents and governments head on unlike others. This has helped them a great deal in making them more effective than other groups who adopt soft and diplomatic approach in carrying out their mandates. Examples are trade movements and human rights activist who engage in strikes and public demonstrations.

The size and financial positions of interest groups influences the groups’ performances. Groups with huge followers are known to succeed in their missions because they have the numbers to push for their agendas unlike small groups.

5.0 Conclusions

The paper analyzes the effectiveness of interest groups and their contributions to business and politics ofAustraliaand theUS. Several reasons explaining why some groups are effective than others have been discussed. Democratic space within the group itself highly impacts on the group performance. This allows members to actively participate in decision making process of the group creating a sense of ownership for the achievements that are realized.

The mode of relationships and communication between the officials and members also determine the effectiveness of the group. The exit rate has been found to be high in public interest group compared to sectional and economic groups like trade unions and professional associations. The exit rate from a particular group is also determined by the availability of other forms of groups to which the members can move to whenever they feel dissatisfied with a particular interest group. These were found to be common in public interest groups.

Pressure groups have greatly influenced the politics ofAustraliaand the Us governments. They play a key role in political campaigns through financial support to parties they share with common stand and interest.

6.0 References

Binderkrantz, A. (2008): Different Groups, Different Strategies: How Interest Groups Pursue Their Political Ambitions. Scandinavian Political Studies, Jun2008, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p173-200, 28p

Binderkrantz, A. S. (2009): Membership Recruitment and Internal Democracy in Interest Groups: Do Group-Membership Relations Vary Between Group Types? West European Politics, May 2009, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p657-678, 22p,

Bosso, C. J. (2003). ‘Rethinking the Concept of Membership in Nature Advocacy organizations’, The Policy Studies Journal, 31:3, 397–411.

Dalton. R. J., Scarrow. E, S., and Cain. B. C (2003). ‘New Forms of

Democracy? Reform and Transformation of Democratic Institutions’, in Bruce E. Cain,

Damien C. (2004): The radical neo-liberal movement and its impact upon Australian politics. Australasian political studies association conference

UniversityofAdelaide. 29 September – 1 October 2004

Dunleavy, P (1988). ‘Group Identities and Individual Influence: Reconstructing the theory of Interest Groups’, British Journal of Political Science, 18:1, 21–49.

Halpin, D. (2006). ‘The Participatory and Democratic Potential and Practice of Interest groups: Between Solidarity and Representation’, Public Administration, 84:4, 919–40.

Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, Voice and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, organizations and States.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress.

Interest groups. (online) retrieved from http://www.netplaces.com (Accessed on 21st April, 2012).

Jordan, G, and Maloney. W, (1998). ‘Manipulating Membership: Supply-Side Influences on Group Size’, British Journal of Political Science, 28, 389–409.

Political activism. (online). Retrieved from http://www.theglobalistreport.com (Accessed on 21st April, 2012).

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