Apple Foxconn petition maker Mark Shields a D.C.-based professional activist

“Apple fans were seething. In January, they heard actor Mike Daisey describe during a radio broadcast the intolerable working conditions he witnessed at Chinese factories where iPads and iPhones are assembled. Many found their way to an online petition started at Change.org by a man named Mark Shields,” Greg Sandoval reports for CNET. “The petition demanded Apple improve safety at these facilities, and it would eventually include 256,000 names.”

“At first, the petition appeared to have simply bubbled up from an outraged public,” Sandoval reports. “Not quite. Apple fan or not, the 36-year-old Shields is a professional advocate and activist. The public-relations firm that has employed him for nearly two years, Washington D.C.-based Spitfire Strategies, organizes demonstrations and protests for a fee much like the one Shields waged against Apple. Though there is no evidence that Shields was anything but sincere in his petition drive, and there is no evidence that he was paid for it, that he does such things professionally received scant attention at the time. Anti-Apple protests have become commonplace in recent months. But with every protest there appears questions. Daisey, of course, was discredited a month ago for his embellishments.”

Sandoval reports, “Indeed, though there is no indication Spitfire was formally linked to Shields’ petition, professional activism that’s supposed to look spontaneous is one of Spitfire’s strategies. ‘This guide is designed to work best with policy campaigns, issue campaigns, corporate campaigns and public education campaigns,’ Kristen Grimm, Spitfire’s founder and Shields’ boss, wrote in a 2006 strategy playbook for clients. ‘If you are looking to pass a law, win popular support for an issue, organize a boycott or let a bunch of people know that something is bad for them, this guide is for you.’ In another of her publications, Grimm wrote: ‘Remember, not all campaigns are big, splashy public affairs. Sometimes your goals are best served by keeping your campaign behind the scenes.'”

Much, much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s responsible for repeatedly delivering the same box of signatures to multiple Apple Retail Stores in order to keep the bogus story in the “news?”

Related articles:
Marketplace goes inside Foxconn, posts exclusive look at how an iPad is made (with video) – April 12, 2012
Liar Mike Daisey dumped as Cornish College commencement speaker, will not receive honorary degree – April 9, 2012
Apple supplier Foxconn cuts working hours; workers worry, question why – March 30, 2012
Fair Labor Association releases Foxconn report; looks to correct overtime, safety issues – March 29, 2012
Change.org petition calls for Change.org to retract petition against Apple; says based on Mike Daisey’s lies – March 21, 2012
Foxconn won’t take legal action against ‘This American Life’ after retraction of Mike Daisey lies – March 19, 2012
Foxconn glad Mike Daisey’s lies exposed; says media hasn’t gone far enough in reporting truth – March 19, 2012
Apple and the Daisey affair: Why did the company keep its silence, when it knew a year ago what we know now? – March 18, 2012
Apple firestorm leads Mike Daisey to change his ‘agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs’ show – March 17, 2012
‘This American Life’ retracts story, says it can’t vouch for the truth of Mike Daisey’s monologue about Apple in China – March 16, 2012
Foxconn: The fire that wasn’t – March 15, 2012
Apple supplier Foxconn again lifts pay for China workers; 16-25 percent increase – February 17, 2012
FLA President: Foxconn factories ‘first-class; way, way above average’ – February 15, 2012
‘Slacktivism’ groups claim credit for Apple supplier audits over a month after Apple originally announced its plans – February 14, 2012
Thousands line up for iPhone assembly jobs at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou, China plant – January 30, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook calls New York Times supplier report ‘patently false and offensive’ – January 27, 2012
Apple audit led by COO Tim Cook prompted improvements at Foxconn – February 14, 2011
Media blows it: Foxconn employees face significantly lower suicide risk – May 28, 2010

33 Comments

  1. This is Obamaland. Where “professional activists” are paid off the backs of the working people. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were funded by government grants.

    1. Yeah. Right. In a country where racist oil oligarchs can convince the poor that the problems of the super rich are more important than the health of the majority.

          1. Wasn’t Obama a “Community Agitator”? Excuse me, ‘Organizer’.

            Is not Obama President? Has not during this idiots 3 years in office, was he able to conjure not one, but two – TWO, dissatisfied groups of citizenry?! You have CitizenC that creates the TEA Party because of “see-ing” what this moron is doing to the country. Then you have CitizenX that creates OWS whose members shit on cop cars, as in “X” marks the spot!

            So come in out of the Sun, your brain is fried enough and join us in Literalville and Welcome to Obamaland

            1. Here is a free clue for you. Get a life.

              Obama is President. I’m not sure of the point of the question. As far as your first dissatisfied group of citizens… what can you say about a bunch of racist who can’t handle a Black person presuming to be President. As far as OWS goes… Obama had nothing to do with them so I don’t know what your point is unless it is to reinforce your own inadequacies.

              Sunlight is good for you. It helps you keep a healthy frame of mind.

              Otherwise, I’m not sure what point you wanted to make.

            2. By the way, I guess I would be considered a “community organizer” also. After all I did hand out Muhammed Speaks for a while and the Black Panther newspaper back in the day.

            3. “As far as your first dissatisfied group of citizens… what can you say about a bunch of racist who can’t handle a Black person presuming to be President.”

              Wow! I think you’ve played that racist card a few to many times but if that’s what you still think, you’ve a got much bigger problem.

    2. Sure, Blundervolt. As if this type of activity suddenly blossomed in January of 2009…get a friggin’ clue! You are just that same pathetic, anonymous loser who posts under many other handles on this forum.

      You have no moral high ground on which to strut with respect to professional rabble rousers. There are plenty of paid activists representing both extremes and every other point of the political and social spectrums.

  2. Where is the call for improved condition in the NFL. I believe suicide rate is higher than Foxconn. Nfl should hire FLA to investigate. RIP Junior.

    1. The suicide rate at Foxconn was directly attributable to Mike Daisey the murderer when he made suicide profitable for the families of the deceased with his protests.

      They were less suicides and more murder for profit by Daisey.

  3. Kind of tempers your outrage when you figure out that some puppet master is getting paid to pull your strings. Follow the money. Tea Baggers, pay close attention. It has happened to you.

      1. A misdirected expectation of reasonable behavior on the part of Republicans. I hate it when a Presidents belief in responsible behavior on the part of whitey clouds his judgement.

  4. In and of itself I see nothing wrong with a petition asking for conditions to be improved somewhere. Making false claims about conditions in order to push an agenda and make things seem worse than they are is another thing entirely.

    This petition does mention This American Life’s story, so it is in part based on incorrect reports, but in principal the request is perfectly acceptable. Conditions probably should be improved, but the point is they’d be improved from ok conditions, not the sweatshop conditions that had been reported.

    1. In theory I agree there is nothing wrong with asking for things to be improved. However in this case, it seems obvious from what Apple has shown that they are currently and had already been improving things at a pretty good pace and no amount of protesting or anything else will make them improve things (in some one else’s business no less) any faster. It seems actually counter productive in this instance since all those energies spent to “make them” improve things could be better spent on real problems.

        1. I’m not sure I get the meaning of your comment. Do you disagree? Do you somehow think these protest actually made Apple do anything different then they were already doing? Apple has lots of proof that they have been and continue to do quite a lot to improve conditions in this factory that doesn’t even belong to them.

          Your comment at first blush however seem to be a bit of a non sequitur. Is there some connection I’m missing?

          1. Off hand. I’d say he’s disagreeing with you.

            It’s reference to the old, country song Sixteen Tons sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford. It’s a lament on the lives/working conditions of coal miners and how the situation is inescapable.

            1. Yeah I know the song, it just didn’t seem to be a very comprehensive explanation of disagreement. Guess thats the best I can ask for.

  5. Here’s an idea, how about Apple provide each product with two prices. One 20% higher than the other. The extra 20% goes towards a fund to improve conditions and wages for the so called “sweatshops”. Let’s see just how much these fucking change.orgs are willing to put their own cash behind their cause.

    1. Professional protest and demonstration activists and most news media are working hand in hand and have been for years. About 12 years ago while living in a large city in another country, a politician made a comment that brought international attention on them. An acquaintence orgnized a protest (and I was unaware of it). As I was traveling by train through the city, I changed trains at a large station and happened to see him outside the station. I went to speak to him and he asked me to join, which I declined. About 30 people were sitting or leaning against a building chatting. Then suddenly, CNN showed up, called to the fellow and said “Get ready!” They lined up, lited their protest signs and started marching in a circle chanting. When CNN got their footage, the people threw their signs in the garbage cans and went their separate ways!

      Unfortunately, protests now are not as much about true change and real injustices but selfish public identity and gain from the event! It is the same as the “scams” that take advantage of major disasters in the name of real “relief efforts”.

  6. Mark Shields was hired by RIM, but just like RIM’s faux “Wake Up” outrage, this too was never given consideration as something coming from RIM but from a Apple competitor currently embroiled in Patent disputes in court.

  7. Makes me wonder if Apple needs to spend more on lobbying just to level the playing field. Apple is notorious for spending a pittance compared to its peers. I saw last quarter Google spent 10X what Apple spent.

    1. Lobbying = political manipulation. It’s a sick era when an honest company has lower its standards by joining the ranks of the rats in order to clear the way for verifiable facts and reason.

      I’d personally rather have a bonfire at the foot of the Washington Monument and toss on every single Washington lobbyist. Good riddance. Let the voice of individual citizens be heard, and nothing more. Money and power brokers be damned.

  8. “… Sometimes your goals are best served by keeping your campaign behind the scenes.’”

    Yes… because it’s better if the whole truth about those involved in these kind of activities (particularly those in the political arena) were known by everyone.

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