A front page story – “The Business of Change” – in today’s edition of the Congressional Quarterly weekly magazine (subscription only), the go-to source for news about Capitol Hill, looks at the burgeoning partnership between the U.S. government and private businesses. As Jonathan Broder writes, increasingly scarce resources and the waning international influence of the United States have necessitated this sometimes uneasy collaboration. With Congo’s conflict minerals as a cause célèbre, Broder explains how the president and Congress are now working to “bring the leverage of U.S. companies — which in some areas of the world exceeds the reach of government institutions — to the business of achieving U.S. policy goals.”
Regular Enough Said readers will be familiar with Enough’s work to raise awareness and generate action around the connection between cell phones and widespread violence in eastern Congo, which is fueled in part by the trade in conflict minerals. As today’s CQ article discusses, the cause has found some outspoken champions on the Hill. Given CQ’s readership – as my colleague and former Hill staffer characterized it “everyone in-the-know, from staffers to members” – the prominent placement of this story will hopefully inspire new advocates.
With such successes as the campaign against blood diamonds to learn from, and the acronym “CSR” (corporate social responsibility) gaining prominence in recent years as almost a word unto itself, it seems the time is ripe for concerned consumers to demand that electronic companies make cell phones and laptops conflict-free. Strong support from Capitol Hill, which today’s story may well nudge along, is an integral piece of a successful campaign to end the appalling violence against civilians and make Congo’s vast mineral wealth work for its people.
To get involved in the movement, text the word CONGOPLEDGE to ACTION (228466) using your cell phone.