Question One: Why does class/cause advocacy usually have more political aspects to it than case advocacy? Provide an example or two in your answer.
Embedded in the understanding of the phrase, “class or cause advocacy”, it is clear that class advocacy is a type of advocacy that can take the form of advocacy for purposes of achieving reforms, social change, or even policy advocacy. Additionally, it is imperative to note that class or cause advocacy makes use of the power and the manipulation, influence, or pressure of communal, collective, or combined action to attain justice in a society. On the other hand, case advocacy has a main definitive feature in the understanding of its meaning, ‘individual advocacy’, which means that it mainly deals with an individual or a person’s justice and not a community. Since class advocacy deals with matters that affect a community or communal policies, politics is characteristic of it because it needs legislators, who are politicians, to achieve. For instance, an agent who is involved in negotiating or brokering for an individual to access basic education as a right is involved in case advocacy, while an advocacy agent interested in changing the education system of a country is involved in class advocacy.
Question Two: Many class advocacy project organisers will seek the support of some ‘key people’ at the start of the advocacy. What are some of the advantages of doing this?
The main parties that are involved in class advocacy include a community or population that is marginalized, a system that acts as a change agent, thus, a collective bargain or action, and a system that is targeted, which in this case is identified as the party whose main aim is to uphold, maintain, or preserve the status quo. Since this kind of advocacy involves negotiating with individuals who are interested in maintaining the status quo, it would require a stronger force or pressure from key personalities in the society to attain its purpose. For instance, when the ‘key people’ in the society, such as legislators support the course of a class advocacy agent, may be to change the education system of a country because it is not meeting the market standards, it would be easy to pass such a motion in a legislative house because they are the ones that sit and deliberate on legislative issues, thus advantageous. Their influence will help influence and fasten the process of achieving the purpose of the class advocacy agent. They will also influence the decision-making process of the State government or local governments [authorities] to approve the proposed legislation.
Question Three: Using the hypothetical case study of the Melbourne Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (and your imagination), apply the Force-Field Analysis Technique to list the likely driving and restraining forces of this advocacy project. Against each factor, give your (subjective) estimate of the strength of each one by putting ‘very strong’, ‘strong’, ‘neither strong or weak’ or ‘weak’ alongside it. For example:
One State Government already has an MSIC—VERY STRONG
The attitude of CBD businesses to having an MSIC near their premises—STRONG
An already operational and successful MSICs in Kings Cross Centre- Very Strong
Advisory Board’s Support- Very Strong
Support from Colleagues and Supervisor: Strong
Lack of Funding from the Agency- Very Strong
Fear of Affecting the Agency’s Reputation in the Community- Strong
Lack of Support from the Victorian Government- Very Strong
Question Four: Why is a good initial advocacy plan essential for a class advocacy
The nature of class advocacy demands that the advocacy agent gets ‘key people’ or powerful individuals, personalities, or organizations/ institutions to effect major changes, which may not even be in their immediate interest. The agent must work under the watch of the public, which calls for transparency and accountability, and finally, the change agent must stick out his or her neck to certain risks because they are taking a stand against an opponent that is stronger. As such, initial planning will help the class advocacy agent to determine possible challenges that may hamper the process before they happen. Additionally, the change agent may manage to avoid shocks, surprises, or astonishments that may arise in the process, including those that may make them appear clumsy, stupid, or ineffective. In a similar manner, an initial plan before beginning advocacy may help the agents to clarify their goals, clarify the procedure or steps that will enable them to achieve the objectives, and finally increase their capacity to succeed in the process. Without a proper initial plan, a valuable amount of energy and efforts may be wasted, great opportunities may be missed, and individuals that are worth keeping in support of the advocacy plan may be antagonized.