This time, as demonstrators march from Chinatown to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-Ill.) Batavia office this weekend, they will have Miller Brewing Co., as a sponsor. The brewer has paid more than $30,000 for a planning convention, materials and newspaper ads publicizing the event.
The support of a major corporation for a controversial political cause shows how fierce the competition has become to woo the growing market of Latino consumers.
What I think makes this one especially interesting is that Miller has a some substantial brands(i.e. Red Dog and Milwaukee's Best Ice) that are specifically marketed largely to African Americans. As the Pew Report, Beyond Red and Blue, showed, the largely African American "Disadvantaged Democrats" are among the groups most concerned with immigration.
Jesse Jackson is already starting to waver a bit on the issue of illegal immigration. Also, the Jesse Jackson family have already successfully squeezed substantial money out of a major competing company:
In 1982, Jackson launched a "this Bud's a dud" boycott of Anheuser-Busch because it had only three Black-owned distributors nationwide. After languishing for over a decade, the boycott movement received a boost when Budweiser’s River North distributorship was accused of denying promotions to several of its African American employees. Jackson came to the aid of the employees in 1997 shortly after the first EEOC suit was filed. Shortly thereafter, Anheuser Busch contributed $10,000 to Jackson’s Citizenship Education Fund, contributed over $500,000 to the Rainbow PUSH coalition, and established a $10 million fund to help non-whites buy distributorships. In 1998, the River North distributorship was purchased by two of Jackson’s sons Yusef and Jonathan Jackson. They refuse to publicly disclose how much they paid for the distributor, but the business was worth an estimated $25 to $30 million. Shortly after the sale, Jackson dropped his prior support of the Anheuser Busch boycott campaign.
I think that the Jackson family really ought to be be able to get at least another $40 or 50 Million out of Miller Brewing—if they don't they are simply selling out way too cheaply. Now, it would mean that they'd have to get serious about a major problem facing the African American community. Now, I personally am willing to throw $50 Million of Millers's ill-gotten money in the Jacksons' direction if that is the price of at least temporary support of some prominent black activists for actually serving the interests of working blacks. Jesse Jackson Jr. has shown that he can learn on the issue of H-1b/L-1 expansion. Perhaps raw economic and political self-interest can help take him the rest of the way.
Miller is an especially interesting object of a boycott because the products they sell aren't really necessities-or even especially healthy to use.