Below are a few definitions to help make this toolkit as clear as possible:

Oligarchy: a small network of people who exert power over society through their wealth and their ownership of and influence over basic institutions, such as: the media, school system, culture, and law.

Power: the ability an individual or entity has to get what it wants, even against opposition, and to shape politics and society along their interests and priorities.

Corporate Beneficiaries: corporations and corporate owners, managers, stakeholders, and creditors that profit or otherwise gain status through certain policies and developments.

Corporate Elite: the set of individuals who run the nation’s major corporations and use their wealth and positions of ownership and power to exert influence over politics and society.

Indicator of Power: when analyzing a certain situation, there are questions we can pose that point us to who has power, such as: Who benefits? Who wins? Who governs? Who has a reputation for power? Answering these questions, which are indicators of power, help identify who holds power.

Corporate Agenda: the general set of priorities and measures that the corporate elite seeks to advance in the interest of their own profit maximization. These include things like: tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations, privatization and deregulation, and crushing unions and attacking wages and benefits.

Private Equity: investment firms that invest clients’ money in privately-held companies whose stock is not traded on public markets. Private equity firms frequently will buy small or struggling companies (often by taking on huge amounts of debt that are then put on a companies’ balance sheet), make radical cuts to staff and critical business operations in order to maximize the profits returned to owners, and then sell off companies’ assets in bankruptcy to satisfy their debts.

Movements: or, “movements for social change” can be a broad range of campaigns that are focused on challenging dominant power structures in order to win justice, equity, and dignity for all. These campaigns can be focused on issues related to racial, economic, gender, environmental, disability or other forms of justice.

We also recommend that you check out this glossary from OpenSecrets which contains lots of great campaign finance-specific terms.