Monday, March 12, 2007

We're Not Buyin' It

In order to stimulate discussion, I'm giving this campaign its own post:

We're Not Buyin' It: National Boycott To Impeach For Peace and Justice.

This is a week-long campaign starting April 15th and running through April 22nd, 2007.

...Conservative estimates of the amount of money that could be drawn away from corporate accounts for the week of the protest range from tens to hundreds of billions or more, representing what could potentially be a serious threat to the economic well-being of the nations wealthiest class. Given that over 87% of Americans in the last MSNBC poll (out of 422,614 response) favored impeachment that could translate into more than 60,000,000 registered voters taking part in a boycott with the potential to shut down the economy...

Personally, I'm very intrigued by this idea. While I appreciate the "charge" (no pun intended) people experience at marches and protests, I admit to having soured on them since watching the anti-war movement do its Cave For Kerry routine three years ago. Marches start to seem like merely cosmetic solutions that the masters were happy enough to let us have-- so long as they are permitted, well-behaved, and dominated by those content to stay within the Democrats' veal pen.

Of course, a lot of folks will probably make the exact same arguments about a national boycott. Here a commenter wonders why there can't be a call for a permanent boycott of major corporations in the U.S. Heh. I'm guessing that a week without going to Starbucks, using one's debit card, or pulling into BP for gas would be enough of a challenge for a great many folks. It's also noteworthy that the call for the boycott has gone out during the season that more than one religion calls for the faithful to "do without" a particular food in the name of remembering the struggles of their oppressed ancestors;In order to stimulate thinking about struggle and reform in the present.

...Lew Brown stated that, "This is not a top down organization, "We Are Not Buying It" is an idea that people take to their homes and workplaces and work to implement within their own community. As coordinator, all I can do is answer questions and provide resources; the actual campaign is decentralized and democratic in the best traditions of American political activism. People aren't just signing a petition here, they are committing to do whatever needs to be done to change the course of history". With over 600 organizers working around the country and more than a month to go before Tax Day "We Are Not Buying It" might have an impact far beyond that of a march, a vote or a petition-at the very least it provides another way to put pressure on decision makers to move forward with impeachment...

(All quotes courtesy of Portland Indymedia)

I'll be looking into local organizing for this action soon, and if you all want to get involved or just share your own thoughts on the idea, please do it. Of course, U.S. corporations operate all around the world, so no need for the Canadians and Aussies to sit this one out if you find the notion appealing, too.

Some additional thoughts here as well.


Arcturus said...

I'm so glad yu posted tis - a 1st glance, it sounds like a GREAT idea! kinda busy now, so I'll go follow the links later.

There is no one way to stop the war, or the imperial presidency. While we all have to make personal choices as to where to direct our time & energy, all means of bringing pressure to bear are needed. It's never been a choice between writing letters vs. marching vs. sit-ins vs. boycott vs. individual guerrila actions.

Those argumetns make me sick.

catnip said...

Impeachment porn!!


A few things. First of all, it's tough enough to get people to participate in Adbuster's Buy Nothing Day - and that's just a one day boycott. I don't know how they're going to wrangle consumers into a whole week of boycotts.

Secondly, what if (and I don't know the answer to this) some of those corporate entities actually favour impeachment? Won't consumers be punishing the wrong people? Don't get me wrong here, I believe big corporations suck the life out of people but has anyone actually polled the CEOs to find out where they stand on this issue?

Thirdly, I'm all for protest marches - always have been, always will be. They make a big statement. Just look at the huge marches last year to support immigrants in the US. They were extremely powerful.

The antiwar marches may not get as much notice but, at this point, most Amercians are (at least) against the Iraq war (although they still seem to support the Afghanistan fiasco - I could be wrong about that since I haven't looked at recent poll numbers.)

Now, having said all of that - don't get me wrong - I believe every possible action should be taken to impeach these bastards. That's not going to happen, however, if the Dems can't be convinced to do it. If this boycott is to work, the companies affected would logically then have to whine to the Dems to get off their butts because their businesses have suffered a bit of a loss. On the other hand, they could just ride through it and simply move on without making any kind of political statement. Then what?

DavidByron said...

I don't understand how it works. A boycott of a specific vendor works because you can buy from someone else. How is anyone supposed to eg. not buy any gas for a week? Not buy any food?

In any case most stuff they don't buy they'd just be putting off until the next week, or else buying up ahead of the "week".

NLinStPaul said...

Perhaps I'll display too much of my limiting business sense, but here's some of the questions I have about successful protests:

1. What's the goal (stop the war, impeach the pres, pick one)

2. Who's the audience we want to get our message (for example, I think the general public is with us on stopping the war. effective protests need to be aimed and those who can actually DO IT. The only problem is that if an election won't stop Bush/Cheney, I don't think a licensed, controlled protest will. If the goal is impeachment, I think the audience at this point is still US citizens - that might require an information campaign.)

3. What is the tactic that will get the attention of the audience we are trying to reach. (MLK was clear that those with power won't give it up willingly. Effective protest needs to have a negative impact on the "decision-makers" if that is the kind of change we're looking for.)

Just a few of my thoughts/questions.

Janet said...

Whoot Portland IndyMedia :)

Damn, I've been boycotting most of the suppliers on the list... except one. The one my spouse works for... ACk :)

We need to protest the "Dems", too. Letters, calls, faxes and standing outside their offices till they grow a damn spine or a set of hairy ones.

ms_xeno said...

arcturus, I am exasperated with marches myself, but that doesn't mean I think people shouldn't go.

catnip, the website stresses (and I mentioned it when I cross-posted to LJ but not here) that unlike the Adbusters boycott, this is not a campaign to "buy nothing." It's a campaign to cut financial support from the corporations who fuel the war machine. The main page has links to the companies participants should try to avoid.

As for the "ride through" effect, I guess you could make the same argument against marches. We go downtown, shut down the city for a few hours, then everyone goes home and things continue as they were before-- until next time.

Somehow I suspect that if these corporate entities favored impeachment, it would happen. My suspicion is that they favor whatever makes their numbers go up. No more, no less.

nlinstpaul, I'm in favor of trying anything that might work. Or as many things that might work. The House and Senate won't cut the war funds, so perhaps we can make a few small cuts ourselves.

BTW, what do you mean by "able to do it ?" As I pointed out in the initial post, there's a certain parallel here between the campaign and hollidays like Passover and Lent, in which people are urged toward a temporary change in behavior as a vehicle to growth and long-term change. I can't speak for the Catholics out here, but reform Judaism taught me that anyone can be exempted from a ritual or practice if it imperils their life. If you needed a life-sustaining medication from Phizer and ran out the week of the boycott, I don't think that anyone would suggest that you just do without the medication.

Anyone remember divestiture in SA ?

ms_xeno said...

Arrgh. Conservative Judaism, not Reform.

Janet ? catnip's pal Janet ? Can I have yer' autograph ? Also, have you been following the story of the Port demos in Tacoma ? Those people rock.

I love to make fun of Indy, but I couldn't live w/o it. :D

Janet said...

Yup. Two were arrested the other day. My friend was worried it was me so called my spouse to make sure. I'm just glad it's getting some coverage because there are lot of demos going on that aren't.

I'm "DamnitJanet" most everywhere and I am indeed a pal of Catnips. Why you'd want my autograph is beyond me :)

ms_xeno said...

Like I told catnip, I bus/drive past a certain military recruitment office in PDX all the time and I always notice if the picketers are there.

mr_xeno (varro on kos) likes the demos too, because he used to get hounded by military recruiters all the time when he had a convenience store gig in High School.

I was thinking that we should steal Anna Nicole Smith's body and drag it to a demo. Then we could finally get the press to show up. >: Fuckin' hacks. No point in relying on them to do their jobs. Boycott them, too. :p

Janet said...

You're in Portland?? Me, too. Maybe one protest we'll meet up.

As to boycotting the news.. I have been. I give my money to Democracy Now.

As to Kos, I left that place a while ago. I was just a "meaningless marcher" to his high and mighty.

I'd put up action alerts because it was still a big bullhorn blog. But if the action alerts were about Lt. Watada or supporting the war resisters... all hell would break out and I got tired of the namecalling.

ms_xeno said...

Dissent is bad for the bottom line, Dear.

You are well rid of Kos. To put it mildly. Madman's jibe at them as being "Little Orange Footballs" is right on the dot...

Janet said...

Since you are a Portland Indy reader, then you know of the people from Defund The War were arrested at Smith's office...again.

Smith and Wyden .. .both are pure, worthless aholes.

I see so many arrests and outright violence from the pi... cops and rarely does it make the news.

Marching is obviously NOT meaningless. Neither is non-violent civil disobedience.

The clock is ticking down lately. Things are picking up. You can feel it.

PS nice to "meet" you.

NLinStPaul said...

ms_xeno, I don't know if your question about "able to do it" was directed at me - I don't see that in my comment. So if you're asking me, I'm not getting the question.

And I totally agree with you about disvestiture in SA. I've been saying for awhile now that I think the best protest action would be to pull all of our $ out of the stock market, 401k's and big banks. That could get the attention of our kleptoligarchy. It just needs to be organized to reach a particular goal.

ms_xeno said...

Actually, Janet, you hit on one of my major frustrations w/marching and the mainstream anti-war groups ? Why occupy Smith's office but not Wyden's ? Why do so many marches pussyfoot around the fact that DP officials will rarely if ever "dirty" themselves by speaking at a march-- unless they think it'll score them points at election time ?

I felt the same way reading about the last big pro-choice march: One big advert for John Kerry, who (so far as I'm concerned) cared as little for feminists as he cared for the rest of the traditional base.

I despise the DP and am heartily sick of it getting a free ride.

ms_xeno said...

Sory, nlins. You wrote "actually do it" and I misread you. :o It's been a long day.

On a related note, I was talking to mr_xeno about war tax resistance the other day and he commented that we probably won't owe any taxes this year because his medical-related bills were so high. Hard to avoid paying when you don't owe. Laugh or cry. Your choice...

Do you have links regarding a potential pull-out from the market ? I'd love to see that.

Janet said...

Hmmm... Actually, I've infiltrated Wyden's office a few times. :) I call his office at least once a week to bitch about his lack of balls.

And we've Bird Dogged Hillary Clinton. In fact, that was a nasty protest that got our girls hurt. I think my diaries about some of the actions we've done are still on Booman... not sure. I need to find a place for all those past actions.

We protest these fuckers ALL the time.

PS I'm not a Democrat... I'm a Liberal :) But most importantly I'm a Human.

Janet said...

Oh and read up on the "Oregon 19" they were arrested in Wyden's office by Homeland Security simply for asking Wyden to not support the war.

Now he's supporting the esculation.

NLinStPaul said...

ms_xeno, I don't have any links about a pull-out from the market. Its just something I've been thinking about since NorthDakotaDemocrat published a series on BT about non-violent resistance. If you do a diary search there on his screen name, you can find them. I think he did four different diaries on that topic.

ms_xeno said...

Janet, that's what I get for disappearing from the internet for too long. Good for you for going after Wyden, especially, that conniving butthead. I remember when he was my rep fifteen-odd years ago, and if I'd known then what I do now, I would have pied him. Preferably with a pie that was fresh out of the freezer after a six month stay. Yarrgh.

catnip said...

catnip, the website stresses (and I mentioned it when I cross-posted to LJ but not here) that unlike the Adbusters boycott, this is not a campaign to "buy nothing." It's a campaign to cut financial support from the corporations who fuel the war machine. The main page has links to the companies participants should try to avoid.

Are you saying I have lousy reading comprehension, ms xeno?

Tis true, alas, at times... and this is obviously one of them. ;)

[Insert purity web design complaint here in order to pump up whiner's ego.]

ms_xeno said...

catnip, you are not eligible for the official flogging unless you get in line behind me, since I had trouble grokking both Janet's and nlin's points.

It's been a long day in the ol' salt mines...

catnip said...

You get to work in the salt mine? Geez. And here I am stuck in sludge at the sewage plant looking for spare change.

ms_xeno said...

What can I say ? The hours are reasonable and I'll get a great in-house discount should I ever need a truckload of custom-sized metal girders for the skyscraper going up in my backyard.

catnip said...

And all I get is shit, as usual.

DavidByron said...

MLW META thread (As usual can't comment at MLW due to the local censorship policy.)

DawnG writes,
What Atrios does on his blog is HIS business. What Kos does on his blog is HIS business. What you do on your blog is YOUR business.

What gives you the right to tell Atrios what to do on HIS blog? What gives you the right to tell Kos what to do on HIS blog? What gives anyone the right to tell you what to do on YOUR blog?

This appears to be a good criticism of MLW because the policy there has always been that Maryscott is an absolute dictator who does whatever she wants because "it's her blog".

Pyrrho and MSOC can go on about the nettiquette of linking as much as they want to but the much more observed rule of the blogs has always been that each blog is a petty kingdom unto itself and has zero accountability to anyone, not even to the so-called "communities" that attend the blogs, let alone to anyone from outside.

Now pyrrho and MSOC want to say that ain't so. Now that they are on the receiving end of some of the effects of royalty.

ms_xeno said...

[Hands catnip deluxe x-tra large shovel.]

scribe said...

ms xeno..I've forwarded the links on all of this to everyone I know who has money to spend! I already go weeks on end without making purchases, (outside of groceries) like many who do NOT have bucks, so it's no problem for me to go along with this..

I also just got back from a short look see at the current BBB blogging wars being waged on several sites, and it all has left me in dire need of a shower. I am SO damned glad I left the BBB's behind me, once and for all.

With all the dead kids and adult piling up in this world, everywhere I look, and an insane government in charge of trying to destroy America while it conquers the whole freakin world, no matter how many more have to die..I am damned if I can see ANY sense in this kind of immature turf battling.

It's like watching kids lined up for a parade, when someone on an expensive float (read: corporate ad money, etc ) tosses handfuls of candy into the street, and they all run out to fight with each other over who can get the most. (hits,links, whatever) ratings, whatever). Those kids could care less that while they're scrabbling for candy, someone might be burning down the whole rest of their town.

Ack. Ptooey.

DavidByron said...

After about six years of reading blogs now I feel then need of moving forward more than seem to be happening. I see a lot of bloggers getting burned out and I would guess there's a lot of people feeling nothing much is being done.

For someone like MSOC running her own blog I can see how it might all too easily come down to an immidiate goal of making her own site sucessful in some sense and once that happens then XYZ. But that seems too far away to me.

I believe in evolution; the changes must take place in small steps and each change must show some benefit -- I don't believe in revolution where we look forward to the great day when everything is suddenly changed over night, perhaps because on that day the vast majority suddenly came to their senses or whatever.

eRobin of Factesque is the only Blogger that I've seen ask her commenters / readers, "What changes has reading this blog caused in your life?". What progress are we making here? And I also asked her what benefits she had seen from my comments there. I think we could both identify some benefits, albeit small, that were an increment. However I felt I had to move on from that site after a while (for me quite along time but I guess it was just several months).

Incidentally a highly recommended site. eRobin is much more of an activist in her local politics than your average blogger, a solid lefty and great at remembering little historical details.

One of the things Scribe mentioned in the early months of this blog (and it appears the level of META was a lot better back then from a brief look back) was that blogs have poorly defined goals. If you are not aiming for anything then you probably won't manage to do it of course.

I am not saying what you sometimes hear about blogs, that they are just a lot of talk and nobody gets out and does anything, although it does seem that activists like eRobin could be a great benefit to the blogosphere if they could get more readership and influence. (Of course the problem is if you ARE doing that activism you can't also do daily updates and self-promotion).

I don't think blogs are "just" talking shops because talking (ie education) is a very important part of any evolution (or even "revolution" if you insist). And what better medium to do it in? No, education is vital. The enemy knows this because they spend literally billions on education (propaganda / manufacturing consent).

My criticism is that the blogs have not been very good at education despite every advantage. All you have to dio is go and look at some place like dKos comments to see how much work needs to be done.

Normalizing moral behaviour is another issue which is just "talk". Expectations about war for example, or gay rights have a huge effect on policy. When US elites want to start a war these days they'd rather do so secretly or by proxy because of the public reluctance. A huge mobilization effort preceeds any large scale war. The Iraq war took two years of propaganda before it could begin. That was two years that eleites couldn't be concentrating on convincing everyone that eg. nationalised healthcare is a bad idea.

Talk is an excellent method of establishing moral expectations, especially as the corporate journalists come to look to blogs more to see if they are being criticised.

Talk is also useful as a tool of organising, encouraging and creating common identity (where possible) or common cause (where not).

But are these goals being pursued by the blogging classes?

ms_xeno said...


...It's like watching kids lined up for a parade, when someone on an expensive float (read: corporate ad money, etc ) tosses handfuls of candy into the street, and they all run out to fight with each other over who can get the most. (hits,links, whatever) ratings, whatever). Those kids could care less that while they're scrabbling for candy, someone might be burning down the whole rest of their town.

I couldn't agree with you more. And bless your heart for passing the boycott info along to your friends. I expect that this thread will get buried under others before 4/15 but I'll post updates when/if I can. If nothing else, I plan to put the URL in my window on a poster for passers-by to see, and to do some postering on the main drag over the weekend.

Arcturus said...

I am exasperated with marches myself, but that doesn't mean I think people shouldn't go

*nod, nod*

my frustrations are w/ the 'but what about this instead' or "that's not gonna ___ __ __' type of commetns that so often come up when new creative ideas are bein gput forth

the more the merrier, in my book

gives a wider variety of people a chance to express themselves

sorry if the brevity made it seemed directed at you

ms_xeno said...

Well, arcturus, I may have to go to the march this weekend anyway, just for supersoling's sake. I'm taking a jumbo bag of Oreos along to placate the cops with...

Janet said...

Hey, Xeno, I'll be at that rally. Will be hard to meet up there but who knows. :)

This time I'm marching - last year I hung around with Eman, an IRaqi delegate. Anyways... hope to see you around.