"MESSAGED" BOYCOTT FOR DEMOCRACY: RIGHT TO BOYCOTT, EFFECTIVE USE & MONEY TRAILS
"MESSAGED" BOYCOTT FOR DEMOCRACY:
RIGHT TO BOYCOTT, MONEY TRAILS & EFFECTIVE USE TO COMBAT CORRUPTION
Save The World From Corpruption
Want to help roll back corruption in government and industry? The use of boycott coupled with increased democratic activities by ordinary citizens can make this happen. (See also A Little Democracy Is a Danerous Thing" for the need for local and regional democratic activity & Your Economic Vote: Your Influence On Politics And The Economy" for examples of industries with issues and alternative sources.)
Did you know that it is against US law to boycott products and services from
Isreal? When is boycotting effective and when not? Are our rights to boycott in danger?
Whether you're right, left, center or out of the political spectrum, the
right to choose what you buy and from whom you buy is important not only
as a consumer, but also as a democratic expression of your ethical and moral choices as a citizen.
This page is meant to help spread relevant information regarding effective use of "messaged" boycott, boycott law, money trails, ongoing boycotts, etc.
The introduction argues that boycotting is a component of a healthy society, including a capitalistic democracy, and that
there are certain factors that interfere with this aspect of a free market: anti-boycott law, accounting which obscures money trails, "behind closed-door"
agreements among business, government, etc. and other forms of
hiding relevant information regarding the activities of these parties.
The rest of this page is devoted mostly to links to this type of relevant information as well as information regarding recent boycott activities.
A largely untapped mechanism for democratic change in the USA and
the world in general, boycotting is the potential solution to
problems of corruption and unethical practices throughout business
Historical Use of Boycotts
The term "boycott" comes from Captain Charles Cummingham Boycott, an Englishman
who worked in Ireland in the 1870's. His harsh treatment of tenants
caused an organized reaction of the community in the form of a commitment to
avoid dealing with him. Boycotting of goods and services has since been used
in many political and economic situations, especially dealing with colonialism,
civil rights and labor vs. management issues.
(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott for more details on history).
"Messaged" Boycotting is boycotting with a message. In other words,
those boycotting not only avoid buying goods and services that benefit particular businesses, corporations, governments and/or other organizations, but also
send messages via letters, faxes, email, etc. to let the other party know why.
For example, if you decide to boycott a company because of the company's unethical actions, unless they know that's why you're not buying from them they might assume it is from other market considerations such as low demand, competition, etc. Most companies are looking to gain market share and without information
regarding why you don't buy, they are unlikely to be effected by your boycott efforts.
There are examples of "messaged" boycotts of local sponsors of
unethical syndicated radio talk shows that were effective in convincing the
sponsors to drop the show on the grounds of these ethical issues -- effective
primarily because local people wrote letters directly to the local sponsor
and let them know that they were being boycotted specifically because of the
support for an unethical show. (See more below)
Why Boycotting Is The Most Important Democratic Tool Regardless Of Your Political or Philosophical Disposition
Why? In a word: money. Regardless of whether or not you are a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, independent, etc., when your only power in influencing the choices of your government is through your vote to elect one of a few running for a primary or an office, if none the candidates running represent your interests, your vote can do little to help your cause. However, if you are aware of money trails that support what you are for and those that support what you are against, patronage (purchases, donations, etc.) or lack there of (boycotting, etc.) can have a more meaningful and immediate effect, especially at the level of local or smaller scale business or organization.
Armed with information of the money flow, any true democracy (and even a republic such as the USA) can become a healthy (relatively corruption free) patriotic capitalistic democracy.
Why Boycotting Is An Important Option For A Healthy Patriotic Capitalistic Democracy
Capitalism is "an economic system characterized by private or corporation ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly in a free market."
Democracy is "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections."
The key to healthy patriotic capitalistic democracy, then, is an economy with a "free market" with a government "in which the supreme power is vested in the people." Note that in a true democracy, capitalism is not necessarily present as it depends on the will of the people. In fact, most likely any "true" democracy would include many forms of economic systems, coexisting and interdependent, reflecting the varied views, needs and aspirations of the population involved. One could argue that this is in fact a valid description of the US economy to some extent. Technically the governance of the US is not a "democracy," but rather a republic, which by it's nature is much more prone to the corruptive influence of money, blackmail, etc.
It is also good to use this right while you still can. In this century, the US has enacted laws to take away some of these rights. Though they generally don'
t effect most citizens directly and may not in fact be enforced, they do illustrate that threat to the right to choose where to make a purchase (see "What Interferes With A Free Market" and "Anti-boycott Laws" below).
Naysayers of Boycotts
In recent years it has become popular to consider boycotts pointless. Consider the influences of public opinion on this topic:
In the balance, however, modern Boston tea parties, done within the law, and done while sending a message to the boycotted entity (company, etc.), can still be quite effective even if the media does not cover it.
In the end, most companies and organizations follow the money, so to speak.
- Commercial media is afraid of endorsing boycotts primarily because fear of retribution from advertisers, backlash from the public, etc. Even radical political radio talk show hosts who encourage all kinds of activism routinely reject boycotts, sometimes stating that boycotts hurt people.
The damage done to innocent people can be minimized or eliminated if done with a message, rapidly and well synchronized.
- Boycotts seem to have been ineffective recently, but historically they have been good for both a means to and end and for bolstering enthusiasm for a common cause.
- The larger the entity, the less sensitive it is to an individual's boycott. While this is true, it's also true that economic sanctions imposed against governments, essentially a form of boycott, have been effective. The larger the entity, the more likely the need for boycott will be recognized.
Again, it's also a good idea to exercise your right to boycott, and pass the word to revitalize it's use in our culture before we lose it. With civil liberties being pushed back in the name of fighting the boogie man, the existing anti-boycott laws could be expanded likewise. The anti-boycott laws in the USA are not well known, but are inforced as is pointed out below.
What Is a Free Market?
A free market must have these characteristics:
- Freedom Of Purchase Decisions regarding any legal goods or services for sale. This simply means that one can choose what to buy or not to buy and among competitors, if any.
- Free Flow Of Information About Market Transactions
A free market may only be free if the information regarding trade (the general flow of money) is open to the public. Otherwise price fixing, secret monopolies, fraud and other errosions of market "freedoms" develop. Free flow of information requires:
So, making the business of businesses you do business with your "business" is the key to a healthy patriotic capitalistic (or other economic system based) democracy.
- Media relatively free from the influence of sponsors. It is difficult to find reliable news sources under this category. However, boycotting media under the influence is a definite possible means to improving this situation.
- Ethical accounting practices such as the antithesis of Enron's. Once the company goes belly-up, what can we do? Follow the unpunished executives to their next job and boycott the businesses which they influence and which benefit them.
- Freedom To Boycott or in other words, the freedom from being forced to buy anything from any particular vender or business.
What Interferes With A Free Market?
Aside from government regulations designed to protect the public at large, here are some other things that interfere with a free market:
Here's more about these specific interference mechanisms:
- Anti-boycott Laws
- Accounting which obscures the money trails of business, campaign contributions, etc.
- That which impedes the flow of information regarding the activities, especially related to policies, public interest and politics, by government, business, organizations, and individuals.
- Closed door (Clandestine) agreements between government and non-government entities such as
- War profiteers
- General corporate welfare recipients
US ANTI-BOYCOTT LAW
Office of Antiboycott Compliance of the US Government "require U.S. firms (and individuals) to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction." However, US citizens are covered as the regulations "apply to all 'U.S. persons,' defined to include individuals and companies located in the United States and their foreign affiliates. These persons are subject to the law when their activities related to the sale, purchase, or transfer of goods or services (including information) within the United States or between the U.S. and a foreign country. This covers U.S. exports and imports, financing, forwarding and shipping, and certain other transactions that may take place wholly offshore."
Report on Antiboycott Compliance and Fines Collected, Etc.
FLOW OF INFORMATION: MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL
EXAMPLES OF "BACKDOOR DEALS"
WAR AGAINST TERROR AND PROFITABLE "ERROR"
POLLUTING BUSINESSES AND CLANDESTINE DEALS WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
GENERAL CORPORATE/POLITICAL MONEY TRAILS
MONEY TRAILS IN THE UNITED STATES
MONEY TRAILS IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK
- LOBBYING IN NEW YORK:
MONEY TRAILS IN THE STATE OF OREGON
- LOBBYING IN OREGON:
- OTHER MONEY IN POLITICS IN OREGON:
- OTHER MONEY TRAILS IN OREGON GOVERNMENT:
Oligarchies We Can't Directly Boycott
Health Insurance Companies: Send a message to stop the log-jam in D.C. preventing health insurance reform.
Here's a list of insurance companies that might need to hear from you by email, mail, phone or even in person to let them know you don't appreciate
the lobbying, disinformation campaigns, etc., effectively blocking health care to US citizens:
Of coarse, one or two emails, letters, phone calls or people showing up to demonstrate won't make much difference. So, pass the word to everyone you know who might be effected by the this health care issue.
And if you would like to participate in town hall meetings with your local representative, look up the next one tea baggers plan to disrupt by state and locale via:
Tea Party Patriots: http://teapartypatriots.org/
, see ~2/3 down "Groups and Events By State" for links by state.
Democratic Discourse: A Mix Of Views And Applications Of Boycott
Here's a list of links to boycott activity. I'd like to make this open to all political views: centrist, right, left, green, libertarian, etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like a link included here.
Some Other Recent Boycott Examples
Examples of Finding Supporting Clients of Companies
Alternatives to Companies Boycotted
Internet Control and "Independent Internets"
Your Job, National Security & Outsourcing