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Active resistance to Consumerism

goes beyond the carefully researched spending of Dollars and sometimes gets into pranks, tricks and revenge against corporate greed and advertising pollution.

"When a working stiff demands a pay raise, it causes inflation and threatens the nation's prosperity; when a C.E.O. gets a raise ten thousand times as large, it rewards enterprise and assures all our futures. The two phenomena, obviously, are totally separate. Only a fool or a journalist could confuse them." -- John Cassidy, The New Yorker, April 21, 1997

Ten years later we have these headlines from the New York Times, a paper that has the finest business reporting in the universe:

"11-19-07...But for Goldman’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, this is turning out to be a very good year. He will surely earn more than the $54.3 million he made last year. If he gets a 20 percent raise — in line with the growth of Goldman’s compensation pool — he will take home at least $65 million. Some expect his pay, which is directly tied to the firm’s performance, to climb as high as $75 million...

2010 Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein stands to collect $100 million bonus...

Update, in congressional testimony, LLoyd Blankfein says that "he's doing God's work".

So, how's your pay gone up in the last ten years? Has it even kept up with inflation?

For most Americans of average or lesser means however, something is terribly wrong. The long-standing economic rules have changed against us. speculative frenzy When the rules of the economy stop working for you, then you should stop working for this economy. It is time to get out of their game and create our own. With few exceptions, corporations and mobile capital have abandoned not only long-term, but any commitment whatsoever to the American worker, millions of whom are treated as disposable commodities by corporations eager to raise the short-term value of their stock--not by investment in domestic plant or equipment, nor training, but rather by cutting "liabilities" (i.e.workers) so that they may become more "competitive".(Send the jobs to global sweatshops and then import them duty-free through "free trade" binding agreements.)

Those remaining are overworked for the convenience of the employer and the demands of the marketplace. This raises the value of the corporate stock most of which is owned or optioned by guess who? The very executives who make the firing decisions.

Why should the American worker and their family support such businesses? "Given that corporate america doesn't want to share their profits with the working Americans who helped build their companies since WWII, why are ANY of us buying the products of the Fortune 500?" (thank you for that Linda). Lets create and/or take advantage of existing alternatives as part of our community renewal. The greatest revenge against those that have changed our society for the worse, that have made us time slaves to the pursuit of money and more things, yet have taken away our livelihood in many instances, is to withhold spending from the corporate cloned businesses that they install in our communities while refraining from buying these companies' products and services no matter where or how they are sold. If the marketplace is so important to these corporations, then the marketplace is the appropriate forum for seeking retribution and justice through boycotts of job destroying corporations and their products by displaced workers and the public. For example: 

Oskosh B' Gosh disclosed plans to close an apparel-manufacturing plant in Columbia KY, in a move that will eliminate 413 jobs. The maker of children's apparel said it expects the plant, which makes woven-bib overalls, jumpers and jeans for children, will close in March. Oshkosh said it has been developing, for the past five years, a system of contracting its work abroad. Source: Wall Street Journal.

So what are they going to call their products now? Tegucigalpa B'Gosh? or Rangoon B'Gosh?
You just know that one of the fired workers or their relatives is going to end up buying Oshkosh B' Gosh products out of brand loyalty or plain social inertia. What they should do is track every article that this company makes, boycott it and tell whatever merchant that sells it that they will boycott their store unless they carry alternatives.

It's not just clothing and knick knacks. How about the American auto industry?

, Toyota boasts that it makes its trucks in the U.S.. "Except for the beds-we'll make those in Tijuana"-next the entire truck will be made just across the border at Mexican sweatshop wages and then imported into the U.S. duty free thanks to NAFTA. January, 2010, Toyota just announced that they are closing the joint venture assembly plant with G.M. at Fremont, California.

Wherever the products are made they have to be sold to you here in the U.S. A great resource to learn the gimmicks, codes, tricks and sales techniques used in large stores is available to you here at the Retail Workers Forum. http://www.retail-worker.com/forum/

Nationwide, boycotts of corporations can negate the many millions corporations may be spending on advertising to sell just a few more percentage points of advertised goods. Every American who has been fired, downsized or is overworked or going broke because of corporate economic manipulation should boycott every product sold by their ex-employer and other companies that treat workers this way. Let the wealthiest 1% of the American population that owns 82% of all stock be their exclusive customers. Let the low wage slaves that are making the products with machinery shipped out of America buy the products.

"If we're not good enough to make it or build it--then by god, we're not good enough to buy it!" (Dale, a retired machinist).

Americans need to raise their voices and get militant about this. It's our lives, our country and our future that are at stake. You have to raise your voice, make your self a pain in the ass to these companies, sometimes make a fool of yourself in public places to get this message across.

"Unemployment drops to "only" 9.7%" "Goldman Sachs also forecasts a worsening jobs situation: analysts at the most profitable firm in Wall Street history said in December that they expect the unemployment rate to hit 10.75 percent by early 2011, a full percentage point higher than the current rate."

The "underground economy option is looking pretty good to many Americans."

Please note, this article is seven years old and unemployment was just 6% then."

One should share the knowledge of what you're achieving through your careful spending habits with others, especially the employees and small business owners working in commercial settings. You will be seen as someone in touch with the concerns and interests of merchants and workers and from this will come respect and recognition which will further help sustain your community.

You will be surprised how many people agree with this point of view but never articulate it on their own.

Much of overcoming consumerism is about boycotting services and products made not just by one manufacturer but also eliminating ALL DEMAND for whole classes of things that harm our environment, society and personal independence.

This goes against the message that it's patriotic to shop-that by spending money your somehow helping to wage war on terrorism.

Here, let's put it in the only form that is recognizable to an unfortunately growing segment of the American Populace-a rap poem...



♫♫ What you bought yesterday is garbage...

Today you'll borrow to buy something new...

Tomorrow you'll repay with interest..

Today's Garbage that is tomorrow's due ♫♫!


People often E-mail us messages that include the lament that there is nowhere in their community where they can buy products made in the U.S.A., made sustainably or where they can find organic food. What better opportunity then could there be for the success of such a new business? We remember the time we drove through South Texas. Nowhere to eat but national fast food chains in town after town. Do you know how enthusiastic locals would be to have a local cafe that served decent organic food?

ADVERTISING Manipulates you with both the best paid talent in the world using some of the crudest assaults on your visual privacy as well as the most subtle. Clever minds and fabulous sums of money have been spent convincing us that we need an endless stream of things, (which always include the cost of advertising in their price). Anything above an American Middle Class standard of living is excess and only involves buying a different class of things and many extras.

Make yourself immune to advertising by working to remove it from (y)our environment and ignoring it when forced on you. Control advertising instead of letting it control you. Ask yourself: "If a product is so great and so essential, how is it that I have lived without it until now? and why haven't I heard of it from others who recommend it?"A corollary of this is that when you DO like a product that meets the criterion of quality and sustainability, tell people about it. Word-of-mouth based on personal experience is the best advertising. Believe it and nothing else.

We made a list of our favorite local small business with products, hours and phone number as well as ownership information. We hand them to people that ask for directions or locals that may not know about them. The response is overwhelming: "Oh thank you, I've been looking for a good cleaner, or shoe repair shop, or used furniture store"...etc. Any fool can locate the local Toys R Us or Walmart, but to find the struggling little toy shop or small grocery store with home delivery is not so easy. You can make such a list in your area.

An example can be found at our Alternate Economy page:

Do others a favor and help remove advertising from everybody's environment. Recycling bins are the appropriate destination for flyers, advertising supplements, "free" advertising-laden newspapers and other intrusions on your privacy that are dumped in public areas in around your home and street. When we pick up mail in our apartment complex, we grab the whole pile of flyers, inserts and advertising supplements that the mailman mercifully leaves in one place for us. Straight into the recycling bin kept next to the mailboxes.

Question: What's the difference to the viewer between graffiti and advertising? How can a building owner that festoons his public surfaces with the visual intrusion of advertising into the public viewshed then object to personal graffiti? Same with bus advertising. Cover our busses with commercial messages and then object to someone writing their name? We'd rather see blank walls and clean busses with nothing on them.

Use postage-paid subscription reply cards to let magazines that advertise tobacco know how you feel about their prostituting themselves to drug pushers. We stuff junk mail into the postage paid envelopes and mail them back at the advertiser's expense. Make sure that the junk is folded so that it bulges. This will cost the junk mailer .91 cents under the new postal tariffs.

Consider generics. What real difference is there between gasoline, oil and some drugs that are not proprietary? For example, Consumer Reports Magazine's laboratories have demonstrated that there is no difference between any brand of motor oil as long as they meet common standards. See Cars

A strong example of how the consumer's mind is shaped, measured and directed can be found in American Demographics Magazine:

American Demographics magazine
The link has changed,now the parent corporation lets you read only the current issue: Read some of these industry articles to get a feel for how they look at you. Guess what? You are the commodity that is for sale by media to advertisers! Let's rephrase that; your eyeballs and ears are for sale by the networks to the advertisers--this is why Arbitron and other agencies exist--to carefully conduct "market share" counts for the advertisers.

Here's one of the article teasers from the magazine: (this is for purposes of review only):

COLUMN: Jingo All the Way: What Will Get Americans to Shop? Matthew Grimm   

In the wake of the terrorist attacks, choruses of media wags have attempted to convince American consumers that, despite the looming recession, it is their patriotic duty to spend money to somehow fight terrorism. Yet only a quarter of Americans consider it a good time to buy items they want and need. They do know, however, what may lure them to the stores for holiday shopping: discounts and sales, as well as products made in the U.S.A.

People aren't buying the Chinese crap that's everywhere? Although only a quarter consider it a "good time" to buy items they "want" and "need" does that mean that the other 75% are buying when its a "bad time"?

Commercialism is why the Internet, once the great hope for free communication for everyone(that can afford a computer), has been turned into a circus of popup ads and other commercial intrusions. It's still the best hope we have-you won't find any commercials on our site. Notice that it's verdant.NET not COM. (commercial). 

Avoid becoming a human commodity. Your name and personal information can become, if you allow it, a commercial product that others buy, sell and use without your permission in the hopes of selling you something. You can prevent this by refusing to provide it or gladly offering such information, in an altered form of course!, when you are asked for it in a commercial setting. Add a coded initial, for example that of the business, to your name. Watch the junk mail arrive with this initial to see whom they sold your name to.

Scramble your social security number when asked to provide it to those not legally required to receive it, this will help to foul up junk mail databases, call the 800 numbers of stores that flood your mailbox with catalogues, ask to speak to the supervisor of the order takers, request that they take your name off mailing lists then give them the reasons why, requesting that they note it on the information sheets marketers gather in such settings. Call the managers of their local stores, and demand time to make them listen to your complaint.

A more elaborate way of preventing your address from being used by marketers is to offer them the use of your mailbox or telephone for commercial purposes at say, $1,000 per item that they send to you. Send a certified letter stating the terms of your offer to their corporate legal department. Then hope that they DO send something of a commercial nature to you after a certain cutoff date because this signals their acceptance of the contractual offer you have made to them. See how one successfully sued them in small claims court. This works best when the company has a local retail outlet that can be after you get your judgment used by your county sheriff as a collection point. It's called a Till Tap, the sheriff stands there and literally takes cash out of the hands of the cashier until the judgment is satisfied. People have made some decent money out of this.

You can get your phone number on the National Do Not Call list. Don't forget to add you fax and cell number to the registry too.

The National Do Not Call Registry is open for business, putting consumers in charge of the telemarketing calls they get at home. The Federal Government created the national registry to make it easier and more efficient for you to stop getting telemarketing sales calls you don't want. You can register online at DONOTCALL.GOV if you have an active email address. You can call toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register. Registration is free.

The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the states will begin enforcing the National Do Not Call Registry on Oct. 1, 2003. That's when consumers who put their numbers on the registry by August 31, 2003 will notice a downturn in the number of telemarketing calls they get. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls.

The next link details many different ways of saving money
and the specifics of avoiding waste.
Easy hands-on methods to save resources and money.

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Overcoming Consumerism Index      Consumerism's bad effects

O. C. Accomplishes?     | Active Resistance |      Hands on methods

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consumption chart      resources to overcome consumerism

radical anti-consumerism      cars     

How to raise food     How to raise trees

eliminate polystyrene products

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