I haven’t figured out where I can buy locally produced laptops made with 100% sustainably mined, domestically produced materials yet, so until that happens, I’m stuck with a Mac. That’s doesn’t make me a hypocrite.
So – today is supposed to be a big day of action for protests around the globe. I was trying to get to Freedom Plaza by noon to meet up with Occupy DC, but sadly am stuck in a cafe at 11:45 still waiting for someone I was supposed to meet about a possible job at 10:30. Ah well.
But I’ll pass by later. Anyways…
First thought – something that got me riled up a couple days ago – a criticism of Occupy Wall Street that seems to be making the rounds these days. It was mentioned in the article about Steve Jobs that I ranted about earlier this week. It goes something like this:
“Protesters are protesting corporate greed. But they use products produced by corporations. I’m so clever for pointing that out. They are so stupid. Let’s not engage in any sort of meaningful debate and stop thinking at this point. Stupid protesters! Look! That guy’s wearing Nike!”
The above-linked article linked, in turn, to the photo below.
Yes, those stupid protesters. Because we all know there are only two paths one can take in this life: either you buy a product and automatically and unconditionally embrace every single practice of the manufacturer, or you boycott. Right?
See how clever that is? The obvious problem is that there is no way to live in a modern industrial society such as the United States and not be touched by corporate products. So if you decide that anyone possessing such a product automatically forfeits any right to enter into any form of discourse about their business practices, you have basically dismissed the entire population. Everyone. Everyone who owns even one thing produced by a corporation. Convenient isn’t it?
Of course, there’s also the problem with this argument that Chris Hedges pointed out in his recent interview with a moronic CBC newsman – these protesters are actually really protesting Wall Street corporations greed and parasitism (psst – that’s why it’s called Occupy Wall Street). Financial services corporations. Goldman Sachs and their ilk. As Hedges points out – these corporations actually don’t produce anything of use – they shuffle dangerous financial products around for fees and suck up taxpayer money when they tank the economy through their criminal recklessness.
So in that case, the fact that I have a Mac is really neither here nor there.
So the next time someone tells you you can’t criticize the state of corporate America (or the global corporatocracy) because you have an iPhone, tell them they’re an asshat.
Criticism of the most powerful organizations on the planet is valid. Even if you drink Starbucks (which I don’t, but that’s another blogpost). Yes, you can try to avoid consuming from the worst offenders, but let’s face it, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid entirely. And that itself – the inability to have real, ethical choices in many areas – is part of the critique. Power over consumer products is so concentrated that there are no real choices. I mean, I haven’t figured out where I can buy locally produced laptops made with 100% sustainably mined, domestically produced materials yet, so until that happens, I’m stuck with a Mac.
That doesn’t make me a hypocrite. It makes me a person who has to buy certain things in order to function in this labor market (and just barely, since I am unemployed at the moment). I mean, what would the guy who marked up that photo have me do to not be a hypocrite in his opinion? Nothing, it’s impossible by his logic, and just another way to try to marginalize the legitimate complaints of Occypy Wall Streeters. Asshat! :p