Saturday, January 30, 2010

Epilonious' take on boycotts

is really great. I tend to agree with just about everything he has to say here, despite my boycott of the entire City of Atlanta until they make it not suck to drive there.


Ps. Criminal justice *headdesk* of the day.


Desmond Ravenstone said...

My own view on boycotts (based on my own experience as an activist, plus intensively studying social and political movements as part of my major in college):

1) Do your homework first -- What's the full story behind the issue? Have there been other efforts to reach out to the group to get them to change? If not, contact the group.

2) Have a goal -- Don't just boycott for the sake of expressing outrage. Let the company know what they need to do to end the boycott.

3) Organize, organize, organize -- Boycotts are a political act, so they need to be well-planned and well publicized. One person typing a screed on a blog filled with screeds is not "organizing"; that takes a coalition of groups and leaders doing all they can to get the word out, attract as many people as possible, and be ready to respond to questions and criticism.

Oh, and worse boycott idea I've ever heard? Boycott the state of Utah because the Mormon church gave tons of money to Proposition 8. This despite the fact that much of the population of Utah (and over half of Salt Lake City) is not Mormon, not to mention SLC being rather liberal on GLBT issues.

Comrade Kevin said...

Don't hold your breath, CC! When I lived in Atlanta, I recognized that the immediate downtown area was never designed to have six lanes of traffic in every direction, which bottlenecks tremendously once you get to the 75/85 connector.

They built out and out and out for the love of greed and sprawl, and save a natural disaster, that's not going away.

kimc said...

Was Epilonious' post in response to a particular gay boycott, or does he assume all boycotts are gay?

Chalicechick said...

He's a smart guy and I'm sure he has heard of other sorts of boycotts, but my guess is that given his circle of friends, the gay boycott is the type he's most used to hearing about.

who mostly hears about "How dare the president of that major corporation have political beliefs that differ from mine! Clearly he and all his workers should be punished for than transgression!" boycotts, but doesn't participate.

Also, she was mostly kidding about Atlanta. Mostly.

epilonious said...

kimc: I highly suggest you don't ever campaign for a boycott. If your commenting behavior is any indication, you won't be able to get past step 1 of Desmond Ravenstone's handy guide.

Unless that was a joke, at which point, "feh".

Comrade Kevin: Still, it's nice to live in one of the cities with the most green space and highest tree density because Georgians didn't feel the need to pack in like sardines (or, more likely as not, weren't forced-to because land /houses in the exurbs are cheap and don't suffer the same rotating housing bubble effects as other metropolitan areas).

Who's offer to chauffeur CC-n-friends around Atlanta still stands.

kimc said...

Eppy -- I guess it was sort of a joke. I just found your post kind of offensive. but, seriously, you didn't set a context for your comments, and to a newcomer to your writing it wasn't clear what your context was.

PG said...

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has tremendous green space and lots of trees. It's a horrible place to drive, and I've stopped myself from even applying for what would otherwise be a dream job because it would entail living in Dallas. If I really want to see trees, I go back home to East Texas and smell pine without exhaust fouling up the air. If I want to be a city-dweller, I stay in NYC and take the short walk to a park for a quick tree-fix. Houston has some of the same issues as any Sunbelt city, but at least it's a little more dense despite its infamous lack of zoning.

As for boycotts, especially of massive multinationals, I agree they're generally silly and useless in and of themselves if the intent is to Send A Message and change behavior.

On the other hand, it's also kind of silly to compare every social justice movement to the civil rights movement. For one thing, people who were in the civil rights movement often find it obnoxious; for another, every movement is different and springs from different concerns. Black people had to sit at the back of the bus, but they could serve in the military and get married (in many states, even to people of other races!). Married women couldn't have their own bank accounts, but they could adopt with their partner's consent. You can't evaluate whether a boycott makes sense based on "Well, are we oppressed the same way this other group that effectively used boycotts was oppressed?"