@Adoxographer seems to me this sets up a false dichotomy. If this workers in the sweatshops spend their wages on clothes from local businesses that paid better wages, there would be more of those jobs in their local area. Not treating that as a strategic opportunity, and just giving that money back to the same companies exploiting them, seems just as nuts to me as thinking consumer activism is the only kind. It's not this or that, it's both! It's everything that could help.

@strypey (They were wearing "knockoffs"), but food for thought, and I think the takeaway is that *individual consumer "activism"* can't really help, that change can only come from organization (which is why I'm a lot more interested in organization than activism (R.L. Stephens talks about this distinction)). Sorry this comment is not well written and is hasty because I'm in a bit of a rush and in between several tasks! 🧡


∆ *individual consumer "activism"* can't really help,

I get that this is the claim. What I'm arguing is that this claim is objectively false. Just ask anyone who has tried to run a cooperative or social enterprise that makes or sells organic or fair trade food products, or non-toxic cosmetic or cleaning products, or computers with only free code software etc.

Ethical businesses only work if people make an individual choice to buy their products over corporate one even though the ethical products are often cheaper - at least at first - due to things like economies of scale, and access to capital

@strypey None of those things effect meaningful change; no ethical consumption under capitalism.

@Adoxographer define "meaningful change"? Because for your claim here to be true, we must be using that phrase *very* differently

@Adoxographer ok, you've convinced me. That's some powerful reasoning right there ;-P

@strypey @Adoxographer I'm with @strypey on this. There is absolutely no reason why, if I have the means, I can't BOTH buy organic food AND organize for strong climate actiom legislation. This idea that a drop in the bucket doesn't mean anything is FALSE. It DOES mean something, it means exactly ONE drop. No more, no less!

@rbe_expert @Adoxographer exactly. FWIW the idea that it's not possible to do anything ethical until "capitalism" is overthrown is self-contradictory. By this logic, since overthrowing "capitalism" would be ethical, it's not possible to do it until it's already happened. Classic #Catch22

@rbe_expert @Adoxographer Also, one of the key tenets of 'leave it to the market' ideology is that people should always pursue narrow self-interest ie buy cheap stuff not ethical stuff. So supporting ethical business *is* anti-capitalism (if by "capitalism" you mean what Marx and Proudhon meant - a neo-fuedal system by which an idle elite use property to extract unearned rents from the productive majority)

@strypey @rbe_expert @Adoxographer

Individual decisions matter as political messages. It makes a HUGE difference to get wearing a corporate logo to be seen a *shameful* on a widespread basis. But the actual individual purchasing decisions are not the point.

It matters for our own dignity that we care about our actions. To be blatantly hypocritical can hurt our messages and our self-perception…

But still, real change is on social and not individual level.

Co-ops as a *model* matters…

@wolftune @strypey @Adoxographer @wolftune @strypey @Adoxographer Everyone is hypocritical to some extent. The only people pushing the "omg climate scientists are hypocritical, look at them taking planes to COP24!!1" nonsense are the ones that never really cared about the truth anyway. Why must climate scientists be superhuman just to get a fucking audience?

@rbe_expert @strypey @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

I wasn't arguing that nonsense, but the fact that such an argument exists is political reality. So, people's individual behavior does have political ramifications. It's not what actually matters, but it's non-zero — a climate activist consciously reducing their own carbon footprint is modeling behavior.

…of course, if they model it so strongly that it pushes the individual-responsibility message foremost, it's *counterproductive*.

@wolftune There are 100 people paddling a boat towards the top of a waterfall. One person realizes the danger, and raises the alarm. Do they stop paddling? Do they start back-paddling against the other 99? Or do they keep paddling towards the danger, while loudly yelling "we all need to stop paddling into danger"?
@rbe_expert @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

@wolftune this is the situation activists find ourselves in, whether the issue is #ClimateChange or #DataFarming. In the scenario the boat represents industrial civilization, or the internet, and the other 99 people represent everyone we care about. We can jump out of the boat, but everyone else going over the waterfall is still going to affect us.
@rbe_expert @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

@wolftune we can take a fatalist position that the boat is doomed, and do and say nothing. We can raise the alarm while paddling towards the abyss with everyone else, in which case our message rings hollow. We can raise the alarm without paddling, in which case we're just making noise. What are we asking everyone to do? If we back-paddle while raising the alarm, our message is more likely to be taken seriously, and we're modelling what needs to be done.
@rbe_expert @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

@wolftune it's true that if only one person back-paddles, the other 99 will still propel the boat over the edge. But it's equally true that exactly the same thing will happen for sure if the person raising the alarm isn't walking the talk (or in this case paddling it ;) A majority back-paddling is needed to effect change, but *someone* has to be brave enough to be the first one paddling against the mainstream, and cop all the flack that comes with that.
@rbe_expert @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

@wolftune it's equally essential that a small group are brave enough to listen to the 'voice in the wilderness', and join the back-paddling effort, so that solo back-paddler isn't just written off as a crank and ignored.
@rbe_expert @Adoxographer @Adoxographer

@rbe_expert @strypey @wolftune @Adoxographer The analogy doesn't work, because it's not 100 people paddling a boat. It's a huge machine pushing the boat, so feel free to pick up a paddle or throw it down, but there's nothing you as an individual on your own can do unless you stop the machine, and no amount of paddling will stop the boat--the machine itself must be stopped.
(And since analogies are all broken (otherwise they'd be equations), let's be clear that the machine is corporations/etc.)

@Adoxographer in this scenario, corporations represent the unconscious consensus to keep paddling towards the waterfall. If you like, you could include the PR industry, a person with a bullhorn at the front of boat chanting "paddle, paddle ...". Everyone (or a suitably strong majority) choosing to back-paddle would represent people taking whatever actions are necessary to move away from corporate dominance (although this is only part of solving each problem).
@rbe_expert @wolftune @Adoxographer

@strypey @Adoxographer @rbe_expert @wolftune No, that's not the case, though. Everyone choosing to not eat meat or only ride bikes or whatever isn't enough to dismantle the corporate environmental catastrophe apparatus. The machine has to be stopped. No amount of back-paddling will avert geohell.

@Adoxographer I know for a fact that every person who is "choosing to not eat meat or only ride bikes or whatever" is reducing their carbon footprint *right now*, in ways that are unavoidably part of the overall solution. They are trying to back-paddle as best they know how right now, and as a consequence, anything they say about climate change carries more weight, and anyone they convince to act has some ideas on how to start learning to back-paddle.
@Adoxographer @rbe_expert @wolftune

@Adoxographer When you have a single, silver-bullet solution that will solve the whole "corporate environmental catastrophe apparatus" problem, and that doesn't require anyone to do anything different in their day-to-day lives from what they currently do, sign me up!
@rbe_expert @wolftune

@strypey @rbe_expert @wolftune Are you for real? Who's promising a "single, silver-bullet solution that will solve the whole 'corporate environmental catastrophe' problem"? Not me, and certainly not Klein. You're no longer discussing this in good faith. Bye.

@Adoxographer @strypey @rbe_expert

I'm not gonna belabor this, but:

There's a huge range of communication issues including sarcasm, dismissiveness, exaggeration, straw-manning, and other peculiarities and misunderstandings that are *common* within people all communicating in good faith.

I urge you (and everyone) to recognize that poor rhetoric is not itself evidence of bad-faith.

In this case, the bad-faith accusation amounts to simply the *wrong* critique.

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@Adoxographer @strypey @Adoxographer @rbe_expert

You're just reacting in reverse. The answer is NOT to shame or focus on individuals, right? So don't focus on dismissing those who are trying to make responsible individual decisions.

The problem is when people focus that the individual actions as being the solution. But individuals still trying to push in the right direction ≠ arguing that such actions are the answer.

People can and should eat less meat AND not pretend that's all we need.

@Adoxographer @strypey @Adoxographer @rbe_expert

Right, my sympathies here align with yours. Still, my point was that you posting an image like that (which is sarcastic and is not a fair representation of the people you were disagreeing with here) does NOT prove you to be discussing in bad faith.

@wolftune am I missing part of the discussion here, or were your last few posts directed at me? Genuinely confused.
@Adoxographer @Adoxographer @rbe_expert

I've been thinking a lot lately about how companies are like weird castrated versions of communities. We spend the majority of waking hours with this group of people but unless you're lucky enough to have a healthy and well established union theres absolutely no expectation of working together on anything outside the narrow scope of the business. This passage is a super interesting compliment to that. Thank you.

@Adoxographer I wonder if it is easy to organize when you're already in a densely-populated factory dorm with little to lose, vs. when you're in a suburb, totally isolated from peers and neighbors who don't even work in your industry, and have a lot to lose. (Like me)

Buying different things feels like the only change I can make, so I've gone vegan. I actually get paid too much for my work already, by global standards.

@CharredStencil @Adoxographer I honestly feel like this is half to 3/4 of why people in developed countries find it so hard to organize.

Just trying to get all of my employed friends together for, say, a New Year's party, can take well over a month of planning and even then someone's shift will change at the last minute or something.

If we were living in factory worker dorms, we'd actually have some non-workplace social contact and be able to like, organize.

@CharredStencil @Adoxographer You just can't have the kinds of conversations that need to happen in a workplace. There's rarely anywhere that's truly private and that you can stay in for long.

And it's kind of hard to have them over IM, or on social media. Or the three to four times a year you might actually get a whole day to spend all together in one place, since a lot of those conversations take a lot more than the one or two hours most social gatherings get restricted to.

@dartigen @Adoxographer Organizing aside, I find it hard to even make friends. My coworkers don't have much in common with me, and befriending anyone else would cost tangible money.

@CharredStencil @Adoxographer Very true. Of the people I know who are employed, most of them don't spend any time with their coworkers outside of work, or at most have one other friend that they met through a job.

It's not just the lack of common interests, I think for a lot of people it's social exhaustion from seeing them so much already at work - plus, most workplaces aren't really conducive to forming lasting social bonds. (Especially the socially toxic ones.)

@Adoxographer it blows my mind every time I think of how about a few hundred people being villains is why we're all going to live in Waterworld

@Adoxographer So much this. It’s like when I criticise Mozilla for being entirely funded by surveillance capitalism and the first question I get is “So which browser should I use?”

It’s not about which browser you use.

It’s about understanding the systemic problem and identifying its constituents so we can work towards systemic solutions.


Oh god! FINALLY!

Finally someone put this eloquently.

I gave a talk on how individual action is marginal at best as a solution to structural stuff, especially in the case of climate change. I wrote an article about it that then got shared quite a bit.

People still came back with "oh but individual choices are good for showing your intentions no?"

Collective action is really powerful and we should use it, in fact we need to use it.

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