Boycotting Starbucks, McDonalds... I feel like boycotting fucking everything. I don't want sales tax collected. I don't want to be a consumer in this economy. I don't want to give money to the government to pay for weapons and bombs but not shelter and medicine and food.
Holiday shopping season is coming up. What has this country done to deserve any of the profit it gains from our labor and our purchases? Perhaps we should just stop. I'll draw pictures with paper and pens I already have. I'll make games with computers I already have. There is no material thing I want. Do not get me anything for the holidays. I want freedom and liberation for Palestinians and every other victim of colonialism and imperialism. I want to not be part of this system. I don't want to live relatively comfortably while all my human siblings are made to suffer in silence under the boot of capitalism.
So what do I do, beyond what I already try to do?
Goals to minimize participation in the system
The biggest thing is that we U.S. citizens are "consumers", and also that we are "human resources", here to both generate value for corporations AND spend the meager "survival points" (aka money) we are allowed back on useless garbage. That's why there's so much advertising - it's profitable to sell us garbage. Our lives are more than just to be captive workers and consumers. I can't totally remove all the money I have to pay - housing, groceries, gas - but I can try to opt out however I can.
Here's my rough list of goals right now:
- Minimize purchasing non-essentials...
- Purchase services and items necessary for survival and cut out as much extraneous spending as possible.
- Do not give money to chains and big businesses - Only purchase books, games, etc. works created by independent artists, preferably directly to them and not through an app that scrapes a cut of the profit off the top. Don't purchase works through services like Amazon.
- Only go to restaurants and cafes when socializing with a friend. Only go to local restaurants and cafes, and prioritize businesses owned by Black and Brown people.
- Continue canceling all subscription media services. (We still pay for Netflix, but all my music is MP3s I've ripped off old CDs or purchased online or otherwise procured.)
- Focus on quality time with loved ones, and self-made gifts.
- Only create gifts using materials I already have - I have plenty of craft supplies, and I can program games and whatnot.
- Otherwise give cash as gifts, not gift cards or purchased goods.
- Let friends and family know to not purchase anything for me for the holidays.
- For rest/relaxation/fun, focus on the things I already have.
- For fun: Focus on creating things, or utilizing shared resources (or things like the library), or even just not doing anything / not being productive.
- Being "unproductive" means not generating content for companies and not consuming. Laziness is good.
- Minimize how I'm used to make profit for companies.
- Utilize adblock and script blockers to minimize the amount of my data is tracked and sold for others' profit.
- Don't create content for corporations to profit off of. (e.g., don't make TikToks or whatever). - Perhaps the only exception is that I can post YouTube videos and turn off monetization so my videos don't play ads? (I have the ability to monetize my videos, but I can select "off" on my videos, so I think that ads do not play. Any time I open my videos on my TV or anonymous browsers or whatever, I don't see ads.)
What about my participation as an employee?
I am pretty split about this. As a Computer Science teacher at a community college, I know we're making
profit for a college, but I also feel like my purpose here is to train students to get a higher paying job
and help them get ahead in life. I also provide the resources I create for free. I work with my students
a lot to help them understand and build the knowledge that they need. This is important to me.
Still, I dislike that college here costs money. But this is probably the most ethical job I could have? The other options are basically writing bullshit software for corporations. I find the idea of boycotting work difficult, because my hope is that I make a tangible difference in peoples' lives, and my understanding of the struggle of getting through school while having to work and take care of responsibilities (being a non-traditional student in general) is an important aspect that not all other teachers bring to the table...
What will be the most difficult for me?
I have such a hard time with food. I have to constantly manage and monitor my brain on what foods
work for me on a given week and which don't. If I mis-plan, food goes to waste.
I tend to want to eat fast food a lot, and I like my little coffee treats, so the exchange here is to
either have meal replacement shakes, or bring leftovers to work, or microwavable instant meals.
For coffee, I can brew that at home and keep it in a glass covered coffee cup and bring it to work.
I also like to buy video games. But truthfully I own plenty of games I should be playing, or I should be playing more indie games off itchio.
I also tend to buy books a lot when I'm unable to finish them during the library hold period, because I read really slowly (like a chapter here and there). I need to focus on reading the books that I already have, perhaps borrowing books from others, or make a more concerted effort to keep up with the books I borrow from the library.
I also watch a lot of YouTube. I will make an effort to only watch YouTube from my computer where I can use an ad blocker or proxy website. For creators I wish to support, I will donate via their ko-fi or perhaps Patreon, though I'd really rather not give money to these 'middle-man' sort of businesses.
What do you think?
We all have to figure out how we can do our own part to try to make the change
we want to see in the world. I'm just so fed up from decades of wanting things
to get better but continually being disgusted in this system.
I'm just posting this for my own reminder, and maybe to give ideas if you
also feel like you want to similarly try to "boycott almost everything".
The best place to reach me is on Mastodon or IDK, the guestbook on my main page? (You can also find my other socials and email addresses and stuff on the main page.)