Um, well, no... that doesn't work at all. If we're under the assumption that government conspiracists (Bill Hicks, for example) are correct in thinking that all business in America, including the entertainment industry, is owned by a dozen or so big-time industrialists, who feed the masses shitty pop music, shittier television programming and shittiest Taco Bell, you as an individual won't do jack shit to undermine the Establishment by not giving them your $.99 for a taco, or giving your $15 to a local songwriter rather than a vendor of corporate whore music. Sure, you might be helping yourself to live a longer, arguably more fulfilling life by not falling in with the largest set of drones, but even if you got everyone in, oh, say, your state to boycott all fast food products and all popular musicians, you wouldn't make a dent in their foundations (unless, of course, you live in California... but that's beyond ridiculous).

(Proud member of the Nodeshell Refution Team)

It is precisely the afformentioned mindset which will prevent anything positive from happening at all.

I am too inconsequential to make a difference, therefore I will do nothing.

This is the same reason some people give for not voting at all, because they think that they are too small to make a dent against people voting the opposite way. So they do, nothing. And more nothing. And wonder why nothing they want to have happen ever happens. They complain, and become jaded, and still, nothing happens.

What needs to take place is for people to have their own initiative. There will be no instant gratification, the things that people feel oppressing them will not topple in an instant. Change can be painfully slow and gradual, and often incomplete. Many things end in compromise. That is not a reason to give up entirely, do what you think is right even if people mock you and claim that it makes no difference. That you are a hopeless idealist and wasting your time. Your effort and conviction will often inspire other people to join in, help you, and begin to build momentum. As individuals it will be hard and take a long time for things to change, but with a foundation and growth, there is a much greater chance to have an impact. Conditions were not improved by people sitting on their asses complaining and saying that they would never improve.
In a brief response to those below (though I am not happy how much this node has deviated from the topic, it may be wise to do a node title edit)

gaffney

I think that you read too deeply and make assuptions about what I am promoting. I have not deferred working outside of the system at all, and in fact am in favor of that. Because I encourage people to not give up on change from within the system as well, this does not mean I think it is the only and sufficient way to accomplish positive movement. I am not promoting the passive opt out strategy, on the contrary I think an active and concious change from every angle instead of a singular approach will be more affective. Such that people on the inside will be ready and more capable of understanding those pushing from the outside. Perhaps you feel that trying to change an existing system lends too much affirmation to that system, I do not feel that way, that mindset seems to encourage apathy more than anything. Therefore, I will not condemn supporting things which are positive, though not positive enough to be total, to simply feelgood and cowardly activism. That is counterproductive, damaging, and divisive. Rather, include them within a larger set of things which must be done.

pimephalis

Yes, local change is excellant. It often helps to bridge the gap that most people feel exists between movements for positive change and the general populace, making it relevant and pertinent to them. Something they can relate to and understand instead of nameless faceless people chanting and running around amidst smoke and police which is presented to them as a riot through the television screen, contrary to what is actually happening. It is certainly within the scope of what I am talking about - though I am slightly and intentionaly vague in my writeup. That is because there is too much to specifically mention, and instead I would simply like to promote change and effort as a whole instead of just relegating myself to one single aspect.

Pukesick, you've got a point, but I'm going to disagree with how you apply it.

Given that we are surrounded by a corrupt economic system that encourages people to participate in shallow materialistic consumer tool lifestyles, simply supporting local song singers and avoiding genetically modified foods will do exactly squat. This will do nothing to reverse the overwhelming trend in our society to give in to this kind of meaningless banality, which in turn acts to give the consumer economy more time to infect our culture. It is too late to simply opt out; we're going to need more dramatic measures. The situation has gotten to the point where standing still can be likened to standing still while someone kills your next door neighboor; making a decision to not join in killing your neighbor doesn't help matters in the least.

What this means in terms of action depends on what you think the world should be like. Personally, I'm closest to an anarcho-collectivist in mindset, so the rational thing for me to do is to join cooperatives dedicated to making it easier to satisfy subsistance needs outside of the capitalist system, and to persuade as many people as possible using whatever means I have that laws have no bearing on ethical decisions.

The most important thing is to actively counteract the further encroachment of whatever you don't like about society. Acting on your own part to just "opt-out" is futile, you need to get your message out and you need to make sure that people that share your ideas after you have something to build on.

Thus, I agree with village idiot that methods ala the node title are ineffective and at worst cowardly measures people use to convince themselves they aren't part of the problem.

"I am too inconsequential to make a difference, therefore I will do nothing."

I agree with pukesick that this attitude is lamentable and must be discouraged. However, I do think that it needs to be said that not all change is necessarily slow and painful.

The very reason that, as pukesick rightly points out, change can be very slow and involves serious compromise is due to the number of people and the area being affected. However, action in your neighbourhood will often produce quick, satisfying and significant change.

I would argue that those who believe that voting once every four years (or five, or six depending on your nationality) and writing a cheque around tax time to greenpeace (or whatever) not only makes them a part of the system but also means they are significantly directing their society are deluding themselves in the extreme. If you want to effect change, get involved locally! Shop at your local hardware store, giving the finger to Wal-Mart on the way. Buy a cheap demo tape from the kid down the block instead of the vapid crap being peddled by the pimps of Britney Spears (read: her parents). Volunteer to plant flowers in a public garden. Pick up the garbage on your street. Shovel the walk of your elderly neighbour when the snow falls. Join your PTA. Go to the farmer's market. Call your municipal politician to say when he or she is doing a good or a bad job.

Get Involved!


BTW, the GMO argument, in my opinion, is a crock and thus I did not address it.


Damn, damn, damn! gaffney's wu appeared while I was editing, and beat me to the punch on certain points.


Endless comments, caveats, corrections ... My original write-up grossly mis-represented pukesick's position, and I apologize for that.

I can see it all now:

  • Rebellious anarchist types, refusing to participate in the death corporation-dominated music scene, resolve to give money only to local singers and songwriters.
  • Singer/songwriter, eager to get her music to a wider audience, uses the money to record a demo tape.
  • Not being a corporate rock whore, she sends the tape only to enlightened indie labels with strong political convictions.
  • Singer/songwriter gets a recording contract with indie label. The rebellious anarchists rejoice.
  • As time passes, the singer/songwriter grows tired of preaching to the converted, that is, the same small crowd of rebellious anarchists who buy music from the indie label. She also longs for a day when she doesn't have to worry about whether she can pay the rent next month. Eventually she bids farewell to the indie label and goes to a major label.
  • Millions of people delight to the singer/songwriter's music. Her albums are displayed on the shelves at the Wherehouse. She gets a spot at Lilith Fair.
  • The rebellious anarchists abandon singer/songwriter en masse, bitterly complaining about how she sold out. Soon, flyers appear on phone poles advertising a coffee house gig by a local singer/songwriter nobody has ever heard of.
  • Repeat, ad infinitum.

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