Whether protesting your university's pro-war investments or horrific conditions of workers in sweat shops sewing brand name clothes, a boycott is an effective way to send a message. It hits big business and local capitalist oppressors alike right where it hurts - the wallet. This guide will go over
What's a boycott?
Who can do it?
How to organize
What is it?
A boycott is economic democracy at work. It's a tool used by activists when corporations exploit workers, consumers, the environment, animals or contribute to oppression. It's the decision to not have anything to do with a company that continues to act in a way that goes against what activists fight for. By not buying anything from a certain company because of its policies, consumers are choosing which actions to support and condone and which to defund.
Who can do it?
Anyone can call a boycott. Historically boycotts have been used by oppressed groups to call attention to the actions of corporations. Anyone can participate. Consumers vote for products and services every time they purchase them. Anyone who has purchasing power can stop giving their money to corporations.
How to organize
Boycotts work best when a lot of consumers are participating in them. Companies are more willing to listen and change a practice if a lot people are speaking out and not buying their products. Because of this, effective boycotts target a broad audience. They are easily understood and digestible for the average consumer. Depending on the reason behind the boycott some methods might work better than others.
If a company's product or packaging is objectionable try boycotting their most popular product. So many brands are intertwined and owned by larger corporations, it can be confusing to boycott all of them. Start by rallying against a few of the company's products. Make sure they have easily accessible alternatives. Consumers are much more willing to come onside with the cause if they don't have to abandon a product entirely, just the unjust corporation behind that brand.
If the boycott is attacking company policies, choose several products. Make sure the company is easy to identify, brand conscious and recognizable. Often companies are guilty for policies that are in plain sight - point this out. These practices are commonly easy to prove, as corporations are so highly regulated and their actions are so documented.
If a state government or institution (such as university) is involved in unjust practices boycott industries that are closely linked to their success. Though this kind of boycott is indirect, it's a way to attack the resources of institution.
Before starting a boycott have clear and realistic objectives. Figure out how to raise awareness in the community about the boycott and encourage others to participate. In this kind of action, media attention is an important venue for getting the word out. Avoid putting a timeline on your boycott. Rather, think about the end results.
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