Tuesday, September 19, 2006

another lifechanger. these can get tiring.

while sort of attending a workshop this weekend (that is, before i left that to attend Pukefest 2006. Too much information, I know), the girl two chairs over from me said something which was very poignant and which struck both Ernie and I significantly.

Although I did not have the mind to write it down directly, it was something along these lines:

"Every dollar that you spend is a vote for the future that you want."

Isn't that stellar? The power of it comes in its truthfulness. As consumers, we have so much power which I don't think that we even realize. In essence, me buying a specific product is me telling that company that specific product is valuable to me, that I accept the terms under which I purchased it, and that I accept the practices of the store which I purchased it at. And, more importantly, I am telling them that I want them to make more in the exact same way.

This means that, in essence, I voted for and supported the business and production of the following things this last week:
1) Staples Busines Depot, a shop with generally bad service and generally low wages, which I overlooked due to the low prices.
2) Sprite and the Coca-Cola company in general. Though this purchase was made at a time of illness-induced delirium, I still take responsibility for it. Coke does not have the best reputation Internationally in treating people well.
3) To be fair to myself and give me some fuzzy-wuzzies, I did purchase some organic bananas visited Harry's Foods, and chose to eat out at Prairie Ink Cafe, a restaurant with strong Winnipeg roots and a commitment to fresh non-processed food.
4) to again be fair to myself, I did purchase a sweater which I am pretty sure was made by a 5 year old child in Indonesia.

I am embarassed at most of these.

Do you think Staples or Coke is going to sue me? If they do, they should know that I don't have much money. Anyway, continuing on . . .

So yet AGAIN, because I apparantly don't always get these things right, I am re-affirming my commitment to building a better world. This time specifically by voting with my money.

I choose to vote for a world in which corporations accept and take seriously their social responsibility. I choose to vote for a world in which businesses are localized, run by the people which they serve, and offer living wages. I choose to vote for a world which places people before profit. I choose to vote for a world which includes having Johnny Depp sunbathe on my front lawn (just kidding). I choose to vote for a world which does not employ child labour. I choose to vote for a world in which all people are respected, and all people have access to clean water, healthy food, and health care. And I choose to vote for this with my wallet, although it is at times difficult and significantly more expensive.

What world do you choose to vote for?


Zac said...

I want to vote for a world like you, Bre (minue the Johnny Depp thing). My biggest hurdle is that sometimes I feel as if I am inadequate to find a way out of the "old world". I was reminded of this frustration when watching a documentary on a Slovenian Philosopher named, Slavoj Zizek. Here is an excerpt from his book; "Welcome to the desert of the Real".

"In an old joke from the German Democratic Republic, a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all mail will be read by censors, he tells his friends: "Let's establish a code: if a letter from me is written in blue ink, it is true; if it is written in red ink, it is false."

After a month, his friends get the first letter written in blue ink:

"Everything is wonderful here: stores are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, movie theatres show films from the west, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affair - the only thing unavailable is red ink..."

Zizek goes on: "Is this not how ideology functions? We "feel free", now as then, when we lack the language - "the red ink" - to articulate our unfreedom. It is the basic task of critical art and culture to provide the red ink."

I feel in one way or another that this blog and other resources (ie. critical art/culture) are providing me the language and a sense of the path to finding and realizing, in some sense, the new or better world. Thanks, Bre.


Ernie Martens said...

We have an extremely large influence in how the world operates. The average american wage earner makes 85 times more money than the average Chinese worker. The average american has 85 more votes for what our world will be in the future than the average chinese person. EACH of our purchases and decisions GREATLY dictate how our earth's people and resources are treated. What a huge responsibility we have. Who says we can't make a difference.