Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How To Organize Boycotts, Protests, And Demonstrations, Part Four

The Salt March in India on March 12, 1930

Before concluding the series with information on Boycotts, we'll end the Protest and Demonstration part of our series on political activism with a concluding remark in the form of the Wikipedia entry, "Nonviolent Resistance," and by providing the following links to help complete your education:

"Nonviolent resistance (or nonviolent action) is the practice of achieving goals through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, and other methods, without using violence. It is largely but wrongly taken as synonymous with civil resistance. Each of these terms ("nonviolent resistance" and "civil resistance") has its distinct merits and also quite different connotations and commitments, which are briefly explored in the entry on civil resistance. For instance you can operate non-violence on quite all peaceful fronts of refusals, but on some occasions without denying concurrently the government in activity.

The modern form of non-violent resistance was popularised and proven to be effective by the Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi in his efforts to gain independence from the British.

From 1966 to 1999 nonviolent civic resistance has played a critical role in 50 of 67 transitions from authoritarianism.[1] Recently, nonviolent resistance has led to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Current nonviolent resistance includes the Jeans Revolution in Belarus, the"Jasmine" Revolution in Tunisia, and the fight of the Cuban dissidents. Many movements which promote philosophies of nonviolence or pacifism have pragmatically adopted the methods of nonviolent action as an effective way to achieve social or political goals. They employ nonviolent resistance tactics such as: information warfare, picketing, vigils, leafletting, samizdat, magnitizdat, satyagraha, protest art, protest music and poetry, community education and consciousness raising, lobbying, tax resistance, civil disobedience, boycotts or sanctions, legal/diplomatic wrestling, sabotage, underground railroads, principled refusal of awards/honours, and general strikes. Nonviolent action differs from pacifism by potentially being proactive and interventionist.

Major nonviolent resistance advocates include Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, Jr, James Bevel, Václav Havel, Andrei Sakharov, and Lech Wałęsa. There are hundreds of books and papers on the subject — see Further reading below.

A demonstrator offers a flower to military police at an anti-Vietnam War protest in Arlington, Virginia, 21 October 1967

Nonviolent Resistance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-violent_resistance)

How to Prepare Signs for a Political Demonstration (http://www.ehow.com/how_2073983_prepare-signs-political-demonstration.html)


How to Make Protest Signs - With Pictures (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Protest-Signs)




Pamphlet Guide to Revolution in Egypt: How to Protest Intelligently (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/01/29/18670645.php)


17 Brilliantly British Ways To Protest - Humor (http://www.buzzfeed.com/samjparker/funny-protest-signs-britain)

Vanity Fair caricature of Charles C. Boycott

Now on to Boycotts, a tool more likely to fail than most - first with Wikipedia's entry:

"A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons. Sometimes, it can be a form of consumer activism.

"Etymology

The word boycott entered the English language during the Irish "Land War" and is derived from the name of Captain Charles Boycott, the land agent of an absentee landlord, Lord Erne, who lived in Lough Mask House, near Ballinrobe in County Mayo, Ireland, who was subject to social ostracism organized by the Irish Land League in 1880. As harvests had been poor that year, Lord Erne offered his tenants a ten percent reduction in their rents. In September of that year, protesting tenants demanded a twenty five percent reduction, which Lord Erne refused. Boycott then attempted to evict eleven tenants from the land. Charles Stewart Parnell, in a speech in Ennis prior to the events in Lough Mask, proposed that when dealing with tenants who take farms where another tenant was evicted, rather than resorting to violence, everyone in the locality should shun them. While Parnell's speech did not refer to land agents or landlords, the tactic was first applied to Boycott when the alarm was raised about the evictions. Despite the short-term economic hardship to those undertaking this action, Boycott soon found himself isolated — his workers stopped work in the fields and stables, as well as in his house. Local businessmen stopped trading with him, and the local postman refused to deliver mail.[1]

The concerted action taken against him meant that Boycott was unable to hire anyone to harvest the crops in his charge. Eventually 50 Orangemen fromCavan and Monaghan volunteered to do the work. They were escorted to and from Claremorris by one thousand policemen and soldiers, despite the fact that the local Land League leaders had said that there would be no violence from them, and in fact no violence materialized.[2] This protection ended up costing far more than the harvest was worth. After the harvest, the "boycott" was successfully continued. Within weeks Boycott's name was everywhere. It was used by The Times in November 1880 as a term for organized isolation. According to an account in the book “The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland” byMichael Davitt, the term was promoted by Fr. John O'Malley of County Mayo to "signify ostracism applied to a landlord or agent like Boycott". The Timesfirst reported on November 20, 1880: “The people of New Pallas have resolved to 'boycott' them and refused to supply them with food or drink.” The Daily News wrote on December 13, 1880: “Already the stoutest-hearted are yielding on every side to the dread of being 'Boycotted'.” By January of the following year, the word was being used figuratively: "Dame Nature arose.... She 'Boycotted' London from Kew to Mile End" (The Spectator, January 22, 1881).

Girlcott is a neologism that combines "girl" and "boycott" to focus on strictly female boycotts. The term was coined in 1968 by American track star Lacey O'Neal during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, in the context of protests by male African American athletes. Speaking for blackwomen athletes, she advised that the group would not "girlcott" the Olympic Games, because female athletes were still focused on being recognized. It also appeared in Time magazine in 1970, and was later used by retired tennis player Billie Jean King in reference to Wimbledon, to emphasize her argument regarding equal play for women players.

The 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympic boycotts

The term girlcott was revived in 2005 by a group of young women in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania protesting what they deemed sexist and degrading T-shirt slogans on Abercrombie & Fitchmerchandise.[3]

"Application And Uses

Protesters advocating boycott of BP due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

A boycott is normally considered a one-time affair designed to correct an outstanding single wrong. When extended for a long period of time, or as part of an overall program of awareness-raising or reforms to laws or regimes, a boycott is part of moral purchasing, and those economic or political terms are to be preferred.

Most organized consumer boycotts today are focused on long-term change of buying habits, and so fit into part of a larger political program, with many techniques that require a longer structural commitment, e.g. reform to commodity markets, or government commitment to moral purchasing, e.g. the longstanding boycott of South African businesses to protest apartheid already alluded to. These stretch the meaning of a "boycott."

Boycotts are now much easier to successfully initiate due to the Internet. Examples include the gay and lesbian boycott of advertisers of the "Dr. Laura"talk show, gun owners' similar boycott of advertisers of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show and (later) magazine, and gun owners' boycott of Smith & Wessonfollowing that company's March 2000 settlement with the Clinton administration. They may be initiated very easily using either Web sites (the Dr. Laura boycott), newsgroups (the Rosie O'Donnell boycotts), or even mailing lists. Internet-initiated boycotts "snowball" very quickly compared to other forms of organization.

Viral Labeling is a new boycott method using the new digital technology proposed by the Multitude Project and applied for the first time against Walt Disney around Christmas time in 2009.[4]

Another form of consumer boycotting is substitution for an equivalent product; for example, Mecca Cola and Qibla Cola have been marketed as substitutes for Coca-Cola among Muslimpopulations.

Academic boycotts have been organized against countries. For example, the mid and late 20th century academic boycotts of South Africa in protest of apartheid practices and the more recentacademic boycotts of Israel.

Some boycotts center on particular businesses, such as recent protests regarding Costco, Walmart, Ford Motor Company, or the diverse products ofPhilip Morris. Another form of boycott identifies a number of different companies involved in a particular issue, such as the Sudan Divestment campaign, the Boycott Bush campaign. The Boycott Bush website was set up by Ethical Consumer after U.S. President George W. Bush failed to ratify theKyoto Protocol – the website identifies Bush's corporate funders and the brands and products they produce. Today a prime target of boycotts isconsumerism itself, e.g. "International Buy Nothing Day" celebrated globally on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

African-Americans in Dallas boycotting a Korean owned Kwik Stop in a mostly black community.

Another version of the boycott is targeted divestment, or disinvestment. Targeted divestment involves campaigning for withdrawal of investment, for example the Sudan Divestment campaign involves putting pressure on companies, often through shareholder activism, to withdraw investment that helps the Sudanese government perpetuate genocide in Darfur. Only if a company refuses to change its behavior in response to shareholder engagement does the targeted divestment model call for divestment from that company. Such targeted divestment implicitly excludes companies involved in agriculture, the production and distribution of consumer goods, or the provision of goods and services intended to relieve human suffering or to promote health, religious and spiritual activities, or education.

As a response to consumer boycotts of large-scale and multinational businesses, some companies have begun marketing brands which, though formally owned by the parent corporation, do not bear the company's name on the packaging or in advertising. Activists such as Ethical Consumerproduce information on which companies own which brands and products to enable consumers to practice boycotts or moral purchasing more effectively.

"Boycotts" may be formally organized by governments as well. In reality, government "boycotts" are just a type of embargo. It is notable that the first formal, nationwide act of the Nazi government against German Jews was a national embargo of Jewish businesses on April 1, 1933.[5]

Where the target of a boycott derives all or part of its revenues from other businesses, as a newspaper does, boycott organizers may address the target's commercial customers.

When students are dissatisfied with a political or academic issue, a common tactic for students' unions is to start a boycott of classes (called a student strike among faculty and students since it is meant to resemble strike action by organized labor) to put pressure on the governing body of the institution, such as a university, vocational college or a school, since such institutions cannot afford to have a cohort miss an entire year.


"Legality

Boycotts are generally legal in developed countries. Occasionally, some restrictions may apply; for instance, in the United States, it may be unlawful for a union to engage in "secondary boycotts" (to request that its members boycott companies that supply items to an organization already under a boycott, in the United States);[6][7] however, the union is of course free to use its right to speak freely to inform its members of the fact that suppliers of a company are breaking a boycott; its members then may take whatever action they deem appropriate, in consideration of that fact. Individual consumers are always free to make whatever purchasing decisions they want, for whatever reasons they wish; that is the essence of a free society and a free market.

Protesters calling for an anti-Israel boycott

"United States

Boycotts are legal under common law. The right to engage in commerce, social intercourse, and friendship includes the implied right not to engage in commerce, social intercourse, and friendship. Since a boycott is voluntary and nonviolent, the law cannot stop it. Opponents of boycotts historically have the choice of suffering under it, yielding to its demands, or attempting to suppress it through extralegal means, such as force and coercion.

In the United States, the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to all "U.S. persons", defined to include individuals and companies located in the United States and their foreign affiliates. The antiboycott provisions are intended to prevent United States citizens and companies being used as instrumentalities of a foreign government's foreign policy. The EAR forbids participation in or material support of boycotts initiated by foreign governments, for example, the Arab League boycott of Israel. These persons are subject to the law when their activities relate to the sale, purchase, or transfer of goods or services (including the sale of information) within the United States or between the United States and a foreign country. This covers exports and imports, financing, forwarding and shipping, and certain other transactions that may take place wholly offshore.[8]

However, the EAR only applies to foreign government initiated boycotts: a domestic boycott campaign arising within the United States that happens to also have the same object as the foreign-government-initiated boycott would appear to be lawful, assuming that it is an independent effort not connected with the foreign government's boycott. Other legal impediments to certain boycotts remain. One set are Refusal to deal laws, which prohibit concerted efforts to eliminate competition by refusal to buy from or to sell to a party.[9] Similarly, boycotts may also run afoul of Anti-discrimination laws, for example New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination prohibits any place that offers goods, services and facilities to the general public, such as a restaurant, from denying or withholding any accommodation to (i.e., not to engage in commerce with) an individual because of that individual's race (etc.).[10]

Next: How To Organize Boycotts.

An "ad slump" caused by a massive boycott effort.

The next article on How To Organize Boycotts is our last on political activism outside of the electoral arena for the time being; protests, demonstrations, and boycotts are actions that may be necessary to spread the word on criminalizing Conservatism when the institutional institutions prove unworkable - or unwilling.



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"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity,
there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork."

Edward Abbey. (American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of
environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political
views. Wrote The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire." 1927 – 1989.)

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