Beyond Your Trolley
Because the streets won’t take to themselves.
We’re now fully aware of the horrors of late-stage capitalism, corporate psychopathy and general go-getter bastardry. As customers we’re doing what we can, avoiding sweatshops, buying Fairtrade, boycotting Nestlé and the genocidal arseholes keen on fascism and climate breakdown, and Butterflying til we can’t Butterfly no more. But while individual changes and consumer choices are needed, if we’re to right wrongs on this scale we need to go beyond our trollies. We need to join campaigns to effect global change and get to a point where individual changes and consumer choices aren’t needed any more. Where campaigning organisations can disband, their work done, their hands clapped in that way you do when you’re pleased with how something has gone. The way that’s surprisingly hard to describe.
As this section grows – by which I mean as I get around to finishing the bugger – this page will grow with it, adding more and more routes to change until we’ve fixed every last problem the money grubbers have thrown at us. Here’s where to do the what:
Defeat genocidal fossil capitalism
Everything is secondary to averting climate breakdown. Everything. Because every corporate outrage, every injustice happening to every oppressed person is happening on a planet rapidly becoming uninhabitable thanks to the efforts of genocidal capitalists. We need to get stuck in.
There are a few different categories of climate activism for us to join. In the “By any means necessary” camp we have the likes of Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain who scream with the panic and urgency we need, and see civil disobedience as the route to change. In the “I have a dream” camp we have yer Greenpeaces, yer Fridays For Future, and a bunch of divestment campaigners looking to defund fossil fuels. And in the Centrist Dad camp we have the immortal Al Gore, whose Climate Reality project sees solutions in mainstream politics and corporate innovation. Find what you’re comfortable with, which methods you think are the most likely to succeed, and choose your own adventure.
Demand trade justice
Buying Fairtrade is nice for the farmers and producers who might see a better standard of living, but it’s not going to change the system that keeps the world’s poorest people crushed underfoot. Trade justice campaigns are our best hope short of all-out global revolution, which has so far been met with a collective shrug.
Global Justice Now and the Trade Justice Movement are UK-based coalitions of trade unions, aid agencies and individual punters fighting for aid and debt justice and non-capitalised fair trade. You can get stuck in with them, and with the likes of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and War On Want which fight for trade justice as part of their general frowning on poverty.
Close every last sweatshop
The Clean Clothes Campaign is a global network of 235 organisations in over 45 countries, bringing together workers in the garment industries, consumer groups, fair trade organisations, churches and trade unions. It runs online and offline campaigns, fighting for living wages, safe workplaces, humane contracts and such and such. You can join its centralised campaigns, find your nearest partner organisation and get stuck in.
Labour Behind The Label is the UK’s chunk of the Clean Clothes Campaign. It names and shames the arsehole companies still using sweatshops, pressuring them to change. It lobbies governments and policy makers, and amplifies the voices of the garment workers fighting for basic-ass rights. At the time of writing they’re going after Misguided, Matalan, Next, Nike and Amazon, all of whom are utter shits. When the last sweatshop on earth is closed down it’ll be thanks to the likes of these lovely buggers. And us.
That’ll start us off while this section’s getting going. We’ll keep the planet alive, take down sweatshops and get trade justice to lift people out of crushing poverty. When the world starts working properly it’d better know who to thank.
Having graduated from the Bond Villain School of Bastards and Bastardry, Nestlé, the world’s biggest food and drinks company, apparently set out to also be the world’s biggest contributor to infant mortality, aggressively marketing its baby milk substitute in countries where the water used to make it was so filthy it killed babies…
Say what you like about climate change, it takes a lot of hard work. Wilfully destroying the planet, triggering climate breakdown and bringing on irreversible mass extinction takes effort and sticktoitiveness. It takes constant vigilance, lest we accidentally find ourselves reducing our kamikaze carbon emissions. Fortunately, humans are always working, always innovating. Always coming up with new ways to wipe ourselves out.
Something big might possibly have happened, maybe. As climate breakdown kicks off and the sixth mass extinction continues, the genocidal capitalists behind it all might finally be getting what for.
Dumb as we are, humans are still finding new ways to wipe out life on earth. The latest wheeze is deep sea mining, in which genocidal capitalists hunt for minerals and metals by tearing up the seabed, demolishing fragile undersea ecosystems we’ve barely begun to explore or understand. Add to this our love of chronic overfishing, plastic pollution and coral bleaching, and we’re properly giving the oceans what for. Which is a shame, given they’re currently keeping us alive.
It was at six dark forty on the 13th October 2020 that there was a great disturbance in the Twittersphere, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in pissy consternation and were, unfortunately, not suddenly silenced. Then it was that Apple announced they would start shipping phones without power adapters and earbuds.
It feels like we’re about due an update on the No More Page 3 campaign. It’s been six weeks since I added my influential signature to the petition to rid The Sun of its tits and yet the quickest of flicks through the paper indicates up to ten nipples a week are still featuring prominently. Indeed, this week marked the beginning of 2012’s Page 3 Idol in which members of the public are invited to display their breasts in the hope of winning a grisly five grand and a shot at a long-term career in tit display. If ever there was any doubt that The Sun encourages its readers to judge women on the quality and condition of their breasts, here we have an competition in which its readers are actually encouraged to judge women on the quality and condition of their breasts.
So there I was, all ready to announce Kiva as the Chazza of the Month for a second non-consecutive time when what should appear but a classic spot of Zero angst? You’ll recall how Kiva is a microfinance outfit offering loans to people in developing countries and how I’ve bigged them up a couple of times already. But after that last rant about payday lenders being arseholes the worries I’ve had about microfinance went from being vague floaty things at the back of my mind to being slightly less vague, marginally firmer things on a list of other things to consider thinking about at some point in time when I can be bothered.
It’s fair to say I’ve been banging on a bit about poverty recently, what with all those articles about the government assault on welfare and charities covering the gaps and such and such, and while this sentence started out with the intention of apologising for all my banging on it’s looking more like ending on a justification for it because banging on’s what you get for me being around poverty all day and everyone else voting Tory. Poverty, as I was saying, is shit.
Half the adult population of the planet has breasts, a fact the other half’s been struggling with for quite some time. Now, I don’t need to bang on about patriarchy and the objectification of women in much detail, partly because I’ve done it enough already and partly because it’s obvious and everywhere. It’s there in our horrific record on domestic violence, in the difference in salaries for women and men, in the difference in pocket money for girls and boys, in the attitude that says a man’s a player and a woman’s a slag, in pornography that casts women as sluts to be simultaneously lusted after and looked down on, in the pornification of pop culture that has singers writhing in bikinis to sell records, in the mutilation of women’s bodies pumped full of silicone and collagen and numbed with botox. Turns out I needed to bang on about it all.