Consumerist Activism ? Harmonizing means and ends
By Anonymous Indymedia User on 09 May 2012
During the past few weeks, I've been resisting the urge to upgrade to a better camera and a better laptop. It's part of my attempt to reject the idea that I necessarily need to buy things to be more effectively involved in the community.
People at demonstrations take photos, send texts, tweet, shoot video and otherwise use high tech tools. Maybe the following question is at least worth exploring. For those of us opposing excessive corporate power and working to further the ecology movement, how, if at all, should we use all these gadgets and the other amenities of our corporate-dominated consumer culture?
One the one hand, people can use digital technology to create horizontal and interactive communication networks as alternatives to consolidated media. On the other hand, a case can be made that these tools involve a high cost, in terms of the environment and human rights.
On top of that, despite all of our social media, activists today don't seem more effective than, for example, civil rights activists in the 1950s and 1960s, labor activists in the 1930s, women's rights activists during the early 20th Century, or abolitionists in the 1800s.
Making use of available tools seems to make sense, but I'd like my means to be consistent with my goals. People at various points in history and in many cultures have grappled with harmonizing means and ends. Maybe some of us can deal with it here.