An Invitation to a Tea Party
We’ve all been invited to a Tea Party by Lucinda Marshall. Her “invitation” which is right after these few comments of mine, is one we are all able to “accept” so read on, but first this definition:
On December 16/17, 1773, a group of people got together dressed partially as Mohawk Indians, and then proceeded to board some British ships in Boston Harbor and dump all the tea on board into Boston Harbor. That act was in fact a loud protest and cry against the monopoly the British East India Co. had on the Colonies which was supported by “George the King.” (Just think, 230 years after breaking away from one King George, look who is in the seat of power today…another “George”) The worst of it is that we, 230 years later, are also faced with the same circumstance as where the colonialists in 1773, monopoly control over everything.
oligarchy (ŏl'-gärkē) [Gr.,=rule by the few] , rule by a few members of a community or group. When referring to governments, the classical definition of oligarchy, as given for example by Aristotle, is of government by a few, usually the rich, for their own advantage. It is compared with both aristocracy, which is defined as government by a few chosen for their virtue and ruling for the general good, and various forms of democracy, or rule by the people. In practice, however, almost all governments, whatever their form, are run by a small minority of members. From this perspective, the major distinction between oligarchy and democracy is that in the latter, the elites compete with each other, gaining power by winning public support. The extent and type of barriers impeding those who attempt to join this ruling group is also significant.
Actually, “Oligarchy” is a more accurate term as there are just a few mega corporations who own and produce hundreds of “brands” and products that control pretty much everything in the nation; including what passes for a congress, a White House--in short our government.
That puts us all in the position of being able to choose how we spend our dollars, but our choices are limited to those things the oligarchies decide they will allow us to choose from—and congress is right there in the Oligarchy’s hip pocket every step of the way. And while Oligarchies profit margins are on massive increases, the people who work for a living in this nation, their disposable income is actually on the decrease; as are wages due to inflation. In fact, the “profit margins” of most in congress is also on the rise—just look at Tom DeLay, Bill Frist just to mention those two thugs—one in the House the other in the Senate and both of them are the Majority leader’s in those bodies.
The Boston Tea Party was a loud, clear and visible protest against Monopoly control of the Colonies, which disallowed those in the Colonies to make, buy and sell their own products. Everything had to be purchased from the monopoly. As much as the tea tax was imposed without any representation, the issue of monopoly control was the bigger issue.
Today, we are facing essentially the very same thing, only now its Oligarchs and not a single Monopoly. Which brings me to Lucinda’s “Invitation to a Tea Party” as it is way, way past time to have another “Tea Party”. When looking at the few companies Lucinda mentions, keep in mind that the Carlyle Group has its sticky hands in each and every one of them, and many, many more. The “membership” of the Carlyle Group and of the PNAC (Project for the New American Century) is interchangeable—it’s one great big “Good-Old-Boys” network.
If you think I’m exaggerating on this, check out the Political Money Line data base and then try and tell me that we don’t need to change all 435 members of the House next year and the Senate as soon as possible. We must also find a way of taking away the “personhood” of corporations; otherwise I fear that nothing will change. We must proceed in this much in the same manner as did those that threw the tea in Boston Harbor—it is still the same issue! Corporate control of everything!
On to the Tea Party, at the end of which I have put a few links that I highly recommend checking out. -- Jack
An Invitation To A Tea Party
By Lucinda Marshall
Robert Greenwald's WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price is a potent and timely effort to awaken our inner conscious consumer. But the corporate ethics malfunction that we are experiencing goes far beyond Wal-Mart, and pervades every aspect of our lives. There is nothing new about any of this. Arundhati Roy has worked tirelessly to point out that our spending habits play a significant part in supporting corporate empires and folks like Ralph Nader have been begging us to pay attention to our complicity in corporateplundering for years.
As we stumble through the holiday season, mindlessly maxing out our credit cards, it is high time that we re-examine our own complicit spending and consuming habits. The reality is that we do have the power to commit change in the way we spend our money, not only during the holiday season, but also in the purchasing choices we make every day. There is no shortage of companies that are poster children for the bad corporate citizen award. But perhaps we can chose a few that many of us use every day, and make the choice to pick alternative products until these companies take substantive action to change their destructive policies.
With that in mind, here are some worthy targets for a national Buycott:
Coca Cola: You shouldn't be drinking this stuff anyhow, it's unhealthy. But there are a lot of other reasons not to drink Coca Cola products, the most important being the company's leading role in the commodification of water. Other reasons include safety issues at their plants and how they treat their employees, particularly in Columbia where Latin America's main bottler, Panamco is accused of hiring para-militaries to kill and intimidate union leaders and workers (www.killercoke.org). In India, the company's practices are linked to water shortages and pollution.
See www.caja.org and www.indiaresource.org for more information.
General Electric: These folks, while claiming to bring good things to life, are a major military contractor and builder of nuclear power plants. That is bad but what is worse is that they also own NBC News. If you think their involvement in the energy and defense industries doesn't impact how these issues are reported on the news, I have some real nice land along the Gulf coast for you. Buy somebody else's light bulbs, preferably energy efficient ones.
ExxonMobil: Filled your tank lately? Well fill it somewhere else, CITGO is the best choice. CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state owned oil company. Venezuela is run by a democratically elected government which uses the oil revenues to help the country's poor. They don't do that in Saudi Arabia. When energy companies refuse to invest in renewable resources, make obscene profits and give their CEO's bonuses with that many zeros, they don't need your business.
You can find a CITGO station near you at http://www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp.
You can also sign a petition to hold Exxon accountable at http://www.moveonpac.org/exxon/.
DuPont: This company has known for decades that there is no safe level of exposure to Zonyl RP, their grease-resistant coating that is used for food packaging and that it could contaminate food at three times the federal safety standard. The company did not share this information with the FDA. As a result, the chemical is found in the bloodstream of virtually every American. The company has also failed to disclose known health effects of one of the ingredients in Teflon, which is used in a wide variety of products, from cookware to carpeting. No corporate entity should ever have the right to force consumers to be exposed to chemical toxins without their knowledge. While this is a somewhat more difficult company to boycott because their products are often part of other products, make every effort to avoid them.
Ford: Their fleet has the lowest fuel economy of any car manufacturer in America which leads to higher fuel usage and auto emissions. Tell your local Ford dealers that you demand fuel efficient cars.
Check out www.actforchange.org for more information. And don't forget subways, buses, bikes and feet.
And of course,
Wal-Mart: This company is destroying our nation one community at a time. It pays wages so low that their employees can't afford health care and need food stamps. Wal-Mart discriminates against women and drives local companies out of business. Most ironically of all, despite the company's constant mantra of low prices, it is actually the leader in overcharging at the register. In her new book, Democracy's Edge, Frances Moore Lappe offers the best reason to avoid Wal-Mart. According to Lappe, "a dollar spent in a locally owned business can generate three times more local economic activity than a dollar paid at a corporate chain."
Go to www.wakeupwalmart.com for more information about this largest of predatory companies and take your business elsewhere, to locally owned merchants if possible.
There are plenty of other companies that don't deserve our business (see http://peace-action.inbyron.com/lists.html and http://www.boycott-republicans.com/ for some more good ideas). The point here is that not patronizing these particular offenders is virtually painless, making participation in a Buycott an easy choice for a wide cross-section of people.
A few centuries ago, the good people of Boston told the British where they could take their tea and shove it. It's high time that we hold another Tea Party and not the kind with white gloves or dainty china. By not giving these companies our business, we can give them the business and make it clear that we have had enough of their toxic, non-sustainable, socially reprehensible behavior.
(Link for this article is: http://www.countercurrents.org/us-marshall051205.htm )
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, www.feministpeacenetwork.org. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Awakened Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive, Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine , Common Dreams and Information Clearinghouse
Editors Note--Additional Resources, Sources and Information:
Political Money Line
The Carlyle Group
Corporate Dirt Archives
Corporate Crime Reporter
Council on National Policy