Cast Your Vote: Which Corporation Most Deserves A Boycott?

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Above Photo: Flickr / CC 2.0

It was another busy week in the election cycle, but presidential campaigns were overshadowed largely by a renewed focus on racial inequality and police violence, asprotests—some peaceful, some not—spread across the country.

Hillary Clinton took time to sit down with comedian Zach Galifianakis, while Donald Trump responded (poorly) to the issue of police violence. But the real focus of this week’s news was the overwhelming divide between the elite who run the United States and the millions of Americans struggling to stay afloat.

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges kicked off the week with a column entitled “The Courtiers and the Tyrants.” In this piece, he wrote:

Yes, self-identified liberals such as the Clintons and Barack Obama speak in the language of liberalism while selling out the poor, the working class and the middle class to global corporate interests. But they are not, at least according to the classical definition, liberals. They are neoliberals. They serve the dictates of neoliberalism—austerity, deindustrialization, anti-unionism, endless war and globalization—to empower and enrich themselves and the party. …

The problem is not the liberal elites. The problem is the elites. They serve the same ideology. They work in the same financial institutions, hedge funds and foundations, including the Council on Foreign Relations, where government officials often are parked when they are out of power. They belong to the same clubs. They are stunted technocrats who function as systems managers for corporate capitalism. And no class of courtiers, going back to those that populated the Ottoman palaces, Versailles or the Forbidden City, has ever transformed itself into a responsible elite.

Several weeks ago we asked you, our readers, which topic most deserves attention in the presidential debates. Many of the answers we received stemmed from the same source: the negative impact of America’s capitalist system. Climate changeracial inequality,income inequality, disastrous U.S. foreign policy—according to many of our commenters, the greed of top American elites and corporations are to blame for the woes most Americans face today.

Some politicians occasionally stand up to corporate influences, as seen in Elizabeth Warren’sverbal attack on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on Sept. 20. But, as Hedges argues, most are beholden to capitalist interests. “Our political elites, Republican and Democrat, were shaped, funded and largely selected by corporate power,” he writes. “Nothing will change until corporate power itself is dismantled.”

Along similar lines, activist Shaun King wrote a piece in reaction to the recent police killings of black men in which he argued for an economic boycott. But which corporate entity should be the first to face blame?

We mentioned some of the corporations worth avoiding in our midweek “Live at Truthdig” discussion. Sarah Wesley, Truthdig communications coordinator, had this to say in our live session:

Are you willing to make the shifts and changes? For me personally, I’ve stopped shopping at Starbucks, and Target, and that was a shift because Target is cheap! I wish they wouldn’t use prison labor so I could shop there again. Same with Starbucks—Starbucks has really good coffee, but I don’t believe in their practices. So that was a shift I made in my life. But are people willing to make these shifts on a broader scale?

We want to hear from you. Which corporation most deserves a boycott? Give us your answer in this week’s poll, and explain your reasoning in the comments section below. We’ve chosen several corporations based on our “Live at Truthdig” editorial discussion, but you also can select “Other” and type in your own answer—we want to know what we’ve missed!  One vote per person, please. (Make your selection and then click on “Vote.” To see results of the polling, click on “Results.”)

Vote Here

  • Dave Constable

    Pentagon!

  • AlanMacDonald

    What “Most Deserves a Boycott” (or a full BDS Movement)?

    The EMPIRE!

    If just 10,000 Americans fired a loud, public, but non-violent “Shout (not shot) heard round the world” and ‘called-out’ our former country as “acting like a global Empire” and actually being the nominal HQ of this damn Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE — the EMPIRE would collapse within one year by just being ‘exposed’ as what it is, an EMPIRE hiding behind a phony Vichy sham of democracy.

    What’s ‘essential’ is not this “Occupied” country, but the ‘essential’ truth that the country PKA (previously known as) America is the metropole of a deadly and world killing EMPIRE.

    Oh, PS, the most evil corporations within this ‘exposed’ Empire will also all fall in short order after their Empire superstructure is exposed and collapses.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Yes, Dave, certainly.

    And by non-violently igniting the essential Second American “Political Revolution against Empire” again 240 years later, the American people are the only ones who have the responsibility and power to arrest “The Pentagon’s New Map” of Global Empire, and to turn the country PKA (previously known as) America back toward our intended and once proud path/dream of “perfecting democracy”.

  • DHFabian

    Corporations are amoral entities that exist for the purpose of maximizing profits. Period. The middle class masses supported Reagan’s deregulation mania, insisting that if we “liberate corporations from the grievous burdens of regulations,” they would create a mass of “good, family-supporting jobs.” In other words, remove the rules and laws that served as restraints on corporate greed, and just trust them to act in the best interests of the country. We’re now struggling to deal with the consequences.

    That said, do the Clintons really try to sell themselves as liberals? I know that some of the liberal media began trying to sell Hillary Clinton as a “bold progress” last year, and readers pointed out that this was a bold lie, based on her own record. Overall, however, we have to note that today’s liberals have embraced an ideology more like Clinton’s neoliberalism than progressive politics. We have seen this in their years of promoting middle class elitism. The implicit message has been that our corporate state is so successful, everyone is able to work and there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. They are wrong, but that’s the way it is.

  • DHFabian

    The middle class masses aren’t going to push back against the corporate state upon which they are dependent. There’s nothing to fall back on. I assume quite a few of them are aware of how our poor are treated today, and they aren’t going to take that risk.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    As long as you keep them brainwashed, eh?

  • Dave Constable

    In the good old days of feudalism, the crown granted exclusive property use to Lords, who then ‘sub-granted’ exclusive property use to sub – lords. But the sub lords owed service and dues to the lords, and the lords owed service and dues to the crown for the rights to that exclusive property use.

    Today, our governments (national, regional, municipal licenses,…)grant exclusive property use to corporations: land, resources use, patents,…and so on. It is up to use to make sure our elected representatives include in corporation charters not only what we will supply them (water and sewage, for example), what they owe to us: environmental care, decency to employees and community.

    It’s tough for our reps to do this when they keep doing negotiations in secret and including secret clauses to protect the corporation’s ‘privacy.’
    Tougher still when those same corporations buy and own our reps.