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The Corporate Climate Coup

praktik

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
There's a lot of hypocrisy in the anti-corporate movement. People still derive great enjoyment from the over-grown fruits of consumerism while lashing out against its sponsors.
Some excerpts from The Rebel Sell:

Founded in 1989, Adbusters is the flagship publication of the culture-jamming movement. In their view, society has become so thoroughly permeated with propaganda and lies, largely as a consequence of advertising, that the culture as a whole has become an enormous system of ideology-all designed to reproduce faith in "the system." The goal of the culture jammers is quite literally to "jam" the culture, by subverting the messages used to reproduce this faith and blocking the channels through which it is propagated. This in turn is thought to have radical political consequences. In 1999, Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn argued that culture jamming "will become to our era what civil rights was to the '60s, what feminism was to the '70s, what environmental activism was to the '80s."

Five years later, he's using the Adbusters brand to flog his own trademark line of running shoes. What happened? Did Adbusters sell out?

Absolutely not. It is essential that we all see and understand this. Adbusters did not sell out, because there was nothing to sell out in the first place. Adbusters never had a revolutionary doctrine. What they had was simply a warmed-over version of the countercultural thinking that has dominated leftist politics since the '60s. And this type of countercultural politics, far from being a revolutionary doctrine, has been one of the primary forces driving consumer capitalism for the past forty years.

In other words, what we see on display in Adbusters magazine is, and always has been, the true spirit of capitalism. The episode with the running shoes just serves to prove the point.

Lasn describes the sneaker project as "a ground-breaking marketing scheme to uncool Nike. If it succeeds, it will set a precedent that will revolutionize capitalism." Yet how exactly is it supposed to revolutionize capitalism? Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Vans and a half-dozen other companies have been trying to "uncool" Nike for decades. That's called marketplace competition. It is, in fact, the whole point of capitalism.​

For more on the history of advertising check out Thomas Frank's The Culture of Cool, also One Market Under God is pretty engaging. Compared with The Rebel Sell, Frank's writing is a little more intellectually rigorous, though I recommend anyone in this thread read all three books.

One more excerpt from The Rebel Sell:

She starts out No Logo by decrying the recent conversion of factory buildings in her Toronto neighbourhood into “loft living” condominiums. She makes it absolutely clear to the reader that her place is the real deal, a genuine factory loft, steeped in working-class authenticity, yet throbbing with urban street culture and a “rock-video aesthetic.”

Now of course anyone who has a feel for how social class in this country works knows that, at the time Klein was writing, a genuine factory loft in the King-Spadina area was possibly the single most exclusive and desirable piece of real estate in Canada. Unlike merely expensive neighbourhoods in Toronto, like Rosedale and Forest Hill, where it is possible to buy your way in, genuine lofts could only be acquired by people with superior social connections. This is because they contravened zoning regulations and could not be bought on the open market. Only the most exclusive segment of the cultural elite could get access to them.

Unfortunately for Klein, zoning changes in Toronto (changes that were part of a very enlightened and successful strategy to slow urban sprawl) allowed yuppies to buy their way into her neighbourhood. This led to an erosion of her social status. Her complaints about commercialization are nothing but an expression of this loss of distinction. What she fails to observe is that this distinction is precisely what drives the real estate market, what creates the value in these dwellings. People buy these lofts because they want a piece of Klein’s social status. Naturally, she is not amused. They are, after all, her inferiors—an inferiority that they demonstrate through their willingness to accept mass-produced, commercialized facsimiles of the “genuine” article.

Klein claims these newcomers bring “a painful new self-consciousness” to the neighbourhood. But as the rest of her introduction demonstrates, she is also conscious—painfully so—of her surroundings. Her neighbourhood is one where “in the twenties and thirties Russian and Polish immigrants darted back and forth on these streets, ducking into delis to argue about Trotsky and the leadership of the international ladies’ garment workers’ union.” Emma Goldman, we are told, “the famed anarchist and labour organizer,” lived on her street! How exciting for Klein! What a tremendous source of distinction that must be.

Klein suggests that she may be forced to move out of her loft when the landlord decides to convert the building to condominiums. But wait a minute. If that happens, why doesn’t she just buy her loft? The problem, of course, is that a loft-living condominium doesn’t have quite the cachet of a “genuine” loft. It becomes, as Klein puts it, merely an apartment with “exceptionally high ceilings.” It is not her landlord, but her fear of losing social status that threatens to drive Klein from her neighbourhood.

Here we can see the forces driving competitive consumption in their purest and most unadulterated form.​
 

Genesius

TRIBE Member
Originally Posted by Genesius
I think the onus should be on share-holders, governments and major investors to keep those business in check
deafplayer:
but all the entities you mention share the same class interests!

I'll respond to your other points later...
Well, that's a different topic IMO. I agree with you in part. And I agree that it's a problem to be concerned about. But to be sure, it is the responsibility of business to ensure their interests are represented, as it is ours.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Ideally, we should be able to find a happy medium where "our" interests and "theirs" aren't in competition.

Capitalism/consumerism doesn't HAVE to juxtapose the two by definition. I find that to be a problem with critical Marxism, because IMO viewing economics purely through the lens of class interaction restricts our ability to conceive of realistic alternatives and practical reforms that would improve the commons' lot.

For the record, I tend to agree with most of the Marxist perspective, even if I find it focusing too much on criticism and description. Specifically, I've been getting into Gramscian analysis, which focuses on cultural hegemony and ideational power/influence (the idea that power structures solidify because elites buy into and promote the notion that the current structure is good for those being exploited).
 

Genesius

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
Ideally, we should be able to find a happy medium where "our" interests and "theirs" aren't in competition.
I think, for the most part the two interests are not in competion and things work rather well. A company or business surely would not be able to last very long if their interests were in competition with the majority of the populace.

The challenge is it often takes a while for the majority to figure out there are problems to address and then it takes the business' even longer to adapt to what the majority has come to recoginize / believe. Yes, some business tend to resist societal changes -- pollution control is a huge example --, but they do so to their detriment. And many corporations have begun to recognize this fact... possibly partly due to the urgings of movies like "The Corporation", possibly due to the many protests and lawsuits against them. Those are all good things though and for sure, we need people like Noble to keep us aware.

SellyCat said:
Capitalism/consumerism doesn't HAVE to juxtapose the two by definition. I find that to be a problem with critical Marxism, because IMO viewing economics purely through the lens of class interaction restricts our ability to conceive of realistic alternatives and practical reforms that would improve the commons' lot.
Aw man. I know so little about this. But I agree with what you say here.

SellyCat said:
For the record, I tend to agree with most of the Marxist perspective, even if I find it focusing too much on criticism and description. Specifically, I've been getting into Gramscian analysis, which focuses on cultural hegemony and ideational power/influence (the idea that power structures solidify because elites buy into and promote the notion that the current structure is good for those being exploited).
"ideational"? There seems to be some merit to this, though I don't really understand why the term "exploited" is used. Any power structure will be solidified when elites buy into it and promote it to anyone who is 'not the elite'. Consider the declaration of independance or most law abiding countries. The 'elites' are the ones who bought into and formally structured these ideals and promoted them. I'm not sure how much it was for exploitation. But I guess you're talking about economics specifically, so certainly there is exploitation there, but it seems that this notion of "ideational" is nothing exceptional. But again, I know so little about Marxism (which is probably obvious at this point), so I'll shut up now.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
haha, well you mention the declaration of independence. In certain circles, that document has come to be viewed as one of the greatest peices of propaganda in history. :)
 

Genesius

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
haha, well you mention the declaration of independence. In certain circles, that document has come to be viewed as one of the greatest peices of propaganda in history. :)
Those are probably the same circles that wouldn't have come up with it in a million years, nor would have taken any effort to implement it, were it not "propaganda".
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
That's quite presumptuous! Those cirlces see it as a justification for a centralised republic dressed in the universally appealing values of freedom and human rights. It's not that far of a stretch, considering that's exactly what I accused the French Revolutionaries of doing. It's in the fine print. (We needn't bring that up again, though) :)
 

oddmyth

TRIBE Member
From what I've read it seems most of you forego (or have readily accepted and this point is assumed) that climate change due to greenhouse gas emission is not as great a problem as it is made out to be.

Besides the underlying corporate caste theme of Noble's document, he does speak of something deeper. A truth beyond the corporations consuming leftist environmental idealism and turning profit. The truth that there is no climate change due to greenhouse gases.

http://www.greatglobalwarmingswindle.co.uk/

There used to be a link on google video for the full dvd play, but this is truly worth watching.
 

Genesius

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
That's quite presumptuous! Those cirlces see it as a justification for a centralised republic dressed in the universally appealing values of freedom and human rights. It's not that far of a stretch, considering that's exactly what I accused the French Revolutionaries of doing. It's in the fine print. (We needn't bring that up again, though) :)
lol... no we need not.
 

Genesius

TRIBE Member
oddmyth said:
From what I've read it seems most of you forego (or have readily accepted and this point is assumed) that climate change due to greenhouse gas emission is not as great a problem as it is made out to be.

Besides the underlying corporate caste theme of Noble's document, he does speak of something deeper. A truth beyond the corporations consuming leftist environmental idealism and turning profit. The truth that there is no climate change due to greenhouse gases.

http://www.greatglobalwarmingswindle.co.uk/

There used to be a link on google video for the full dvd play, but this is truly worth watching.
While I haven't checked out your link, this is ground well covered in other threads here. To what extent Global Warming should be the topic du jour is hotly debated. My point remains, that we shouldn't find the majority of fault with the corporations who are jumping on the bandwagon to make a profit from all the propaganda. In fact, the issue you re-raise is the real issue that we should all be addressing, but it's quite difficult to tackle since the proverbial ball is now well on it's roll.

I'm personally saddened that the climate change issue seems to be the number one reported on issue from the G8 summit. I'd be more angry and frustrated if I wasn't such a defeatist.
 
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