Them Where It Hurts
By Michael Paine
A while ago a friend asked why I never went to public demonstrations.
The reason, I told him, is that they don't do any good. Don't
get angry - I understand how committed you are to change.
But really, they don't do any good. The people with the power
don't care what you think - whether you march in the streets
or sit at home and fume.
The same goes for the emails, petitions and articles currently
bouncing around the web on every subject from the deregulation
at the FCC, to the war on Iraq, to the Patriot Act. No one
who makes policy cares or reads these things.
Did you see Chris Matthews on Jon Stewart's show? Where
he referred to the "man on the street" interviews as "peasants
under glass"? That's what you're dealing with.
I'm telling you this as a prelude to giving you the benefit
of my wisdom (lucky you): liberals, progressives, Democrats,
Greens - whatever - will not accomplish anything by debating
the issues, or appealing to democracy, or writing well-research
articles - or anything. Because the opposition - Republicans,
and their shills in the press - are not a political entity;
they're a business.
They're a business that's in the business of selling the
services of the government to the highest bidder. Deregulation.
Tax breaks. Access. Contracts. Licenses. This is what the
government controls - and under Democrats, it's what the government
can use to "promote the general welfare".
But Republicans aren't interested in "general welfare".
They're interested in money. In business. In "private welfare'.
That's not just a different political party, it's a different
world-view. And what they do with the power of government
is sell it. To them, the Fed is just a giant business-to-business
service provider. Companies pay, they get.
They don't care about right or wrong. They don't
care about democracy. They don't care about facts, or statistics,
or the budget deficit. And now, they no longer care about
public opinion either, because they simply bought the means
to shape it. Democracy doesn't matter - money and power matters.
Do you really think you'll change the way they manipulate
the news - and public opinion - by pointing out their lies?
Good luck. FOX News doesn't care if you catch them in lies.
No more than the Bush Administration cares that it gets caught
in lies. They're not playing "democracy" or "journalism" -
they're in business to make money and accumulate power. And
the sad fact is that most Americans are too busy to question
whether they get the truth when they watch "the news" - so
the lies work.
March in the street with signs all you want - the lies and
the money keep flowing. Bush raised $22 million in one night
If you've found yourself stunned and amazed at how bad things
have got, and you just can't fathom how it could have got
this way - that's because you've been looking at it all wrong.
This is just business, and you aren't a "citizen" - you're
And that's the only one way to beat them. Hit them where
they hurt - in the pocketbook. All you are to them is a consumer,
so you have to fight back as a consumer. Think of them as
"money demons" that can only be harmed by money.
You want to hurt Fox? Boycott its advertisers. MSBNC? Boycott
its advertisers. CNN? Boycott its advertisers. Period. Then
you'll see them squirm. Just like O'Reilly squirmed when there
was talk of a boycott last year - he literally panicked, and
called would-be boycotters everything short of "communists".
He was scared, folks.
Need more proof that this is the only way? What finally
got South Carolina to take the Confederate Flag off its state
flag? It was a boycott by African-American consumers. That
put more fear into the good 'ol boys than the Civil War did.
And it worked - quickly.
Here's a plan: organize, and start small. Start with an
easy target on a vulnerable network: Michael Savage on MSNBC.
Send a polite letter to send to all MSNBC's advertisers (not
just Savage's). No long-winded political speeches, just a
simple "I find his views offensive and I will not buy your
products while you advertise on that network". Tell everyone
you know to do the same. Then sit back and watch the fireworks.
And what you'll get in response will blow your mind. They'll
freak. They'll call you un-American, say you're squashing
free speech, claim you're putting Americans out of work -
because dying money demons make a lot of noise when
they go. But don't get sucked in.
You couldn't - not if you boycotted from today til the day
you die - put more Americans out of work than one of these
advertisers does every time it has a layoff and sends the
work to Asian sweatshops.
And you'd never in a thousand years cost as many jobs as
Bush already has. So don't buy it.
This is the only way. Remember that the $22 million Bush
raised this week probably originally came from YOU. You gave
it to a company for some stupid thing like a soft drink, and
they gave it to their CEO, who gave it to Bush.
It's time to flex some consumer muscle. And you'd better
get started; the election is sooner than you think.
"Michael Paine" is the pseudonym of a capitalist who lives
in New England.