Cast Your Vote: Which Corporation Most Deserves a Boycott?
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, as protests—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.
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 change, racial 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’s verbal 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?
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.”)
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.