Nike and the choices we don't have

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Thu Jul 2 20:55:43 PDT 1998

I find this whole discussion bizarre. When a nationally organized boycott of a specific company, not for its general evilness (they are all, large and small, multinaitonal and local, capitalist: enough said) but as one tactic among a collection of tactics which make up a strategy, then I might be interested. The grape boycott in the 60s fulfilled those criteria. The effort in Detroit to boycott the newspapers there fulfills those conditions. There are other possibilites. If they can be effective (ineffective boycotts only hurt workers by costing them time, money, and energy without achieving anything) -- so, if they can be effective, boycotts of states (as of Colorado over gay oppression, Illinois over its failure to ratify ERA) would make sense. But it never makes sense for an individual to choose commodities on a moral basis.

The Nike "boycott" (if it can be so called) does not fit those conditions, but has a sort of partial and secondary value of being a way of dramatising the widespread use of sweatshop labor and the effort to turn the U.S. into a third world country (an effort already partially successful).

But to take it on oneself to boycott "bad companies" and try to only buy from the good or less bad companies. Pah! Silly. A waste of time. Moralistic hogwash!


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list