I was reading some news and came across the weekly column of Chris Hedges. He is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. This week’s article discussed, once again, how corporate power has seized American democracy, creating what and Sheldon Wholin refer to as “inverted fascism.” Corporations are ubiquitous, but remember, their function is profit.
We live under a system of capitalism. Corporate capitalism has infected many aspects of our society; Our food, our education, our politics. Often times, things like health or safety are afterthoughts for these companies, especially if they can turn a profit without thinking about those pesky regulations. Now, I read the Hedges column weekly, and own his book, but I do think it is important for people to be mindful about these large corporations play in our lives, and how to free yourself, a little at a time from their grip. Why? Personally, it is about my health. If a company is only concerned about the bottom-line, why would I eat or take anything from the large corporations who seem to care nothing of my well being? How can one create a life for themselves that they can still thrive, without enriching these large corporations with your money? Personally, I love the thought of a sharing economy, but these are some things I do in my efforts to ween myself off rampant consumerism in an effort to protest the corporate state.
- Eat local. Try to go to places that are not chain restaurants. The food is most likely going to be better there anyway, and you are helping a small businesses in your community. I go out of my way to not eat at chains unless I absolutely have to.
- Become a vegan- Large industrial farms use so much grain and water to produce meat. They also produce large amounts of waste into our atmosphere. Stop eating meat, and you can help take some of the profits from these farms in hopes that they may go out of business, or produce on a sustainable scale.
- Grow your own-Get your hands on some organic, non-monsanto seeds, and start growing some food. That way you don’t have to visit the grocery store all the time for your food. Not only is this super relaxing, it’s super rewarding for you and your family.
4. Stop shopping for shit you don’t need. I live in Atlanta. I have been to the mall twice in one year. Once because I really really needed a bra fitting, and the other because of my boyfriend. Otherwise, I shop online from small retailers like the ones on Etsy. I also learned to sew to repair old clothes I wish to keep. Well, I already knew how to sew, thanks Mom.
5. Buy Second Hand- I buy a lot of second-hand things. I found a dope sweater for $3. Typically fashion repeats, so I just wear neutral colors and call it a day.
6. Turn off the TV- When Clinton deregulated media back in 1996, the already advertising saturated medium consolidated into larger media conglomerates. Only about 6 corporations own most of the media we see on TV. Do you think that they are not biased towards selling you things, and keeping you in the dark about any bad news that may come about? Have you watched the corporate news lately? It is awful. Watch media that is not corporate sponsored. You will be surprised about how much news you miss. One resource is Democracynow.org.
7. Read a Book- It is so important to read. Fiction or non-fiction, I just feel these days most people are not reading. 42% of college graduates will never read a book after college. That is a damn shame. This is by design of course, because if we stay stupid and uninformed, our minds can be controlled. Reading a book can help you keep your mind fresh by learning new things. I try to read a book once a month.
8. Volunteer/Vote- I put this under education because I do believe that volunteering in grassroots organizations is an important tool to learn about the plights of other people. My father ran a non-profit for years where I learned about the drug laws affecting people and how my home state of California would rather put prisoners in jail than send them to drug programs, especially if they are Black/Brown or Poor. Also voting. Not just for national elections, but your local elections. While corporate capitalism has a strangled hold, we still are the people who give the government power. Learn about your community, your local candidates, and who funds them. You can find this info on websites like, http://www.opensecrets.org/.
9. Bank Local- Having worked in the finance industry in 2008, I have a huge distrust of big banks. All the time you hear about scandals, from the recent Wells Fargo or even the Libor scandal. I just do not trust them. So I keep most of my money in the credit union if I have to.
10. Get a side hustle- Like most of us, I still have to work. I do not work for a large corporation anymore, and that was important to me. I was once managing marketing campaigns for finance/credit card companies and I just felt overworked and tired. I did not like what I was doing for those companies. I still work in marketing but it is for a company that I like and I feel actually helps people. My side hustle is this. Find your side hustle, cultivate it, and work for yourself. That’s the best way!