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Kritiek op kapitalisme en economische groei

Voorkant Klein 'No Logo' Naomi KLEIN
No logo - Taking aim at the brand bullies
New York: Picador, 2000, 586 blzn.; ISBN-13: 978 03 1242 92701

[Geweldig boek, maar erg gericht op de situatie in Canada en de VS. Ik zou wel eens willen weten of al die onzin in Europa ook al zo ver is voortgeschreden, bv. de reclame in scholen.]

(10) No Logo at Ten [van 2009-2010]

Klein is vier jaar in de wereld van adverteren en marketing gedoken om dit boek te kunnen schrijven.

"Most important to my marketing detox program, I changed the subject. Less than a year after No Logo came out I put a personal ban on all talk of corporate branding. In interviews and public appearances I would steer discussion away from the latest innovation in viral marketing and Prada’s new superstore and toward the growing resistance movement against corporate rule, the one that had captured world attention with the militant protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle."(12)

"I decided to write No Logo when I realized these seemingly disparate trends were connected by a single idea—that corporations should produce brands, not products."(13)

"What the corporate media insisted on calling the “antiglobalization movement” was nothing of the sort. At the reformist end it was anti-corporate; at the radical end it was anti-capitalist. But, as I document in this book, what made it unique was its insistent internationalism."(14)

"There are many acts of destruction for which the Bush years are rightly reviled—the illegal invasions, the defiant defenses of torture, the tanking of the global economy. But the administration’s most lasting legacy may well be the way it systematically did to the U.S. government what branding-mad CEOs did to their companies a decade earlier: it hollowed it out, handing over to the private sector many of the most essential functions of government, from protecting borders to responding to disasters to collecting intelligence. This hollowing out was not a side project of the Bush years, it was a central mission, reaching into every field of governance."(15)

"... the Bush administration, like so many hollow brands before, was free to deny responsibility: these were independent contractors, they could argue, there was nothing the government could do but review the contract."(17)

"So the problem is not that Obama is using the same tricks and tools as the superbrands; anyone wanting to move the culture these days pretty much has to do that. The problem is that, as with so many other lifestyle brands before him, his actions do not come close to living up to the hopes he has raised."(23)

"This preference for symbols over substance, and this unwillingness to stick to a morally clear if unpopular course, is where Obama decisively parts ways with the transformative political movements from which he has borrowed so much (his pop-art posters from Che, his cadence from King, his “Yes We Can!” slogan from the migrant farmworkers’ Si Se Puede). These movements made unequivocal demands of existing power structures: for land distribution, higher wages, ambitious social programs. Because of those high-cost demands, these movements had not only committed followers but serious enemies."(24)

"That was certainly true, and had very real consequences. Obama’s election and the world’s corresponding love affair with his rebranded America came at a crucial time. In the two months before the election, the financial crisis rocking world markets was being rightly blamed not just on the contagion of Wall Street’s bad bets but on the entire economic model of deregulation and privatization (called “neoliberalism” in most parts of the world) that had been preached from U.S.-dominated institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. If the United States were led by someone who didn’t happen to be a global superstar, U.S. prestige would have continued to plummet and the rage at the economic model at the heart of the global meltdown would likely have turned into sustained demands for new rules to rein in (and seriously tax) speculative finance.(...) In short, Obama didn’t just rebrand America, he resuscitated the neoliberal economic project when it was at death’s door. No one but Obama, wrongly perceived as a new FDR, could have pulled it off."(25)

"Of course many people supported Obama for straightforward strategic reasons: they rightly wanted the Republicans out and he was the best candidate. But what will happen when the throngs of Obama faithful realize that they gave their hearts not to a movement that shared their deepest values but to a devoutly corporatist political party, one that puts the profits of drug companies before the need for affordable health care, and Wall Street’s addiction to financial bubbles before the needs of millions of people whose homes and jobs could have been saved with a better bailout?"(26)

"If there was ever a time to remember the lessons we learned at the turn of the millennium, it is now. One benefit of the international failure to regulate the financial sector even after its catastrophic collapse is that the economic model that dominates around the world has revealed itself not as “free market” but “crony capitalist”—politicians handing over public wealth to private players in exchange for political support. What used to be politely hidden is all out in the open now. Correspondingly, public rage at corporate greed is at its highest point not just in my lifetime but in my parents’ lifetime as well."(28)

"What the election and the global embrace of Obama’s brand proved decisively is that there is a tremendous appetite for progressive change—that many, many people do not want markets opened at gunpoint, are repelled by torture, believe passionately in civil liberties, want corporations out of politics, see global warming as the fight of our time, and very much want to be part of a political project larger than themselves."(29)

[En toen werd Trump gekozen ... Blijkbaar was er toch niet zo heel veel 'appetite for progressive change' dan het leek.]

(30) Introduction - A web of brands

"This book is hinged on a simple hypothesis: that as more people discover the brand-name secrets of the global logo web, their outrage will fuel the next big political movement, a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations, particularly those with very high name-brand recognition."(36)

"Before I began writing this book, I didn’t know if these pockets of anticorporate resistance had anything in common besides their name-brand focus, but I wanted to find out."(38)

"Rather, the book is an attempt to analyze and document the forces opposing corporate rule, and to lay out the particular set of cultural and economic conditions that made the emergence of that opposition inevitable."(39)

(41) Part I - No Space

(43) Chapter One - New Branded World

"The astronomical growth in the wealth and cultural influence of multinational corporations over the last fifteen years can arguably be traced back to a single, seemingly innocuous idea developed by management theorists in the mid-1980s: that successful corporations must primarily produce brands, as opposed to products."(43)

"What these companies produced primarily were not things, they said, but images of their brands. Their real work lay not in manufacturing but in marketing. This formula, needless to say, has proved enormously profitable, and its success has companies competing in a race toward weightlessness: whoever owns the least, has the fewest employees on the payroll and produces the most powerful images, as opposed to products, wins the race."(44)

"What made early branding efforts different from more straightforward salesmanship was that the market was now being flooded with uniform mass-produced products that were virtually indistinguishable from one another. Competitive branding became a necessity of the machine age—within a context of manufactured sameness, image-based difference had to be manufactured along with the product.
So the role of advertising changed from delivering product news bulletins to building an image around a particular brand-name version of a product. The first task of branding was to bestow proper names on generic goods such as sugar, flour, soap and cereal, which had previously been scooped out of barrels by local shopkeepers. In the 1880s, corporate logos were introduced to mass-produced products like Campbell’s Soup, H.J. Heinz pickles and Quaker Oats cereal. As design historians and theorists Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller note, logos were tailored to evoke familiarity and folksiness (Aunt Jemima), in an effort to counteract the new and unsettling anonymity of packaged goods. “Familiar personalities such as Dr. Brown, Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, and Old Grand-Dad came to replace the shopkeeper, who was traditionally responsible for measuring bulk foods for customers and acting as an advocate for products…a nationwide vocabulary of brand names replaced the small local shopkeeper as the interface between consumer and product.” After the product names and characters had been established, advertising gave them a venue to speak directly to would-be consumers. The corporate “personality,” uniquely named, packaged and advertised, had arrived."(46-47)

"From today’s logo-quilted perch, it’s almost unfathomable that a mere six years ago, death sentences for the brand seemed not only plausible but self-evident.
So just how did we get from obituaries for Tide to today’s battalions of volunteer billboards for Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Calvin Klein? Who slipped the steroids into the brand’s comeback?"(55)

"So the real legacy of Marlboro Friday is that it simultaneously brought the two most significant developments in nineties marketing and consumerism into sharp focus: the deeply unhip big-box bargain stores that provide the essentials of life and monopolize a disproportionate share of the market (Wal-Mart et al.) and the extra-premium “attitude” brands that provide the essentials of lifestyle and monopolize ever-expanding stretches of cultural space (Nike et al.). The way these two tiers of consumerism developed would have a profound impact on the economy in the years to come."(56)

"In 1993, the year the Marlboro Man was temporarily hobbled by “brand-blind” consumers, Microsoft made its striking debut on Advertising Age’s list of the top 200 ad spenders—the very same year that Apple computer increased its marketing budget by 30 percent after already making branding history with its Orwellian takeoff ad launch during the 1984 Super Bowl (see image). Like Saturn, both companies were selling a hip new relationship to the machine that left Big Blue IBM looking as clunky and menacing as the now-dead Cold War."(57)

"Overnight, “Brands, not products!” became the rallying cry for a marketing renaissance led by a new breed of companies that saw themselves as “meaning brokers” instead of product producers. What was changing was the idea of what—in both advertising and branding—was being sold. The old paradigm had it that all marketing was selling a product. In the new model, however, the product always takes a back seat to the real product, the brand, and the selling of the brand acquired an extra component that can only be described as spiritual. Advertising is about hawking product. Branding, in its truest and most advanced incarnations, is about corporate transcendence."(60)

"With this wave of brand mania has come a new breed of businessman, one who will proudly inform you that Brand X is not a product but a way of life, an attitude, a set of values, a look, an idea."(62)

"Over the past six years, spooked by the near-death experience of Marlboro Friday, global corporations have leaped on the brand-wagon with what can only be described as a religious fervor."(65)

(66) Chapter Two - The Brand Expands - How the Logo Grabbed Center Stage

"This scaling-up of the logo’s role has been so dramatic that it has become a change in substance. Over the past decade and a half, logos have grown so dominant that they have essentially transformed the clothing on which they appear into empty carriers for the brands they represent."(67)

[Ik ken het zelf helemaal niet, die behoefte aan merkkleding. Ik heb er mijn kinderen ook nooit over gehoord. De voorbeelden die ik zie en hoor zeggen me allemaal dat ouders geen 'nee' meer durven te zeggen tegen hun zeurende kinderen. Bang dat de kinderen er niet bij zullen horen, in plaats van ze een gevoel van eigenwaarde te bezorgen zodat ze hun eigen gang durven te gaan.]

"Branding’s current state of cultural expansionism is about much more than traditional corporate sponsorships: the classic arrangement in which a company donates money to an event in exchange for seeing its logo on a banner or in a program. Rather, this is the Tommy Hilfiger approach of full-frontal branding, applied now to cityscapes, music, art, films, community events, magazines, sports and schools. This ambitious project makes the logo the central focus of everything it touches—not an add-on or a happy association, but the main attraction."(68)

"The effect, if not always the original intent, of advanced branding is to nudge the hosting culture into the background and make the brand the star. It is not to sponsor culture but to be the culture. And why shouldn’t it be? If brands are not products but ideas, attitudes, values and experiences, why can’t they be culture too? As we will see later in the chapter, this project has been so successful that the lines between corporate sponsors and sponsored culture have entirely disappeared."(69)

"The project of transforming culture into little more than a collection of brand-extensions-in-waiting would not have been possible without the deregulation and privatization policies of the past three decades. (...) As government spending dwindled, schools, museums and broadcasters were desperate to make up their budget shortfalls and thus ripe for partnerships with private corporations. It also didn’t hurt that the political climate during this time ensured that there was almost no vocabulary to speak passionately about the value of a non-commercialized public sphere."(70)

"And, in fact, many of these new public-private arrangements were just that simple, successfully retaining a balance between the cultural event or institution’s independence and the sponsor’s desire for credit, often helping to foster a revival of arts accessible to the general public. Successes like these are frequently overlooked by critics of commercialization, among whom there is an unfortunate tendency to tar all sponsorship with the same brush, as if any contact with a corporate logo infects the natural integrity of an otherwise pristine public event or cause. (...)
This picture of our culture’s lost innocence is mostly romantic fiction. Though there have always been artists who have fought fiercely to protect the integrity of their work, neither the arts, sports nor the media have ever, even theoretically, been the protected sovereign states that McAllister imagines. Cultural products are the all-time favorite playthings of the powerful (...) Though the degree of meddling varies, our culture was built on compromises between notions of public good and the personal, political and financial ambitions of the rich and powerful."(70)

[Hm, ik weet niet. Ik denk dat Klein hier te weinig kritisch is. Want wat voor invulling de sponsoring ook krijgt, het betekent altijd dat hetgene / degene die gesponsord wordt (door een bedrijf of een mecenas, zelfs door de overheid via subsidies, maakt niet uit) een stuk zelfstandigheid verliest en dat de sponsor een stukje macht en invloed verkrijgt over wat / wie gesponsord wordt. Klein's 'dat is nu eenmaal zo' - houding is niet bepaald overtuigend, vind ik.]

"When sponsorship took off as a stand-in for public funds in the mid-eighties [mijn nadruk; dat is een heel belangrijk punt toch], many corporations that had been experimenting with the practice ceased to see sponsorship as a hybrid of philanthropy and image promotion and began to treat it more purely as a marketing tool, and a highly effective one at that. As its promotional value grew—and as dependency on sponsorship revenue increased in the cultural industries—the delicate dynamic between sponsors and the sponsored began to shift, with many corporations becoming more ambitious in their demands for grander acknowledgments and control, even buying events outright."(72)

"The most insidious effect of this shift is that after a few years of Molson concerts, Pepsi-sponsored papal visits, Izod zoos and Nike after-school basketball programs, everything from small community events to large religious gatherings are believed to “need a sponsor” to get off the ground; August 1999, for instance, saw the first-ever private wedding with corporate sponsorship. This is what Leslie Savan, author of The Sponsored Life, describes as symptom number one of the sponsored mindset: we become collectively convinced not that corporations are hitching a ride on our cultural and communal activities, but that creativity and congregation would be impossible without their generosity."(73)

"Although there is a clear trajectory in all of these stories, there is little point, at this stage in our sponsored history, in pining for either a mythic brand-free past or some utopian commercial-free future. Branding becomes troubling—as it did in the cases just discussed—when the balance tips dramatically in favor of the sponsoring brand, stripping the hosting culture of its inherent value and treating it as little more than a promotional tool. It is possible, however, for a more balanced relationship to unfold—one in which both sponsor and sponsored hold on to their power and in which clear boundaries are drawn and protected. (...) But if balance (as opposed to purity) is the goal, then maybe print media, where the first mass-market advertising campaigns began, can hold some important lessons for how to cope with the expansionist agenda of branding."(78)

[Ik denk dat ik liever voor puur ga ...]

"At its most daring and uncompromised, the news media can provide workable models for the protection of the public interest even under heavy corporate pressure, though these battles are often won behind closed doors. On the other hand, at their worst, these same media show how deeply distorting the effects of branding can be on our public discourse—particularly since journalism, like every other part of our culture, is under constantly increasing pressure to merge with the brands."(79)

[Ik denk dat er weinig gewonnen wordt door voorstanders van een niet door bedrijven overheerste publieke ruimte / media dat zou aantonen dat er sprake is van die balans waarover ze het heeft. Ik denk dat er helemaal geen sprake is van balans en dat alles compleet is doorgeslagen aar commercialisering.]

"... many media outlets have also used the Net to blur the line between editorial and advertising much more aggressively than they could in the non-virtual world. (...) No need to bully or buy off editors—just publish do-it-yourself content, with ads pre-integrated."(81-82)

"The model of the medium-as-brand that MTV perfected has since been adopted by almost every other major media outlet, whether magazines, film studios, television networks or individual shows."(84)

"Films create stars to cross-promote in books, magazines and TV, and they also provide prime vehicles for sports, television and music stars to “extend” their own brands."(84)

"The journey to this point of full integration between ad and art, brand and culture, has taken most of this century to achieve, but the point of no return, when it arrived, was unmistakable: April 1998, the launch of the Gap Khakis campaign."(85)

"Of course the branding of music is not a story of innocence lost. Musicians have been singing ad jingles and signing sponsorship deals since radio’s early days, as well as having their songs played on commercial radio stations and signing deals with multinational record companies. Throughout the eighties—music’s decade of the straight-up shill—rock stars like Eric Clapton sang in beer ads, and the pop stars, appropriately enough, crooned for pop: George Michael, Robert Plant, Whitney Houston, Run-DMC, Madonna, Robert Palmer, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie and Ray Charles all did Pepsi or Coke ads, while sixties anthems like the Beatles’ “Revolution” became background music for Nike commercials."(86)

(104) Chapter Three - Alt. Everything - The Youth Market and the Marketing of Cool

"All that changed in the early nineties when the baby boomers dropped their end of the consumer chain and the brands underwent their identity crisis. At about the time of Marlboro Friday, Wall Street took a closer look at the brands that had flourished through the recession, and noticed something interesting. Among the industries that were holding steady or taking off were beer, soft drinks, fast food and sneakers—not to mention chewing gum and Barbie dolls. There was something else: 1992 was the first year since 1975 that the number of teenagers in America increased. Gradually, an idea began to dawn on many in the manufacturing sector and entertainment industries: maybe their sales were slumping not because consumers were “brand-blind,” but because these companies had their eyes fixed on the wrong demographic prize. (...) Through this process, peer pressure emerged as a powerful market force, making the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses consumerism of their suburban parents pale by comparison. As clothing retailer Elise Decoteau said of her teen shoppers, “They run in packs. If you sell to one, you sell to everyone in their class and everyone in their school.”"(109-110)

[Willen jongeren er van zichzelf uit echt zo graag bij horen of is het juist de invloed van de commercie die maakt dat ze er graag bij willen horen? Wat is er eerst? En: zijn jongeren van zichzelf uit echt zo materialistisch of worden ze door de commercie materialistisch gemaakt?]

"And so, armed with their change agents and their cool hunters, the superbrands became the perennial teenage followers, trailing the scent of cool wherever it led."(115)

"The truth is that the “got to be cool” rhetoric of the global brands is, more often than not, an indirect way of saying “got to be black.” Just as the history of cool in America is really (as many have argued) a history of African-American culture—from jazz and blues to rock and roll to rap—for many of the superbrands, cool hunting simply means blackculture hunting. Which is why the cool hunters’ first stop was the basketball courts of America’s poorest neighborhoods."(117)

"It may seem cold comfort, but now that we know advertising is an extreme sport and CEOs are the new rock stars, it’s worth remembering that extreme sports are not political movements and rock, despite its historic claims to the contrary, is not revolution. In fact, to determine whether a movement genuinely challenges the structures of economic and political power, one need only measure how affected it is by the goings-on in the fashion and advertising industries. If, even after being singled out as the latest fad, it continues as if nothing had happened, it’s a good bet it is a real movement."(130)

(131) Chapter Four - The Branding of Learning - Ads in Schools and Universities

"It was technology that lent a new urgency to nineties chronic underfunding: at the same time as schools were facing ever-deeper budget cuts, the costs of delivering a modern education were rising steeply, forcing many educators to look to alternative funding sources for help. Swept up by info-tech hype, schools that couldn’t afford up-to-date textbooks were suddenly expected to provide students with audiovisual equipment, video cameras, classroom computers, desktop publishing capacity, the latest educational software programs, Internet access—even, at some schools, video-conferencing.
As many education experts have pointed out, the pedagogical benefits technology brings to the classroom are dubious at best, but the fact remains that employers are clamoring for tech-trained graduates and chances are the private school down the street or across town is equipped with all the latest gadgets and toys. In this context, corporate partnerships and sponsorship arrangements have seemed to many public schools, particularly those in poorer areas, to be the only possible way out of the high-tech bind. If the price of staying modern is opening the schools to ads, the thinking goes, then parents and teachers will have to grin and bear it."(132-133)

"As fast-food, athletic gear and computer companies step in to fill the gap, they carry with them an educational agenda of their own. As with all branding projects, it is never enough to tag the schools with a few logos. Having gained a foothold, the brand managers are now doing what they have done in music, sports and journalism outside the schools: trying to overwhelm their host, to grab the spotlight. They are fighting for their brands to become not the add-on but the subject of education, not an elective but the core curriculum."(133)

[En in de VS is reclame en branding overal doorgedrongen, van kleuterschool tot universiteit en van de kantine via sport naar leermethoden en onderwijsmaterialen.]

"At the University of British Columbia, for instance, students have been unable to find out what is in the text of an agreement between their school and the Coca-Cola Company. Despite the fact that UBC is a publicly funded institution, the soft-drink company demanded that the amount it paid for the vending rights be kept secret for reasons of corporate competitiveness. (Coca-Cola also refused to cooperate with requests for information for this book, claiming that all of its campus activities—including the precise number of campuses with which it has agreements—are confidential “for competitive purposes.”)
In May 1996, students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison did find out what was in the text of a sponsorship deal their administration was about to sign with Reebok—and they didn’t like what they discovered. The deal contained a “non-disparagement” clause that prohibited members of the university community from criticizing the athletic gear company. The clause stated: “During and for a reasonable time after the term, the University will not issue any official statement that disparages Reebok. Additionally, the University will promptly take all reasonable steps necessary to address any remark by any University employee, agent or representative, including a Coach, that disparages Reebok, Reebok’s products or the advertising agency or others connected with Reebok.” Reebok agreed to nix the demand after students and faculty members launched an educational campaign about the company’s patchy record on labor rights in Southeast Asia. What was exceptional about the Wisconsin clause is that the university community found out about it before the deal was signed. This has not been the case at other universities where athletic departments have quietly entered into multimillion-dollar deals that contained similar gag orders."(142)

"On some university campuses, protests critical of a corporate sponsor have been effectively blocked."(143)

"These are extreme examples of how corporate sponsorship deals re-engineer some of the fundamental values of public universities, including financial transparency and the right to open debate and peaceful protest on campus. But the subtle effects are equally disturbing. Many professors speak of the slow encroachment of the mall mentality, arguing that the more campuses act and look like malls, the more students behave like consumers."(144)

"While brands slowly transform the experience of campus life for undergraduates, another kind of takeover is under way at the institutional research level. All over the world, university campuses are offering their research facilities, and priceless academic credibility, for the brands to use as they please. And in North America today, corporate research partnerships at universities are used for everything: designing new Nike skates, developing more efficient oil extraction techniques for Shell, assessing the Asian market’s stability for Disney, testing the consumer demand for higher bandwidth for Bell or measuring the relative merits of a brand-name drug compared with a generic one, to name just a few examples.
Dr. Betty Dong, a medical researcher at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), had the misfortune of taking on that last assignment—testing a brand-name drug with brand-name money. Dong was the director of a study sponsored by the British pharmaceutical company Boots (now called Knoll) and UCSF. The fate of that partnership does much to illuminate precisely how the mandate of universities as sites for public-interest research is often squarely at odds with the interests of branded fact-finding missions.
Dr. Dong’s study compared the effectiveness of Boots’ thyroid drug, Synthroid, with a generic competitor. The company hoped that the research would prove that its much higher priced drug was better or at least substantially different from the generic one—a claim that, if legitimized by a study from a respected university, would increase Synthroid sales. Instead, Dr. Dong found that the opposite was true. The two drugs were bio-equivalent, a fact that represented a potential saving of $365 million a year for the eight million Americans who were taking the name-brand drug, and a potential loss to Boots of $600 million (the revenue from Synthroid). After the results were reviewed by her peers, Dr. Dong’s findings were slated to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on January 25, 1995. At the last minute, however, Boots successfully halted publication of the article, pointing to a clause in the partnership contract that gave the company veto rights over the publication of findings. [Mijn nadruk.]. The university, fearing a costly lawsuit, sided with the drug company and the article was yanked. After the whole ordeal was exposed in The Wall Street Journal, Boots backed off and the paper was finally published in April 1997, two years behind schedule. “The victim is obvious: the university,” wrote Dorothy S. Zinberg, a faculty member at Harvard’s Center for Science and International Affairs. “Each infringement on its unwritten contract with society to avoid secrecy whenever possible and maintain its independence from government or corporate pressure weakens its integrity.”"(144-146)

[Als één voorbeeld van waar de commercialisering van onderzoek toe leidt: bedrijven die de uitkomsten van voor hen negatief onderzoek onder de tafel kunnen laten verdwijnen omdat ze het onderzoek betalen. En altijd met de dreiging van rechtszaken op de achtergrond, rechtszaken die een bedrijf met eigen advocaten natuurlijk gemakkelijker kan betalen dan individuele personen. Daarom is het zo belangrijk om onafhankelijk onderzoek te hebben.]

"According to a 1994 study conducted on industry research partnerships at U.S. universities, most corporate interference occurs quietly and with no protest. The study found that companies maintained the right to block the publication of findings in 35 percent of cases, while 53 percent of the academics surveyed agreed that “publication can be delayed.”"(147)

"Many people, upon learning of the advanced stage of branded education, want to know where the university faculty, teachers, school boards and parents were while this transformation was taking place. At the elementary and high-school level, this is a difficult question to answer—particularly since one is hard-pressed to find anyone but the advertisers who is actively in favor of allowing ads into schools. Over the course of the decade, all the large teachers’ unions in North America have been quite vocal about the threat to independent instruction posed by commercialization, and many concerned parents have formed groups like Ralph Nader’s Commercial Alert to make their opposition heard. Despite this, however, there was never one big issue on which parents and educators could band together to fight—and possibly win—a major policy battle on classroom commercialization.
Unlike the very public standoffs over prayer in schools or over explicit sex education, the move to allow advertisements did not take the form of one sweeping decision but, rather, of thousands of little ones. Usually these were made on an ad hoc, school-by-school basis, frequently with no debate, no notice, no public scrutiny at all, because advertising agencies were careful to fashion school promotions that could slip between the cracks of standard school-board regulations."(148)

"There is, however, another, more ingrained cultural factor that has helped the brands get inside the schools, and it has to do with the effectiveness of branding itself. Many parents and educators could not see anything to be gained by resistance; kids today are so bombarded by brand names that it seemed as if protecting educational spaces from commercialization was less important than the immediate benefits of finding new funding sources. And the hawkers of in-school advertising have not been at all shy about playing upon this sense of futility among parents and educators. (...) Thus it became possible for many parents and teachers to rationalize their failure to protect yet another previously public space by telling themselves that what ads students don’t see in class or on campus, they will certainly catch on the subway, on the Net or on TV when they get home."(149)

"But while this may explain the brands’ inroads in high schools, it still doesn’t explain how this process has been able to take such a firm hold on the university campuses. Why have university professors remained silent, passively allowing their corporate “partners” to trample the principles of freedom of inquiry and discourse that have been the avowed centerpieces of academic life?"(150)

"Sadly, part of the explanation for the lack of campus mobilization is simple self-interest."(150)

"So there they all were, fighting about women’s studies and the latest backlash book while their campuses were being sold out from under their feet. It wasn’t until the politics of personal representation were themselves co-opted by branding that students and professors alike began to turn away from their quarrels with each other, realizing they had a more powerful foe."(151)

(153) Chapter Five - Patriarchy Gets Funky - The Triumph of Identity Marketing

"It was accepted from the start that part of what held back women and ethnic minorities was the absence of visible role models occupying powerful social positions, and that media-perpetuated stereotypes—embedded in the very fabric of the language—served to not so subtly reinforce the supremacy of white men. For real progress to take place, imaginations on both sides had to be decolonized.
But by the time my generation inherited these ideas, often two or three times removed, representation was no longer one tool among many, it was the key."(154)

"Over time, campus identity politics became so consumed by personal politics that they all but eclipsed the rest of the world. The slogan “the personal is political” came to replace the economic as political and, in the end, the Political as political as well. The more importance we placed on representation issues, the more central a role they seemed to elbow for themselves in our lives—perhaps because, in the absence of more tangible political goals, any movement that is about fighting for better social mirrors is going to eventually fall victim to its own narcissism."(155)

"Once we’d embarked on a search for new wells of cutting-edge imagery, our insistence on extreme sexual and racial identities made for great brand-content and niche-marketing strategies. If diversity is what we wanted, the brands seemed to be saying, then diversity was exactly what we would get. And with that, the marketers and media makers swooped down, airbrushes in hand, to touch up the colors and images in our culture."(157)

"The crowning of sexual and racial diversity as the new superstars of advertising and pop culture has understandably created a sort of Identity Identity Crisis. Some ex-ID warriors are even getting nostalgic about the good old days, when they were oppressed, yes, but the symbols of their radicalism weren’t for sale at Wal-Mart."(161)

"And yet, while raising teenagers’ self-esteem and making sure they have positive role models is valuable, it’s a fairly narrow achievement, and from an activist perspective, one can’t help asking, Is this it? Did all our protests and supposedly subversive theory only serve to provide great content for the culture industries, fresh new lifestyle imagery for Levi’s new “What’s True” ad campaign and girl-power-charged record sales for the music business? Why, in other words, were our ideas about political rebellion so deeply non-threatening to the smooth flow of business as usual?"(162)

"The market has seized upon multiculturalism and gender-bending in the same ways that it has seized upon youth culture in general—not just as a market niche but as a source of new carnivalesque imagery."(162)

"Thanks to freer trade and other forms of accelerated deregulation, the global marketplace was finally becoming a reality, but new, urgent questions were being asked: What is the best way to sell identical products across multiple borders? (...)
For certain corporations, until recently, the answer was simple: force the world to speak your language and absorb your culture. (...)
Theodore Levitt published the essay “The Globalization of Markets,” in which he argued that any corporation that was willing to bow to some local habit or taste was an unmitigated failure. (...)
Levitt’s “global” corporations were, of course, American corporations and the “homogenized” image they promoted were the images of America: blond, blue-eyed kids eating Kellogg’s cereal on Japanese TV; the Marlboro Man bringing U.S. cattle country to African villages; and Coke and McDonald’s selling the entire world on the taste of the U.S.A."(163)

"For this reason, global youth marketing is a mind-numbingly repetitive affair, drunk on the idea of what it is attempting to engineer: a third notion of nationality—not American, not local, but one that would unite the two, through shopping."(168)

"While CEOs dreamed of Big Macs in Russia, Benetton in Shanghai and logos projected on the moon, the political lens for far too many activists and theorists was narrowing so dramatically that with the exception of a brief period during the Gulf War, foreign and economic policy were off the radar screen. In North America, even the fight against free trade was all about protecting Canadian or American workers and resources, not about the possible effects of the trade agreement on Mexico, or the effects other rapid liberalization measures were having in the developing world."(171)

"The abandonment of the radical economic foundations of the women’s and civil-rights movements by the conflation of causes that came to be called political correctness successfully trained a generation of activists in the politics of image, not action. And if the space invaders marched into our schools and our communities unchallenged, it was at least partly because the political models in vogue at the time of the invasion left many of us ill-equipped to deal with issues that were more about ownership than representation. We were too busy analyzing the pictures being projected on the wall to notice that the wall itself had been sold.
If that remained true until recently, however, it is no longer so. As we will see in Part IV, a radical new political culture is emerging in high schools and on college campuses. Rather than calling attention to the house of mirrors that passes for empirical truth (as the postmodern academics did), and rather than fighting for better mirrors (as the ID warriors did), today’s media activists are concentrating on shattering the impenetrable shiny surfaces of branded culture, picking up the pieces and using them as sharp weapons in a war of actions, not images."(173)

(174) Part Two - No Choice

(176) Chapter Six - Brand Bombing - Franchises in the Age of the Superbrand

"Despite the embrace of polyethnic imagery, market-driven globalization doesn’t want diversity; quite the opposite. Its enemies are national habits, local brands and distinctive regional tastes. Fewer interests control ever more of the landscape."(176)

[Ja, de Grote Gelijkschakeling naar de Eendimensionale Mens is gaande.]

"This assault on choice is taking place on several different fronts at once. It is happening structurally, with mergers, buyouts and corporate synergies. It is happening locally, with a handful of superbrands using their huge cash reserves to force out small and independent businesses. And it is happening on the legal front, with entertainment and consumer-goods companies using libel and trademark suits to hound anyone who puts an unwanted spin on a pop-cultural product. And so we live in a double world: carnival on the surface, consolidation underneath, where it counts. (...) It is there inside the big-box retail outlets each time a magazine is taken off a shelf by a manager mindful of his bosses’ corporate definition of “family values.” You can see it in the messy bedroom of a fourteen-year-old Web master who has just had her fan page shut down by Viacom or EMI, unimpressed by her attempts to create her own little pocket of culture with borrowed snippets of trademarked song lyrics and images. It is there again when protesters are thrown out of shopping malls for handing out political leaflets, told by the security guards that although the edifice may have replaced the public square in their town, it is, in fact, private property. (...) What does copyright and trademark law have to do with personal fan culture? Or corporate consolidation with freedom of speech? But today, a clear pattern is emerging: as more and more companies seek to be the one overarching brand under which we consume, make art, even build our homes, the entire concept of public space is being redefined. And within these real and virtual branded edifices, options for unbranded alternatives, for open debate, criticism and uncensored art—for real choice—are facing new and ominous restrictions."(177-178)

"The bottom line is that clustering, like big-boxing, is a competitive retail strategy that is only an option for a large chain that can afford to take a beating on individual stores in order to reap a larger, long-term branding goal."(185)

"For national companies looking to avoid becoming the prey of the global giants, it has become an increasingly popular strategy to initiate preemptive mergers of their own between two or more large national brands. In the name of nationalism and global competitiveness, they consolidate, lay off staff and mimic American retail formulas. Not surprisingly, they generally end up transforming themselves into copies of the global brands they were attempting to block."(188)

(191) Chapter Seven - Mergers and Synergy - The Creation of Commercial Utopias

"Cartoons and fast-food franchises speak to children in a voice too seductive for mere mortal parents to compete with."(193)

[Nou, dat lijkt me wat pessimistisch, zo niet defaitistisch.]

"It is this insistent desire to become one with your favorite pop-culture products that every one of the superbrands—from Nike to Viacom to the Gap to Martha Stewart—is trying to harness and expand upon, exporting Walt Disney’s synergy principles from kid culture and transplanting them into every aspect of both teen and adult mass culture."(194)

"Sponsorship, as seen in Chapter 2, is a good start, but synergy and lifestyle branding are the logical conclusion."(195)

"A true branded loop cannot be created overnight, which is why the process usually begins with the simplest form of brand extension, a giant merger: (...) Usually, the companies cite the Wal-Mart principle: everyone else in the industry is merging and only the biggest and strongest will survive."(195)

"The concept is key to understanding not only synergy but also the related blurring of boundaries between sectors and industries. Retail is blurring with entertainment, entertainment with retail. Content companies (like film studios and book publishers) are leaping into distribution; distribution networks (like phone and Internet companies) are leaping into content production. And all the while, the people previously pigeonholed as pure content—the stars themselves—are charging into production, distribution and, of course, retail. So the “if you aren’t everywhere, you’re nowhere” sentiment described by Wolf reaches well beyond the media conglomerates."(198)

"Setting aside, for a moment, the Brave New World/Stepford Wives associations such a vision inevitably evokes, there is something undeniably seductive about these branded worlds. It has to do, I think, with the genuine thrill of utopianism, or the illusion of it at any rate."(207)

"For the first time in decades, groups of people are constructing their own ideal communities and building actual monuments, whether it’s the marriage of work and play at the Nike World Campus, the luxurious intellectualism of the Barnes & Noble superstores or the wilderness fantasy of the Roots Lodge. The emotional power of these enclaves rests in their ability to capture a nostalgic longing, then pump up the intensity: a school gym equipped with NBA-quality equipment; summer camp with hot tubs and gourmet food; an old-world library with designer furniture and latte; a town with no architectural blunders and no crime; a museum with the deep pockets of Hollywood. Yes, these creations can be vaguely spooky and sci-fi, but they should not be dismissed as just more crass commercialism for the unthinking masses [mijn nadruk]: for better or for worse, these are privatized public utopias."(208)

[Dat begrijp ik niet. Dat is immers precies wat het is: commercie. Het is bepaald geen utopie die gericht is op fundamentele menselijke waarden. Het is sentiment verkocht voor veel geld. Ik begrijp soms haar gebrek aan kritiek op de beschreven fenomenen niet, merk ik.]

"The terrible irony of these surrogates, of course, is how destructive they are proving to be to the real thing: to actual town centers, to independent business, to the non-Disney version of public spaces, to art as opposed to synergized cultural products and to a free and messy expression of ideas. Commercial climates are being dramatically altered by the expanding size and ambitions of these large players, and nowhere more so than in retail, where, as we have seen, companies like Discovery and Warner Brothers are in it for the “billboard effect” as much as for the sales. Independent shopkeepers, on the other hand, generally lack the resources to turn shopping into performance art, let alone into a destination vacation spot."(208)

[Eerst heeft ze enig begrip en daarna komt ze dan met dit soort kritiek. Die kan nog veel verder doorgetrokken worden. Het is duidelijk: het bedrijfsleven maakt de echte wereld en de echte mensen kapot en vervangt deze door een plastic wereld en plastic mensen. Dat is al zo op het niveau van de producten (de auto, de mobiel), laat staan op het niveau van alles wat in dit boek uitgewerkt wordt. Deze ontwikkeling gaan met name ook ten koste van de kleinschaligheid (de kleine kruidenier etc) en dat is wat ze nu verder uit gaat leggen, geloof ik.]

"As many have commented, this phenomenon has been particularly pronounced in the book industry, where membership in the American Booksellers Association has fallen startlingly from 5,132 in 1991 to 3,400 in 1999.19 Part of the problem is the Wal-Mart effect: the superstore chains have negotiated discounts on wholesale books with many publishers, making it nearly impossible for the independents to compete on price."(209)

[Als voorbeeld, inderdaad.]

"Retail has become a vastly unequal playing field; yet another industry—like film, television or software—where you have to be huge to stay in the game. Here once again is the strange combination of a sea of product coupled with losses in real choice: the signature of our branded age."(210)

"That is synergy, in a nutshell. Microsoft uses the term “bundling” to describe the expanding package of core goods and services included in its Windows operating system, but bundling is simply the software industry’s word for what Virgin calls synergy and Nike calls brand extensions. By bundling the Internet Explorer software within Windows, one company, because of its near monopoly in system software, has attempted to buy its way in as the exclusive portal to the Internet. What the Microsoft case so clearly demonstrates is that the moment when all the synergy wheels are turning in unison and all’s right in the corporate universe is the very moment when consumer choice is at its most rigidly controlled and consumer power at its feeblest."(211)

"In less enthusiastic eras than our own, other words besides “synergy” were commonly used to describe attempts to radically distort consumer offerings to benefit colluding owners; in the U.S., illegal trusts were combinations of companies that secretly agreed to fix prices while pretending to be competitive. And what else is a monopoly, after all, but synergy taken to the extreme? Markets that respond to the tyranny of size have always had a tendency toward monopoly. Which is why much of what has taken place in the entertainment industry during the last decade of merger mania would have been outlawed as recently as 1982, before President Ronald Reagan’s all-out assault on U.S. anti-trust laws."(213)

[Dat is steeds weer een onderdeel van het neoliberale denken en doen: leg het bedrijfsleven geen strobreed in de weg: dereguleer, privatiseer, individualiseer. Het is helaas een trend sinds de 80-er jaren. ]

"What is being betrayed is no less than the central promises of the information age: the promises of choice, interactivity and increased freedom."(215)

(216) Chapter Eight - Corporate Censorship - Barricading the Branded Village

"In some instances, the assault on choice has moved beyond predatory retail and monopolistic synergy schemes and become what can only be described as straightforward censorship: the active elimination and suppression of material. Most of us would define censorship as a restriction of content imposed by governments or other state institutions, or instigated—particularly in North American societies—by pressure groups for political or religious reasons. It is rapidly becoming evident, however, that this definition is drastically outdated."(216)

"When magazines are pulled from Wal-Mart’s shelves by store managers, when cover art is changed on CDs to make them Kmart-friendly, or when movies are refused by Blockbuster Video because they don’t conform to the chain’s “family entertainment” image, these private decisions send waves through the culture industries, affecting not just what is readily available at the local big box but what gets produced in the first place.
Both Wal-Mart and Blockbuster Video have their roots in the southern U.S. Christian heartland—Blockbuster in Texas, Wal-Mart in Arkansas. Both retailers believe that being “family” stores is at the core of their financial success, the very key to their mass appeal."(217)

[Ja, en natuurlijk hoort seksualiteit niet bij de familiewaarden. Gewweld natuurlijk wel ... ]

"Such censorship, in fact, has become so embedded in the production process that it is often treated as simply another stage of editing. Because of Blockbuster’s policy, some major film studios have altogether stopped making films that will be rated NC-17. If a rare exception is made, the studios will cut two versions—one for the theaters, one sliced and diced for Blockbuster. What producer, after all, would be willing to forgo 25 percent of video earnings before their project is even out of the gate?"(219)

"In large part, the complacency surrounding the Wal-Mart and Blockbuster strain of censorship occurs because most people are apt to think of corporate decisions as non-ideological. Businesses make business decisions, we tell ourselves—even when the effects of those decisions are clearly political. And when retailers dominate the market to the extent that these chains do today, their actions can’t help raising questions about the effect on civil liberties and public life."(219)

[Die censuur is natuurlijk wel minder geworden met de opkomst van Internet en de komst van sociale media. Dit is ook een voordeel van piraterij: je vindt allerlei zaken in torrents die officiële verkooppunten nooit zouden kunnen of willen leveren. Er is dus nog een reden om bezwaar te maken tegen het bestrijden van piraterij: waarom zouden mensen zich uitleveren aan de - vaak Amerikaanse - ideologie en de beslissingen van grote bedrijven als Netflix en HBO?]

"As multinational conglomerates build up their self-enclosed, self-promoting worlds, they create new and varied possibilities for conflict of interest and censorship. Such pressures range from pushing the magazine arm of the conglomerate to give a favorable review to a movie or sitcom produced by another arm of the conglomerate, to pushing an editor not to run a critical story that could hurt a merger in the works, to newspapers being asked to tiptoe around judicial or regulatory bodies that award television licenses and review anti-trust complaints. And what is emerging is that even tough-minded editors and producers who unquestioningly stand up to external calls for censorship—whether from vocal political lobbies, Wal-Mart managers or their own advertisers—are finding these intracorporate pressures much more difficult to resist."(221)

"Individual crusading editors and producers have always carried the flag for journalists’ right to do their job, but in the present climate, for every crusader there will be many more walking on eggs for fear of losing their job. And it’s not surprising that some have begun to see trouble everywhere, second-guessing the wishes of top executives in ways more creative and paranoid than the executives may even dare to imagine themselves. This is the truly insidious nature of self-censorship: it does the gag work more efficiently than an army of bullying and meddling media moguls could ever hope to accomplish."(223)

"We have almost two centuries’ worth of brand-name history under our collective belt, coalescing to create a sort of global pop-cultural Morse code. But there is just one catch: while we may all have the code implanted in our brains, we’re not really allowed to use it. In the name of protecting the brand from dilution, artists and activists who try to engage with the brand as equal partners in their “relationships” are routinely dragged into court for violating trademark, copyright, libel or “brand disparagement” laws—easily abused statutes that form an airtight protective seal around the brand, allowing it to brand us, but prohibiting us from so much as scuffing it."(229)

"And so, when we try to communicate with each other by using the language of brands and logos, we run the very real risk of getting sued. In the U.S., copyright and trademark laws—strengthened by Ronald Reagan in the same piece of 1983 legislation that loosened anti-trust law—are being invoked in ways that have far more to do with brand control than market competition."(230)

"I do know a few anti-copyright radicals who walk around in “All Copyright Is Theft” and “Information Wants to Be Free” T-shirts, though it seems to me that those positions are more provocative than practical. But what they do serve to highlight, if only rhetorically, is the climate of cultural and linguistic privatization being advanced through outright copyright and trademark harassment. Copyright and trademark harassment is a massive and growing industry, and though its effects are too sweeping to fully document, here are a few random examples."(230)

"These types of cases may seem trivial, but the same aggressive ownership rules apply to artists and cultural producers who are attempting to comment on our shared branded world."(231)

"It’s a process that ultimately gags cultural criticism, using copyright and trademark laws as effective tools to silence all unwanted attention."(235)

"When copyright or trademark law can’t be invoked to prevent an unwanted brand portrayal, many corporations do rely on libel and defamation law to keep their practices from being debated in the public realm."(236)

"It seems that no matter how successfully the private sphere emulates or even enhances the look and feel of public space, the restrictive tendencies of privatization have a way of peeking through."(239)

"When piled on together, such examples give a picture of corporate space as a fascist state where we all salute the logo and have little opportunity for criticism because our newspapers, television stations, Internet servers, streets and retail spaces are all controlled by multinational corporate interests. And considering the speed with which these trends are developing, we clearly have good reason for alarm. But a word of caution: we may be able to see a not-so-brave new world on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean we are already living in Huxley’s nightmare."(242)

"As, I hope, the book you are holding helps to prove, there is clearly still room for corporate critiques within the media giants."(243)

[Ze relativeert die censuurcultuur dus weer enigszins. Maar naar haar eigen argumentatie: misschien dat een paar auteurs zoals zij kritische boeken kunnen publiceren bij uitgeverijen die deel uitmaken van zo'n groot mediaconglomeraat, maar: hoeveel andere auteurs worden geweigerd of gecensureerd of zijn bezig met zichzelf te censureren?]

"Much of this is a matter of simple economics: there are limited numbers of movies, books, magazine articles and programming hours that can be economically produced, published, broadcast, etc., and the window for the ones that don’t fit into the reigning corporate strategy narrows with every merger and consolidation."(243)

(246) Part Three - No Jobs

(248) Chapter Nine - The Discarded Factory - Degraded Production in the Age of the Superbrand

"For a business to be cost-effective, however, there is a finite amount of money it can spend on all of its expenses—materials, manufacturing, overhead and branding—before retail prices on its products shoot up too high. After the multimillion-dollar sponsorships have been signed, and the cool hunters and marketing mavens have received their checks, there may not be all that much money left over. So it becomes, as always, a matter of priorities; but those priorities are changing. As Hector Liang, former chairman of United Biscuits, has explained: “Machines wear out. Cars rust. People die. But what lives on are the brands.”
According to this logic, corporations should not expend their finite resources on factories that will demand physical upkeep, on machines that will corrode or on employees who will certainly age and die. Instead, they should concentrate those resources in the virtual brick and mortar used to build their brands; that is, on sponsorships, packaging, expansion and advertising. They should also spend them on synergies: on buying up distribution and retail channels to get their brands to the people.
This slow but decisive shift in corporate priorities has left yesterday’s nonvirtual producers—the factory workers and craftspeople—in a precarious position. The lavish spending in the 1990s on marketing, mergers and brand extensions has been matched by a never-before-seen resistance to investing in production facilities and labor."(249-250)

[Dit is inderdaad een bekend fenonmeen geworden. Denk aan de farmaceutische industrie waar al die marketing ten koste gaat van onderzoek doen.]

"When the actual manufacturing process is so devalued, it stands to reason that the people doing the work of production are likely to be treated like detritus—the stuff left behind."(250)

"Which is why many companies now bypass production completely. Instead of making the products themselves, in their own factories, they “source” them, much as corporations in the natural-resource industries source uranium, copper or logs. They close existing factories, shifting to contracted-out, mostly offshore, manufacturing. And as the old jobs fly offshore, something else is flying away with them: the old-fashioned idea that a manufacturer is responsible for its own workforce."(251)

"For some companies a plant closure is still a straightforward decision to move the same facility to a cheaper locale. But for others—particularly those with strong brand identities like Levi Strauss and Hanes—layoffs are only the most visible manifestation of a much more fundamental shift: one that is less about where to produce than how. Unlike factories that hop from one place to another, these factories will never rematerialize. Mid-flight, they morph into something else entirely: “orders” to be placed with a contractor, who may well turn over those orders to as many as ten subcontractors, who—particularly in the garment sector—may in turn pass a portion of the subcontracts on to a network of home workers who will complete the jobs in basements and living rooms."(255)

"Since then, the free-trade-zone industry has exploded. There are fifty-two economic zones in the Philippines alone, employing 459,000 people—that’s up from only 23,000 zone workers in 1986 and 229,000 as recently as 1994. The largest zone economy is China, where by conservative estimates there are 18 million people in 124 export processing zones.23 In total, the International Labor Organization says that there are at least 850 EPZs in the world, but that number is likely much closer to 1,000, spread through seventy countries and employing roughly 27 million workers.(...)
Regardless of where the EPZs are located, the workers’ stories have a certain mesmerizing sameness: the workday is long—fourteen hours in Sri Lanka, twelve hours in Indonesia, sixteen in Southern China, twelve in the Philippines. The vast majority of the workers are women, always young, always working for contractors or subcontractors from Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong. The contractors are usually filling orders for companies based in the U.S., Britain, Japan, Germany or Canada. The management is military-style, the supervisors often abusive, the wages below subsistence and the work low-skill and tedious. As an economic model, today’s export processing zones have more in common with fast-food franchises than sustainable developments, so removed are they from the countries that host them. These pockets of pure industry hide behind a cloak of transience: the contracts come and go with little notice; the workers are predominantly migrants, far from home and with little connection to the city or province where zones are located; the work itself is short-term, often not renewed."(260)

"Fear pervades the zones. The governments are afraid of losing their foreign factories; the factories are afraid of losing their brand-name buyers; and the workers are afraid of losing their unstable jobs. These are factories built not on land but on air."(261)

"Many of the workers live in shantytowns on the outskirts of town and in neighboring villages. Others, particularly the youngest workers, live in the dormitories, a hodgepodge of concrete bunkers separated from the zone enclave by only a thick wall. The structure is actually a converted farm, and some rooms, the workers tell me, are really pigpens with roofs slapped on them."(263)

"The upshot is that entire countries are being turned into industrial slums and low-wage labor ghettos, with no end in sight."(264)

"So, if it’s clear by now that the factories don’t bring in taxes or create local infrastructures, and that the goods produced are all exported, why do countries like the Philippines still bend over backward to lure them inside their borders? The official reason is a trickle-down theory: these zones are job-creation programs and the income the workers earn will eventually fuel sustainable growth in the local economy. (...) So labor rights are under such severe assault inside the zones that there is little chance of workers earning enough to adequately feed themselves, let alone stimulate the local economy."(266)

"Labor groups agree that a living wage for an assembly-line worker in China would be approximately US87 cents an hour. In the United States and Germany, where multinationals have closed down hundreds of domestic textile factories to move to zone production, garment workers are paid an average of US$10 and $18.50 an hour, respectively. Yet even with these massive savings in labor costs, those who manufacture for the most prominent and richest brands in the world are still refusing to pay workers in China the 87 cents that would cover their cost of living, stave off illness and even allow them to send a little money home to their families. A 1998 study of brand-name manufacturing in the Chinese special economic zones found that Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Esprit, Liz Claiborne, Kmart, Nike, Adidas, J.C. Penney and the Limited were only paying a fraction of that miserable 87 cents—some were paying as little as 13 cents an hour."(268)

"Although trade unions are technically legal in the Philippines, there is a widely understood—if unwritten—“no union, no strike” policy inside the zones. As the sign suggests, workers who do attempt to organize unions in their factories are viewed as troublemakers, and often face threats and intimidation."(269)

"Patriotism and national duty are bound up in the exploitation of the export zones, with young people—mostly women—sent off to sweatshop factories the way a previous generation of young men were sent off to war. No questioning of authority is expected or permitted."(270)

"Overtime horror stories pour out of the export processing zones, regardless of location: in China, there are documented cases of three-day shifts, when workers are forced to sleep under their machines. Contractors often face heavy financial penalties if they fail to deliver on time, no matter how unreasonable the deadline. In Honduras, when filling out a particularly large order on a tight deadline, factory managers have been reported injecting workers with amphetamines to keep them going on forty-eight-hour marathons."(272)

"For their part, the factory owners are in no rush to expand the size of their workforce, because after a big order is filled there could be a dry spell and they don’t want to be stuck with more employees than work. (...) And this is the flip side of the overtime equation: when a factory is experiencing a lull in orders or a shipment of supplies has been delayed, workers are sent home without pay, sometimes for a week at a time."(273-274)

"It is in this casual new relationship to factory employment that the EPZ system breaks down completely. In principle, the zones are an ingenious mechanism for global wealth redistribution. Yes, they lure jobs from the North, but few fair-minded observers would deny the proposition that as industrialized nations shift to higher-tech economies, it is only a matter of global justice that the jobs upon which our middle classes were built should be shared with countries still enslaved by poverty. The problem is that the workers in Cavite, and in zones throughout Asia and Latin America, are not inheriting “our” jobs at all."(274)

(289) Chapter Ten - Threats and Temps - From Working for Nothing to “Free Agent Nation”

"A sense of impermanence is blowing through the labor force, destabilizing everyone from office temps to high-tech independent contractors to restaurant and retail clerks. Factory jobs are being outsourced, garment jobs are morphing into homework, and in every industry, temporary contracts are replacing full, secure employment. In a growing number of instances, even CEOs are opting for shorter stints at one corporation after another, breezing in and out of different corner offices and purging half the employees as they come and go."(289)

"All these stories are about different industries doing variations on the same thing: finding ways to cut ties to their workforce and travel light. (...) One thing is certain: offering employment—the steady kind, with benefits, holiday pay, a measure of security and maybe even union representation—has fallen out of economic fashion."(289)

"McDonald’s and Starbucks staff, meanwhile, frequently earn less than the employees of single-outlet restaurants and cafés, which explains why McDonald’s is widely credited for pioneering the throwaway “McJob” that the entire fast-food industry has since moved to emulate. At Britain’s McLibel Trial, in which the company contested claims made by two Greenpeace activists about its employment practices, international trade unionist Dan Gallin defined a McJob as “a low skill, low pay, high stress, exhausting and unstable job.”"(294)

"As we have seen in Cavite, the brand-name multinationals have freed themselves of the burden of providing employees with a living wage. In the malls of North America and England, on the high street, in the food court and at the superstore, they have managed a similar trick."(294)

"It is one of the paradoxes of service-sector employment that the more prominent a role it plays in the labor landscape, the more casual service-sector companies became in their attitude toward providing job security. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the industry’s increasing reliance on part-timers."(299)

"Any discussion of the plight of corporate temps, UPS couriers, outsourced GM workers, Gap greeters, MTV interns and Starbucks “baristas” leads inevitably to the same place: Yes, but…what about all the great new jobs in the growing high-tech world?"(308)

"The golden era of the geeks has come and gone, and today’s high-tech jobs are as unstable as any other. Part-timers, temps and contractors are rampant in Silicon Valley ... (...) The percentage of Silicon Valley workers employed by temp agencies is nearly three times the national average."(308)

"I know from firsthand experience that freelance life can indeed mean freedom, just as part time, for others, can live up to its promise of genuine flexibility."(313)

"The bottom line is that the advantages and drawbacks of contract and contingency work have a simple correlation to the class of the individuals doing the work: the higher up they are on the income scale, the more chance they have to leverage their comings and goings. The further down they are, the more vulnerable they are to being yanked around and bargained even lower."(314)

"It’s a fair enough equation, particularly in the U.S. According to the AFL-CIO, “the CEOs of the 30 companies with the largest announced layoffs saw their salaries, bonuses, and long-term compensation increase by 67.3 percent.” (...) There are many others in the business community who, unlike Ira T. Kay, are appalled by the amounts executives have been paying themselves in recent years."(316-317)

"This last point raises the most interesting question of all, I think, about the long-term effect of the brand-name multinationals’ divestment of the jobs business. From Starbucks to Microsoft, from Caterpillar to Citibank, the correlation between profit and job growth is in the process of being severed."(317)

(319) Chapter Eleven - Breeding Disloyalty - What Goes Around, Comes Around

"For the workers in the contract factories of the export processing zones, and for the legions of temps, part-timers, contract and service-sector workers in industrialized countries, the modern employer has begun to look like a one-night stand who has the audacity to expect monogamy after a meaningless encounter."(320)

"Soaring profits and growth rates, as well as the mind-boggling salaries and bonuses that CEOs of large corporations pay themselves, have radically changed the conditions under which workers originally came to accept lower wages and diminished security, leaving many feeling that they’ve been had."(320)

"Multinationals that once boasted of their role as “engines of job growth”—and used it as leverage to extract all kinds of government support—now prefer to identify themselves as engines of “economic growth.” It’s a subtle difference, but not if you happen to be looking for work. Corporations are indeed “growing” the economy, but they are doing it, as we have seen, through layoffs, mergers, consolidation and outsourcing—in other words, through job debasement and job loss."(321)

"Job creation as part of the corporate mission, particularly the creation of full-time, decently paid, stable jobs, appears to have taken a back seat in many major corporations, regardless of company profits. (See related tables.) Rather than being one component of a healthy operation, labor is increasingly treated by the corporate sector as an unavoidable burden, like paying income tax; or an expensive nuisance, like not being allowed to dump toxic waste into lakes. Politicians may say that jobs are their priority, but the stock market responds cheerfully every time mass layoffs are announced, and sinks gloomily whenever it looks as if workers might get a raise. Whatever bizarre route we took to get here, an unmistakable message now emanates from our free markets: good jobs are bad for business, bad for “the economy” and should be avoided at all cost. Although this equation has undeniably reaped record profits in the short term, it may well prove to be a strategic miscalculation on the part of our captains of industry. By discarding their self-identification as job creators, companies leave themselves open to a kind of backlash that can come only from a population that knows that the smooth sailing of the economy is of little demonstrable benefit to them."(322)

"With the dictates of branding forcing companies to sever their traditional ties to steady job creation, it is no exaggeration to say that the “strongest” brands are the ones generating the worst jobs, whether in the export processing zones, in Silicon Valley or at the mall. Furthermore, the companies that advertise aggressively on MTV, Channel One and in Details, selling sneakers, jeans, fast food and Walkmans, are the very ones that pioneered the McJob sector and led the production exodus to cheap labor enclaves like Cavite."(334)

(336) Part Four - No Logo

(338) Chapter Twelve - Culture Jamming - Ads Under Attack

"All at once, these forces are coalescing to create a climate of semiotic Robin Hoodism. A growing number of activists believe the time has come for the public to stop asking that some space be left unsponsored, and to begin seizing it back. Culture jamming baldly rejects the idea that marketing—because it buys its way into our public spaces—must be passively accepted as a one-way information flow."(340)

"Attempting to pinpoint the roots of culture jamming is next to impossible, largely because the practice is itself a cutting and pasting of graffiti, modern art, do-it-yourself punk philosophy and age-old pranksterism. And using billboards as an activist canvas isn’t a new revolutionary tactic either."(342)

"Culture jamming is enjoying a resurgence, in part because of technological advancements, but also more pertinently, because of the good old rules of supply and demand. Something not far from the surface of the public psyche is delighted to see the icons of corporate power subverted and mocked. There is, in short, a market for it. With commercialism able to overpower the traditional authority of religion, politics and schools, corporations have emerged as the natural targets for all sorts of free-floating rage and rebellion."(347)

"But after a while, what began as a way to talk back to the ads starts to feel more like evidence of our total colonization by them, and especially because the ad industry is proving that it is capable of cutting off the culture jammers at the pass."(359)

(374) Chapter Thirteen - Reclaim the Streets

"It is one of the ironies of our age that now, when the street has become the hottest commodity in advertising culture, street culture itself is under siege. From New York to Vancouver to London, police crackdowns on graffiti, postering, panhandling, sidewalk art, squeegee kids, community gardening and food vendors are rapidly criminalizing everything that is truly street-level in the life of a city."(374)

"In many ways, Reclaim the Streets is the urban centerpiece of England’s thriving do-it-yourself subculture. Exiled to the economic margins by decades of Tory rule, and given little reason to return by the right-of-center policies of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party, a largely self-reliant infrastructure of food co-ops, illegal squats, independent media and free music festivals has emerged across the country. Spontaneous street parties are an extension of the DIY lifestyle, asserting as they do that people can make their own fun without asking any state’s permission or relying on any corporation’s largesse. At a street party, just showing up makes you both a participant and part of the entertainment."(381)

"Despite the organizers’ best efforts, RTS was spiraling into soccer hooliganism and, as one RTS spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph, when the organizers tried to regain control, some rioters turned against them."(382)

[Als de reactie op commercialisering en op bedrijven die zich de openbare ruimte niet meer is dan feestjes en kunst op straat, dan mag je dat verwachten. De straat terugnemen om op straat weer te kunnen doen waar je zin in hebt, trekt natuurlijk allerlei mensen aan die in het algemeen vinden dat ze moeten kunnen doen waar ze zin in hebben, ook als dat onredelijk en onverstandig is. Veel mensen zien immers alleen maar hun verlangen naar vrijheid en hebben er geen enkele behoefte aan zich in die vrijheid te verantwoorden naar anderen. Ze snappen het idee 'vrijheid in gebondenheid' niet.]

[Afgezien daarvan: ik denk niet dat straatfeesten en straatkunst erg veel zoden aan de dijk zullen zetten om de neoliberale economische ontwikkelingen te stoppen. Zelfs niet een Global Street Party. Ik denk dat er wat meer nodig is om dat klaar te spelen.]

(388) Chapter Fourteen - Bad Mood Rising - The New Anti-Corporate Activism

"While the latter half of the 1990s has seen enormous growth in the brands’ ubiquity, a parallel phenomenon has emerged on the margins: a network of environmental, labor and human-rights activists determined to expose the damage being done behind the slick veneer. Dozens of new organizations and publications have been founded for the sole purpose of “outing” corporations that are benefiting from repressive government policies around the globe. Older groups, previously focused on monitoring governments, have reconfigured their mandates so that their primary role is tracking violations committed by multinational corporations. As John Vidal, environmental editor of The Guardian, puts it, “A lot of activists are attaching themselves leech-like onto the sides of the bodies corporate.” This leech-like attachment takes many forms, from the socially respectable to the near-terrorist."(388)

"In short, the triumph of economic globalization has inspired a wave of techno-savvy investigative activists who are as globally minded as the corporations they track. This powerful form of activism reaches well beyond traditional trade unions. Its members are young and old; they come from elementary schools and college campuses suffering from branding fatigue and from church groups with large investment portfolios worried that corporations are behaving “sinfully.” They are parents worried about their children’s slavish devotion to “logo tribes,” and they are also the political intelligentsia and social marketers who are more concerned with the quality of community life than with increased sales."(390)

[Dat maakt georganiseerd protest zo moeilijk ... ]

"It wasn’t only the superbrands and their celebrity endorsers who felt the sting of the Year of the Sweatshop—clothing-store chains, big-box retailers and department stores also found themselves being held responsible for the conditions under which the toys and fashions on their racks were produced."(392)

"Though the revelations came out in the press one at a time, the incidents coalesced to give us a rare look under the hood of branded America. Few liked what they saw. The unsettling combination of celebrated brand names and impoverished production conditions have turned Nike, Disney and Wal-Mart, among others, into powerful metaphors for a brutal new way of doing business. In a single image, the brand-name sweatshop tells the story of the obscene disparities of the global economy: corporate executives and celebrities raking in salaries so high they defy comprehension, billions of dollars spent on branding and advertising—all propped up by a system of shantytowns, squalid factories and the misery and trampled expectations of young women like the ones I met in Cavite, struggling to survive."(393)

"As if that weren’t enough, multinationals also found themselves under the microscope for their involvement with some of the world’s most violent and repressive regimes: Burma, Indonesia, Colombia, Nigeria and Chinese-occupied Tibet. The issue was by no means new, but like the McDonald’s and Monsanto campaigns, it came to a new prominence in the mid- to late nineties, with much of the activity focusing on the host of familiar brand names operating in Burma (now officially known as Myanmar)."(394)

"The Year of the Brand Attack stretched into two years, then three and now shows no sign of receding."(395)

"Obviously much of the current focus on corporate abuses has to do with the tenacity of activists organizing around these issues. But since so many of the abuses being highlighted have been going on for decades, the current groundswell of resistance raises the question, Why now? Why did 1995–96 become the Year of the Sweatshop, turning quickly into the Years of the Brand Attack? Why not 1976, 1984, 1988, or, perhaps most relevant of all, why not 1993? [het jaar van de brand in de Kader speelgoedfabriek in Bangkok waarbij 188 arbeiders omkwamen]"(396)

"The parallels between Triangle [de brand in de Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York in 1911] and Kader—separated from each other by half a world, and eighty-two years of so-called development—are chilling: it was as if time hadn’t moved forward, but had simply shifted locations."(396)

"The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire was the defining incident of the first anti-sweatshop movement in the United States. It catalyzed hundreds of thousands of workers into militancy and promoted a government response that eventually led to a fifty-four-hour weekly cap on overtime, no work past 9 p.m. and breakthroughs in health and fire regulations. Perhaps the most significant advance as a result of the fire was the introduction of what today would be called independent monitoring—the founding of the New York Factory Investigation Commission, which was authorized to stage surprise raids on suspected sweatshop operators."(397)

De brand in de Kader-fabriek werd geen aanleiding tot hervormingen. Westerse media hadden er nauwelijks aandacht voor.

"Little wonder, then, that only six months after Kader, another devastating sweatshop fire—this one at the Zhili toy factory in Shenzhen, China—took the lives of another 87 young workers."(398)

[De verantwoordelijkheid van de media in al deze zaken is erg belangrijk. Hoe zitten die het systeem van branding in stand te houden? Ik hoop dat daar een speciaal hoofdstuk aan gewijd wordt. Ik heb de indruk dat ze tot nu toe nogal ontzien worden in het boek.]

"The bottom line was that in parts of Asia, Central and South America and Africa, the promise that investment would bring greater freedom and democracy was starting to look like a cruel hoax. And worse: in case after case, foreign corporations were found to be soliciting, even directly contracting, the local police and military to perform such unsavory tasks as evicting peasants and tribespeople from their land; cracking down on striking factory workers; and arresting and killing peaceful protestors—all in the name of safeguarding the smooth flow of trade. Corporations, in other words, were stunting human development, rather than contributing to it."(403)

"At the heart of this convergence of anticorporate activism and research is the recognition that corporations are much more than purveyors of the products we all want; they are also the most powerful political forces of our time. By now, we’ve all heard the statistics: how corporations like Shell and Wal-Mart bask in budgets bigger than the gross domestic product of most nations; how, of the top hundred economies, fifty-one are multinationals and only forty-nine are countries. We have read (or heard about) how a handful of powerful CEOs are writing the new rules for the global economy, engineering what Canadian writer John Ralston Saul has called “a coup d’état in slow motion.” In his book about corporate power, Silent Coup, Tony Clark takes this theory one step further when he argues that citizens must go after corporations not because we don’t like their products, but because corporations have become the ruling political bodies of our era, setting the agenda of globalization. We must confront them, in other words, because that is where the power is."(405)

"Many citizens’ movements have tried to reverse conservative economic trends over the last decade by electing liberal, labor or democratic-socialist governments, only to find that economic policy remains unchanged or caters even more directly to the whims of global corporations. Centuries of democratic reforms that had won greater transparency in government suddenly appeared ineffective in the new climate of multinational power. What good was an open and accountable Parliament or Congress if opaque corporations were setting so much of the global political agenda in the back rooms?
Disillusionment with the political process has been even more pronounced on the international stage, where attempts to regulate multinationals through the United Nations and trade regulatory bodies have been blocked at every turn."(407)

(410) Chapter Fifteen - The Brand Boomerang - The Tactics of Brand-Based Campaigns

"Moreover, the branding formula leaves corporations wide open to the most obvious tactic in the activist arsenal: bringing a brand’s production secrets crashing into its marketing image. It’s a tactic that has worked before."(410)

"A world united by Benetton slogans, Nike sweatshops and McDonald’s jobs might not be anyone’s Utopian global village, but its fiber-optic cables and shared cultural references are nonetheless laying the foundations for the first truly international people’s movement."(424)

[Hm, wat optimistisch weer. Uiteindelijk blijkt altijd dat de omstandigheden in allerlei landen zo verschillend zijn dat het moeilijk is om het eens te worden over strategie en zo verder.]

"After four years of research, what I find most shocking is that so many supposed “dirty little secrets” are crammed into the global broom closet with such a casual attitude. In the EPZs, labor violations are a dime a dozen—they come tumbling out as soon as you open the door even a crack. As The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Ortega writes, “in truth, the entire apparel industry was one continuing and underreported scandal.” With such corporate carelessness at play, no public-relations budget has proved rich enough to clearly dissociate the brand from the factory. And the wider the disparity between the image and the reality, the harder the company seems to get hit."(425)

"In addition to aggressive sponsorship, another marketing trend that has begun to backfire is the commercial co-optation of identity politics, discussed in Chapter 5. Rather than softening its image, Nike’s feminist-themed ads and antiracist slogans have only served to enrage women’s groups and civil-rights leaders, who insist that a company that got rich off the backs of young women in the Third World has no business using the ideals of feminism and racial equality to sell more shoes."(428)

"We have heard the same refrain over and over again from Nike, Reebok, the Body Shop, Starbucks, Levi’s and the Gap: “Why are you picking on us? We’re the good ones!” The answer is simple. They are singled out because the politics they have associated themselves with, which have made them rich—feminism, ecology, inner-city empowerment—were not just random pieces of effective ad copy that their brand managers found lying around. They are complex, essential social ideas, for which many people have spent lifetimes fighting. That’s what lends righteousness to the rage of activists campaigning against what they see as cynical distortions of those ideas."(429)

"By some accident of fate, on February 25, 1997, the multiple layers of anti-corporate rage converged over the Mighty Ducks hockey arena in Anaheim, California. It was Disney’s annual meeting and about 10,000 shareholders crowded into the arena to rake Michael Eisner over the coals. They were upset that he had paid more than $100 million in a severance package to Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz, who’d lasted only fourteen scandal-racked months at Disney as second in command. Eisner was further attacked for his own $400 million multiyear pay package, as well as for stacking the board with friends and paid Disney consultants. As if shareholders weren’t angry enough, the obscene amounts of money lavished on Ovitz and Eisner were thrown into harsh relief by an unrelated shareholders’ resolution chiding Disney for paying starvation wages to workers in its overseas factories, and calling for independent monitoring of these practices. Outside the arena, dozens of National Labor Committee supporters were shouting and waving placards about the plight of Disney’s Haitian workforce. Of course the monitoring resolution was trounced, but the way the issues of sweatshop labor and executive compensation played off one another must have been music to Charles Kernaghan’s ears."(429)

(431) Chapter Sixteen - A Tale of Three Logos - The Swoosh, the Shell and the Arches

"Dozens of brand-based campaigns have succeeded in rattling their corporate targets, in several cases pushing them to substantially alter their policies. But three campaigns stand out for having reached well beyond activist circles and deep into public consciousness. The tactics they have developed—among them the use of the courts to force transparency on corporations, and the Internet to bypass traditional media—are revolutionizing the future of political engagement. By now it should come as no surprise that the targets of these influential campaigns are three of the most familiar and best-tended logos on the brandscape: the Swoosh, the Shell and the Arches."(431)

"No story illustrates the growing distrust of the culture of corporate branding more than the international anti-Nike movement—the most publicized and tenacious of the brand-based campaigns."(432)

"At first, much of the outrage stemmed from the fact that when the sweatshop scandal hit the papers, Nike wasn’t really acting all that sorry about it. While Kathie Lee Gifford and the Gap had at least displayed contrition when they got caught with their sweatshops showing, Phil Knight had practically stonewalled: denying responsibility, attacking journalists, blaming rogue contractors and sending out flacks to speak for the company. While Kathie Lee was crying on TV, Michael Jordan was shrugging his shoulders and saying that his job was to shoot hoop, not play politics. And while the Gap agreed to allow a particularly controversial factory in El Salvador to be monitored by local human-rights groups, Nike was paying lip service to a code of conduct that its Asian workers, when interviewed, had never even heard of."(435)

"The resilience of the Nike campaign in the face of the public-relations onslaught is persuasive evidence that invasive marketing, coupled with worker abandonment, strikes a wide range of people from different walks of life as grossly unfair and unsustainable. Moreover, many of those people are not interested in letting Nike off the hook simply because this formula has become the standard one for capitalism-as-usual. On the contrary, there seems to be a part of the public psyche that likes kicking the most macho and extreme of all the sporting-goods companies in the shins—I mean really likes it. Nike’s critics have shown that they don’t want this story to be brushed under the rug with a reassuring bit of corporate PR; they want it out in the open, where they can keep a close eye on it."(445)

"In North America, Nike has been at the forefront of the burgeoning political movement taking aim at the power of multinationals, but in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, that dubious honor has belonged to Royal Dutch/Shell."(447)

De Brent Spar - kwestie

"Although Greenpeace presented scientific studies on the ecological impact the oil platform would have on the ocean floor (getting some of its facts wrong along the way), the fight was not so much about environmental protection in the traditional sense as it was about the need to keep the Atlantic Ocean floor from being used as a junkyard. Shell’s plans to bury the monstrosity in the depths of the sea resonated in the public psyche worldwide: here was proof that if multinationals were left to their own devices, there would be no open space left on earth—even the depths of the ocean, the last great wilderness, would be colonized."(450)

"The lesson proved particularly relevant in the next Shell challenge—the need to focus world attention on the multinational’s role in the despoliation of Nigeria, under the protection of the corrupt government of the late General Sani Abacha. If the general wasn’t vulnerable to pressure, Shell certainly was.
Since the 1950s, Shell Nigeria has extracted $30 billion worth of oil from the land of the Ogoni people, in the Niger Delta. Oil revenue makes up 80 percent of the Nigerian economy—$10 billion annually—and, of that, more than half comes from Shell. But not only have the Ogoni people been deprived of the profits from their rich natural resource, many still live without running water or electricity, and their land and water have been poisoned by open pipelines, oil spills and gas fires.(...)
In response, and in order to keep the oil profits flowing into the government’s coffers, General Sani Abacha directed the Nigerian military to take aim at the Ogoni. They killed and tortured thousands. The Ogoni not only blamed Abacha for the attacks, they also accused Shell of treating the Nigerian military as a private police force, paying it to quash peaceful protest on Ogoni land, in addition to giving financial support and legitimacy to the Abacha regime.(...)
Then, on November 10, 1995—despite pressure from the international community, including the Canadian and Australian governments, and to a lesser extent the governments of Germany and France—the Nigerian military government executed Saro-Wiwa along with eight other Ogoni leaders who had protested against Shell. It became an international incident and, once again, people took their protests to their Shell stations, widely boycotting the company."(451-453)

"Shell’s mistreatment of Ogoni land is both an environmental and a social issue, because natural-resource companies are notorious for lowering their standards when they drill and mine in the Third World."(454)

"Part of Shell’s image overhaul has involved reaching out to black communities in Europe and North America, a strategy that has created bitter divisions in poor neighborhoods that are desperate for funding but suspicious of Shell’s motives."(456)

"At the same time as the anti-Shell campaigns were breaking out, the McLibel Trial, which had been in the docket for a few years already, was turning into an international situation. In June 1995, the trial was coming up to its first anniversary in court, when the two defendants, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, held a press conference outside the London courthouse. They announced that McDonald’s (which had sued them for libel) had made a settlement offer. The company offered to donate money to a cause of Steel and Morris’s choice if the two outspoken environmentalists on trial would stop criticizing McDonald’s; then everyone would leave the whole messy nightmare behind them. Steel and Morris defiantly refused the offer."(457)

"John Vidal had published his critically acclaimed book McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial; 60 Minutes had produced a lengthy segment about the trial; England’s Channel 4 had run a three-hour dramatization of it; and Franny Armstrong’s documentary McLibel: Two Worlds Collide had made the rounds of the independent film circuit (having been turned down by every major broadcaster because of—ironically—libel concerns)."(461)

"Lessons of the Big Three: Use the Courts as a Tool(...)
And no wonder: the courtroom is the only place where private corporations are forced to open shuttered windows and let the public look in."(462)

"Lessons of the Big Three: Use the Net to Shine a McSpotlight (...)
If the courts are becoming a popular tool to pry open closed corporations, it is the Internet that has rapidly become the tool of choice for spreading information about multinationals around the world. All three of the campaigns described in this chapter have distinguished themselves by a pioneering use of information technologies, an approach that continues to unnerve their corporate targets."(463)

(468) Chapter Seventeen - Local Foreign Policy - Students and Communities Join the Fray

"When high schools, universities, places of worship, unions, city councils and other levels of government apply ethical standards to their bulk purchasing decisions, it takes anticorporate campaigning a significant step beyond the mostly symbolic warfare of adbusting and superstore protesting. Such community institutions are not only collections of individual consumers, they are also consumers themselves—and powerful ones at that. Thousands of schools like St. Mary’s ordering thousands of uniforms each—it adds up to a lot of uniforms. They also buy sports equipment for their teams, food for their cafeterias and drinks for their vending machines. Municipal governments buy uniforms for their police forces, gas for their garbage trucks and computers for their offices; and they also invest their pension funds on the stock market. Universities, for their part, select telecommunications companies for their Internet portals, use banks to hold their money and invest endowments that can represent billions of dollars. And, of course, they are also increasingly involved in direct sponsorship arrangements with corporations. Most important, bulk institutional purchases and sponsorship deals are among the most sought after contracts in the marketplace, and corporations are forever trying to outbid one another to land them."(471-472)

"We don’t expect morality at the mall but, to some extent, we do still expect it in our public spaces—in our schools, national parks and municipal playgrounds.
So while it may be cold comfort to some, there is a positive side effect of the fact that, increasingly, private corporations are staking a claim to these public spaces. Over the past four years, there has been a collective realization among many public, civic and religious institutions that having a multinational corporation as a guest in your house—whether as a supplier or a sponsor—presents an important political opportunity. With their huge buying power, public and non-profit institutions can exert real public-interest pressure on otherwise freewheeling private corporations. This is nowhere more true than in the schools and universities."(472)

"As the brand backlash spreads, students are beginning to question not only sponsorship arrangements with the likes of McDonald’s and Pepsi, but also the less flashy partnerships that their universities have with the private sector. Whether it’s bankers on the board of governors, corporate-endowed professorships or the naming of campus buildings after benefactors, all are facing scrutiny from a more economically politicized student body. British students have stepped up a campaign to pressure their universities to stop accepting grant money from the oil industry, and in British Columbia, the University of Victoria Senate voted in November 1998 to refuse scholarship money from Shell. This agenda of corporate resistance is gradually becoming more structured, as students from across North America come together at annual conferences such as the 1997 “Democracy Teach-In: Campus Democracy vs. Corporate Control” at the University of Chicago, where they attend seminars like “Research: For People or Profit?” “Investigating Your Campus” and “What Is a Corporation and Why Is There a Problem?” In June 1999, student activists again came together, this time in Toledo, Ohio, in the newly formed Student Alliance to Reform Corporations. The purpose of the gathering was to launch a national campaign to force universities to invest their money only with companies that respect human rights and do not degrade the environment."(477)

"Tico Almeida, a senior at Duke University, explains that many students have a powerful reaction when they learn about the workers who produce their team clothing in free-trade zones."(481)

"All in all, students have picked up the gauntlet on the sweatshop issue with an enthusiasm that has taken the aging labor movement by storm. United Students Against Sweatshops, after only one year in existence, claimed chapters on a hundred U.S. campuses and a sister network in Canada."(483)

"Though selective purchasing agreements have been primarily an American phenomenon, they are beginning to pop up elsewhere."(486)

(495) Chapter Eighteen - Beyond the Brand - The Limits of Brand-Based Politics

"The conduct of the individual multinationals is simply a by-product of a broader global economic system that has steadily been removing almost all barriers and conditions to trade, investment and outsourcing. If companies make deals with brutal dictators, sell off their factories and pay wages too low to live on, it’s because there is nothing in our international trading rules to prevent them. But eliminating the inequalities at the heart of free-market globalization seems a daunting task for most of us mortals. On the other hand, focusing on a Nike or a Shell and possibly changing the behavior of one multinational can open an important door into this complicated and challenging political arena."(495)

"The same cannot be said of most multinationals in the natural-resource industries. Mining, natural gas, seed and logging multinationals all trade in virtually unbranded commodities that they sell to governments and corporate clients who then transform them into consumer goods. Since resource companies don’t sell directly to the public, they barely have to worry about their public image—a factor that brings up what is perhaps the most significant limitation of brand-based campaigns: they can be powerless in the face of corporations that opt out of the branding game.
So all over the world, children work in fields with toxic pesticides, in dangerous mines and in rubber and steel factories where small fingers and hands are sliced off or mangled in heavy machinery. Many of these children are producing goods for the export market: canned fish, tea, rice, rubber for tires. But their plight has never captured the world’s imagination like that of the kids who make soccer balls with swooshes on them or clothing for Barbie dolls, because their exploitation is unbranded, and therefore less identifiable, less visible, in our image-obsessed world."(499)

"How can you target a company that has absolutely no interaction with the general public?"(500)

"The Daishowa precedent serves as a powerful warning to all the other faceless, resource-based corporations that conduct their operations in relative obscurity. Investigative activists are starting to track the progress of harvested natural resources through the economy to the point that they turn into consumer goods; at that stage public pressure can be applied at the mall, superstore or grocery chain. Nickel turns into batteries, genetically modified agricultural crops into packaged foods, old-growth wood into furniture, gold into jewelry…. There is no harvested resource that does not, eventually, turn into a brand. This strategy has already proved enormously successful in the European campaign against genetically modified foods."(501)

"Talk about government, talk about values, talk about rights—that’s all well and good, but talk about shopping and you really get our attention."(503)

"Corporate codes of conduct are in many ways the most controversial byproduct of brand-based activism."(505)

"Codes of conduct are awfully slippery. Unlike laws, they are not enforceable. And unlike union contracts, they were not drafted in cooperation with factory managers in response to the demands and needs of employees. Without exception, they were drafted by public-relations departments in cities like New York and San Francisco in the immediate aftermath of an embarrassing media investigation:"(506)

"But the companies who rushed to adopt these codes made a serious miscalculation: they underestimated, once again, the amount of information flowing between workers and villagers in Africa, Central America and Asia and campaigns in Europe and North America—and so rather than “muzzling” anyone, the documents have only raised more questions."(506)

"In short, these hybrids of advertising copy and the Communist Manifesto backfired. The offshore watchdogs kept on barking—and no wonder."(506)

"Not surprisingly, by mid-1999 the entire sweatshop issue had degenerated into a maze of warring codes. Unions and religious groups who had been participating in the Clinton Apparel Industry Partnership walked out in protest at its weak enforcement and monitoring measures, and accused the human-rights groups that stayed in the Partnership of “selling out.”(509)

"Human rights, far from being protected by this process, are selectively respected: reforms seem to be implemented solely on the basis of where the spotlight’s beam was last directed. There is absolutely no evidence that any of this reform activity is coalescing into a universal standard of ethical corporate behavior that will be applied around the world; and no system of universal enforcement is on the horizon.
Instead, what we have with the proliferation of voluntary codes of conduct and ethical business initiatives is a haphazard and piecemeal mess of crisis management."(510-511)

"If the way multinationals like Nike and Shell have handled their respective scandals seems uncharacteristically chaotic for such streamlined operators, that chaos could well be deliberate. Even when the codes fail to stamp out abuses, what they do manage to do, rather effectively, is obscure the fact that multinationals and citizens do not actually share the same goals when it comes to deciding how to regulate against labor and environmental abuses. Even when there is genuine agreement on the need to address a problem (child labor, for instance), beneath the talk of ethics and partnerships the two parties are still engaged in a classic power struggle."(512)

"The subtext of the codes of conduct is a settled hostility toward the idea that citizens can—through unions, laws and international treaties—take control of their own labor conditions and of the ecological impact of industrialization."(512)

"There is something Orwellian about the idea of turning the enforcement of basic human rights into a multinational industry, as the private codes would do, to be checked like any other quality control. Global labor and environmental standards should be regulated by laws and governments—not by a consortium of transnational corporations and their accountants, all following the advice of their PR firms. The bottom line is that corporate codes of conduct—whether drafted by individual companies or by groups of them, whether independently monitored mechanisms or useless pieces of paper—are not democratically controlled laws. Not even the toughest self-imposed code can put the multinationals in the position of submitting to collective outside authority. On the contrary, it gives them unprecedented power of another sort: the power to draft their own privatized legal systems, to investigate and police themselves, as quasi nation-states."(513-514)

(515) Conclusion - Consumerism Versus Citizenship - The Fight for the Global Commons

"When we start looking to corporations to draft our collective labor and human rights codes for us, we have already lost the most basic principle of citizenship: that people should govern themselves."(518)

(524) Afterword - Two Years on the Streets: Moving Through the Symbols

"In very short order, college-age activists who started off concerned with the unethical behavior of a single corporation began questioning the logic of capitalism itself, and the effectiveness of trickle-down economics. Church groups who had previously demanded only the “forgiveness” of Third World debt were now talking about the failure of the “neoliberal economic model,” which holds that capital must be freed of all encumbrances to facilitate future development. Instead of reform, many were calling for the outright abolition of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. And adbusters were no longer satisfied with jamming a single billboard, but were busy creating new and exciting networks of participatory media like the Independent Media Centres, now in dozens of cities around the world."(524)

Na 11 september 2001 (de aanval op de TwinTowers):

"Rather than pushing governments to change clearly faulty policies, a fearful population was instead handing their politicians stacks of blank checks, freeing them to barrel ahead with more of the same: new tax cuts for wealthy corporations, new trade deals, new privatization plans. To engage in dissent in this climate was cast as unpatriotic."(525)

"Predictably, many political opponents of the anti-corporate position have begun using the symbolism of the attacks to argue that these acts of terrorism represent an extreme expression of the ideas held by the protesters. Some have put forward the dangerous arguments that the attacks were the far end of a continuum of anti-American and anti-corporate violence: first the Starbucks window in Seattle, then the WTC.
Others have gone even farther, arguing that free-market polices are the economic front of the war on terrorism. In this context, supporting “free trade” has been rebranded, like shopping and baseball, as a patriotic duty."(527)

"There is, of course, a glaring problem with this logic: the idea that the market can, on its own, supply solutions to all of our social problems has been profoundly discredited by the experience of September 11 itself. From the privatized airport security officers who failed to detect the hijackers’ weapons, to the private charities that have so badly bungled aid to the victims, to the corporate bailouts that have failed to stimulate the economy, market-driven policies are not helping to win the war on terrorism. They are liabilities. So while criticizing politicians may be temporarily out of favor, “People Before Profit,” the street slogan from the globalization protests, has become a self-evident and viscerally felt truth for many more people in the United States since the attacks."(527-528)

"The importance of a strong public realm is not only being rediscovered in rich countries like the United States, but also in poor countries, where fundamentalism has been spreading so rapidly. It is in countries where the public infrastructure has been ravaged by debt and war that fanatical sugar daddies like Osama bin Laden are able to swoop in and start providing basic services that are usually in the public domain: roads, schools, health clinics, even basic sanitation."(529)

"The question now facing this movement is how to transform these small, often fleeting initiatives into broader, more sustainable social structures. There are many attempts to answer this question but by far the most ambitious is the annual World Social Forum, launched in January 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF’s optimistic slogan is “Another World Is Possible” and it was conceived as an opportunity for an emerging movement to stop screaming about what it is against and start articulating what it is for."(532)

"Thankfully, anti-corporate and pro-democracy activists are engaged in no such fire and brimstone crusades. They are instead challenging systems of centralized power on principle, as critical of left-wing, one-size-fits-all state solutions as of right-wing market ones. It is often said disparagingly that this movement lacks ideology, an overarching message, a master plan. This is absolutely true, and we should be extraordinarily thankful."(536)

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