It’s a shame that more groups with a large platform didn’t avoid using Amazon services for the entire strike (10th-16th). Imagine if every company that normally streams (to hundreds or more people) on Twitch had been streaming on YouTube or another streaming competitor this last week? (It wouldn’t even need to really impact their audience.) Major websites, similar to previous gone ‘offline’ messages in support of boycotts before when it came to public policy, could have threatened to turn off their Amazon cloud servers for a week or even a day or redirect them to a page about the strikes.
Once again, we see everything through the lens of capitalist individualism and making economic choices to effect change (individuals are told to avoid shopping). “If we only use capitalism better then we can solve the problems created by capitalism”. Workers strike and their individual voices join to make the difference, corporations will choose to take action (one at a time). We must all support them via spending patterns… rather than via direct political action or demanding legal changes to prevent labour exploitation for any workers working for any of the companies (this can generate monopolies as a rolling list of boycotts and “upcoming good companies” who turn out to be exactly like the company they replaced, with no systemic changes that prevent the ability to exploit workers and so break the cycle).
And then next sale (Black Friday or whatever it is) we’ll see the same thing emerge again. Tying these boycotts to sales events seems to have a rather unfortunate effect of tying the demand for individual action to the time when other exploited workers who are barely treading water have previously been able to access discounts required to fully utilise what limited spending money is available. There’s a bit too much (unintended) overlap with “how dare these people be able to buy flat TVs - shame on you for wanting things which are associated with luxury”.
Yes, sales are meant to drive up total revenue; they’re a busy period. Sometimes they’re not even very good sales (or so restricted in quantity as to be useless for realistically getting access to deals on something you need). But also I can’t break the link with saving for months knowing that at some point that sale will come along and something we’d never have been able to afford normally would drop into the point where it’d finally be just about attainable. Something that felt quite different to scanning the discount aisle and near-expiry food to keep our regular expenses down. Yes, psychological tricks and the evils of capitalism, but also that Christmas gift (purchased months in advance) that would otherwise have been impossible to buy.
Boycott if you can, and each individual can make that judgement for themselves. Then keep writing to your elected officials about improving labour laws for all workers. Join your local party and put forward motions to shape policy. Start working on a guillotine? The future will not be built on nudging consumer trends. It’s not about you not taking a plastic straw, it’s about fining the 100 biggest polluters and prosecuting their executives (and seizing their billions to actually help people and reverse the damage they’re causing). Bezos will never use that $150bn to help the world (even if we tweak our spending patterns), we need to simply take it.