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Epistulae Ciceronis
A Perfectly Squiffy Jag

Consumer responsibility vs. social fad

22.01.06 Sunday
02:57 pm - Consumer responsibility vs. social fad Previous Entry Share Next Entry
You know those Che Guevara t-shirts that every hipster and social rebel owns? Is it a political message or just a fashion trend? What if it was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)? Or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (Farc)? In other words, modern rebel organizations that are deamed terrorists by the United States.

Now, regardless of your interest, what if buying those t-shirts meant you really were supporting those organizations - not just in image, but also with a $12USD contribution? That's precisely what a Danish company is doing (despite Danish law that could put supporters of "terrorist" organizations in jail for ten years). [Source; thanks to lormagins for the link].

In some ways, this raises similar questions raised in my post regarding the Christian boycott of Microsoft. On one hand, using the dollar to "vote" for causes that you find valuable is the essence of capitalism. On the other hand, as with the Che Guevara t-shirts, something like this could easily be fueled by apathy, fashion fad or a desire to be viewed as independent -- as opposed to a genuine support for the political agendas of these organizations.

Likewise, while the definition of terrorist is arguable (remember: the U.S. revolutionary soldiers were often seen as the equivelent of terrorists by England) it's also true that many of these organizations are (regardless of their ideologies) no more than organized crime; others represent very real social interests and ideals. It's often hard to tell what their ultimate agenda (or final operating practices) will be until they are in power. There are plenty of cases (such as Yugoslavia or Rwanda) where the stated ideals took a back seat to state sponsored genocide (for instance).

Thoughts?


{int i; i=43; i++}

comments
[User Picture]
tyrven [22.01.06::11:40]
Of some relevence, I want this shirt.
[User Picture]
lormagins [23.01.06::01:24]
that's fucking awesome. lemme know when you find out where it can be bought. better yet, make some up on cafe press or something.
gfrancie [23.01.06::02:36]
[User Picture]
littledarkrose [22.01.06::11:50]
Well, this may not be what you were looking for, but here are my thoughts:

1) You misspelled "Guevara".

2) In your other post, you misspelled "Tutsi".

/irrelevant, snarky comment with no real discussionary value

xo,
your friendly neighborhood grammar/spelling nazi/dork ;)
[User Picture]
tyrven [23.01.06::12:51]
Which is funny because I spelled Guevara right when searching for it (to get the t-shirt image).
brothersterno [22.01.06::11:55]
2 points:
The difference between terrorist/rebel and freedom fighter is simply whose side you're on. The US revolutionalr soldies were terrorists to the british, and they sent the army after them to kill them, which they did. mostly. until it became too expensive.

I think that this sort of conflict has been occuring for as long as there were human societies, and we just have a lot of ways to describe it now. of course governments are going to fight against people who question their legitimacy, because all that governments have is the power to kill, and really, we let them have the rest of the power becasue it suits us.
[User Picture]
tyrven [23.01.06::12:54]
Totally. Well, i don't know that the only power that governments have is to kill, but I agree that defending the establishment is key to the power and legitimacy of the establishment.
brothersterno [23.01.06::01:05]
brothersterno [23.01.06::01:10]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:11]
[User Picture]
lormagins [23.01.06::01:23]
i haven't responded to your comments on my post yet because i just took a break from work.

katethoughts and i had a brief discussion on this - on the one hand, if you genuinely believe in and support an organization, should you be kept from expressing your support and/or donating money to the effort? christian groups wear "wwjd" t-shirts and other paraphernalia and give lots of money to support missionary groups in other countries to try to gain more converts (which could be seen as infiltration) as well as fund groups in other countries where the christian group might be more violent (such as in the philippines) or domestically violent groups who shoot doctors and harass patients outside abortion clinics (which IMO constitutes terrorism). but yet i see no regulation by congress of these activities. prior to the patriot act, people in this country enjoyed the freedom to bleive in what they wished and support what groups they wished.

on the other hand, is it okay to fund *any* organization that promotes violence or organized crime? keeping in mind that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, where do we draw a line on this? do we allow people the freedom to choose who they support? wouldn't it be unconstitutional (within the freedom of speech/assembly area) to prevent people from supporting particular factions?

i'm not saying i condone violence by these groups, but i think that if we're going to allow the people to put a wackjob like bush into power (and exercising their freedom to support and donate to whomever they like) then who are we to prevent someone else from doing the same? we ourselves were freedom fighters/terrorists in the taking of this country from the british - we engaged in guerrilla warfare and underground fighting. are we just a pot calling the kettle black?

of course, you do raise an interesting point that there will be people who support this just because it's trendy to have to shirt, and not necessarily because they believe in the cause. but you could say this for any charity organization or any fashion trend that preys on sweatshops in developing countries - is that a form of corporate terrorism to support it? people will always follow things "just because" and so you would never be able to regulate that. i have more concerns about regulating those who genuinely believe in these causes, because as much as i might disagree with the cause, the people have a right to choose whom to believe in and support.
[User Picture]
ladyfalcon [23.01.06::02:06]
I once saw a comic strip where someone asked a person wearing a Che t-shirt if they were just ignorant of history, or actually evil enough to support a murderer who would set up labor camps and mass executions. Naturally, the answer was 'ignorant', as I suspect it is in almost every case.

It does make me laugh, though, that somewhere, some Capitalist is getting fat and rich off Che's iconic image. It's even better when they add Mickey Mouse ears. Then I just fall off my chair guffawing.

(Hello. I friended you randomly last night. If that's not okay, I'll de-friend).
[User Picture]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:11]
That's wonderful, I love it. And welcome :)
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katethoughts [23.01.06::02:12]
I thought the design was cool and want a shirt just because it'd look cool with my dark jeans. I'm just not so into the whole Homeland Security knock knock...
[User Picture]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:13]
Why do you have to hide behind fashion? Why can't you just admit that you support TERRORISM?
katethoughts [24.01.06::04:21]
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gfrancie [23.01.06::02:32]
I always had this idea for a bracelet that would say WWPD (What would Pinochet Do?)
I think it would be a big seller and inspiration to folks everywhere.

I also think there would be a market for "Stalin Rocks" shirts and there could be a picture of him stepping on ungrateful peasants. Or maybe a picture of a tractor.


"The inquisition: extreme BBQ" (another t-shirt idea)
[User Picture]
lormagins [23.01.06::02:50]
stalin rocks! (picture of the iron hand throwing horns)

you and jeremy really need to open up a cafepress shop.
gfrancie [24.01.06::12:03]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:17]
[User Picture]
caseyplusplus [23.01.06::03:51]
Someone needs to make a Great Terrorists series of tshirts. I'd totally rock an Osama Bin Laden tee. That or someone needs to make a tshirt with a picture of Osama with the text "Terrorism is Sexy" (or you could replace "terrorism" with "Terrism" to add a little Bush hatin' to the mix).
(Anonymous) [23.01.06::08:50]

2752 INNOCENT peopled died because of Bin Laden's chicken shit sucker punch. Wearing a Bin Laden shirt snidely rubs 9/11 in the faces of the dead, the families whose lives are forever ruined, and any American with common sense.
tyrven [23.01.06::08:56]
meowlet [24.01.06::03:34]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:06]
meowlet [24.01.06::04:09]
tyrven [24.01.06::08:55]
meowlet [31.01.06::07:20]
(Anonymous) [24.01.06::07:23]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:21]
(Anonymous) [24.01.06::07:33]
lormagins [23.01.06::03:45]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:22]
[User Picture]
crescimento [23.01.06::07:46]
yes! ive tried telling people about that shirt before and swore to them it wasnt just a figment of my imagination.

i think im going to go the neo-che route though and get a marcos shirt.
[User Picture]
I fucking hate those shirts. In other news, - meowlet [23.01.06::06:11]
[User Picture]
Re: I fucking hate those shirts. In other news, - herbaliser [23.01.06::07:06]
meowlet [23.01.06::07:29]
meowlet [24.01.06::03:32]
herbaliser [24.01.06::03:36]
tyrven [24.01.06::09:23]
meowlet [31.01.06::07:06]
Re: I fucking hate those shirts. In other news, - tyrven [24.01.06::09:23]
meowlet [31.01.06::07:05]
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