Keep in mind that 70% of all GDP is consumer spending and the 1% have arranged for most of that spending to go into their pocket. Consider for a moment the following, you need to buy a dress shirt to wear to work. You have several choices; you can buy from a big retailer, a thrift store, a garage sale, barter with friends or get off of craigslist or freecycle. Lets put aside garage sales, bartering and craigslist for the moment and consider the difference between buying retail and used sales.
So you walk into one of those big box stores and buy a shirt off the rack. Lets say the shirt costs $20.00. and lets say the store is doing what is called a keystone markup which means that their cost is half of what you will pay so their cost is $10.00. And lets say that after all the costs of running a business is paid for they have $4.00 left as a profit. Congratulations! You just put a weapon into their hands to be used against you and your community. Suppose the owners of that big box store oppose equal rights for our gay and lesbian brothers and sister or they oppose women having the right to choose. By doing business with our enemy, and make no mistake they are the enemy to our communities, you are giving they a weapon to be used against us.
On the other hand, you went and bought that shirt at a local thrift store. First thing that shirt is not going to cost $20.00 but probability $2.00 or $3.00 so you have saved $17.00 or $18.00. There there is who is this thrift store ? They are most likely people in your own community supporting a charity in your community. If you choose wisely, that thrift store is being run by an organization that supports you and your community. By supporting your local community, by buying used, you have 1) recycled a shirt that would have been thrown out and ended up in a land-fill 2) supported yourself and your local community and 3) kept a weapon out of the hands of our enemy. I want to delve a little further into the makeup of our enemy the 1%.
The power structure, the 1%, is not interested in any of the concerns of our community, they may or may not be aware of the various problems that exist here in this dying empire called America, that is irrelevant. Their primary and most likely only concern is the acquisition of wealth. The knowledge that a resource is growing scarce, resources like redwoods, water, etc. they see as an opportunity to increase their wealth and they need to hurry up and use up that resource before its gone. The model they are working with is an extractive model, to put it bluntly the rape of the natural world . In short the status quo have, either consciously or unconsciously, decided that the American Empire's days are numbered and to essentially strip mine what is left while they can and prepare for their exist.
The evidence of this is the number of wealthy individuals and corporations who are moving their assets out of America and into off-shore tax havens. Plus purchasing politicians who will pack the courts with their lackeys, pass laws to remove regulations, pass tax breaks for the 1%, and de-fund the agencies that protect our environment, work places and our health care.
So what can we do. We can fight fire with fire, turn their weapons against them. Remember there are more of us then there are of them. Here are a few ideas;
- Stop spending money. Buy only what you need and then only used. The corporations have sold people on the idea of shopping, ie. giving them your money, as entertainment.
- Buy at flea markets and garage sales. The prices are much cheaper than retail and no tax. I have a web site that lists the flea markets around America called Flea Market Finder.
- If you have a bank account close it and open an account with a local credit union preferably a not for profit one. In general credit unions keep the money in the community.
- If you have a car, learn how to fix it and keep it running. Drive your car as little as possible, walk or ride a bicycle, it's much healthier. Use public transportation. If you must buy a car, buy an older used one and again learn how to fix it.
- Grow your own food or join a community garden. Aside from not giving your money to the corporate supermarkets, community gardens help feed those who struggle to feed their families and your food will be healthier.
- Learn to can and preserve food. Growing your own food is good but unless you can keep it long time it is a waste. Learning to can is really not hard and there are many resources on how to preserve food on the Internet.
- Keep bees. Bees are really a miracle. They pollinate 75% of all the fruit, nuts and vegetables we eat and the bonus is they make honey. It's not hard to learn how to keep bees but it is best to partner up with experienced beekeepers. The good new is that beekeeping is have a resurgence in the last 7 years so it not hard to find beekeeper groups. Again searching the Internet is a good place to start.
- Get out of debit. Debit is modern day slavery, its what keeps you working that shit job you have. Imagine being debit free with enough money in the credit union to cover you expenses for a year. You quit that shit job and do the things you really want to do.
- Join with you community to help each other out. For example, do you need to trim some hedges but you don't own a hedger trimmer, ask around in your community, some one has one you can borrow. What you get out of it is you can trim your hedges without having to buy one, you shared with your neighbor, and maybe made a friend. The person who lent you the hedge trimmers got the karma of helping someone out, got back a newly cleaned hedge trimmer (you did remember to clean them, right?), and also maybe made a friend.