Friday, February 25, 2011

Support those who support us!

The list below is re-posted from the awesome site www.defendwisconsin.org, run by the TAA.  Because there has been such an outpouring of support for the protests and rallies by local businesses, it's important for us to thank them with our patronage. The following Madison businesses, among others, have provided food or other supplies for the sit-in and sleep-in at the capitol:
One theme that this post brings up and that I'd like to pursue more on this blog in the future is how to vote with our dollars, how to press for change with the power of the penny, and how to (insert other monetary metaphor here).  I'd like to advocate for the idea that it's important not only to know where our food comes from, but also where our money is going to.

A big debate that crops up time and time again in the food movement and in environmentalism more broadly is the role of conscious consumption and of individual action. And I know that many people more learned than I have argued against the value of individual action, and I totally agree that collective action is crucial (this week in Wisconsin more than ever!), but the small choices we make daily (like where to buy our food and which businesses to give our money to [and of course in areas that aren't consumptive!]) are just as crucial. They are, in the words of Wendell Berry, what preserve "qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence."

I know that's somewhat vague and muddled and not immediately connected to the issue of supporting local businesses that have supported the Wisconsin protests, but it's all tied together in one mass of inextricable ideas that I hope to explore more in the future. What do you all of you think about this tangled mess I've introduced here?


And here, the Berry quotation in its fuller context:
      Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.      
     - Wendell Berry "A Poem of Difficult Hope"

3 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a great quote. Very appropriate in light of the current situation. Thanks for sharing that.

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  2. You're welcome! Wendell Berry knows what he's talking about. (and, unrelatedly, it looks like there's only one space after your periods in that comment!)

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  3. There's a bit of a paradox involved, don't you think? At the risk of being a bit cliche: of course, mass action is more useful than individual action, but where does mass action start if not with some individual standing up and speaking out? And where does that individual find the strength to stand up on difficult issues

    In my personal experience, there's a continuum between recycling plastic bottles, riding bicycles, refusing to buy new electronics or to consume meat, running a website, showing films, and whatever comes next.

    I didn't look at the link yet, so I don't know which Friedman is behind it(Milton or Thomas or some other) but, either way, isn't it a little odd for an individual to write an article on the inefficacy of individual action?

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