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+2 votes

I've been trying to detach myself from the system lately. That is, I stopped buying big clothing brands, I don't go to Starbucks or McDonald's anymore, I buy my groceries from local farmers instead of the supermarket, etc.

I want to reach the point where I am completely independent from the system, and if I spend money is because I want to give it to people who really need it, not big companies.

There is only one problem. I need a phone and I don't want to give my money to Apple or Samsung or other companies. How do you deal with this problem? What phone do you have? I was thinking I could buy second-hand phones, but I'm not sure.

The same problem applies to computers. What computer do you use?

Also, one last thing, what do you think about Netflix?

Maybe these are stupid questions, but I'm still learning, I hope you will understand!
i understand the desire to "vote with your dollars", to personally boycott companies you find particularly abhorrent. which is ultimately what you are talking about, if i am not mistaken. it is a completely reasonable reaction to being forced to live in a capitalist world.

i guess all i would say to that is: don't let yourself be deluded about the impact of your individual actions. your dollars (spent elsewhere) will not impact those corporations in the least. but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it - by all means do what feels good to you.
just a related anecdote:  i take some weird sort of pleasure from leaving a dump in walmart's bathrooms, and then pocketing a few items and leaving. none of that is going to impact walmart's bottom line, yet i get undeniable pleasure from it. just a reminder that your actions need not serve any other purpose than exactly that. to the hoards that would insist your actions must be in line with some ideological "anarchist" purity... fuck em!
It's fairly hard to avoid buying stuff from those big companies since they own quite a lot of the smaller companies and are intertwined in ways that it's hard to figure out or know about. So like trying to boycott this or that company is hard since you likely will be buying their products unbeknownst to you and ultimately doesn't do much to harm them. I understand your desire too, but I don't think it really effects these corporations much. Do whatever feels best to you.

If I use netflix, I use my dad's account and for movies/tv shows. I use a site to stream them so I don't have to download anything and get one of those dmca notices

1 Answer

+2 votes
As funkyanarchy said in their comment, our individual consumer choices have very little impact on capitalism and ecological devastation writ large. I don't say that to try to dissuade you from your choices, but to hopefully make easier the reckoning with the reality that one can not really drop out by half measures.

If you are choosing to have a cellular phone, you are choosing to be using technology developed by very large and terrible corporations, running on a device and infrastructure predicated on slavery and exploitation of the earth. I don't say that to sound harsh, it is just a reality. A used phone perhaps mediates that, but it certainly doesn't negate it. The same is true of most of the other lifestyle choices you mentioned. The same holds true of computers, cars, etc.

Knowing that, I am absolutely not discouraging you from making the best choices for your situation, but to recognize that those choices are going to be more about your feelings than the actual impact on various systems of oppression and exploitation. One of the traps that people can fall into very easily is seeking out some sort of total anarchist purity, and the truth is there ain't no such thing so long as capitalism, civilization, and the state continue to function.

I would encourage you to think about those best choices as situational, and based on your own ethical, or (eww!) moral framework, meaning that you playt the best you can with the cards you were dealt at each hand (example - I hate Walmart, because they are terrible. I have been shopping in a Walmart in the past month because it was what was available and met my needs in the moment. I did so with no fear of going to anarchist hell or being denounced, because I know that anyone who denounced me would not be an anarchist whose opinions I value).

PS - I don't have Netflix, so I don't know. Someone I know just gave me their ex's mom's Netflix log in and password, so maybe now I do have Netflix? I haven't tried it yet.
by (22.1k points)
edited by

i guess i just want to add to the above responses that's it is good to be in tension with the choices you make and the options you have. i think that i would say that the anarchist thing is the attention and the desire and the intention to find better ways to meet your needs than the ways easiest to find in the world around  you.

the above responders (and i as well) sound relaxed about this because we're used to that conflict, but the conflict is still alive for us. it doesn't go away. it's part of who we are. if you haven't been living with it for years it still feels like you're proving yourself (and you are, actually, if only to yourself--the most important person in this question).

let me know if that doesn't make sense...

(i find clothes on the street, mostly, and don't own a cell phone--lucky that way--etc. left to my own devices, i would only pirate shows (but someone else has a netflix account that i use). obviously i have a computer... and spend way too much time on it!)

" the desire and the intention to find better ways to meet your needs than the ways easiest to find in the world around  you."

yep, i think that is a huge point. there are almost always choices other than the ones which seem inevitable/unavoidable. most folks simply aren't interested in straying that far from the life that has been ingrained and imposed, even if they can envision such a thing. i wish that were not the case.
Are the choices we make a part of prefigurative @?
This is really helpful. It clarifies a purpose and a result expected.