By Lawrence B. Glickman
Faraway from ephemeral purchaser traits, paying for eco-friendly and keeping off sweatshop-made garments characterize the latest issues on a centuries-long continuum of yank buyer activism. A sweeping and definitive heritage of this political culture, purchasing strength lines its lineage again to our nation’s founding, revealing that americans used deciding to buy energy to aid factors and punish enemies lengthy earlier than the notice boycott even entered our lexicon.Taking the Boston Tea celebration as his start line, Lawrence Glickman argues that the rejection of British imports by means of innovative patriots inaugurated a continual sequence of customer boycotts, campaigns for secure and moral intake, and efforts to make items extra greatly available. He explores abolitionist-led efforts to eschew slave-made items, African American customer campaigns opposed to Jim Crow, a Thirties refusal of silk from fascist Japan, a number of modern boycotts, and rising hobbies like reasonable exchange and sluggish meals. Uncovering formerly unknown episodes and reading recognized occasions from a clean viewpoint, Glickman emphasizes either swap and continuity within the lengthy culture of customer activism. within the technique, he illuminates moments whilst its multifaceted trajectory intersected with fights for political and civil rights. He additionally sheds new gentle on activists’ courting with the patron stream, which gave upward thrust to lobbies just like the nationwide shoppers League and shoppers Union in addition to ill-fated laws to create a federal customer safety Agency.A strong corrective to the inspiration shopper society degrades and diminishes its citizenry, deciding to buy energy offers a brand new lens wherein to view the heritage of the us.
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Additional resources for Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America
For example, shortly after the labor movement developed a set of consumer tactics in the late nineteenth century—quickly dubbed the “labor boycott”—their opponents in law and business developed antiboycott leagues, which not only condemned the causes for which labor stood, but successfully deﬁned the tactic as illegal. ” From the late 1930s through the 1950s, the consumer movement was, along with the labor and Civil Rights movements, dogged with the charge that it was communist led and inspired, and, like these other movements, it underwent internal purges as a result of these charges.
Moreover, nineteenth-century consumers generally aimed to assist not themselves as consumers but those whose lives they believed they could improve through coordinated acts of consumption. In the early decades of the twentieth century, by contrast, not just consumption, but also consumers themselves became a key focus. Deﬁning consumers as a class in a pluralistic society, consumer activists came to see the politics of consumption primarily as a means of protecting and defending the rights of this new class.
After all, the “consumer movement” consisted of both the activists of the left-wing LWS and their enemies in the 22 introduction conservative product-testing organization CR. Its single most important organization, CU, had multiple and not always consistent agendas. Examining CU in light of the history of consumer activism highlights these diverse and conﬂicting agendas. Studying consumer activism over the long term not only allows us to look backward in time; it also broadens the conception of what counts as consumer activism and leads us to recognize that this phenomenon is more complex, diffuse, and contested than a study of twentieth-century consumer organizations alone would suggest.
Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America by Lawrence B. Glickman