Civil disobedience is homemade pants!

A few months ago I read a post by my friend Seema about making her own pants (or underpants as you would say in the US I think) that prompted me to start writing this entry on my blog. Somehow I didn’t finish it and has taken me until now to get back to it, but finally here I am…

Now, you might be wondering how making your own underwear resulted in thoughts of civil disobedience…

Apparently my homemade socks could bring down the government!

Apparently my homemade socks could bring down the government!

Well, Seema mentioned something called ‘The Compact‘, which started out as an agreement between a group of friends in San Francisco not to buy anything new for a year, with the exception of a few things, including underwear. Seema felt that it should be possible to make your own pants and thus further reduce the purchase of new items. I have previously written about buying secondhand socks, but perhaps secondhand pants are a step too far! The answer, therefore, is to make your own, and Seema tells you how.

This still doesn’t really explain the link to civil disobedience, does it? But, stick with me, I’m getting there.

In researching The Compact I discovered that this attempt to reduce consumerism and do something to live more sustainably has been widely criticised, because it does nothing to support ‘the economy’. If you watch the news or read newspapers in the UK, US and probably any industrialised country, you will know that governments want ‘growth’. And by that they mean more manufacturing, more purchasing, more exports. For example an article in the Star Tribune states:

The American economy depends on consumers willing to buy the latest in fashions, furnishings and flat-screen TVs. Indeed, in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, shopping was cast as a patriotic duty, a way to help prevent the economy from tipping into a recession.

And that sums it up – if you don’t shop and buy more stuff, you are going to bring down your country… the whole of the economic system that many of our countries rely on will no longer function. What can be more civilly disobedient than that?

But, I hear you ask, do I really want to bring down the economy of my country, even if it is by making my own knickers and not buying that new mobile phone that will make my life worth living once more? Well, for many people, the current economy is not working well – there is a huge gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and this is becoming increasingly difficult to govern. In addition, common sense tells us that all economies cannot continue to grow indefinitely – surely we should be looking at stable, sustainable economies, where the needs of all can be met without constantly trying to exploit either groups of people or the planet? Buying new things is driven, to a great extent by large corporations wanting to make money (I direct you once again to The Story of Stuff – do watch it if you haven’t already) rather than their desire to make you happy!

I have to confess that, as an inveterate bibliophile, I can’t bring myself to promise not to buy anything new, but I think that we could all reduce, reuse and repair in order to make the world a better place… and if that means I’m bringing down our whole economic system, then I’m fine with that

-oOo-

If you are interested in The Compact, there is an online community

And if you want to find out more about economics and alternatives to constant consumption, you can do no better than to visit the website of the New Economics Foundation… sounds dull, but it really isn’t!

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15 Comments

  1. Linda Winn

     /  February 26, 2013

    YES! I squirm round my ‘book habit’ by buying secondhand whenever it is possible, getting the library to order it IF I can convince myself to wait, but every so often I just have to do it and buy new. Have you come across ‘HIVE’ – so that ordering a new book is at least supporting independent booksellers? Linda

    Reply
  2. Fantastic, I love it, but might find knitted knickers a bit itchy. But I am all up for civil disobedience and looking for ways to bringing down the economy. Have you read the book Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstien? Great read, and i also just finished reading mark Boyle’s Moneyless Man another interesting and brave man. the there is the film NO Impact Man, which I thought was great as it was of two big spenders who decided to lower their impact almost completely (or as much as humanly possible in an apartment in New York) and the film follows their progress.

    Civil disobedience is home made pants!!!! that is a great phrase :-))

    Reply
  3. I adore this post! I’ve shared it to my Sustainability Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/390839387676595/?bookmark_t=group

    Reply
  4. lorddavidprosser

     /  March 5, 2013

    Great Post. Civil Disobedience 1 Government 0.

    Reply
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