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Thursday

Forget Big Brother, Boycott Russia and Sochi Olympics Sponsors

Big Brother loves Facebook, really loves it. Besides the fact that anonymous security officials can monitor your online opinions and friends, keep tabs on where you are, what you're doing, what you're thinking, Facebook is a great way for its users to vent. Putin sends Pussy Riot to jail because they don't dig his new, medieval-style blasphemy law? 'Like' (but ironically). Gay people are getting beaten and killed in Russia every day because Putin gives his tacit consent to such deeds? 'Like'. 'Share'. Comment. "Down with this sort of thing." And it's done. We've given out, but within the walled garden that is Facebook. Big Brother loves Facebook because that's where our passions are trapped, in endless circles of liking and sharing, going round and around the network. But going nowhere really.

As the Sochi Winter Olympics get under way, it's time to move beyond Facebook and do something real. In these horrid times, money is all that matters, certainly to the people who run the world. So we need to hit Putin in his pocket, affect the Russian economy and the corporations that help fund Sochi 2014. Russia's main source of income is natural gas and Germany, France and Italy rely on Russian gas for energy, which means the EU will do absolutely nothing to challenge Russia's homophobia. So it's up to us, the consumers.

Where to start: Even though Russian vodka is the best vodka, boycott it. This means no Stolichnaya or Russian Standard. Don't buy it as gifts. Don't drink it in bars. Tell your friends to stop drinking it.

Boycott Sochi 2014 Sponsors
Then look at the sponsors of the Sochi Winter Olympics: McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Dow Chemicals, Procter and Gamble ('Proud sponsor of mums'? Don't make me laugh, you're the proud sponsor of homophobic tyrants), Visa, NBC, Omega and Atos (French IT consultants). Can you avoid spending money on them, at least for the duration of the Olympics? Can you remember their names so that, when making future purchase decisions, Russian discrimination and its corporate sponsorship leave a lingering taste of fear and horror in your mouth? AT&T, a key sponsor of the US team has stated that "We stand against Russia’s anti-L.G.B.T. law". So it can be done. Corporations can take a moral stand and, in the longer term, I'm confident that they will benefit financially. But the first step is to shame the corporations who look the other way in their insane quest for never ending growth.

Then look at homophobia and religious discrimination closer to home. Stand up for the human rights of all humans everywhere. Challenge the religious, the media, the politicians and the corporations who, between them, have made the world a hate-filled toxic dump.

For sure, Facebook is good for expressing opinions, building networks, learning about stuff. But don't let it end there. Look over the wall. Do something real.


Within Facebook's walled garden, like this page and share it out: https://www.facebook.com/Boycott2014WinterOlympicGamesInRussia
Join the Spartacus Project at https://www.facebook.com/aslavenomore

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