Dave Smith: Democracy still works locally

To the Editors:

Democracy still works locally. Thanks to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for responding to citizens by, hopefully, pounding the final nail in the Monster Mall coffin, and preserving our farm land.

Despite the silliness of some who tried to confuse the issue by misinterpreting the overwhelming vote against the mall, the faithful souls of smart growth and environmental sanity have once again prevailed. Thank you all.

Dave Smith

Breaking the Chains Campaign

Breaking the Chains Campaign is focusing consumers’ attention on how each purchasing decision can lead to a safer, greener, and more equitable society. Millions of green minded consumers around the world have broken the chains of corporate control in their own lives, by supporting organic, Fair Made, and locally produced products and businesses.

It is time for these individuals to come together as a single voice to break the influence of big chains, corporate agribusiness, and sweatshop driven economies the world over.

You can join the Breaking the Chains network, and become a part of this powerful force for change, by taking the Breaking the Chains Pledge, by distributing materials downloaded from this page, and by spreading the word to family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Why Break the Chains?

  • The quality and range of America’s daily essentials is being dictated and degraded by a powerful network of Brand Name Bullies and Big Box chains. By “outsourcing” from sweatshops in the factories and fields, by cutting corners on public health and the environment, and by sucking up billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, business behemoths such as Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Starbucks and others have constructed a vast global shopping mall of cheap goods and conveniences, reinforced by a non-stop, 24/7 glut of multi-media distractions.

Why Organic?

  • Excluding the last few decades, organic agriculture has been the only form of agriculture practiced on the planet. Under its simplest definition, organic agriculture is farming without synthetic chemicals.
  • After the Second World War, however, there was a movement towards mechanization and homogenization of farming. Larger chemical and energy-intensive farms spread across the landscape, utilizing billions of pounds of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and animal drugs.
  • Amidst this agricultural industrial revolution, several astute pioneers of the organic movement emerged, heralding the dangers of ecological insensitivity and calling for a return to the responsible farming methods of our past. A leader of this group, Lady Eve Balfour, provides a simple description of the counter-movement that emerged:
  • The criteria for a sustainable agriculture can be summed up in one word- permanence, which means adopting techniques that maintain soil fertility indefinitely, that utilize, as far as possible, only renewable resources; that do not grossly pollute the environment; and that foster biological activity within the soil and throughout the cycles of all the involved food chains.

Why Buy Local or Regional?

  • Today, much of our food, conventional and organic alike, is traveling literally thousands of miles from farm to fork. Along the way, food loses its nutritional value, burns fossil fuels, and contributes to global warming. Local foods provide exceptional taste and freshness, strengthen our local economy, and support endangered family farms.

Why Fair Made – Fairly Traded, Grown, Sewn, or Manufactured?

  • While local and organic local food, fiber and bodycare have made great strides in recent years, family farmers and farmworkers continue to struggle to make a living, sweatshops continue to proliferate in the fields and factories, and multinational corporations are gradually conquering organic businesses.

A Declaration of Interdependence

Breaking The Chains: Global Call To Action

Dear Friends,
We, the undersigned, call on ethically responsible people across the world to Break the Chains of self-destructive consumerism by boycotting Wal-Mart and other national and international chain stores, fast food restaurants, corporate coffeehouses, and products bearing the logos of the multinational Brand Name Bullies.

Wal-Mart and the multinational chains are colonizing our communities and our minds, North & South, East & West, rural and urban, killing off small businesses, exploiting workers and farmers, devastating the environment, and sowing a toxic culture of cheap goods and social unaccountability. Unless we stop this Wal-Martization of our communities, we can say goodbye to Fair Trade, family farms, independent businesses, workers rights, and environmental sustainability.

From Manhattan to Mexico, from China to Chile, farmers, consumers and independent businesses are resisting the invasion of Wal-Mart and the Corporate Chain stores and building grassroots power through local, green, and just commerce. The answer to Wal-Martization and so-called “Free Trade” is ethical consumer purchasing and political action–building and supporting local and community-based producers and businesses through solidarity, collective purchasing power, and mutual aid. Fair Trade, not Free Trade, must become the global norm, with organic and sustainable production leading the way. Local and community control over essential goods and services provides the only solid foundation for economic democracy, a sustainable environment, and public health.

Help us mark the beginning of the end for Wal-Mart and the Corporate Chains. Please join us as we step up the pace to re-localize and green a just global economy. Consumers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains!

In Solidarity,