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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Friday, August 06, 2010

    Boycottorama: A roundup of ongoing boycotts of merit

    Boycotts only work if done persistently AND if those calling for a boycott can offer alternatives to the businesses being boycotted. I'd like to remind my readers of some boycotts that are ongoing with my suggestions of alternatives.

    I should note before giving my personal boycott/alternatives suggesions, you can investigate companies on your own through Responsible Shopper. Just click on the industry you want info on and you will see a list of companies with ratings in various categories so you can see which companies suit your standards on issues that matter to you.

    I also want to suggest that another way to shop your values is through Alonovo.com, a company designed so you can enter the criteria that matter most to you and get a list of companies that match those criteria. It is a great way to shop your values.

    With those suggestions of even better ways of deciding where to put your money, I provide my own suggestions:

    Gas and Oil:

    Simply put there is no GOOD company to buy your gasoline from. The best thing to do is to cut back as much as you can on gasoline consumption. But there are better and worse companies.

    BOYCOTT LIST:
    Exxon/Mobil...the worst...worse even than BP
    BP...including Arco (a company I once favored!)
    Shell...horrible practices in Nigeria and many other nations, killing people and the environment.
    Chevron/Texico...Bad environmenal practices and close ties to the Burma dictators

    ALTERNATIVES:
    Citgo
    Sunoco
    Hess
    Conserv Fuels
    Propel Fuels


    Big Box Stores:

    BOYCOTT:
    Wal-Mart...most of us know this one is pretty obvious
    Target...this boycott is new, but Target has been supporting some seriously awful Teabaggers these days, so they get added.

    ALTERNATIVE:
    CostCo...has pretty good labor practices as big box stores go.


    Supermarkets:

    BOYCOTT:
    WalMart/Sam's Club...again, an obvious target.
    Whole Foods...in addition to being very overpriced and having some really poor quality produce, Whole Foods has been aggressively anti-labor and anti-healthcare reform

    ALTERNATIVE:
    Trader Joe's...one of my favorite places to shop! In fact it ranks among the best companies in America in terms of social responsibility. Prices and quality are damned good as well.
    Your Local Food Co-op...another one of my favorite places to shop


    Banking/Investment:

    BOYCOTT:
    Bank of America...one of the worst out there. The worst at predatory lending, anti-banking reform, worst in customer service, and using bailout money for executive bonuses. More here.
    Wells Fargo...also one of the worst for customer service complaints and predatory lending...see also here.
    CitiGroup

    ALTERNATIVES:
    USAA...some of the best customer service and lowest interest rates I have seen.
    TD Bank...currently my favorite bank. Love their customer service.
    Your Local Credit Union


    Of course special mention has to be made of the current Boycott Arizona movement due to their new racist law (currently in legal limbo).


    Some Companies of Note:

    A few random bits of information gleaned from Responsible Shopper.

    Diageo is one of the better companies for alcohol. They sell Guiness, Red Stripe, Hennesy, Gordon’s Gin, Bailey’s, Godiva Liqour, Romana Sambura, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan’s, Goldschlager, Jose Cuervo, Crown Royal, Sterling Vineyard wines, J&B, Johnnie Walker, Buchanans, Bullit, and Cardhu...being a fan of Guiness I am happy to know they are one of the better companies.

    Heiniken is another one of the better alcohol companies. They sell, among other brands, Heineken Lager, Amstel Light, Buckler, Dos Equis, Tecate, Sol, Carta Blanca, Bohemia and Newcastle Brown Ale...again, since I am a fan of Newcastle, I am happy to know this.

    By contrast, Anheuser Busch InBev and Miller/Coors are among the worst alcohol companies. I think I can boycott them without too much problem.

    BOOKS: Borders and Barnes and Noble are better than Amazon in terms of social responsibility.

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