Stop funding sweatshops. Support the Black Spot Sneaker.
Would you be willing to spend $40 for shoes that associate the Nike swoosh logo with the abusive sweatshop factories it uses to manufacturer its products? If so, you should rush to blackspotsneaker.org today to pre-order a pair.
The Black Spot Sneaker is a fair trade shoe – that will be manufactured by workers paid a living wage. Nike has moved most of its manufacturing to China, Indonesia and more recently Vietnam – countries that lack worker protection laws and prohibit labor unions.
Black Spot Sneaker is a start up company created by Adbusters Magazine and its editor, Kalle Lasn. Lasn is also the author of Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge -- and Why We Must. Lasn has been the leader of a grass roots worldwide movement to assess the impact of advertising and consumerism on the public mood and behavior.
Nike’s ads are fun and cool. They have built a mega brand around the swoosh – a symbol that you might associate with the pseudo-empowerment phrase, “Just Do It.” But the reality behind the Nike brand is much darker.
The Black Spot Sneaker, also called the Unswoosher by Adbusters, is designed to deconstruct Nike’s brand and once and for all associate the Nike company and its leaders with the abusive, anti-labor, anti-union sweatshop manufacturing practices that they use to make their business more profitable.
In the Black Spot Sneaker ads that are slated to run on CNN and in the New York Times, they attack Nike and its CEO Phil Knight directly. “Phil Knight had a dream. He’d sell shoes. He’d sell dreams. He’d get rich. He’d use sweatshops if he had to. Then along came a new shoe. Plain. Simple. Cheap. Fair. Designed for only one thing: Kicking Phil’s ass. The Unswoosher.”
In a 1997 college alumni interview, Knight once said, “Sometimes I look out there [the Nike corporate campus] and I get goose bumps, but you better not spend much time doing that, because every six months is a new lifetime, and you've got to worry about what's coming up to stay ahead of the curve."
Perhaps this is why Nike has persistently sought manufacturing opportunities in countries that lack worker protections and prohibit labor unions. Knight’s net worth exceeds $5 billion but his imagination can see nothing greater than continuing Nike’s growth.
He says his biggest fear is that one of his grandkids might ask “What’s a Nike?” He is too small minded to concern himself with the welfare of other people’s lives, the lives of American workers he’s displaced, the lives of international workers he exploits for material gain or the possibility that his grandchildren may instead ask, “What have you done in your life to create a better global society and improve the lives of others?” How rich do you have to be before you gain a broader concern for others?
Knight closed his alumni interview saying, "If you want to spend time saying this is cool, you're going to get your ass kicked." That appears to be what the Black Spot Sneaker aims to do.
From Salon: "I have a grandiose plan," Lasn says. "My dream as a culture jammer is that a small group of people with a limited budget could have the power to choose a megabrand we don't like for valid reasons and uncool that brand, to show that we the people as a civil society have the power to keep a corporation honest. Now that would be something that would actually redefine capitalism."
"Nike's empowerment is pseudo-empowerment," he says. "But if we are actually able to launch an anti-brand, then the empowerment around the black spot is actually a real kind of empowerment: the power of us the people to have a business climate that is to our liking. It's the most beautiful kind of empowerment I can think of."
If you’re a union member or a union supporter, you should buy this shoe. The revolution starts today with the money in your wallet.