Friday, May 10, 2013

Neighborhood Parasites

Our communities are increasingly fragmented - people silo themselves in fortified homes, scared of their neighbors and distrustful of authority.

Such conditions are perfect for the corporate parasite, feeding freely from frightened folk.

This relationship should be crystal clear, because it's a recurring business plan: corporate parasites perennially pick our pockets.

Disney Corporation tried to trademark 'Día de los Muertos' -- a day & phrase already a historic Mexican / Hispanic cultural holiday. Walt Disney has repeatedly sucked dozens of stories from our cultural commons while building legal trademark traps trying to perpetuate their parasitic programs. Click here to see a list of Disney pirated plots - thanks to OntheCommons.org 

But corporate bloodsucking is much more pervasive than the Disney scam. Many other beloved corporations infringe on our language, minds and culture by taking words & images already existing and grabbing exclusivity for themselves. Many corporations add nothing - they just capitalize a common generic dictionary word:
  • apple
  • target
  • caterpillar
  • amazon
  • dell
  • intel
  • oracle
  • staples
  • whirlpool
  • progressive
  • southern
  • gap
  • mosaic
... etc...

Why are we unable to get royalties for appropriating our words & images? Quite the opposite - our impoverished communities are soon begging at the corporate backdoor looking for 'charity' from these pirates...

The corporations infiltrate our trust systems. McDonalds has recently begun school benefits where they get schoolteachers to volunteer (after their already full & hectic workday), lending faces & reputations to what then seems a more community-oriented restaurant. But these mega-conglomerates systematically funnel away profits & operating budgets to far-off corporate operations, often in offshore foreign jurisdictions. Read more about McWeasels from Abby Zimet (link).

I despise the pervasiveness of electrical and phone wires in & across public areas. It's a filthy infringement. Let's demand ugly wires be put underground.

A wider struggle is appropriation of public space for advertising. Hawaii, Maine, Vermont & Alaska ban roadside billboards - only four out of fifty US states, but a good start... 

Don't accept being duped & used as corporate tools. We can be pirates as well. Alternately, we can work to create better communities and a more-solid sense of camaraderie and fun in humane neighborhoods. To improve surrounding conditions, we must recognize & challenge the worst parasites in our midst.

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