Volume 92, Issue 51

Thursday, December 3, 1998

shifting alignment


Re: Anti-consumerism not welcomed, Nov .25

To the Editor:

This letter is written in response to the USC's decision to not allow Oxfam to set up a booth in the University Community Centre promoting "Buy Nothing Day," a grassroots campaign organized by student and consumer advocacy groups all over the country.

Pete Hill states that, "Buy Nothing Day was in conflict with previous corporate interests... it must be balanced." Balanced how? Sure, we owe it to vendors to provide a fair commercial environment, where people can buy and sell as they please, but we owe an even greater debt to the students of this school who make the very presence of vendors possible. We owe it to them to let their views go heard in the UCC without fear of subversion by larger powers.

Mr. Hill's theory on the presence of commercial vendors contributing to the reduction of student fees is certainly plausible, but student fees seem almost trivial compared to the amount of money that UCC vendors make from students each year. The resulting implications if the USC were to allow the promotion of "Buy Nothing Day" in the UCC are costly in terms of financial loss, but that's exactly the problem. For fear of threatening or even irking corporate interests with a stake in the UCC, student concerns are neatly swept aside, or in this case, "compromised."

We owe it to ourselves as critical consumers and members of a socially conscious academic environment to press the "panic button" when we see awareness for the greater of our public benefit quashed because they aren't necessarily in harmony with corporate interests. That process is against the very essence of a progressively democratic "consumer" culture.

This entire letter was written under the assumption that the "Community" in University Community Centre represents the academic and social community, not the business community.

Efe Saydam

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998