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On Monday, June 18th Gap unveiled a new promotional display at stores nationwide.
Faded black jeans hanging in front of an anarchist-red banner, the words "INDEPENDENCE," "FREEDOM," and "WE THE PEOPLE" scrawled across display windows in fake black spray paint.
Despite the fact that Gap makes their clothes in sweatshops, and have been subject to many demonstrations across the nation, they believe that the growing movement against corporate power is now large enough to begin marketing on. Now the protest itself can be essentially sold to consumers as an image.
However ridiculous this new marketing scheme seems at first, due to the tremendous power of corporate advertising over consumers, Gap just might pull it off, trivializing the movement against free trade, and selling jeans at the same time.
The effect that this new marketing could have on the movement is tremendous. If Gap succeeds, it will mean that every protest that is staged will be building on their new image, in effect turning protestors and activists into living, walking ads for Gap. Further, if Gap succeeds it may become a trendsetter, and other corporations might follow.
Currently, the majority of consumers are unaware of how Gap stands on "independence" and "freedom."
Gap inc. is the corporation under which Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic exist. All three companies have been notorious for paying sweatshop workers as little as 11 cents per hour in the third world, denying them basic health care and the right to form unions, as well as harassing, beating and forcing contraceptives on them. Sweatshop workers generally work 12-14 hour days (although sometimes 24) and can be as young as 12 years old.
Although many of Gap's clothes say "Made in USA" they are actually produced in Saipan, a US territory where normal US labor laws do not exist.
The Fisher Family that owns Gap also owns Mendicino Redwood Company, an active logging company that is deforesting the valuable redwood forests in Mendicino County, California. The Fisher family also has a notorious reputation for lobbying for privatizion of education and other public works in their home state of California.
It appears that to Gap inc., "Freedom" and "Independence" only applies to the market, not the people.For more info visit:
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Copyright (C) 2000 Richard Stallman
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