Politicians don’t always listen to their citizens and constituents over the interests of big business. Economic strikes and boycotts get attention and help promote social change in tandem with other actions. 

Worldwide boycotts of South Africa helped to end apartheid in the 1990s. From 1985 to 1990, over 200 U.S. companies cut all ties with South Africa, resulting in a loss of $1 billion dollars in direct American investment as businesses, investors, and money left the country.  Musical artists such as Run DMC, U2, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, and many others helped bring world-wide attention to the cause. They organized a performance boycott of Sun City, a resort in South Africa catering to wealthy white tourists, vowing “I ain’t gonna play Sun City”

In the US, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycotts of the 1960s helped end racial segregation in the US. Arizona lost an estimated $45 million dollars in convention business due to a boycott called after passage of SB 1070 in 2010, a tough law targeting illegal immigration.  Most recently boycotts of the state of North Carolina over their anti-transgendered ‘bathroom bill’ (HB 2) cost the state and it’s businesses an estimated $3.76 billion dollars in losses, and helped to get the bill rescinded.

Politicians don’t always listen to the will of the people. When you can become President with a minority of votes, why care what the majority thinks? But when money is involved, they notice. Boycotting Christmas gifts, and the related financial losses, will garner attention for the climate strike cause of getting world leaders to act.

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