From Jeff Kasanoff ’15:
On Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 1:30 P.M, Anything But Coke, a campaign we started over the break, is organizing a peaceful protest for Wesleyan students to come together to speak out against the injustices in Russia and the corporations that support them.
This past June, President Vladimir Putin of Russia signed into law a bill banning the public support of the LGBT community. Since then, violent hate crimes against the LGBT community have dramatically increased. Now, there is talk of a bill to take children away from same sex parents – who up until now have been living openly and peacefully. LGBT citizens have been forced to flee the country.
Despite all this, Coca-Cola is expanding in Russia and openly supporting them, internationally, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Their sponsorship sends a clear message to the gay citizens of America and abroad, that discriminatory legislation is acceptable.
Until the Coca-Cola Company takes a stand against this injustice, we have no choice but to boycott their products. So far, over 3000 people have pledged to drink Anything But Coke.
Protestors will meet on Sunday in the Usdan lobby, and then move to High Street to dump donated Coca-Cola products into the gutters as an act of rebellion. This demonstration is one of several to be enacted at universities and colleges across the country. Help put financial pressure on corporations to use their power to make a difference. Learn more about the campaign here.
Date: Sunday, Jan 26
Time: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Place: Usdan Lobby, then High Street
The Middletown Coke Party!
I support your ideals and goals, but two problems:
1. Dumping Coke into the city storm drainage system accomplishes nothing (other than make you look silly), creates more problems for water treatment down the line by the city/state, and is nothing more than facilitating pollution. It is also illegal. The only products allowed to be dumped into storm drains are stormwater runoff and a small list of exceptions to the law (which do not include Coke or for protest purposes). The very minor symbolism this act would have is ultimately harmful, illegal, and childish. It is not an act of rebellion nor is it civil disobedience. If you feel you must throw away a Coke product, please dump it down a sink drain, and not in the middle of High Street.
2. As another commenter pointed out, singling out Coke for boycott seems arbitrary. Visa is another sponsor; will you stop using your credit and debit cards, or cut them up and dump the plastic pieces in the street? GE sponsors the Olympics, too; will you stop using the bajillions of products the company produces, including probably half of the things in your dorm rooms? In addition, attempting to penalize Coke for operating and expanding its business in Russia is not rational. This would be no different than boycotting a company simply for doing business in Texas, or in any of the other 32 U.S. states where same-sex marriage is illegal and where many other laws are designed to hinder LGBT rights.
Again, I support your ideals, but this protest seems misguided. There are much more effective and responsible avenues to use in expressing your anger and in seeking change regarding Russian law and policy. Please channel your passion through those other methods.
Sorry for the rant (and also sorry if I have any of my facts wrong).
How will it possibly put financial pressure on corporations – they don’t care how you use their products as long as you buy them and you’re still buying coke. They win. Also how was Coca-Cola chosen? It seems kind of arbitrary considering all the other corporations/government (aka US) who support the sochi olympics.
You had me right until “dump donated Coca-Cola products into the gutters as an act of rebellion.” It’s these types of tactics that get legitimate causes and movements mocked and belittled.