An interesting topic came up on our Destroyers of Mass Production MySpace group. Someone brought up the desire to really destroy the establishment in more sweeping ways than just crafting. The thing is that crafting is a part of it. As much as it may seem that sewing your own clothes is just a means of self expression, it also sends a message to the clothing manufacturers.
Let me back up. I recently went with my family to see the 11th Hour, a movie about global warming produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the women interviewed reminded us that one way to achieve change is to vote; not just by casting a ballot she said, but with our purchases or lack thereof. I agree with her. It was partly the decrease in revenue that made the boycotts of the ‘60s so effective and brought about the changes that were being sought (although many would argue that it was also the threat of a militant, armed alternative which forced the establishment towards reform) and it is the decrease in revenue that would ensue in a crafting revolution that could create real change today.
Grannies by Banksy
I’m not talking about macrame plant holders or crocheted doilies. I’m talking about the kind of crafting that uses recycled materials, transforming them into utilitarian goods that don’t create waste. I’m talking about learning skills that provide us with the ability to meet our own needs. Sewing, cooking, building, gardening - all these and many other skills used to be part of everyday life. Learning to do some of them doesn’t make us cuckoo extremists, it allows us the freedom to choose not to be completely dependent on mass produced clothes, furniture, food, etc.
It’s true that crafting is a drop in the bucket and that’s why I wanted to start a crafting group online - because lots of drops fill the bucket faster. Using the internet and especially the corporate owned and ad-filled MySpace to spread the idea of destroying mass production is delicious irony and, to use corporation-speak, viral marketing at its finest. Turn the tools of mass consumerism towards a new purpose. Even technophobe (and Unabomber) Ted Kaczynski wrote in his manifesto,
"It would be hopeless for revolutionaries to try to attack the system without using SOME modern technology. If nothing else they must use the communications media to spread their message."
This movement has even got a name and a Wikipedia entry - it's called Craftivism.
Few people want to build a log cabin in the wilderness, drop out of society and eat bark and berries. It’s fine if you do - it’s just not for me or for most people I know, but having a group of friends that teach each other new skills, discuss politics, art and music, inspire and challenge each other can produce meaningful change, even if it’s only one person at a time.
Here are just a few links I've found to other like minded crafters: