Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2004
As the election season heats up, progressively minded entrepreneurs are combining their politics, creativity, and business savvy in an all-out effort to defeat George W. Bush in 2004.
"Vote for Anyone but Bush 2004," says one slogan. "Not my President," reads another. This year, many activists are taking politics into their own hands and computers, by designing their own political merchandise and marketing them online. This election season has seen an increase in the number of such websites – as well as an increase in the internet traffic/visitors to the websites.
Activists are marketing everything from traditional tshirts and bumper stickers, to less conventional items like baby bibs and clocks. This grassroots effort is an attempt to reach out to reach out to those angered by the dismal state of the economy, the constant attack on civil liberties, and the manipulations behind the war in Iraq.
While progressive organizations have created and sold their merchandise for years, this year marks a huge rise in the number of websites/merchandise designed and self-funded by individuals.
"People are fed up with the Bush administration, and want to express that," said Adanjesus Marin, who created a line of "Vote Bush Out" products. "This is an easy and fun way for people to do that, and hopefully make people think about things in ways they haven’t before."
Marin decided to create his website after growing frustration with the policies of the Bush administration. "It was clear to me that Bush stands in the way of some many things this country needs, and the only way to move forward was to vote him out."His line has gained in popularity since the election season began in earnest, with the first rounds of caucuses and primaries. Over 8,000 people have visited his website in January alone. His line can be found at (http://www.cafeshops/com/votebushout).
Similar websites are popping up all over the internet – with similar goals. "Two Unemployed Democrats," at (http://www.seeyageorge.com), based in Texas explain on their website," We exercise our 1st amendment right to "poke fun" and challenge those who we feel have little business holding positions that govern."
"A Rose is a Rose," at (http://www.cafeshops.com/aroseisarose), proclaims to be the "Anti-Bush, Anti-Right-Wing Headquarters." The website sells original artwork exposing President Bush’s long history of mistruths and lies. New slogans and designs are frequently added to the website.
While gaining in popularity, the websites are much more than just an internet business. They provide a much-needed outlet to liked-minded people looking to express their political beliefs.
"This isn’t about making money," he said. "This is a way to provide people with the tools and resources that they need to work for social justice and democracy."
Marin says that his merchandise isn’t partisan, and doesn’t endorse one candidate or political party. Rather, his goal is to produce and sell items that encourage people to support political candidates and ideas that support workers’ rights, health care, and education.
"I want to do whatever I can to make sure that those issues – issues that make a difference in working people’s lives – are on the forefront of people’s minds this year," he said, "Wearing political gear is the easiest way to spread the message without having to say a word."
Marin’s website includes links to educational resources, political websites, and activist tips. Marin said that in addition to selling his merchandise, he also wanted to provide the tools people need to get involved in activist political work.
About the Author
Rachel Edelman is a freelance journalist residing in New York City. The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.