Submitted by An_Old_Big_Tree in CritiqueThis (edited )

I've been wondering about boycotts/sanctions on whole nations lately, in part because of u/Dumai's recent post.

I know very little about how these actually function but I'm aware of how some 'successful' boycotts/sanctions have turned out (even together with armed struggle and nonviolent resistance) and it seems to me that its not great. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

The short version of the thing I'm wondering is this:

  • Boycotts/Sanctions work primarily to hit the capitalists in their wallets.
  • (they can also be just one tool in a broader attack, but let's think it further)
  • Essentially then what we're doing with boycotts and sanctions is getting capitalists (liberals) on board with some version of 'the cause'. You're incentivising change by promising that that capitalism can happen unimpeded by sanctions etc. if the change occurs.
  • So this kind of sanction/boycott literally promotes capitalist outcomes. I suspect that, invariably, successful boycotts just end up with liberal versions of the shitscape that existed before them.

Liberalism is preferable to fascism of course. I'm just wondering if there are better, or other ways to do this than I'm aware of.

Critique this!



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steelypan wrote

Economic sanctions actually disproportionately impact the poor people of the targeted country. These poor people feel like their livelihood is being threatened by foreign influences (and in this case, rightly so). This leads to them becoming more right-wing and xenophobic, and often also to wishing for a strong leader who will stamp out the foreign influence.

The end result is not more liberalism, but instead more fascism, as we saw with both Germany and Russia about a century ago.

That's my critique.


debored wrote

Yes, BDS is a single issue campaign to stop apartheid/genocide, it is not a revolutionary project. It's just an easy thing for people a world away to do to pressure a nation-state. The only time I've ever seen the strategy seriously pushed is for ongoing atrocities much worse than liberal capitalism.