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Activist Organization Launches Fake 'Gap Does More' Campaign to Challenge the Company's Labor Practices

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Fair Trade & Social Justice page.

Online organizing doesn't create substantive change. Hashtag activism is a waste of time. These sentiments frequently echo through the halls of activist communities trying to understand the role that technology, the Internet and social media play in our movements.

But what if you could force the hand of a major corporation to change its labor practices with some well-executed media-driven trickery? This week, a small online organizing group threw punches at one of America's largest corporations in an effort to change the international labor practices of the Gap.

18 Million Rising, an online organization dedicated to "activating Asian America" pulled off a Yes Men-style hoax targeting the Gap. Posing as the clothing company's public relations department, Cayden Mak and fellow 18MR organizers launched an impeccably designed fake website called Gapdoesmore.com and released a statement coinciding with the company's shareholder meeting on Tuesday. The statement announced that Gap had signed on to a significant labor accord in Bangladesh. Gap has released a response confirming the site as a fraud and serving them a take down notice. Despite the corporation's statements, 18MR continues to plan for escalation in its ongoing campaign to expose Gap's unjust labor practices.

WNV sat down with Mak, the New Media Director of 18MR, to discuss media organizing and what lessons can be learned from these kinds of creative tactics.

How did the idea for this hoax come about?

We've been engaged in some different things around worker's rights in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia [where Gap clothes are produced]. A lot of people in our constituency have direct connections to those countries, workers and industries. Seventy-five percent of Asian Americans are immigrants or first generation Americans. So, as a result, we started exploring ways of getting involved in international labor struggles about six months ago.   


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