My political science degree is amazing! Not only does it give the ability to write, but it also gives me intellectual strength to protect myself against being bullied. With the knowledge of institutions and how they work, political science has given me knowledge of which avenues to pursue in the event of being wronged. It also gives me options of action when others may not be available, like courts.
Have you ever been threatened by a hotel, whose doors are open to the public, with a charge of trespassing and the threat of police action for the simple act of drinking another company’s coffee on their premises? I buy my coffee from a coffee shop near the Pinnacle in North Vancouver, Canada, and bring it in to either the hotel or a community centre nearby mostly because the hotel and community centre have lounge chairs whereas the coffee shop only has room for stools and high tables. As far as aesthetics, to the hotels guests, I am but another guest. I last sat inside the Pinnacle on Tuesday, 28 February 2017 when a Canadian male of English / European decent came over at my coffee’s end and told me that I was not welcome anymore, that I was trespassing, and that he would call the police.
I used to drink beers at this this hotel, alternating between it and other establishments. I don’t drink outside Buzztime NTN Trivia on Tuesdays because, having but myself and bartenders to rely on for conversation, as I don’t like drinking by myself and tend to get in arguments with the bartenders. On Tuesdays – and other times, but Tuesday is the day of the main game – there is something else to do than talk to others; except after December for four months there are idiots yelling at other screens that are playing hockey; I can’t stand people whose lives are absolutely consumed by watching idiots with sticks chase a rock on ice.
So I have make the choice not to drink alcohol because there is no one to talk to at a bar besides the bartender and/or other staff. Talking to these people especially when you have had a few too many can lead to places that have led me into trouble and I have decided after a few experiences to not drink at a bar. But I bring in a mocha with either soya or almond milk with very little espresso and lots of syrup – either coconut or caramel – or a caramel machiatto, and I doubt very much whether this hotel has these non-dairy milks or has a variety of syrups, much less offer as much as I need to negate the taste of coffee, and I doubt that their restaurant offers a 600 millilitre paper cup. Yet one employee took it upon himself to make an ass out of this entire hotel because they likely have nothing I want to buy.
Yet we as citizens also have power. If you are going to threaten a citizen with a charge of trespass when your doors are open, and threaten to call the police, citizens have the power of organising a boycott of this hotel if legal recourse is unavailable, which I suspect it not to be. The challenge is, if you have been wronged as I have, getting enough people to join you to bring corporations to their knees, or convince enough people that we individuals to boycott that breaks corporate bullies such as this. If you threaten me with a charge of trespassing, I can get millions of people to avoid your hotel, and it starts with telling one person.
Another avenue available in Canada is to talk to your MLA, because of Section 92, Paragraph 11 of the British North America Act. It states that 92 “In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say,” paragraph 11 “[the] Incorporation of Companies with Provincial Objects.”
Corporations, and by extension the people who work for them, have to learn that they can’t bully the public around. A person can use one’s agency any way they choose, and if they make the choice to ignore a call for a boycott, that person might just be stuck when it comes time that they are bullied by a corporation. If we don’t stand together, they win. They may have money and lawyers that gives them a false sense of superiority, but they forget that it is people who give them that money in using their services. We, the people, may not have as much money individually and may not be able to get a lawyer or have one retained for as long as they have, but what we do have is: a voice, friends, political representatives; some of us have an army of influence to bring idiots like those employed by an establishment like this hotel back down to Earth and treat us with respect.
Regardless of that globalisation gives corporations have gained power through trade agreements such as the the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), if you make anyone angry enough they will rip your head off if there is no other recourse. We still live in the same world that Hobbes wrote about in 1648 where life is brutal and short, even if, as Rousseau stated, we have long ago given up our right to everything to the state. However it is somewhat problematic today that the state has relinquished our right to freedom to the corporation, thus leaving some wanting to kill others because there is no redress.
Having taken a political science degree, I know a bit about institutions and how to get help if being bullied. I also know about public attitudes, and how to rally people for protest action like a boycott. In this era of globalisation, action against the corporation may be difficult but it is possible. The power rests still, ultimately, with the people, because we give money to corporations and we have friends. If we are respected, we can tell our friends and spread the good word; if disrespected, we can do the same. This is merely one of the things that a student of political science learns, and it is pretty powerful.