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There is a popular movement among the youth of today called "Smash the Corporation." The idealogy of this movement is that The Man has for too long controlled our lives with their shoddy corporate quality goods and services, and brainwashes us into believing we are dependant upon them for our needs. It is a movement to try and rid the world of this evil influence, and to bring us back to a state of harmony that existed before the rise of the Corporate Machine.

Having personally spoken to many supporters of this movement, I learned that their tactics generally entail theft, vandalism, protests, and refusal to work for The Man. But such tactics are doomed to failure against the contagious nature of capitalism unless they also refuse to use or support any corporate service or product. For it is only by removing his income entirely that one can bring down The Man.

To start your bold journey properly, you must be in very good shape, because there's a lot of work ahead of you. If you have any physical or mental handicaps, it would be a very good idea to find a way to get by without your corporate-produced medicine or machines (like wheelchairs). From here on out, it's only what you can make or barter for!

If you are serious about sticking it to The Man, you'll most likely need to find a new place to live. After all, how serious can you be about this if you're going to live in some corporate, cookie-cutter home, in yuppy-infested suburbia? In fact, you really shouldn't live in any shelter that was made by a construction company, because even if they are a Mom & Pop construction company, you can bet that they didn't hand-build their construction equipment. You definitly wouldn't want to sleep in your car, since nearly all cars are built by a corporation. Did I say car? That will have to go, I'm afraid. Gasoline comes from corporations, as well as car parts. And I'm afraid your old camping equipment won't do; after all, it was manufactured and distributed by corporations.

So, unless you have a nice dry uninhabited cavern nearby, I suggest you cut down some trees and build your own shelter. You might need some help though, because that's an awful lot of work, but how do you convince anyone to help you?

Beer! Unfortunately, you'll not only need to make sure and get a non-corporate microbrew, but you'll also want to make sure the bottling company is also non-corporate, and that the distribution was sent via human or animal transport (no cars, remember?), and you can only buy it from a Mom and Pop store that doesn't use electricity or sell corporate products. Since there won't be any of that filthy refrigeration technology used, you might want to build up a tolerance for warm, flat beer. Alternately, you could brew it yourself. Many people have actually had experiences in the past where they could drink an entire bottle of home-brew before having to quaff a soda to wash the taste out of their mouth. Hopefully your friends will consider that as adequate compensation, secure in the knowledge that they did not consume products of The Man.

Of course, you're going to need some way to pay for that beer. And while you're at it, you may want to consider figuring out a way to feed and clothe yourself as well. Money would be one way to accomplish this, but unfortunately that would entail getting a job. You won't find many jobs that don't make use of at least a few corporate services or products, and your selection of choices is extremely limited by the fact that your transportation will be limited to a hand-made bicycle. I'm afraid it won't be a very pleasant ride, either, because it won't have that corporate precision make. And, oh, yes, did I mention you still need a way to obtain even that hand-made bike or the parts to build and repair one yourself? Those parts don't just pop into existence; they are usually manufactured by corporations. You could always walk to work, but then you'll limit your radius of job opportunities even further.

So this returns to the problem of how to feed, shelter, and clothe yourself. Most likely, you won't find a completely corporation-free job or market within walking distance. Let's start with food. You'll need a garden of some sort. Where do you get the seeds? Certainly not from the corporation! You will need to learn exactly what foods grow well in your area, how to plant them, when to harvest them, and how to cook and prepare them. You still don't have seeds, so you'll not only need to learn how to find these seeds in the wild, but also need to learn how many seeds are required to get a healthy crop. There's also the small matter of time. You are quite likely to get hungry before your crop matures enough to eat. That means either hunting or gathering food from the wild. If you're shelter is in a rural enough place that you can gather food, you can pretty much forget about a job entirely. While you're investigating your food-gathering options, it would be a good idea to find out what animals in your area are edible, how they are prepared, and how to spot signs of disease in the animal as well. All of this knowledge can be easily obtained from books, but they take time to read, as well as the fact that obtaining said books without money, without using a corporate bookstore, and finding a book that was published without using corporate machinery. And you have to find all of these by walking.

It would be a good idea to get dressed before going out to find your survival guide, but what to wear? Obviously you cannot use any clothes bought from a store, as you not only have no money, but those clothes are made and distributed by the corporation. Unless you intend to wear nothing but a grass skirt, this means you'll probably need to either kill an animal and stitch together its skin, or figure out how to make wool from cotton or sheep. If you decide to go the non-lethal route of wool, you'll need some sheep or some cotton seeds. Again, there are the problems of learning how to do all this, as well as affording the materials to do so. Did I mention this also takes time that could be spent on the other 100+ chores you will need to do on a daily basis? Ah! And unless you intend to shear your sheep with a sharp rock, you'll need a pair of handmade scissors. This will require not only knowledge of metallurgy, but raw ore with which to work.

So you've figured out some way to provide yourself shelter, food, and clothes. So far, it's a pretty grim existence. Wouldn't some amenities be nice, like fresh water? Chances are good that any source of water you find will need purification before drinking. The easiest way to do this would, of course, be with a kit from the store, but as those are corporate products you will either need to figure out how to boil your water (learn to make fire without matches or lighters), or find a way to extract iodine and use it. Either way, your water is going to taste bloody awful, but at least you won't end up with the runs or worse.

Now that you've got water, food, shelter, and clothing, you've probably got a pretty full day ahead. After all, we haven't addressed a source of light yet, and the sun only averages about 14 hours of good solid daylight to see by, which isn't -nearly- enough time to get all those things done, unless you've got the help of people who want to live in similar conditions. You could always keep a fire going at night, but that would quickly deplete your supply of wood, and in some areas, in the summer, the last thing you want is yet another source of heat. So you'll be needing either candles, lanterns, torches, or braziers. As lanterns and braziers require yet more metal and knowledge of metallurgy, and torches are a major fire hazard in rural areas, we'll focus on candles. Do you fancy being stung by bees? Because you will without a corporate beekeeper outfit! Finding a local wild bee colony can also be very difficult, and is likely to have a very low yield before being used up. So beeswax is out. You could use animal fat to make candle wax, and they even make a dandy emergency food supply. Unfortunately they also attract predators, because it is animal fat, after all. There are other sources of wax and oil, such as certain plants, but if they don't grow in your local area, you'll either need to add them to your garden, or find another source of light.

Since you have no method of storing food yet, you'll need to either build a smokehouse or some sort of granary. Both are going to attract pests, and take yet more complex tools than just your simple shelter took. If you intend on lasting through the winter, you're either going to need to take up blacksmithing, or learn to hibernate. Of course forges don't come cheap (especially hand-made ones), and you don't have a job, so you'll need to sell what food you produced in order to buy one. This does not include the raw ore (which you'll either have to mine, or find a non-corporately mined source), nor does it include the fuel (unless you intend on denuding your local forests). Now a forge is nothing without a good foundering oven, so you're going to need a good supply of stone, some sort of miter, stone-cutting tools, as well as a solid knowledge of masonry. You've not only added more expense, but also even more time required to complete these tasks. You will, however, have the joy of knowing that you managed to attain a technology level of "Iron Age", assuming you accomplish this before you die from poor health, due to exposure and malnourishment.

Which brings us to the next happy topic: Medical Care. Obviously you could never use a hospital, as everything in it is related to at least one if not many corporations. The local doctor's office is likely to also require corporate tools, and the majority of doctors prefer paying customers anyway. So where do you go when you sustain an injury? I say "when" because, with all these hard labor tasks you're doing each day, an injury is almost certain to happen, multiple times. Perhaps you end up needing emergency surgery? Will you give in at that point, and bow down to The Man with his so-called "Emergency Room" and his fancy corporate sterile environment?

Hell no! It's like the Bible says, if you're right hand offends you, cut it off! Amputation is a surefire way to keep that gangrene from spreading. If you still have not gotten the point, I would recommend starting with the head.

What I hope to have illustrated with this introduction to a corporate-free life, is that The Corporation is neither good nor evil. It is merely another technological age in order to make the distribution of goods and services efficient enough to allow people to specialize their skills, rather than a focus on survival. The Corporation allows for the mentally and physically handicapped to live a more normal life, as well as a longer lifespan. A corporation built the parts to the computer you are using right now, and the upteen-billion electronic parts that have allowed you, the reader, to read this very sentance over the corporate-produced and maintained network of machines that comprise the internet. Were all corporations around the world to instantly disappear, along with their evil products and services, it would cause such a spread of famine, disease, and violence that the death toll would be in the billions.

In conclusion, the idealogy of "Smash the Corporation" is even more flawed than the Luddites of an earlier time. Though it is a popular slogan and rebellious cause, I am afraid it is an idealogy born of ignorance. Society in general no longer posesses the survival skills that even our grandparents had, and most people do not want to spend their entire day doing backbreaking labor just to be able to live another day.

Still, it is not entirely impossible to live without The Corporation, which is the other reason for this writeup. For those of you who would like to live life without the influence of The Man, the above tongue-and-cheek journey may still be taken quite seriously. In fact, if you had a large enough group of people, you could start a commune, and if enough land and communes were settled, you could start your own communist country. For more examples on the relative success of these countries, I recommend looking up Cuba, North Korea, and the now defunct Soviet Union. However, as all three of these countries have had at least some degree of corporate involvement, I would not expect a country founded on zero corporate influence to achieve quite the same level of success.

But why worry about success, when it is so obviously a tool of the corporation?

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