My roommate and I spend most of our time arguing about electoral politics. But back in college, our endless debate was about globalization. I played the pragmatic activist to his idealistic moralizer: He insisted that we avoid patronizing any corporation guilty of evil deeds overseas, while I maintained that our energy would be better spent organizing a collective effort than purifying our own consumerist souls. “Fair enough,” he’d say, grinning in anticipation of stumping me. “How?”
Of course, in those days, the Internets were even less sophisticated than our arguments. Now, any 12-year-old can start a boycott from her cell phone.
A new website aims to be an ideologically neutral hub of such efforts. At The Point, you can initiate any sort of campaign you like simply by describing the objective, the number of people needed, what’s potentially required of each of them (the “tipping action”), and the deadline for joining. Other users browse the campaigns and sign on to the ones they choose, and the site lets you know when you have enough people to take action.
Current campaigns range from the seriously political to the entirely silly, from the international to the hyper-local, from the doable to the quixotic. Imagine the possibilities if this had been around sooner: Nader-Gore vote-swapping efforts may have gotten more traction, perhaps changing the 2000 election’s outcome. It’s possible that Jennifer Hudson’s fans would have come up with the votes for her to win American Idol, and Abraham might have found 10 righteous people and saved Sodom and Gomorrah. And my roommate and I could have done something more constructive than just feeling really bad every time we bought anything.