thought crime F.A.Q.
ideological and organizational f.a.q.
- What is an "anti-capitalist" organization doing selling apparel, anyway?
- But aren't you 'buying into fashion' or 'commodifying the revolution' by selling 'activist' apparel?
- Why do you put "sweatshop-free" in quotes like that?
- How is your collective organized? Who gets paid?
- How are decisions made regarding what community organizations you support?
brass tacks f.a.q.
- How soon/often does thoughtcrime ink ship gear?
- How much is shipping & handling?
- Why is shipping & handling priced the way it is?
- How do I add the extra shipping if I have a non-Canada/US ship-to address?
- Who else carries your stuff?
- Can I become a vendor?
What is an "anti-capitalist" organization doing selling apparel, anyway?
A transition to life after capitalism, patriarchy, and all the oppressive social relations they entail is not possible without people doing things differently. But doing things differently entails involvement in things which appear capitalist "on the surface" -- such as entering a marketplace of goods. We think eschewing profit for personal gain and using all the money we make for community projects is one way to be anti-capitalist in practice, to divert money from "the system" into an alternative social economy. We are "anti-capitalist," but to us, that means living with certain contradictions in practice. There is never a clean break from the old system. A new way of doing things always "grows out of" the old way.
We're pretty tired with that constant argument over which techniques are "revolutionary" and which aren't, because there can never be a definitive answer about what works "against" the system. We'd like to hear your ideas. thoughtcrime ink is a registered "non-profit corporation," but getting to a post-capitalist social economy requires striving for more than the bare minimum of making things better. We constantly have the gears turning in our brains about this, asking ourselves questions such as: would the world be fundamentally different if we were all in non-corporate, non-profit collectives? Maybe not, but it would be a good start if this could be achieved. As thoughtcrime ink, we always promote going further than thoughtcrime ink.
But aren't you 'buying into fashion' or 'commodifying the revolution' by selling apparel?
If anything, we think of thoughtcrime ink as an attempt to resist commodifying resistance and revolution. Our first motivation for working with apparel was simply getting political messages into public space. But our next motivation was noticing, around 2002, that huge number of on-line t-shirt companies sell anti-war t-shirts in one section of their site and pro-war shirts on another section. To us, taking the images and slogans of radical politics from their movement context and using them to simply turn a personal profit is commodification. We wanted there to be a way to get shirts (for people who cannot make all of their own awesome shirts) with 'revolutionary' sentiment, and keep the money in a democratic community of people who are actually working on these issues.
Lastly, we were also motivated by the fact that a ridiculous number of groups who print activist shirts print them on floppy, ill-fitting shirts for men (often in ugly colours) that you most likely would only wear at the rally where they're being handed out. Call us bourgeois, but we actually like to wear clothing that is comfortable, fits our bodies, and measures up to the attractiveness of our politics. All clothing conveys messages, and we think it does a disservice to social change when too many "activist commodity" producers use inferior materials that imply that politics and social change implies ignoring aesthetics and pleasure.
Why do you say US/Canadian-made and put "sweatshop-free" in quotes like that?
We mainly order shirts from capitalist companies. Their "team members" (insert whatever bullshit propaganda they use to refer to their wage slaves) are exploited for the only asset we workers have to sell... our time, skills, health, and wellbeing. Any worker that is not in a democratic workplace is working in a sweatshop as far as we are concerned, no matter what part of Calgary or L.A. they are employed in. We have recently started making orders from an anti-profit worker co-op in El Salvador. If they are able to fill our orders, we will switch as much of our stock over to them as colours will allow. They are called Justshirts and they need your support.
How is your collective organized? Who gets paid?
As our collective is small and made of artists, students and workers who have been long time friends, we are able to use consensus for most decisions. We don't know everyone on the supply chain personally, but we do pay people directly for some work. We use a local union shop for screen-printing. Our web designer, Rob, gets paid an hourly living wage because weekends of isolated work, programming some feature or another on the website, count as way over and above regular volunteering. (Rob is paid out of income from a fundraiser and not the income from our apparel sales.)
How are decisions made regarding what community organizations you support?
We keep abreast of organizations and events in Edmonton through involvement and the awesome Activist Agenda put out by Earth's General Store. Four times a year, we meet to decide on upcoming events and donate to the ones we have consensus on donating the income from shirt sales to. For our criteria we give money to groups that:
- that maintain oppositional stances to corporations and state
- are doing radical work that needs to be done for healthy, connected communities,
- heighten the profile of resistance among Edmonton.
Most or all of us (that means up to 4 of us) on the thoughtcrime ink collective are involved in the Edmonton Anarchist Book Fair, so we always set some aside for the Bookfair. In past years, we have supported through financial and merchandise operations, organizations such as independent media collectives, the Industrial Workers of the World, and various other Anarchist Bookfair collectives.
the brass tacks f.a.q.
How soon/often does thoughtcrime ink ship gear to me?
We presently are on a schedule of once a week shipping of orders, on Mondays. Very occasionally we are all insanely busy at the same time, in which case we move the ship date forward or back by a few days. Apologies for the inconvenience.
How much is shipping and handling?
Here is a description of our present shipping charges:
- to Canada / US: $6.50 (Canadian) - all orders, any quantity
- to international: $13.50 (Canadian) - all orders, any quantity
Why is shipping/handling priced the way it is?
Shipping is priced as low as possible so that we break even on it. We do not profit from shipping. Getting this shipping charge from you is necessary to continue to fund projects with the sales of our gear. Apologies to our non-US international customers for the extra charge, but it costs us extra to send the shirts further. Adding the charge means that everyone is contributing an almost-identical amount per shirt for community projects. We use Canada Post, which is unionized with CUPW, as our carrier.
How do I add the shipping/handling charge for a non-US/Canada address?
At the bottom of each merch detail page, just below the cart controls, is a button:
(If you are a logged-in US or Canadian customer you won't see this.)
If the address where you want the merch to arrive at isn't in the US or Canada, simply click the button and that will add the extra charges. The button will add an item called 'extra shipping' costing $7.00 CDN to your cart. (Only do this ONCE per order please, or you've added too much shipping! ) This will bring what you're paying for shipping up to $13.50 CDN. (Note, even after you add the extra shipping, your PayPal account shopping cart will continue to read "$6.50" at the bottom for shipping & handling. There's nothing we can do about this.)
((( The complicated reason of why we have you click a button to add international shipping (if you care): 1) We presently use just PayPal for ordering online, and 2) we use a commerce add-on that actually lets us design our site the way we want (ie so we can actually show you multiple pictures of people wearing our gear). In neither can you do very advanced shipping calculations. So we have to do it this inconvenient way, by having a button to add the extra S&H charges to the order if you a non-US/Canada customer. Over time we will make changes to the shopping flow as more options on PayPal and our commerce software becomes more available. )))
Who else carries your stuff?
See the vendor category on the links page.
I'm a vendor. I like thoughtcrime ink merch. How do I become a retailer of your stuff?