Nike are a company famous for employing children as young as 10 to make sportswear and equipment in sweatshops around the world. They might stand accused of union busting and terrible workplace conditions in developing countries. But, as I've discovered in this lockdown, they sure make a good free workout app.
You can see my bind. On the one hand, I am filled with self-disgust at falling for the cynical branding exercise of an evil multinational corporation (sorry for the tautology here). On the other, I think the Nike Training app is a pretty good piece of kit that's helping me stay fit in lockdown.
Nike Training offers hundreds of workouts for all shapes, sizes and fitness levels - there's something for total gym buffs and absolute beginners. A lot of the routines don't require any equipment at all. I would personally recommend the Big Routines for Small Spaces section, which is perfect if you find yourself smashing the telly every time you try to get fit.
The instructions are clear (if a little robotic) and the exercises varied enough to keep you interested. The app layout is intuitive, and there are great perks to keep you coming back. Yes, it can be buggy, but there aren't any hidden microtransactions or annoying adverts for Homescapes. I use the app about three times a week, and encourage you to give it a go.
Nike have a turnover of £30 billion but still block labour rights experts from entering their factories because the conditions are so potentially awful. They put a considerably higher percentage of their money into sponsorships with mega rich sports stars than they pay workers in the supply chain. In 2018 they were sued by two former female employees who accused them of creating a culture of gender discrimination and sexual harrassment.
To my mind, there is only one solution: nationalise the Nike Training App.
Marx himself admitted Capitalism's capacity to be creative in short periods. Rather than seeing corporate development as in opposition to Socialism, we should see Nike's creation of a decent training app as a necessary historical step towards the utopian ideal, The People's Training App. This app would be run democratically as a public asset.
People tend to view nationalisation as bureaucratic, outdated and inefficient. This idea comes from the way nationalisation was done after World War II. Profitable industries were not nationalised, only those that were failing but seen as necessary to the economy. Similarly, the structures of these systems were not fundamentally changed - they were still top-down, run by the same corporatist fatcats as ever. Even Conservatives were in favour of this dull, hierarchical type of nationalisation.
Nationalisation should not be used solely to prop up failing industries. Instead, a Socialist state should have the confidence to requisition any capitalist enterprise that would benefit the public, for the many not the few. These productive, nationalised industries could be run with democratic input from citizens (the word "customer" would be banned) on a national and local level, rather than decisions being made only to benefit shareholders.
As we have seen with the railways, privatisation does not a more efficient system make - that's why they've been sneakily taken back into public ownership now there's an actual crisis. Indeed, as Richard Branson asks for another bailout for another one of his failing companies, we might even start to see that Capitalism can only really exist when it is backed up every few years by the state. Instead, we can see the past 40 years as decade-long intervals where the free market is allowed to make some people very very rich, fuck up, wipe trillions of pounds worth of value off the economy, and make poor people suffer for it through crippling cuts.
We must have public ownership, but not the sorry affair we had in the 1980s. We must dream of new nationalisations; and with them, new, more transparent states, that operate democratically, and take back control of the economy for the people, not businesses.
This begins by nationalising the Nike Training App. We should then move onto nationalising Deliveroo, Uber, Netflix, toothbrush companies, and national treasure David Attenborough. Most crucially of all, the editors of Out of Darkness should be paid for their painstaking work and allowed to continue as an independent and critical voice holding power to account and running photography competitions.