Buy Nothing Day, Not Black Friday? Occupy Xmas Begins

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By Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter
November 26, 2011|9:59 am

From the makers who brought you Occupy Wall Street, comes Occupy Xmas –a protest against consumerism and the commercialism of Christmas epitomized on Black Friday.

Proposing an alternative to the shopping mayhem of the holiday season, the Canadian activist group Adbusters created Occupy Xmas in the spirit of the occupy movement, kicking off their first campaign on Friday with the annual Buy Nothing Day, a “24-hour moratorium on holiday shopping.”

“Occupy gave the world a new way of thinking about the fat cats and financial pirates on Wall Street,” the group states on their website.

“Now let’s give them a new way of thinking about the holidays, about our own consumption habits. Let’s use the coming 20th annual Buy Nothing Day to launch an all-out offensive to unseat the corporate kings of the holiday throne.”

As the global protests of the 99 percent against corporate greed and casino capitalism continues, let’s take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts ... the wallet, the organization adds.

Asking consumers to abstain from the “biggest shopping day in North America and put the breaks on rabid consumerism” on Nov. 25 and 26, Adbusters invited partakers to instead participate in consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts, and whatever else it took for Americans to see how dependent they really were on “conspicuous consumption.”

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“We don’t camp on the sidewalk for a reduce price tag on a flat screen TV or psycho-killer video game. Instead we occupy the very paradigm that is fueling our eco, social and political decline,” the group says.

Their goal was to get as many people as possible to “unshop and unspend” during the day after Thanksgiving, reported to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Artist Ted Dave from Vancouver, Canada, first started the campaign in 1992 as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas –the most sacred of holidays. He hoped that consumers would begin to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and remember what the season was all about.

Nearing its 20th anniversary, the movement has grown internationally since 1992, with campaigns appearing in more than 65 nations including the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan and more. It is largely promoted by Adbusters, a magazine described to be concerned with the erosion of the physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.

Though the group was not available for interview with The Christian Post, Kalle Lasn, the editor of the magazine, previously told The New York Times that the goal of the campaign was “to create an economy and a culture in which it eventually [became] cool to consume less.”

They targeted the wealthiest one billion people on the planet, or the “20 percent who consumed 80 percent of the goodies in the global marketplace,” similar to the 1 versus 99 percent idea behind Occupy Wall Street.

Some protestors occupying malls and shopping centers on Thursday held posters that read, “We are the 99%” while other signs offered advice to potential buyers. “Hand-make your gifts!” “Shop local!” “Don’t buy anything!”

Advocates for Buy Nothing Day shared their thoughts on Twitter as well.

“Black Friday is a sick and disturbing example of how large corps and materialism has America by our throats,” OccupyWallStreetNYC tweeted.

“If you really want to get Wall Street’s attention, stay home on Friday,” Aaron Muszalski added.

Ray Beckerman suggested that people “embrace community not consumption” instead.

“Black Friday encourages millions of consumers to overspend! Let’s celebrate #BuyNothingDay this Friday and spend time with family instead!” indexaward encouraged.

Despite Buy Nothing Day’s message, hundreds of thousands of die-hard consumers ravaged stores on Friday, searching for the best deals. Violence has even broken out in some parts of the country as a result of the Black Friday mania, with reports of shootings, pepper spray attacks and robberies.

“More violence in one day of shopping than all of the #occupy events. And people wonder what is wrong with this country,” Rae Jones tweeted.

 

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