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Whatever our place in the Great American Schism of tribal politics, each of us seems to have been brainwashed (if seemingly benevolently) by the same desire. It's the notion that, to validate ourselves, we must affect a certain level of materialistic elitism. You don't have the LATEST iPhone? You're making-do with that OLD thing? You can't unlock your door by voice command from YOUR phone? Well!

buy nothing friday

Curing this condition won't be easy, because no one wants to admit they're self-afflicted with something malevolent. But this is the one day out of the year when it's easiest to identify it.

You know. Instinctively, you know, because it happens every year, on this day after Thanksgiving -- all that "Door-Buster!" stuff prominently previewed on the 11 PM Thursday TV news and the local and network morning shows. Making acquisition-obsessed people famous for their 15 seconds (sorry, nobody gets 15 minutes anymore) because they camped-out all night, lined-up in some corporate retailer's parking lot. To get that all-important leg up on the competition. Because, come Friday morning, it's game-on for America's most important national obsession. The annual post-turkey human demolition derby, complete with sharp elbows, football-style broken-field runs, and fixations on beating everyone else to buy something before someone else's grip is too tight to wrestle it from their clutches. It doesn't matter a whit that it's all driven by stuff you don't need. And driven by crappy behavior to obtain more crap.

Sadly, you know exactly what I'm talking about, and you know it gets worse, every year.

The irony is appalling -- the day after you paused to reflect for an ever-so-brief moment to take stock of what you have. (And to support the methane-making machine of animal agriculture by demolishing a massive turkey.) And, yeah, okay, Thanksgiving is a day to test your own good will by putting up with that bombastic relative of a dinner-guest, the one from the other tribe with the toxic politics.

But you did survive. And it's just one day later. So now, you're supposed to forget your attitude of gratitude, your fleeting moment of reflection. Yep. Just, suddenly, forget about all your blessings. Think no longer on all you have, and how much debt you incurred to get it. Because now you must become freshly obsessed with buying more.

More baubles. More bling. More ostentatious expressions of your ability to buy expensive stuff you can't afford, but that you must buy to show the Joneses you're ahead of them in the pecking order of consumerism.

More baubles. More bling. More ostentatious expressions of your ability to buy expensive stuff you can't afford, but that you must buy to show the Joneses you're ahead of them in the pecking order of consumerism. You work hard, and by god, everybody is going to know it because you're proving it with your purchasing power. Just put aside every shred of thoughtful intellect and clear the decks for action -- a daylong orgy of buying a bunch of overpriced flimsy crap that's all made in some sweatshop overseas. All to maximize the profit margins of the fat cats who control all the levers -- everything necessary to make you believe you can't live without buying more of their crap.

This is where the cowboy used to ride-in and shout, "Whoa-up there for a minute," and add, "Think about the trail you're fixin' to ride, afore you end-up with the varmits."

But cowboys with helpful messages went out when the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer. So you'll have to settle for us, instead. We're here to advocate something, our way: showing the middle-finger salute to the banksters and the self-serving advocates who are determined to use all means to sell you an endless amount of "more!"

We're spending our Friday celebrating "Buy Nothing Day," and in our best Huell Howser parody, "We invite you to join us on this adventure."

For all those acquainted with the purposeful performance art of Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping, you have a good idea where this is going. Though -- while this is very much like his ongoing message -- this isn't one of his events.

Still, it's all about asserting your importance as a free-willed human being, able to "just say no" to the billions of dollars the corporatocracy spends to get you addicted to what they want you to do. Which is, to part with all your money and go deeply into evermore debt, in their carefully crafted "Black Friday" orgy of addiction to consumerism.

"Economy" used to be about how you made your decisions not to buy things you didn't need, so you'd have that money for things that really mattered. But now it means exactly the opposite. Everything from big-money corporate-owned social media to the six megagiant corporate entities that control all major mainstream media outlets, are allied. They work together to disseminate the "messages" of an empire of corporate consumer-based profitability. They use every tool of psychology to decide -- for you -- what is necessary to have. As in, what you must have to be trendy and hip, and why you deserve to be ostracized and ridiculed unless you buy all of their featured "it" items.

When was the last time you went a whole day without buying anything?

In this day and age, is it actually possible to buy nothing for twenty four hours?

Supporters of "Buy Nothing Day" think it is. And what’s more, they think we should all try it.

At its core, "Buy Nothing Day" is a targeted protest against, not simply against the hype and bad behavior of "Black Friday," but against the consumerism that drives what's destroying the planet. We are confronted with this mathematically impossible notion of endless "economic growth," that prosperity can only be measured in stock dividends and housing starts that pave agricultural lands, all resulting in a never-ending "more" that's somehow necessary for prosperity.

Those who conceived "Buy Nothing Day," we along with them, are motivated by global warming and resource depletion and the societal and environmental costs of a mentality of extraction and development and a culture based on spending money on stupid crap. Because we're just plain running out of time. Meaning it's necessary to pause and take stock, to change our consciousness, to reckon with the true cost of endlessly enriching the exploiters. Isn't it time for each of us to assess the impact and ask ourselves the question, "Do we really need to live in a society governed by the need to 'have evermore things'?"

Of course, you haven't seen any ads for "Buy Nothing Day" on TV, and none in the thickest- of-the-year newspaper editions, filled with stacks of "Black Friday" advertising inserts. You won't see anything there to discourage you from joining the melee, because the wholly-owned media subsidiaries of the megagiant corporations refuse to run ads that say "Stop and think!" Even though a consortium of environmental groups made those ads for "Buy Nothing Day" and had them ready to go.

As commentator and social satirist Lee Camp observes, and we'll paraphrase, you can see ads for weapons-systems-makers, the merchants of death who make endless war possible. You can see ads for Big Pharma, whose profitability is based on addicting you to chemicals that can kill you (as in their creation and ongoing obfuscation and subterfuge for the national addiction to opioid drugs). You can't see ads opposing the toxic chemicals and drugs and steroids and hormones that dangerously pollute our water after they pass-through each critter that gets overdosed in animal agriculture, because the federal "Animal Agriculture Protection Act" makes it illegal to do or say anything that may result in diminished profit for animal agriculture. You can see ads for Big Oil, whose massive uses of toxic fracking chemicals poison the groundwater we need to drink and to grow crops that are free from chemical-laden irrigation. And you can see ads for all the Nestle-owned water bottlers -- plastic-bottle bottlers -- while Nestle is a company whose chairman says, "There is no human right to clean water. Water should be privatized and sold." And you can see ads to buy stock in toxic mining companies, whose extractions poison the planet with heavy metals and cyanide.

"But," concludes Lee, "You can't be allowed to see an ad that might make you question the sanity of a system that has allowed the exploiters to seize control of everything, including whose message can get out."

(Check out comedian Lee Camp's "Redacted Tonight VIP," the Thursday TV interview edition's episode 86 from Nov 16, with "Reverend Billy Talen." He's the leader of "The Church of Stop Shopping." here; while you're at it, catch the satiric but damned serious coverage in a couple of Lee's comedic Friday shows. There's the "Secret Family Profiting from the Opioid Crisis" plus more about who profits from drugs, in episode 170 of "Redacted Tonight," titled "Rx, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll," from Friday, Oct. 21, 2017. It's here. And finally, catch the show's most recent episode, # 172, "RT America A Foreign Agent, Tax Deductible Sexual Abuse, & More,"here)

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"Buy Nothing Day" was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in September of 1992. It is celebrated each year on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, as awareness spreads in spite of the corporate alliance to keep you from finding out about it. Yes, it's very intentionally aimed at the day infamously known to drive the herd into chain stores, shopping malls, and into the ever-growing multi-billion-dollar empire of corporate e-commerce -- all in an orgy of spending and assurance that consumer debt will be inescapable. All promoted by the entire corporatocracy and their bankster empire as "Black Friday."

Anyone who has ever seen what happens throughout North America during "Black Friday" sales knows to expect poster children for bad behavior on the evening TV news -- examples, not unlike parodies of Roman gladiators. It's greed tuned to aggressively violent behavior. Don't we all understand, all too well, why it is high time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behavior, our humanity? Isn't it an acid test, whether we have any real desire to save the planet -- and contemplate the meaning of all of the "Black Friday" madness?

Soon after "Buy Nothing Day" was created in Canada, campaigns to have a similar day of reflection started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway.

More than 65 nations currently participate in it.

But the corporatocracy will do it's Borg Collective best to make sure you never hear about it.

Adbusters, a company responsible for the initial promotion of Ted Dave’s idea for Buy Nothing Day, states that the day “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day," but "about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste."

You can see why that's a shockingly dangerous idea in a system based on the impossible concept of endless growth on a planet of finite resources.

How to Celebrate "Buy Nothing Day"

Anyone who wants to participate can, beyond the obvious, do any of many things to personally express objection to our consumer-based culture.

* You can simply stay home with friends and family, and actually share each others' companionship, rather than going shopping.

* There are some organized actions. Those whose idea of meaningful fun goes to the theatrical can look for web posts for “zombie walks.” In these, all of the participating “zombies” lurch around stores, supermarkets and shopping malls aimlessly, buying nothing, and staring ahead blankly. This is used to raise awareness about the meaning of "Buy Nothing Day" and to shock obsessed spenders into their own internal confrontation with their values. It happens until the “zombies” are inevitably asked what they are doing and why, whereupon they can proceed to explain their point of view. Until store security throws you out for obstructing the buying orgy.

* You can simply take advantage of your boycott of shopping and avoiding being part of the mooing herd, and use the time for something that will make the day memorable for YOU. The weather in Southern California will be warm, so go celebrate nature and the immense amount of beauty it offers us -- it's free of charge! This can be done by spending the day in the countryside or the mountains, or even in a park, resting in the sunshine and enjoying the breeze.

* Some participants choose to stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to their mounting credit card debt and shopping addiction "With one simple cut." Though you should have a "Plan B" for the rest of the day, 'cause you'll get kicked-out tout suite.

* A strategy employed by a group of participants in the 2009 "Wildcat General Strike" was to not only refrain from shopping, but also: keep all of their electric appliances shut-off during the entire day; not travel anywhere by car; and, not use their cell phones. All an effort to cut-down on the enormous use of natural resources for the electric power grid and fossil fuels for transportation amidst the orchestrated mass hysteria of stampeding "Door Busters."

While proponents argue that "Buy Nothing Day" can be the start of a life-changing lifestyle commitment, others claim it’s meaningless, contending that its observers simply buy more the following day. But if that's what happens, those who succumb to it are proving their addiction to support whatever is "trending" without exercising independent thought.

Full disclosure time: we very much DO support "Small Business Saturday," which occurs during this weekend and each year. That's always on the day after the corporatocracy's "Black Friday," which we think should be declared "Personal Indebtedness Advocacy Day." We will spend a few bucks supporting the cause of mom-and-pop-owned small businesses on Saturday -- using money we consciously reserve specifically for that purpose.

Now, back to the central message of "Buy Nothing Day" -Friday.

One participant from last year, picks up the point, commenting, "Either way, there’s no doubt that going without buying anything for an entire day is quite a challenge in the modern world, and will serve to make you think about what your life is really about."

At this point, you are expecting a link for the "Official Site for 'Buy Nothing Day.'"

But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the browser. It seems that the obvious domain name, buynothingday dot org, has been BOUGHT by a self-proclaimed "e-commerce web developer." And, while he offers-up a couple paragraphs that pay lip service to the cause, they're all part of a continuous-scroll site that's trying to (you guessed it) SELL you all sorts of things.

So it's up to us. Each of us, and all of us.

We are, each of us -- as always -- the only ones who can change society away from the exploitive path of corporations-take-all. We can turn from the path that's depriving future generations of resources they'll need, but won't have because we used them up making shoddy and silly disposable junk that we randomly buried in landfills until we drowned in toxic trash.

Are you up for it, down with it? We can change the mentality of "Black Friday" away from planet-destroying mindless corporate consumerism. (We can even choose to reject the need for silly colloquial expressions that seem de rigueur in all popular dialog.) And we can reject the infatuation with "having more and more stuff" and declare "Power to the People" and "Protection of the Planet" -- while we still can. While there's still a chance that we can tell the difference between what WE want and what "they" want us to want.


Larry Wines