Shut down the Streets of
Noon, Nov. 24, Union Square!
Buy Nothing Day-November 24 this year gathering at noon in Union Square, SF-will see a new level of creative confrontation in an attempt to counter consumerism. A variety of activists and groups, including Reclaim the Streets, are hoping to disrupt the shopping district of downtown San Francisco at the height of the busiest shopping day of the year-replacing traffic and consumption with dancing and chaos.
The idea for Buy Nothing Day (BND) was hatched by Adbusters magazine. Their website notes \”Buy Nothing Day is a simple idea with deep implications. It forces us to think about the \’shop-till-you-drop\’ imperative and its effects on the rest of the world. On Buy Nothing Day enjoy a break from the shopping frenzy. Relish your power as a consumer to change the economic environment.\” (Emphasis added.) This last sentence, implying that simply by not purchasing (or perhaps buying the \”right thing\”?) \”consumers\” have \”power\” makes clear the politically confused nature of Buy Nothing Day.
Unchallenged, the myth of consumer activism risks obscuring, not exposing, the capitalist economic organization of society. This Buy Nothing Day in San Francisco will be a chance to make the connections and attack the real author of environmental destruction and human suffering-not merely the consumers who buy sweatshop products and who over-consume, but the corporations who design a world where reckless consumption is sculpted, choreographed, pre-determined. These corporations structure sweatshops and unsustainable resource extraction. These corporations spend billions on advertising to program individual humans to define themselves through what they consume.
At best, San Francisco\’s BND will be an opportunity to bring masses of people into the streets to creatively, lovingly and artfully disrupt business as usual. Dropping out from the consumer monster isn\’t the answer: vigorously tearing up a class society where a few own and rule and the majority do the work is more like it!