It's a little over a month until Christmas and next weekend is traditionally when the annual shopping frenzy kicks off. But not everyone will be hot-footing it to their nearest mega-mall, because next Saturday also marks the annual Buy Nothing Day. Launched in the mid-1990s by the Canada-based anti-capitalist publication Adbusters, it's an idea in which people are encouraged to stay out of the shops for 24 hours to make a small stand against rampant consumerism. And this year they are thinking bigger than ever.
The plan, says Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn, is to stretch it out and turn it into a Buy Nothing Christmas. He wants us to bypass the tinsel, the tree and the tat and go cold turkey on consumerism for the whole festive period. "We are," he says, "going to try and take back our Christmas season from the commercial forces that have hijacked it."
If you think this sounds like the rantings of a deluded Bolshevik, it's worth noting a few things about Lasn and his cohorts at Adbusters, who have been producing the bi-monthly magazine from their Vancouver office since 1989. Lasn, an Estonia-born, former high-flyer in the advertising industry, now pushing 70, started Adbusters as an antidote to corporate greed, and what he saw as an aggressive pro-consumerist message that was being rammed down our throats. "We felt back then that there was a dark side to consumerism but no one ever talked about it," he says.
Lasn's background in advertising shows. Rather than being a ranting left-wing rag, Adbusters is slick and full of smart graphics and insightful critique. His ideas, so pertinent now in the global financial chaos of today, have always been ahead of their time. And it was he who, in last July's issue of Adbusters, ran a one-page poster which simply read "Occupy Wall Street, September 17th, bring tent".
What happened next sparked one of the most successful protest movements of recent times, one that has gone on to dominate the global news agenda for weeks. That one small page was responsible for hordes of disgruntled people congregating at Wall Street's Zuccotti Park and London's St Paul's Cathedral to express their fury at the world's extreme economic inequality, and many of them are still camping there to this day. And it was responsible for a further thousand or so other Occupy protests that sprung up in solidarity the world over. Lasn, it seems, has chanced upon a formula to harness global support. (emphasis added)Read the rest at The Independent (UK)
Buy Nothing Day: Adbusters' role in the global Occupy movement
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)
Here's a link to Adbusters site. If you haven't seen Adbusters mag, it is worth a look. Very avant-garde. I discovered that our local library subscribes and got a chance to examine it up close. (Iowa City is a hip, liberal town, sort of a bit of San Francisco in the Midwest.)