Consumer Culture Brought to Its Knees in Bradford - Buy Nothing/Steal Something Day

In one sweeping stroke the false consciousness of consumption was served a mortal blow in the streets of Bradford today. As the worldwide ripples of Buy Nothing Day crashed upon the shore of BD1, multinational capital trembled in it's bloodstained boots.

The 26th of November has been known by some as Buy Nothing Day for twenty years. A day to celebrate the madness of our self-consumption and to plead for the soul of our civilisation, Buy Nothing Day is about touching people. Inspiring a thought, a doubt, a scrunched up brow, a gob of spit in the face maybe, but a reaction.
Today the hardy shoppers of drizzley Bradford met friendly faces, offering a smile, a song, a book and a drink. No money accepted.
Shivering souls warmed their long neglected cockles with some fine rebel coffee, lovingly grown by Zapatista cooperatives in Mexico.
Confusion reigned as people wondered, "why is this stuff free?". The answer: "why not?"
We can't buy happiness, even dodgy science has shown that paying for experience rather than things is more satisfying. Our habits of purchasing antidotes to alienation are seemingly furthering our descent into dissappointment, and so we fill our lives with shiny things while we deplete our planet of necessary survival items like air and water, and thus ending potential for japes and jiggery-pokery.
Luckily, a collection of people put an end to this cycle of depravity by having some stalls in the soggy streets. A free shop was erected and people played songs, outside a monument to failed capitalism, an empty shop. (The sweet irony of protesting against consumption in a half-vacated city centre was not lost). A worthy target was found, and Starbucks was picketed by free shoppers and Zapatista supporters, highlighting their bullying tactics towards small farmers and their own workers. Their dubious involvement with greenwash front Conservation International was blown wide open (see this http://londonmexicosolidarity.org/content/chiapas-coffee-starbucks-and-conservation-international or http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/starbucks.cfm) and people complained that their independent cafes were being suffocated by this silky sham sofa swarming of sterile Starbucks, with one independent observer commenting "I don't know why people go there, their coffee's shit." The Yorkshire Zapatistas were on hand to offer some free coffee, and a taste of autonomy to curious people, and many fruitful discussions were had.
So is this the end of the consumerist model?

Maybe a Buy Nothing Christmas will hammer the final nails into the coffin.

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Background:

No purchase necessary!

Saturday November 26th is Buy Nothing Day (UK). It's a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from shopping and anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!

Everything we buy has an impact on the environment, Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries - only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth's natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage, and an unfair distribution of wealth.

People around the UK will make a pact with themselves to take a break from consumption as a personal experiment or public statement and the best thing is - IT'S FREE!!!

For a quick start to Buy Nothing Day read the FAQ page. If you want to take part in more actively, which is far more fun, then you may want to organise an event - take a look at the TOOLKIT for info and ideas and check the EVENTS page. If there are no events near you - organise one! Get social and follow Buy Nothing Day UK on TWITTER and FACEBOOK

Of course, Buy Nothing Day isn't about changing your lifestyle for just one day - we want it to be a lasting relationship with you consumer conscience - maybe a life changing experience? We want people to make a commitment to consuming less, recycling more and challenging companies to clean up and be fair. The supermarket or shopping mall might offer great choice, but this shouldn't be at the cost of the environment or developing countries.

Around the world: Adbusters.org | Argentina | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Croatia | Denmark | Finland | France
Hong Kong | Intl. BND | Japan | Netherlands | New Zealand | Romania | Sweden | Uruguay

Buy Nothing Day Website

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Steal Something Day, a shameless 24-hour stealing spree!

Critique and call-out