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Wildcat General Strike

Turn Buy Nothing Day up a notch this year by joining the Wildcat General Strike! On November 27/28 we are asking you to claw at capitalism and sink your teeth deeper into the corporate machine.

Buy Nothing Day was a radical concept when we first introduced it 20 years ago. It struck a blow against the very heart of our consumer culture. For the first decade of its existence it had a profound and sweeping effect, shining a light on the dark side of consumerism at a time when the world was largely oblivious to its insidious effects. Year after year it fired up the world’s imagination – inspiring its fair share of sympathy and solidarity, resistance and mockery. I remember people laughing their heads off at the sight of my BND button. But somehow, as the years wore on (and despite the fact that last year it was celebrated in 65 countries around the world), the day seems to be losing its edge. Now, as humanity faces crises of ecology, psychology and faith, the time has come to rethink the day, to reanimate it with new intensity, purpose and scale.

This year we’re calling for a wildcat general strike. On November 27/28 we’re asking tens of millions of people around the world to bring the capitalist consumption machine to a grinding – if only momentary – halt. We want you to shut off your lights, your televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off your computer for the day. We’re calling for a Ramadan-like fast. From sunrise to sunset, we abstain en masse. Not only from shopping but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.

Instead we’ll feed our spirits and minds with a feast of subversive activities: pranks, shenanigans, credit card cut-ups, bicycle swarms, mall invasions and all manner of culture jams and creative détournements … and some of us will take things even further with sit-ins, demonstrations, passive resistance and acts of nonviolent defiance, anarchy and civil disobedience. If we can create a big enough ruckus on November 27/28, then we may be able to catalyze what the Situationists tried to set in motion half a century ago: a chain reaction of refusal against consumer capitalism … a sudden, unexpected moment of truth … the first ever global revolution.

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62 comments on the article “Wildcat General Strike”

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Damien Lavizzo

@ the people saying "OMG THEY WANT TO END CAPITALISM"

I don't think I read the words "end capitalism" anywhere on this site. All I see is a group trying to educate people about lazy, wasteful spending. Advertising would have you believe that every dollar you spend gets you that closer to the "perfect" life you see in their ads. There are a lot of people out there that don't put a lot of thought into the things they buy as a result of this. Rather than creativity and compassion driving our consumer markets, sheer profit margins are running our lives. Talk about "consumer driven economies" to the vast numbers of unemployed people in states like California or New York. I'd be surprised if they didn't punch you in the face. Try telling them that "spending more is the key to bringing back the economy" when they can barely put food on the table because some bank, retail chain, or fast food company decided they needed to "tighten the belt" and "cut costs" by laying people off.

I really will never understand people that leap to the defense of the very companies and corporations that are solely interested in coming up with more efficient ways of getting your money out of your pocket. The problem is our mode of thinking, really, not "capitalism" itself. The problem being that advertising has convinced us that everything good in life costs money, and that if you don't have a lot of it, you aren't really living. People in general seem to take little pleasure - indeed, little interest - in all the simple pleasures you can enjoy for free or for very little. So, in trying to change that thinking, I don't think there's anything wrong with calling for a "Buy Nothing Day". Even if the only effect is to open a dialogue just like this one, I think the notion has succeeded.

Damien Lavizzo

@ the people saying "OMG THEY WANT TO END CAPITALISM"

I don't think I read the words "end capitalism" anywhere on this site. All I see is a group trying to educate people about lazy, wasteful spending. Advertising would have you believe that every dollar you spend gets you that closer to the "perfect" life you see in their ads. There are a lot of people out there that don't put a lot of thought into the things they buy as a result of this. Rather than creativity and compassion driving our consumer markets, sheer profit margins are running our lives. Talk about "consumer driven economies" to the vast numbers of unemployed people in states like California or New York. I'd be surprised if they didn't punch you in the face. Try telling them that "spending more is the key to bringing back the economy" when they can barely put food on the table because some bank, retail chain, or fast food company decided they needed to "tighten the belt" and "cut costs" by laying people off.

I really will never understand people that leap to the defense of the very companies and corporations that are solely interested in coming up with more efficient ways of getting your money out of your pocket. The problem is our mode of thinking, really, not "capitalism" itself. The problem being that advertising has convinced us that everything good in life costs money, and that if you don't have a lot of it, you aren't really living. People in general seem to take little pleasure - indeed, little interest - in all the simple pleasures you can enjoy for free or for very little. So, in trying to change that thinking, I don't think there's anything wrong with calling for a "Buy Nothing Day". Even if the only effect is to open a dialogue just like this one, I think the notion has succeeded.

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