“While modern capitalism constantly develops new needs in order to increase consumption, people’s dissatisfaction remains the same as ever. Their lives no longer have any meaning beyond a rush to consume, and this consumption is used to justify the increasingly radical frustration of any creative activity or genuine human initiative — to the point that people no longer even see this lack of meaning as important.” - Pierre Canjuers, Socialisme ou Barbarie #27

Friday, 25 November 2016

Not Buying It. Whatever It Is.

Today is Buy Nothing Day, a "global holiday from consumerism" that originates from the 'Adbusters' and 'culture-jamming' factions of the global justice movement (the people who brought you Occupy Wall Street) that rose to prominence in the late 1990s.  While the anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation protests aren't quite as in vogue as they once were with the left, some of whom have fallen down the rabbit hole of social justice and so-called "politically correct" identity politics, Buy Nothing Day has remained a staple of general 'anti' sentiment for the past 20 years.  More recently, it's come to be associated explicitly with "Black Friday", the hyper-consumerist nightmare binge promoted (perversely as can be conceived) on the day after the American celebration of "Thanksgiving", and which has inevitably spread across the pond.


Search "Black Friday" on youtube for literally hundreds more such reports, clip compilations and even tips on how to navigate your revolting flesh bag through the megastore aisles and escape without getting horribly, horribly injured or perhaps even killed while clinging like a wretched maniac to a really big telly.  (Even, more horrifyingly still, what to wear while doing so).

As with working out how one might possibly react usefully to so many other things in the world today, there's a fine line between sincere incredulity that this is the sort of thing millions of human beings actually do (and not just in moments of psychotic greed but repeatedly, and voluntarily, year after year) and the smug self-satisfaction that comes from telling yourself that at least I'm not one of them.  That's mainly, I think, because you are one of them, or could be far more easily than you're willing to admit.  "In choosing for myself I choose for all mankind", as Sartre wrote, which means that for every well-meaning mother who just wants the best [new X-Box] for her kids and will literally trample over an old lady with a zimmerframe to get it, or misfit beta male who just wants a 43-inch UHD smart TV below which he might more efficiently masturbate to the niche porn of his choice, there but for the grace of Guy Debord, go you.