Consumer Culture Brought to Its Knees in BradfordTagged as: culture economic_crisis social_struggles
Neighbourhoods: bd1 bradford centenary_square
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.
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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.