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Every year on the fourth Thursday of November the whole America celebrates Thanksgiving Day. Next day in America and in others enough developed countries pre-Christmas store fever begins. The Friday following Thanksgiving Day is the biggest shopping day in a year which because of influx of buyers retailers have christened "Black Friday". This Friday, from November 24th to November 25th, about one million activists in 65 countries will undertake 24-hour shopping-detoxication within the international day without purchases (Buy Nothing Day or BND). You may examine the information at the official site of Buy Nothing Day.
Activists of BND this day don't do any purchases intentionally . They also encourage their families, friends and all others to tread in theirs steps: to forget about a wallet and credit cards, to be disconnected from the shopping which has become a part of a daily routine and for one day "to return back to life". This global event covered by the largest world news resources can be celebrated as a relaxation family day, as a non-merchant street party or even politically directed public protest.
As an alternative to mad shopping, to which we are pushed by the stunning number of advertising, activists of BND suggest to spend this day with a family and with friends, or reading a book, or to be engaged in alms-deed, or just to go to the country to contemplate the nature. Any person can become the participant of this event on the assumption that he will refrain this day from any purchases.
In the present "Buy Nothing Day", the 14th celebration in general, activists are planning to carry out various actions starting with the zombie marches finishing with the organization of clinics for shopaholics (those for whom shopping became psychological dependence). As a matter of fact, participants of BND in the different countries figure out how they want to draw attention to a problem of superfluous consumption.
The idea to turn "Black Friday" into an informal day of a protest against consumerism and superfluous consumption belongs to the Canadian artist Ted Dave who was boiling the pot in advertising agencies of Vancouver. Ted Dave's desire was to organize a collective protest against the advertising and marketing industry creating illusion of need of the increasing and bigger consumption. Initially this protest day was called "No Shop Day" - in general, the sense in the name was the same, as "Buy Nothing Day". The motto of a campaign of that time in the original sounded as "Enough is enough!"
After a while Ted's idea drew attention of the most important today media activist of the planet - Kalle Lasn who had founded in 1989 still in Vancouver anti-consumer organization with the name Adbusters (It means - those who arrested advertising). Since 1995 the Adbusters magazine and its online version began to promote ideology of "Buy nothing day" very actively. For the first time the broad attention of world mass media has been drawn to the movement of Buy Nothing Day in 1999, during the days of the mass protests against the World Trade Organization which have become history as "Fight for Seattle". Unexpectedly various political groups have realized a commonness of their purposes.
Buy Nothing Day is completely self-organizational event. Events and actions of "But Nothing Day" are organized independently from each other by a wide range of groups different in spirit. For example, there are groups of consumerists, environmentalists, animal rightists, anti-globalists. Over the last years the increasing number of the spiritual groups of the people, which are anxious with superfluous commercialization of Christmas, join the movement of Buy Nothing Day. The difference of "Buy Nothing Day" from many other actions of activists is that it is really similar to a holiday. Though in the USA there were cases when not quite adequate indignation of local shopping centers led to arrests of activists. But "Buy Nothing Day" passes in cheerful, easy, friendly and, the main thing, in the creative atmosphere.
The reasons for participation in "Buy Nothing Day" differ as well as people who take part in it. For someone this day is an opportunity to escape from marketing games with consciousness of the consumer. Or from impetuous revelry of consumerism which characterizes a festive season between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. From these two holidays designed to help us to be distracted from temporalty and to think about something more than material things. Other people use this day to draw attention for ecological and ethical consequences of the problem of superfluous consumption.
People have never asked a question of superfluous consumption. People like to think that when they buy things, they support economy. But the fact that consuming more and more, all of us kill our planet quicker and quicker - such thought doesn't come to their mind. Our rapid immersion in an ecological collapse demands a basic shift in how we see the world around us. Cars with hybrid engines and reduction of industrial emissions in the atmosphere - is good. But these measures are only temporary plasters if we don't address to a root of the problem: we have to consume less. This is the message which Buy Nothing Day carries out.
According to Lasn's beliefs, "But Nothing Day" doesn't mean the change of people's habits for one day. He symbolizes the change of the whole lifestyle, the obligation to consume less goods and to produce less garbage. With six billion people on the planet, a debt of the most well-founded part of the population (20 percent of people which consume 80% of world resources) is to begin to set an example.
Over recent years we more often receive different preventions: thawing of the Arctic ices, warming of temperature in the World Ocean, more and more destructive hurricanes. Quite recently, in October, the famous economist sir Nicholas Stern in the report on global warming, has foretold that climatic changes will become the reason of unpredictable collapses of the world market and disintegration of the whole industries. Soon after this report the Science magazine has published results of a big research according to which because of almost completely caught fish there will come the full collapse of world fishery within 40 years.
The main problems of people which they creates themselves - air and water pollution without which it is impossible to live any day; the continuous deforestation depriving of thousands of animal species of their native habitat that leads to their disappearance and, further, to change of all bio system in general; annual killing of billions of animals in experimental laboratories and on agro-industrial farms - in these concentration camps of death of our time; a problem of the most severe exploitation in the Third World countries. At bottom, all these problems, covered by colorful commercials, have fuel of one structure: the impetuous consumer race growing because of bad infinity of our material desires.
And if we aren't able to collect all our spiritual forces to overcome material dependence, so it is the time to ask ourselves a number of questions. Will we have enough inhumanity to return us to the slave past? Would we like to go into slavery of Nike garment factories a half of the population of the third world countries, and ourselves - into slavery of advertising "communications"?
To please the manufacturers, imposing us false and illusory ideas of beauty and health, behind which glossy big-boards the sea of blood, sufferings and horror of animals are hidden. Whether we are ready to throw out the ability to love and care for our younger spiritual brothers? Would we like to live on the planet where the only shadows will be cast by columns with the McDonalds logos?
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