Let’s Occupy Black Friday

by Kyle Byron

So they’ve finally gone and done it. Shut down Zuccotti Park in New York. Champagne all around for the banksters, political tools of the corporation, and corrupt, violent, armed-to-the-teeth cops across this fine nation of ours. Here’s to you—I heap upon you all the scorn of all the millions of people around the world collectively fed up with your collective shit.

Now we can get back to the real business of the season—mindless over-consumption! AmIright? Or at least that’s what they want you to do. They want you to pack up your tent and your crazy ideas about how government should benefit the people (and be run by them) instead of by and for the American Corporation. Then they want you to think about what you’ve done—time for a little religious-style guilt trip. Parade out the fools and misfits in front of Matt Lauer and turn them into the imagined “spokespeople” of the movement. Make us all cringe a little inside with previews of a new Michael Moore documentary about the movement. Get back on CNBC about consumption as the engine of the economy. Cue the holiday music in every 7-Eleven and stack up the Charlie Brown Christmas decorations at Home Depot. Quick, start running those f’ing Lexus-with-a-giant-red-bow-on-top-in-the-snowy-driveway-of-Middle-America ads. During Dancing with the Stars. What was that again about Occupy? It sure was funny when that fat TV bitch fell on the dance floor and now I’m sleepy …

The Plan

So here we are in a world where corporations = people, and money = speech. We’re all pretty sick of this world at this point, dontcha think? So how about a plan to cause some serious disruption in the machine?

Here’s what we’re gonna do: pick a major retailer. Doesn’t really matter much which one we pick. Once we’ve established the Best Target, we schedule a countrywide occupation. But this one will be a little different. Don’t need no tents or libraries of reference books. On Black Friday, we assemble in front of the stores. One of the major electronics stores has over 1,000 storefronts around the country. If we can occupy most of them with a few hundred people, we can make a difference. Now what are we talking about here?

Target shoppers

Twenty or so people start with a little picket line. Pictures of tents on the signs if you like. Symbolism, people! Seems innocuous enough, but media coverage builds as people start to realize it’s ALL over the country. Then the real action: several hundred people show up at each store, flooding it with normal-looking, seemingly eager-to-buy customers. The picketers outside can quietly start recruiting interested actual shoppers. Convert them to the cause in real time. No shouting or protestations to draw the eye of local law enforcement. Each person peruses the aisles for a little while, then grabs a CD or digital camera. Throughout the day they walk to the checkout line and wait, just like everybody else.

Then, as each protester makes it to the cash register, they happily hand over their recently-cancelled ATM card from whichever major bank they’ve moved their money from. Or grab an old, expired credit card from that desk drawer and use it. Feigned puzzlement as the cashier tries and fails to ring them up. Then just a little hemming and hawing, trying to understand what’s happening. Then they place their not-purchased item on the counter and walk out. The next protester walks up to the register—and the cycle continues. As lines slow and back up around the country, media coverage starts to shift from the picketers outside to the larger story—major retailer targeted in massive shutdown attempt. No spokespeople for the movement are available for comment. Attempts to communicate with the non-participating protest buyers are met with silent smiles, waves, and peace signs wiggling in the face of Greta Van Susteren.

The beauty of this “occupation” is that it is completely invisible. No tents to break down, no wall of protesters shouting at the police to billy-club (oh, I’m sorry, “nudge”—fuck you, NBC) into compliance.

I bet even a minor drop in Black Friday sales would put a chill in the heart of any retailer CEO. It’s a bit cynical to imagine, but at this point even a small victory would be pleasant news. We’re under no illusion that Glass-Steagall will be re-implemented anytime soon (even though it should be—ha ha, who am I kidding with this stuff is the question I ask in the middle of the night sometimes these days). But perhaps, perhaps he might issue a statement. At the very least, it would be funny. Imagine this rich bastard pleading with the masses to BUY MORE SHIT! I’m all about the entertainment value here folks.

Anonymous Cyber Monday Follow-up

And it would be swell if Anonymous could get involved after our little song and dance is all over and done with. Shut down the same retailer’s website. Crash it down during the company’s most lucrative online shopping day, Cyber Monday. Even just for a few hours. But again, as with all things requested of Anonymous, you guys rock, I love you man, and no worries. I do NOT want to mess with you or any plans you may have. Lotsa love and I’m tapping my chest in that way people do with the hand signs and all that.

So that’s it—that’s the plan. What do you think? Shall we take down American retail this Christmas?

Kyle Byron is a writer and musician working on new online gaming technologies. He doubles on trumpet and flugel in the hippest jazz combo you've never heard of.

Comments

Seems like a pretty good plan that I would be happy to be a part of, except I feel like the idea of trying to select a single retailer to be the target of said protest/action would be almost impossible, nationwide and all.  Like, I’ve seen a little consensus work in action and it takes a while and I would hate for the Black Friday boycott to be derailed because the entire Occupy movement has thus far never been so specific. 

I think we should do this, but with communities selecting their own targets, or there could be a couple targets.  I live in a super small town, the only real chain is Walmart, which does seem to be an obvious choice.

2011-11-17 by Rachael

Yeah, yeah. We can do any number of occupys, and the movement is spreading. Right now the police are in a crack down mode, but with the exception of outright war zones like Oakland, more or less not going completely off the deep end.

Occupy San Diego just got rousted for the third time, but we have a federal court case in process, which is a start. What was requested was leniency through the holidays, but you know how the man is’ pumped up on testosterone, and who knows what all else.

The man is scary, thats all there is to it.

Heres Cerati live in Medellin, just last yearÑ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW8049hZRSo&feature=related

2011-11-17 by robert hagen

Wow…what an inventory nightmare, restocking shelves!  Hey…I worked at Skagg Drug Stores when I was 16, saving my pennies to go to college, so I could live a better life some day!  What happened to me?  I now work with hoodlums in suits and ties…just a different costume…same bullshit!  :)

2011-11-18 by Lisa

While I think the core idea is a good one, I think that it may be a little late in the game for it to become as effective as it potentially could be.  Which is not to say this idea shouldn’t be implemented this Black Friday.  It would certainly garner media attention.  My only concern is that it would be a bit too easy to spin it as being against store employees (for all the restocking) or the working-class folk who couldn’t otherwise afford a new TV (or what have you).  Odds are more people will be turned on than turned off and trying to reach the anti-Occupy crowd is a bit pointless, so in all, it will do more good than harm. 

Something that you/we may want to do is find a way to spread this to “the Real America”, particularly to towns whose only retailer is a Walmart.  I’m sure there’s a lot of pent up anger at these stores and it would go down well.  A suggested entry point would be to maybe communicate with some of the local civic organizations/houses of worship, which in many places, provide the backbone of socialization in small towns, as opposed to social media.

What I’d really like to see is for this to be organized for next Black Friday with the creation of social media groups, a website, outreach activities, a consumer-friendly alternative to cheap, foreign-made goods, etc.  Then you can really say a major impact.  With what your proposing here, the impact will not be that big (prove me wrong) which will give the unfortunate impression to those who may actually support the Occupy movement that it’s really just an elite.  Crazy, but unless you really pay attention to the movement (particularly if you don’t use social media), it’s easy to get the wrong idea.

2011-11-18 by Ben

Occupy Black Friday. 
Good tactics, bad strategy.

Assuming the tactics described in your article are well-executed, they would indeed disrupt business-as-usual.
And your idea of focusing on one unlucky retailer would be much more powerful than fanning out and diluting the impact.
That’s been one of the problems with the Occupy movement so far:  a mile wide and an inch deep.

But what’s the objective—just to disrupt Black Frida sales?? 
Will the headlines read:
“Occupants Disrupt Holiday Shopping?”

That would be a Pyrrhic victory—just making for a lot of pissed off people who didn’t really want to stand in long lines to support “the movement” and who would blame OWS for messing their plans for a day of shopping and getting home in time to watch football or enjoy brandied eggnog with the neighbors.

OWS needs to get to know the 99% they claim as constituants.

Pick some worthwhile goals and work for them.
Here are my favorites:
—Yes, reinstate Glass-Steagall.  Make it a wedge-issue for next year’s election.  People are wising up to what it is and why it’s needed.
—Break up the too-big-to-fails using Anti-trust action.
http://open.salon.com/blog/oddsox/2011/10/10/too_big_to_fail_too_big_to_begin_with
—Reverse Citizens United as a prelude to campaign reform: donations only by breathing US citizens.  No corporations, no unions, no PACs.
—Eliminate payroll taxes (labor taxes).  Fund FICA/Medicare from consumption taxes (sales and excise taxes)

Meanwhile, an alternative to Occupy Black Friday??
I’ve been getting some emails suggesting a shift in Holiday Shopping this year.  Instead of buying online or at the mall using the big box stores who send our $$ to China, give gift certificates for locally-run businesses. 
Good for lube jobs & oil changes.  The local pizza joint or non-chain restaurant.  Non-Starbuck coffee houses.  The local barber or hair stylist.  The local day-care or pre-school.
You get the picture:  Keep the money with small business.  Keep it in your community. 
No backlash, easy to do, higher positive impact.

—-

If you’re a supporter of the Occupy movement, the powers that be actually did you a favor by shutting down Zuccotti Park.
The camp-out tactic was getting old & winter’s coming.
Long past time to stick and move.

2011-11-21 by oddsox

Comments closed.

Archives

Features | Blog