Buy Nothing Day? Try Steal Something Day!
STEAL SOMETHING DAY
For the past eighteen years, a few self-described “culture jammers” from Adbusters Magazine have dubbed the last Friday in November “Buy Nothing Day.”
From their stylish home base in Vancouver’s upscale suburb of Kitsilano, the Adbusters’ brain trust has encouraged conscientious citizens worldwide to “relish [their] power as a consumer to change the economic environment.” In their words, Buy Nothing Day “proves how empowering it is to step out of the consumption stream for even a day.”
The geniuses at Adbusters have managed to create the perfect feel-good, liberal, middle-class activist non-happening. A day when the more money you make, the more influence you have (like every other day). A day which, by definition, is insulting to the millions of people worldwide who are too poor or marginalized to be considered “consumers.”
It’s supposed to be a 24-hour moratorium on spending, but ends up being a moralistic false-debate about whether or not you should really buy that loaf of bread today or … wait for it … tomorrow!
Well, this year, while the Adbusters cult enjoys yet another Buy Nothing Day, accompanied by their fancy posters, stickers, TV and radio advertisements and slick webpages, a few self-described anarcho-situationists from occupied Turtle Island are (re)inaugurating Steal Something Day.
Unlike Buy Nothing Day, when people are asked to “participate by not participating,” Steal Something Day demands that we “participate by participating.” Instead of downplaying or ignoring the capitalists, CEOs, landlords, small business tyrants, bosses, PR hacks, yuppies, media lapdogs, corporate bureaucrats, politicians and cops who are primarily responsible for misery and exploitation in this world, Steal Something Day demands that we steal from them, without discrimination.
The Adbusters’ intellegentsia tell us that they’re neither “left nor right,” and have proclaimed a non-ideological crusade against overconsumption. Steal Something Day, on the other hand, identifies with the historic and contemporary resistance against the causes of capitalist exploitation, not its symptoms. If you think overconsumption is scary, wait until you hear about capitalism and imperialism.
Unlike the misplaced Buy Nothing Day notion of consumer empowerment, Steal Something Day promotes empowerment by urging us to collectively identify the greedy bastards who are actually responsible for promoting misery and boredom in this world. Instead of ignoring them, Steal Something Day encourages us to make their lives as uncomfortable as possible.
As our comrades like to say in Montreal: diranger les riches dans leurs niches!
And remember, we’re talking about stealing, not theft. Stealing is just. Theft is exploitative. Stealing is when you take a yuppie’s BMW for a joyride, and crash into a parked Mercedes just for the hell of it. Theft is when you take candy from a baby’s mouth.
Stealing is the re-distribution of wealth from rich to poor. Theft is making profits at the expense of the disadvantaged and the natural environment. Stealing is an unwritten a tax on the rich. Theft is taxing the poor to subsidize the rich. Stealing is nothing more than a tax on the rich. There is solidarity in stealing, but property is nothing but theft.
So, don’t pay for that corporate newspaper, but steal all of them from the box. Get some friends together and go on a “shoplifting” spree at the local chain supermarket or upscale mall. With an even larger mob, get together and steal from the local chain book or record store. Pilfer purses and wallets from easily identified yuppies and business persons. Skip out on rent. Get a credit card under a fake name and don’t pay. Keep what you can use, and give away everything else in the spirit of mutual aid that is the hallmark of Steal Something Day.
See you next Steal Something Day which, unlike Buy Nothing, happens every day of the year.
(This press release was originally published ten years ago, November 26, 1999, but remains just as relevant today. Download the detourned poster at http://tao.ca/~lombrenoire, make copies and stick them up wherever you can. And don’t forget, send your scamming and stealing tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)