Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

SHOP TIL YOU DROP

Lined up for jobs, food? No, lined up in the wee hours to be first in line to shop
The prize - one of the discounted mega-TV's - he didn't know we should be boycotting Samsung, the lead contractor of the Jeju Island Navy base. He might not have cared anyway, a deal is a deal


This morning there are stories of shootings, pepper spraying and pushing and shoving in stores across America. Back Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year - the start of the shopping marathon that ends (temporarily) on Christmas.

Yesterday we were visiting a friend in Framingham, MA. and we went out to see a movie. The streets were clogged with cars and you could see the shopping center parking lots were filled to the brim.

The mega-stories discount a few items in order to draw the masses into the web. Then once there the frenzy of greed and materialism begins. People push one another out of the way so they can get the "latest" toy or sound system.

It's a disease. Humans are being turned into automatons, they've become consumers who measure their self worth but which of the new gadgets they have. They are trying to keep up with the mythical Jones' next door but it is a never ending treadmill. The corporate public relations machine always keeps the cheese just out of reach.

This machine of consumption is destroying our planet as we have to go to endless war in order to extract the natural resources that are necessary to mass produce these products. But consumers don't care about that, they are immune to that reality, they are fixated on the product. Getting the new large flat-screen TV with the perfect picture trumps everything.

We are a sick society. Martin Luther King told us this years ago when he said: "We must rapidly begin to shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-centered' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

Wouldn't it be great if people line up to help one another or to stand in opposition to corporate control? Won't it be a great day when people in mass get out of bed real early to join a protest that called for a change in the way we treat the 99%?

In fact it is largely the poor and the working class who line up and storm into these stores on Black Friday. It appears they have been trained to believe that by possessing the latest junk they will somehow be able to emulate the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It is a shallow hole.

The saddest thing of all is that this materialism is directly connected to Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ has been turned into an evil, self-depreciating time of self loathing. Jesus, the poor wandering teacher of love and forgiveness, has had his birthday taken over by capitalism and turned into Black Friday. A sad commentary on life in the 21st century indeed.


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