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Consumer fasts, mall sit-ins -- anti-Black Friday actions urged

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

A sign stands at one of several entrances to the Occupy Portland camp in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011.

Looking for an alternative to frenzied shopping malls and packed commercial districts on Black Friday?

A few outfits are calling for some anti-consumer actions on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

One is from Adbusters, the Canadian magazine that launched the initial call for people to Occupy Wall Street.

This time, their mission is to shut down Black Friday shopping in what they’re calling a “Buy Nothing Day.”


It’s not the first one – this is the 20th Buy Nothing Day – but it is the first since “Occupy” camps sprang up across the globe, starting with the flagship one in New York City on Sept. 17.

“Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism -– a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. On this 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, we take it to the next level, marrying it with the message of #occupy…We #OCCUPYXMAS,” the not-for-profit publication wrote on its blog.

Adbusters proposes putting "the brakes on rabid consumerism" through “flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events" and other attention-getting or disruptive activities. "We don’t camp on the sidewalk for a reduced price tag on a flat screen TV or psycho-killer video game," it said. "Instead, we occupy the very paradigm that is fueling our eco, social and political decline.”

Responses to the call were mixed.

One tweeter, Penney K. Dollar, who identified herself as an entrepreneur living in Las Vegas, wrote: “Dear #occupyxmas please amend that to only shop locally owned/run businesses. We struggle enough as it is.”

Another tweeter, Jennifer Taveras opined: “Crazy proposal for Americans who wait for Black Friday shopping #OCCUPYXMAS … :/”

Retailers looking for holiday shoppers to defy economy

But others embraced the call: “It's time for a new kind of #holiday season... #occupyxmas,” suggested @WeOccupyNOW. Simone di Castri (@ludicastri) quipped: “lets take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts … the wallet.”

Another anti-shopping effort being touted is Stop Black Friday.

“Hit the 1% where it hurts -- in their wallet. They will listen quite closely then,” a statement on the site reads, providing a list of “large chain stores” and “publicly traded retail” it recommends that consumers boycott. “If you must spend, spend locally.”

It also notes: “Occupy Black Friday will not stop the magic of the holiday season for you or your families. You will still be able to get the things that you need to get in plenty of time to give them to the people that you love.”

Occupy Wall Street was arranging its own anti-Black Friday event, with what it called a day of non-action, "Don't Occupy Walmart."

Describing the company as "one of the worst offenders on Main Street today," organizers said they supported Walmart employees but not practices it deemed as perpetuating "an unsustainable system that undercuts its own workers and crowds out business competition unfairly."

"We ask on this day that all Occupations, and all those who stand with the 99% in solidarity, refrain from purchasing anything from WalMart on Black Friday this year ... on this day we ask quite simply: Just. Don't. Go."

Do you plan to shop on Black Friday? Leave a comment below.