Oct 19, 2011

Boycot Santa (Occupy the North Pole)

I like the way the Occupy Wall Street movement is evolving. Not just the way it's spreading, but the way it's slowly finding a direction. Now it's time to make a calendar together.

It started out to be reactionary, or what one of my readers coined "victimism." I wrote that we needed to take more responsibility for our society. That same reader summed it much more poetically: "The voices are implying that the 99% are hapless victims of evil overlords, but we have all sewn many stitches in our economic straitjackets."

In Shakespeare's Henry VI, two would-be revolutionaries propose to begin their societal purge by killing all the lawyers. The sign telling Wall Street businessmen to "Jump, Fuckers" is along that same angry, reactionary, Other-focused stream. An energy that most of us feel, trying vainly to believe that if we only could knock off that evil 1% controlling us, that all would be well. But it just doesn't work like that - true lasting change begins from within.

But now I feel a shift towards action, arising naturally out of the initial chaos, organic and grassroots as squash in the compost pile. November 5 has been declared "Bank Transfer Day", an absolutely brilliant first move. It hits the corporate world where it hurts, but more importantly it is a positive step towards investing our resources in ways that align with our beliefs. And it's a permanent move, not just a temporary boycott that They need to weather. If we protest outside Wallmart they'll just wait until we go away, or have us arrested. But if we all simply stop shopping there, they lose their power.

So while we 99% are on the same page, what else can we do? What comes after the banks? Let's get going on a list of changes that We can implement, individually and corporately, that will just have us creating and living the world we want, marginalizing the 1% and the system they represent. Things like:

- tear up that Costco membership and join a CSA. What if Nov.12 we all mailed in our Costco cards to their head office, and that same day went to a centralized website to find the nearest CSA or farmers market?

- learn to can and dehydrate and freeze stuff from our own garden. Nov.19 isn't too late for an international Apple Preservation Day, with community gleaning then workshops all over the land to make homemade apple sauce and vow not to buy Del Monte products ever again.

- get all of our investments out of the stock market (even out of most ethical investment funds which are just a Best-of-the-Worst) and into local investments that fully align with our values. Imagine 100,000 people doing that on Nov.26.

- we could devote all of December to boycotting commercial consumerist Christmas. Make a collective vow to only give presents from local artisans or our own loving hands. Not do any shopping during the end-of-year sales. Eat that homemade apple sauce and preserves instead of Chinese oranges. Bake your own fruitcake (no-one eats it anyways). Be Santa's helper, not his customer.

- build your next house out of mud. OK, that's a bit hard to all do on the same day, maybe not the best example.

That's just off the top of my head. What else can we do, ideally all on the same day to simultaneously send a powerful message and to support/celebrate each other, to "be the change we want to see in the world?"


  1. no, that was a bit of poetic license. I do have access to one through my mom but have so far overcome any impulse to use it. The national day to close your bank account and move to a credit union have made me wish i had a bank account just so i could participate.