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Black Friday Amerika: ‘Shop Till We All Drop’!

Philip Farruggio

People crowd the first floor of Macy’s department store as they open at midnight (0500 GMT) on November 23, 2012 in New York to start the stores’ “Black Friday” shopping weekend. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDASTAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

The crowds arrive at the box store many hours before opening, or nowadays even on Thanksgiving night. They wait outside (sometimes in frigid Northern areas) for the opportunity to get ‘Once in a lifetime’ deals. Many of these shoppers are low income folks who really need those deals… many don’t really need them. The rhetorical question no one seems to ask is why those ‘barely above water’ don’t earn enough to avoid having to compete for bargains?

The inevitable answer of course is that this is laissez-faire free enterprise Amerika where Charles Darwin would be so proud. You know the drill, everyone has an equal opportunity to sink or swim on their own. Besides, old Ben Franklin said it best: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Hear that all you Wal-Mart shoppers?

Sadly, because of the diabolically successful tweaking of our public education system begun decades ago, many of my fellow Amerikans have been ‘dumbed down’. The boob tube from the 1970s right up until present has completed its assignment of ridding the public of any real historical or counter mainstream political discourse or debate. Everything has to suit the will of those corporate sponsors and of course our powerful Military Industrial Empire.

They got the majority of us, the suckers and bottom feeders that they call us, into actually believing that the dream of becoming super rich is within reach for anyone. The media celebrates great wealth and corporate success. It is the working stiff who has no one to blame but himself for not earning more. This is why we don’t see thousands of street corner demonstrations throughout this nation on a regular basis. Why stand on a street corner with a sign when you can be saving money by shopping?

It is already a given to more of us working stiffs that the overwhelming majority of politicians are full of shit. The propaganda machine has literally brainwashed so many Amerikans that their only recourse is to simply vote, and not to something more relevant like just getting out and demonstrating on key issues.

Anecdotally, when we relocated to Central Florida 21 years ago, we found a nice local seafood store selling lots of fresh caught fish. The store was located, along with a few other small businesses, on a narrow street alongside the railroad tracks off of a tremendous curve on the busiest road in town. To exit that store meant attempting to enter that road with little visibility beyond that dangerous curve.

Thus, the best way to exit the street was to go out the back way and down an adjoining residential street. Fine…until the residents of that street complained that too many big delivery trucks were using their street to deliver to the boat manufacturer near the fish store. So, the city council decided, unanimously, to put a blockade by that street, thus closing it off to all traffic. This caused the seafood store owner to lose lots of customers, especially the many seniors who shopped there. Just too damn dangerous.

Well, a few customers and merchants on that street put together a petition, and 15 of us showed up at the next council meeting to speak out. We did, and guess what? The blockade came down, and a new one was installed that only stopped trucks. Folks, concerted activism can work.

There are countless key issues for we working stiffs to concentrate our attention on. If even one key issue is taken and given full energy and attention…. folks, the Vietnam debacle was phased out because of mass citizen action. When the parents of GIs and draft age young men got pissed off and spoke out, the empire had to back off. When demonstrators replaced shoppers…..

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn , NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his works posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, OffGuardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, , Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, 'It's the Empire... Stupid' with producer Chuck Gregory.

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

32 Comments

  1. BigB says

    How many reading this bagged a Black Friday bargain? No, me neither. The last time I got embroiled in Black Friday was two or three years ago, when we went to pick something up (I can’t remember exactly what): and the other half said “Why is there so much traffic?” Turned out it was Black Friday. Now I notice we have cyber-Monday …another non-event. Seems like the TNCs are getting desperate?

    Anyway, it’ll soon be ‘mid-year-Tuesday’: the ONE day when you CAN’T get a ‘bargain’. The one day that they can say things were full price, for legal reasons. Great, except that we have done little to anticipate this day, should it arrive. Our ‘story’ is still bound to consumerism – whether we consume or not. Here’s a big word: ‘interpellate’. As in: consumerism interpellates consumers; just as consumers interpellate consumerism. For me, it means more than produces or defines: closer to ‘programmes’. It is a psychological template for behaviour that we unconsciously internalise from the dominant ideology. It is an externalised dependance on forms: not just telly’s (boob tubes), computers, gadgets and devices …we consume identity, personality, esteem, status, value, approval and all sorts of other subtle commodities from our dominant ideology …even when we think we don’t (mirror identity and anti-ideology are still ideology). It is part of the commodity exchange design of the system. We work for tokens that buy us wellbeing and satisfaction. And something called ‘freedom’ or leisure, or ‘my time’ And we are nowhere even close to giving that up.

    We need a new story, especially as everything is telling us that the old story is a lie. And the ways of the past are passing, we can see that. Who among us is psychologically, physically, and economically independent. No one. No matter what they think: we need each other – that is our story. We need each other more than ever as the dominant ideology is failing us. If capitalism fails, and it is on many levels: what will happen in a nation that has been deliberately individualised? Where communities are broken? What use are freedom tokens when there is no freedom to be bought? At any price.

    That day is coming. It has long been here for most of biotic life (bio-not-much-diversity-left), including the majority of the excluded marginalised human family. We know it, yet we will not talk of it or convene to tell a new story: a new politics and epistemology of freedom …one that includes all of life. The greatest story never told, said no one ever.

    Potlatch anyone?

    • Kathy says

      Quite.
      We are on the cusp here. Doing our best to break free from the story of lies keeping us locked in this negative cycle.. Visualizing a better and more honest story is something we should practice more.To dream of a more truthful way of living in greater harmonic. This rather then focusing on the lie created for us to become entrapped in and ensnared by. This is crucial if we truly choose to live in hope for change without blood shed.

  2. frank says

    boob tube (n.)
    “television set,” U.S. slang, by 1965, from boob “stupid person” + slang tube (n.) “television, television programming;” the original sets had vacuum tubes in them.
    https://www.etymonline.com/word/boob%20tube

    Maybe we should start calling them brainwashers. Seems appropriate.

    Used in a sentence: I bought a new brainwasher. Do you still watch the brainwasher? There’s a new brainwasher on sale. Etc.

    • Ray Raven says

      ‘tube’ = cathode ray tube, ie. the TV display itself (was originally so).
      The internal workings of the TV are inconsequntial.

  3. Fair dinkum says

    Consumed.
    By the things that we own.
    Throwaway substitutes.
    For Life.
    Itself.

  4. Molloy says

    .

    Thank you for sharing a rather mainstream view. (All down to victims to help themselves.)

    Vietnam, a long time ago. Corrupt and war crime ridden.

    (a) Effective activism (instead of myth) then Vietnam would never have started.
    Claiming success of activism when U$S hegemony humiliated? Hmmmm… dodgy one.

    And,

    (b) “The blockade came down, and a new one was installed that only stopped trucks. Folks, concerted activism can work.”. . . . . .
    . . . . your alleged experience / story certainly not shared in this part of US§UK evil empire. Ask the miners; ask the Greenham anti-war heroes; ask the anti-frackers; ask Assange; ask Pinter; ask Faslane.

    Your likely motives are interesting but really you’re saying that children are responsible for finding themselves in poverty.

    .

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    • harry stotle says

      “Thank you for sharing a rather mainstream view. (All down to victims to help themselves.)” – of course its down to the electorate to help themselves.

      I mean it will be a long wait before the political class do anything to improve things not least because it is a full time job servicing lobby groups and corporations in who’s interest they mainly act

      Adults can organise and make different choices so it is a false analogy to compare them to children – trouble is not enough people listen to the wisdom of activists like Harry Leslie Smith.

      “Harry came into the world by way of Barnsley, Yorkshire during the bleak February of 1923. As he recounted more than ninety years later in the 2014 testament Harry’s Last Stand, his was a country of crippling poverty and social murder. With both the Spanish flu and the trenches of the Great War still hanging in recent memory, his family would eventually live through the Great Depression, Hitler’s bombs, and postwar austerity before seeing the tides turn for working people. This was a Britain before the welfare state or the NHS: one where life for many ordinary people consisted of hunger, low wages, and backbreaking toil in the service of patricians who hoarded the fruits of common labor in their manor houses and shire estates; where class privilege was not only hereditary, but institutionally codified in both culture and politics; and where members of the working poor often died needless deaths amid private affluence and public squalor”
      https://jacobinmag.com/2018/11/harry-leslie-smith-nhs-labour-obituary?fbclid=IwAR1ZWZxTCbOkQ8i28o6_y5uPBVQQIKwfg4OqnPf8abEoysbjulTzY0xLdjA

      Clement Atlee’s post-war Labour government is one example of an era when not all politicians had sold their soul to the establishment – the accumulation of social gains since then are under threat and given the complexion of today’s leaders (Trump, Clinton, May, etc) this pattern is only going to continue until enough people say enough is enough.

      • Molloy says

        .

        Agreed. Let Harry LS RIP. Without riding on coat tails.

        Perhaps you misread my point re children? Obvs, a DailyHeil angle, you know, is not helpful.

        Go well.

        .

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    • frank says

      Agreed. You might get something done for some trivial local issue, and even that is probably an exception. But for the real issues plaguing society I don’t think protesting on the street is going to change anything.

      And I don’t believe the Vietnam war stopped because of street protests. If it did it would have stopped many years earlier.

      There have recently been massive protests in France about the rising fuel prices. Let’s see if it will change anything. (My guess is the protests will eventually peter out and business continues as usual.)

    • Badger Down says

      To make sense of Molloy’s comment, remember:
      To USers, “Vietnam” is a war.
      To the rest of the world, Vietnam is a country; “the US war in Vietnam” was a war.

  5. Makropulos says

    Perhaps one day there will be little transmitters built into everyone’s brain so that the merest flicker of desire will be enough to set off a cash transaction. And the concentration of wealh will acccelerate towards a financial black hole.

    • Molloy says

      .

      Ha ha, yes that’s funny.

      The reason for the UK$US empire’s crim aggressive behaviour, more than likely, is a need to divert attention away from the wrongdoers.
      A pathetic and transparent 4th rate show.

      As always, the empire’s lickspittles are terrified that the tumbrills are being dusted off (but there’s no faker quite like a Mue$ller is there?!).

      Sláinte

      .

    • Yarkob says

      are we not there already? but just minus the transmitter, which will be along presently, courtesy of the “new” thing, microchips you can have implanted to “open your front door” and “pay for shit”

      • Tea break says

        “are we not there already?”

        We do know for sure, smart TVs can broadcast your conversation even when they are turned off.

        The way things going, you get the feeling, pets might be getting equipped with anti-semitism detectors.

      • Badger Down says

        There’s one in your passport. Oops, it’s not your passport: you paid for it, but it belongs to the arthororities, or whatever they’re called these days.

    • frank says

      It’s Official: We’re Living in the Prequel to ‘Blade Runner’

      This video is making the case, a very good case, that this is indeed the plan. They want to directly control our thoughts, literally. And they’re working on the technology, first steps have already been accomplished.

      This goes beyond the elites wanting control. This is the illuminati agenda. A brave new world without morals. They’ll argue that believing in a fantasy is better than knowing the truth.

  6. Bargain: $1000 for a Senator? says

    Every day is a bargain day in the US Senate!

    Boozman, Burr, Crapo and Scott, representing Arkansas, North Carolina, Idaho and South Carolina respectively, voted against limiting the US’s role in the Yemen war.

    They received campaign contributions (from pro-Saudi lobbying groups) ranging from $1,000-$2,500 between 2016 and 2017.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/pro-saudi-lobbyists-paid-5-senators-voted-yemen-bill-181129075933213.html

  7. Law Man says

    If the ignorant masses didn’t agree to play the game then the machine would be starved of fodder and would eventually die a natural death. The only solution is for people to WAKE UP!! No point blaming governments or politicians, they are just as much victims of their own ignorance as everyone else.

    • Narrative says

      ‘Innovation and Convenience’ turned to be a vehicle for neolibralism and mass surveillance to take hold.

    • frank says

      “The only solution is for people to WAKE UP!!”

      Not gonna happen. Too many stupid people on earth. (And the dumbing down of society does not help.)

      Don’t agree? Explain then why it hasn’t happened already.

  8. Gezzah Potts says

    Thanks Philip. And even way down here in Australia, we too, now have Black Friday sales for gods sakes. I mean, hello? This is meant to be Australia, and not Amerika. I think? Even tho pretty much all politicians in this country are fully paid up members of the Anglo Zionist Empire Fan Club Inc, as well as being true believers in the quaint doctrine of Neoliberalism. Here in Aussie, our mega malls are called Westfield. As soul less as a squid. Just gaudy glitzy fakeness, where no one makes eye contact, and nearly everyone is loaded down with 3-4 bags of much ‘needed’ items, while the same uber smaltzy AOR music plays overhead. Edward Bernays would be so proud at the fruition of his work. Whenever I’ve had the misfortune to enter a Westfield, I can’t help but think of the Buddhist term: Hungry Ghosts. Attempting to erase the emotional pain, and fill up the emptiness inside with more and more ‘things’ – more stuff to give us fleeting happiness. Until we get bored with our new toy. And everywhere we go, every day, bombarded with ads…. Buy your new lifestyle for just $2995. Plus GST. That seems to be the new buzzword; ‘lifestyle’. As long as you pay for it…..

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    • Jen says

      The strangest aspect of Australian acceptance of Black Friday as a shopping day is that the idea arose to promote more shopping on the day after Thanksgiving Day, the culmination of a previous bout of frenzied shopping.

      Strip away the mythology that has arisen around Thanksgiving over the years and what we are left with is a celebration by the Pilgrim settlers of the massacre of some 700 Pequot people, including women and children, in Massachusetts in 1637.
      https://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_8344.shtml

      Odd indeed that at a time when many Australians debate over whether we should celebrate Australia Day because among other things it represents the beginning of the oppression and genocide of indigenous Australians, they have no qualms about observing a day attached to a holiday that also celebrates a genocide.

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      • Molloy says

        .

        Excellent, Jen.
        Please. More on conveniently forgotten crimes against indigenous Australians and Americans. More on crimes (PF’s own goal?) against Cambodian and Vietnamese people.
        All ongoing and rarely mentioned.

        No pasàran.

        .

      • Gezzah Potts says

        Jen: yeah, excellent Jen, just more cultural Imperialism imported from Amerika, the land of the free, allegedly. Really sad how Aussies just guzzle all this down, just like the full on celebration of Halloween here. Sad. Your mention of the oppression of indigenous people here reminded me of seeing John Pilger’s film ‘Utopia’ abt 4 years ago in cinema in Adelaide. A mere 3 of us in the whole cinema on a Sunday arvo. 3. Walked outside onto Rundle St, and just thousands of people, all loaded down with boutique shopping bags, or the Cafes were jam packed. Such a surreal experience. The three of us in the cinema, then coming out to a scene of mass consumerism on steroids. This is what Neoliberalism has done to people, with the full blown ‘aspirational’ propaganda. Winners and losers. And all the myriad distractions to blind people to how the World really is, and who controls it. Just fecken sad how many succumb to all this…

  9. Because of neoliberal dogma. Wages are kept low deliberately by starving the private sector of government spending (income) causing unemployment.
    They then fool the public into believing that’s a good thing by spinning yarns about ‘tax dollars’, non-existent government debt and mythical private central banks.

    It’s all such a wheeze you know.

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