Occupy Black Friday actions planned in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit

I’m torn on the concept of Buy Nothing Day. I love the idea of taking a day to remind ourselves that there’s more to life than blind consumption, but, at the same time, I sympathize with our small, locally owned retailers, who could really use the business. At any rate, I thought that I should mention that before sharing the following links, which pertain to the Black Friday actions scheduled to take place across SE Michigan tomorrow. I encourage you to participate enthusiastically… and then maybe go and spend a few dollars with one of the local businesses that doesn’t have people sleeping out in front of it, hoping to save a few dollars on this year’s “must have” Tickle Me Elmo variant.

Detroit: Two activities will be taking place on Friday. The first is scheduled to run from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM. Participants are asked to meet in the parking lot of the Dearborn Kroger, at the intersection of Schaefer and Michigan Avenue. Plans will be finalized at that time, and people will then proceed to their chosen locations to, in the words of organizers, “help share awareness with the Metro Detroit Area.”

The second wave will kick off at 1:00 PM from the Kroger in Troy at 1237 Coolidge Highway.

According to the listing on Facebook, both of these events will be, “fun and friendly.” So, if you’re looking for opportunities to smash windows, you might want to look elsewhere.

The following clip, which contains more background on these actions, comes from the Huffington Post.

…More Occupy activism can be expected on the day following Thanksgiving. The Detroit chapter of Occupy the Hood, a wing of the Occupy Movement focused on people of color, is calling for a boycott on Black Friday, the biggest retal sales day of the year that traditionally launches the Christmas shopping season.

“Black Friday is one of the busiest, biggest days for corporations,” said Ife Johari Uhuru, a founder of Occupy the Hood who lives in Detroit.

Occupy the Hood’s request to refrain from shopping joins a long tradition of post-Thanksgiving activism. Adbusters, the magazine that originally called for the Occupy Wall Street protests, has been organizing Black Friday boycotts and pranks for 20 years. They are celebrating this year’s anniversary of the effort, which they call “Buy Nothing Day,” with a new campaign called “Occupy Christmas.”

Uhuru said Occupy the Hood wants to raise awareness about the Occupy movement and to encourage people to both work for social change and to rethink the ways they spend their money.

“We definitely do have economic power. We can’t always just complain only about the 1 percent,” Uhuru said. “When we protest corporations, they need to feel it — not just hear it.”

As part of the boycott, the group plans to visit a local mall. Although the event will mainly focus on educating people outside the shopping outlet with literature and signs, Uhuru said they may take things a step further.

“We may go into the mall and do a mic check,” she said….

Ann Arbor: The folks involved in Occupy Ann Arbor are planning a flash-mob at an as yet to be named big box store. Participants are asked to meet at 10:00 AM at the Veteran’s Park parking lot on Maple, across from Plum Market. From there, protesters will leave at 10:15 AM for their selected store. Ride shares, from what I’m told, will be available. The following comes from Facebook:

…The Action will also bring awareness to shopping local verses supporting major corporations that have not only harmed the economy, but also have poor treatment of their workers…

This will be fun, exciting, and impacting, not only for those who will have the pleasure of witnessing this, but also for those who are involved in the Action itself. It for sure will give people something to talk about.

It is very worthwhile to make sure not to do anything to irritate or inconvenience the employees; this will already be a difficult day for them and it is not their fault that their employer blows…

Ypsilanti: My friend Jeff and I, since downtown Ypsi doesn’t have big box retailers (yay!), will be strolling around with signs like we did a few weeks ago. If you would like to join us, we’d love to have you. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day, and, if it’s any anything like last time, we’ll have great fun talking about local community and waving to people as they honk and give us thumbs-up. We’ll be leaving from the water tower at 2:00 PM… A few more details can be found on the newly launched Occupy Ypsi site.

Here’s hoping no one gets pepper sprayed, and at least a few people are convinced to return home before heading into Target and further running up their credit cards.

[note:The quote at the top of the page comes from Adbusters.]

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  1. Posted November 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    So, would it be in good or bad taste to stop in the Rocket &/or the mix for some shopping while on the Occupy Ypsi walk tomorrow?

  2. Posted November 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    From my perspective, it would be great. I know some people are strict in their observation of Buy Nothing Day, but I think that most folks probably appreciate that it’s a complex issue, and realize that the good that comes from spending money locally probably outweighs the bad inherent in consumerism. I think the key is to make conscious decisions, and find a balance that you can live with.

  3. Bob
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Can’t we all agree that it’s high time we boycott flash mobs? Also, I like that the Dearborn meet location is a gigantic Kroger store. That’s the location that is actually directly across from a nearly identical gigantic Kroger store. One of those replaced Farmer Jack who folded amid union wage struggles, among other problems. There’s also another Kroger just a few miles west down Michigan avenue too.

    All of them are Starbuck’s partners so you can get a latte.

    It’s hard for the movement to generate support from middle America when some of this stuff is so easy to mock. I think the movement needs to drop some of the clownish aspects, like flash mobs, and move towards some degree of professionalism. It’s on the verge of just turning into a corny flip of the Tea Party.

  4. Posted November 25, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “Buy Nothing Day” is stupid. They should change it to “Buy Local Day” or “Buy From a Family Owned Business Day” or “Buy Nothing From a Box Store Day.”

  5. Erika
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The 99% dog and I would have loved to join, but we are doing our family Thanksgiving today. Have fun! I hope you meet some new people and have some great discussions.

  6. Eel
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one hoping that people got pepper sprayed for sleeping out in front of Best Buy last night, waiting for their doors to open?

  7. Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I ran into Rev. Billy a while ago (I knew him back in San Francisco, when he was Bill Talen, Rock Storyteller), and confessed my love of flea markets. He gave his blessing to flea markets, thrift shops, and mom and pop stores. I bought some cottage cheese this morning; my shopping is done.

  8. Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Occupy Ann Arbor protesters are now broadcasting live from inside Wal-Mart.

  9. Christine M
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to come but honestly, I wanted to sleep more.

  10. Meta
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Video evidence that a few UM students give a damn.


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