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(en) Poland, Activities around Buy Nothing Day in Warsaw

Date Sun, 26 Nov 2006 19:35:27 +0200


Yesterday anarchists celebrated International Buy Nothing Day in Warsaw with
a number of actions.
First, people from OBIN (Organization Without an Interesting Name) and Elba
Squat put together a very funny happening about consumption in the downtown.
In the happening, the TV presenter - played by a woman wearing a hollow TV
set, offers a shopaholic dozens of funny and useless items. The consumer
keeps buying more, with lots of funny jokes, eventually has to take more and
more credit , is visited by the grim reaper - the Dollar -and is killed by
an avalanche of home shopping products. In addition to the happening, a free
shop was set out and free vegan food distributed outside of McDonalds.

Secondly, Anarchist Federation Praga continued their protests about the
politics of supermarkets. In the past they have had campaigns against
supermarkets related to numerous issues, from gentrification to poor working
conditions, to their impact on local food producers.

Yesterday a campaign against Media Markt (and its owner Metro group which
includes - Praktiker, Makro and Saturn) began. A number of actions will be
held until the end of the year. Although Metro Group is the 2nd richest
retail group in the world, in September they fired a worker in Gdansk for
establishing a trade union. Workers in Media Markt earn about 225 euro a
month, despite the fact that prices in their shops Poland are the same as
throughout Europe.

A conversation between the boss of the shop and the unionist was even
recorded and published in the papers. In it, the boss makes clear threats
against the worker for the union activity. Despite this, the shop used a
stupid pretext against the worker to fire him. Amazingly, a court found in
favour of Media Markt; this decision will be appealed.

Media Markt already faced an unofficial consumer boycott earlier in the year
when it aired commercials featuring Polish thieves in Germany. Most people
found it to create negative stereotypes. Sales in these shops dropped
considerably in the first few weeks after the commercials aired. So Media
Markt already has a bad image.

An online petition was created and a Media Markt advertisement has been
detourned and will be given out, placed in newspapers and mailboxes across
the city with a boycott sticker. Pickets will be held in different Media
Markt shops and the HQ of Makro will be visited.

Finally, in the even FA Praga presented a slide show on a large beam on the
side of Carrefour supermarket. The show presented the economics behind
supermarkets and consumption in the first (and second) world and advetised
Buy Nothing Day. Slides presented different issues through photos and
slogans, such as sweat shops, labour inside the supermarkets, child labour
and slave labour in industries such as the cocoa industry, the gap between
the consumption levels of rich and poor, contrasts in wealth, conspicous
consumption, built-in obsolescence, the production of waste, factory
farming, globalization, the dominance of corporate brands, etc. etc.

All of the actions went well, drew the interest of the public and hopefully
inspired some thought.
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