Friday, August 26, 2005

Intellectualizing theft 

European police are attempting to halt the spread of a guerrilla shoplifting network, seizing computer equipment connected to the cause.

Yomango calls on anti-consumerism activists to "liberate" goods from stores in an effort to spread the ideals of brand-free living.

The movement started in 2002 in Spain, where thrifty followers staged choreographed shopping-mall stunts like looting clothes from one store and returning them to another or wearing them back for flash fashion shows.

Actions carried out in the name of Yomango -- Spanish slang for "I steal" -- are coordinated and celebrated online. Thanks to a website that publishes accounts and videos of looting pranks, "franchises" of the movement have recently sprung up in countries including Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Germany, prompting a new wave of show-thefts.

"Yomango is a brand name whose principal objective ... is not the selling of things," according to the movement's manifesto, "but the ... promoting of shoplifting as a form of disobedience and direct action against multinational corporations. Buying is an action based on obedience; (we are) taking to the extreme the free circulation of goods."
And in a proud Mad Left tradition, Yomango, far from damaging the multinationals or big shopping chains, actually ends up screwing the average customer, since the costs of shoplifting are merely passed on by retailers in higher prices for everyone. But that doesn't matter, does it? After all, consumers are as guilty as the big bad capitalists, since they willingly participate in "the system", even if it is just a case of false consciousness. Kind of reminds me of Islamofascists, for whom there is no distinction between the military and civilians, or between Jewish soldiers and Jewish children (because, well, they all do grow up to be Jewish soldiers, don't they?). And who can forget Ward Churchill and his "little Eichmanns"?

I'm also reminded of the last para of a great piece by Robert J. Avrech, Hollywood screenwriter who just came out as a conservative Republican:
These Hollywood liberals spend their lives negotiating. They believe that when the time comes they will sit down with Osama bin Laden and cut a deal. Imagine how surprised they'’ll be when the cold blade hits their necks. Imagine their shock when they realize there is no negotiating with barbarians; that Osama makes no distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, between observant Jew and Buddhist chanting Jew. I hope it never comes to that, but imagine such a story line. Actually, it would make a pretty good movie. I should try and pitch it.
(hat tip: California Conservative)


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