Friday, November 23, 2012

Are Black Friday Riots A Preview Of The Civil Unrest That Is Coming When Society Breaks Down?

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake?

Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there was rampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food. Sadly, "Black Friday" also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity. This year was no exception.

Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods. And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior. Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods. But is this kind of "me first" mentality really something that we want to foster as a society? If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families? Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?

Once upon a time, Thanksgiving was not really a commercial holiday. It was a time to get together with family and friends, eat turkey and express thanks for the blessings that we have been given.

But in recent years Black Friday has started to become even a bigger event than Thanksgiving itself.

Millions of Americans have become convinced that it is fun to wait in long lines outside retail stores in freezing cold weather in the middle of the night to spend money that they do not have on things that they do not need.

And of course very, very few "Black Friday deals" are actually made in America. So these frenzied shoppers are actually killing American jobs and destroying the U.S. economy as well.

The absurdity of Black Friday was summed up very well recently in a statement that has already been retweeted on Twitter more than 1,000 times...

"Black Friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have."

It has gotten to the point where it is now expected that there will be mini-riots all over the country early on Black Friday morning each year. The following are a few examples of the craziness that we saw this year...

-"Fights break out when stores open on Black Friday"

-"Black Friday madness at Georgia Wal-Mart"

-"Black Friday Frenzy: 2 Run Down in Washington, Man Pulls Gun in Texas"

-"Black Friday 2012: Rush at Victoria's Secret Pink at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan."

-"Black Friday shoppers smash door at Urban Outfitters"

-"Black Friday Shopping Hysteria From Around The Country [PHOTOS]"

-"Disturbance leads to scare at Westroads Mall"

-"Teens In Custody After Woodland Mall Fight"

-"Boy Robbed During Black Friday Shopping At Arundel Mills"

-"Shoppers Were So Obsessed With Black Friday Deals They Left Their Infants Unattended"

Fortunately, many Americans are starting to get fed up with Black Friday. In fact, one activist named Mark Dice actually went out and heckled Black Friday shoppers this year. I found the following You Tube video to be very funny, and I think most of you will too...

In the end, it is not that big of a deal that people want to fight with one another to save 50 dollars on a cell phone.

But this kind of extreme selfishness and desperation could become a massive problem someday if society breaks down and suddenly millions of extremely selfish and desperate people are scrambling for survival.

With each passing day our economy is getting even weaker, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching. What are people going to do when the next spike in unemployment hits us and nobody can find work?

To get an idea of where things are headed, just look at Europe. In both Greece and Spain the unemployment rate is over 25 percent and civil unrest has become almost a constant problem in both of those countries.

So what kind of riots will we see in the United States when the economy gets much worse than it is now?

Already there are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what will happen if a major disaster or emergency does strike.

Sadly, the reality is that most Americans live on a month to month basis. Most families do not have any emergency savings to speak of, and one recent poll found that 55 percent of all Americans only have enough food in their homes to survive for three days or less.

To me, that is an absolutely insane number.

We just came through a summer of extreme drought and global food supplies have dropped to a 40 year low. Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and the global financial system could fall apart at any time. Most of us just assume that there will always be huge amounts of very cheap food available to us, but unfortunately that simply is not a safe assumption. The following is from a recent article in the Guardian...
Evan Fraser, author of Empires of Food and a geography lecturer at Guelph University in Ontario, Canada, says: For six of the last 11 years the world has consumed more food than it has grown. We do not have any buffer and are running down reserves. Our stocks are very low and if we have a dry winter and a poor rice harvest we could see a major food crisis across the board. 
Even if things do not boil over this year, by next summer we'll have used up this buffer and consumers in the poorer parts of the world will once again be exposed to the effects of anything that hurts production.
When I watch my fellow Americans trample one another to get a deal on a television or a video game, it makes me wonder what they would be willing to do if they went to the store someday and all the food was gone.

Desperate people do desperate things, and someday if there was a major economic breakdown in the United States I think the level of desperation in this country would be extremely frightening.

So what do you think? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below...

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Anonymous said...

Pt 1:

I am amazed at the absence of riots and strikes.

With the median wage declining over 30% in the past 30 years, it is astounding that American workers, who are 85% more productive than 30 years ago, have not revolted, but instead, they take out their anger by killing each other or running over others on the way to get a "bargain."

Crime is a kind of fragmented revolution; revolution, the challenge by the people of an oppressive system, requires a shared suffering, a shared narrative, and solidarity. Even the piecemeal revolts such as strikes are based on
common struggle and sacrifice.

But in a totally consumerized culture, where our only real freedom is the choice of products, people are atomized and separated by their private lust for "stuff." Every crime is a revolt againt the system, but crime fragments the solidarity of collective revolt and wastes the energy of revolt in private acts of desperation.

Nixon famously said, when his idea of the imperial President above the law was challenged:
"If the President does it, it's not illegal."

I would counter: if the People attack the system which oppresses them, it is not criminal.

Criminal of the world: you are wasting your outrage and rebellion. Join together with poor workers and the unemployed to take down the criminal system and replace it with a democracy, where the concept of equality prevails.

Those nations with the least inequality have the least crime; those with the most, have the most crime.

The US, the the most inequality of any industrialized nation, also has by far the most prisoners, a greater percentage even than so-called dictatorships like Iran or North Korea.

The fact of extreme inequality and the lack of coherent mobilization to challenge the system which creates and increases inequality, leaves only crime as both a way for many to "make ends meet" but with an implicit rejection of both the economic and the judicial system.

If we all break the law together (as in civil disobedience), we can change the law. Ghandi, Dr. King, the People Power protesters in the Phillipines who ousted Marcos, and other examples of collective law-breaking are the most successful revolts in modern history, overcoming centuries of oppression without violence.

Massive, collective mobilization is a superior method of changing oppressive laws and institutions than violence, which tends to both beget more violence (backlash, payback, blowback, revenge) and to be incapable of producing peaceful ends. ONly peaceful means (and I mean active collective resistance on a massive scale)can produce peaceful outcomes; only non-violent resistance, in solidarity, is a means consistent with the goal.


Anonymous said...

Pt 2

But today, people are desperately committing crimes (not hard to do when nearly everything has been criminalized) in isolation, wasting the energy and rebellion needed to create a just social order in which inequality is reduced and thus crime, the individual revolt against inequalty, is increased.

It is an often noted fact that during episodes of collective revolt, crime is very rare.

Only when the path of public revolution is blocked does society fragment down into millions of acts of individual revolt, which is defined as crime.

If we nationalize the oil (as Alaska has done), that is collective action which nullifies the crime that occurs when an individual steals gas.

Democracy means that we, in solidarity, can do whatever we want, including taking our land, our wealth, and our resources back.

Until then, more crime, more senseless consumer riots, more prisons.

Crime is a product of inequality. In a world where none are rich, none are poor, there will be very little crime. The evidence for this is the llower crime rates in nations and communities where inequality is extreme, and the reduction in crime where equality is more widespread.

Riots are a kind of middle ground of class warfare, less than a coherent revolt against the system, more than a cluster of individual crimes.

Riots can precede social chaos but they can also generate revolutionary mobilization, due to the fact that in a riot, one discovers that his previous powerlessness has been reversed and that
the cooperation of others decreases individual vulnerability, releasing a level of boldness and
courage normally suppressed.


Anonymous said...

having watched some of the videos from this year's black friday madness, it reminded me of food riots in africa, FOOD riots, where starving people are fighting like those fools who fought for a smartphone. any other time of year, actions like that would land you in cuffs. Yet here are americans buying crap they don't need fighting like a pack of starving wolves. it certainly is frightening to think how it'll be when people are in real need, but knowing americans they'd starve and allow their kids to starve before rioting and raiding the sysco truck, but fight like animals over a deal on a phone that comes with a two year enslavement contract to some corporation.thats how f$#%ed up priorities have become en masse
i have honestly given up on any sort of reasonable uprising in this country. i just keep living my life in accordance with my morals and plant as many seeds as i can.
you reap what you sow, and the fields of the us have been planted year after year with seeds of ignorance and obidiance. a monoculture of no culture. a blight on the soul. of the many that are awake, most have come the conclusion it's no use trying to change anything, so they may as well get some deals on black friday, and have to replace the low quality junk next year on black friday. the cycle perpetuates itself, yet, you don't see people taking to their local power supplier demanding affordable deals to keep the power on through the winter, or rioting at the grocery store cuz they ran out of the turkeys that were on sale for a steal.
i think when the food crisis hits the fan, we will be surprised at the lack of outrage. most americans don't even eat real food to begin with, why would they care that they're starving, when they already are?

anywhere else in the world the ONLY time you see people going crazy like this, frothing at the mouth, trampleing their neighbor, is in cases of government overthrow, or mass starvation. we truly are a unique breed of human.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many hypocrites are actually patronizing the small mom & pop stores on Main St., USA this holiday season. Wouldn't that help the small businessman and the economy?

dogismyth said...

NO! The premise of your question is off-base and irrelevant.

First off...there were no riots I know of. Not riots like the Watts riot...or those being conducted overseas because of government oppression. Naw...nothing like THAT happening here.

Civil unrest? I think there is a difference between "fighting" over consumer goods, or shooting someone for their shoes...or food...don't you??

And who says society is going to "break down"? What real proof is there of a coming break-down? None...I believe. Perhaps you can enlightening me with some facts however.

So the "title" of this article confirmed to me in a couple of seconds (or less) that the article is not worth reading. Its hype and hyperbole based on the ricidulous assumptions in the title.

I wonder how soon folks will be pushed back to another alternative news outlet besides the internet. The net is awash in speculation, faux expertise, propaganda, psyops, and other common ordinary bullsh#t that keeps the world in the matrix.

Good luck folks.

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