Untitled Document
Taking a Closer Look at the Stories Ignored by the Corporate Media
Donate | Fair Use Notice | Who We Are | Contact

NEWS
All News
9-11
Corporatism
Disaster in New Orleans
Economics
Environment
Globalization
Government / The Elite
Human Rights
International Affairs
Iraq War
London Bombing
Media
Police State / Military
Science / Health
Voting Integrity
War on Terrorism
Miscellaneous

COMMENTARY
All Commentaries
9-11
CIA
Corporatism
Economics
Government / The Elite
Imperialism
Iraq War
Media
Police State / Military
Science / Health
Voting Integrity
War on Terrorism

SEARCH/ARCHIVES
Advanced Search
View the Archives

E-mail this Link   Printer Friendly

CORPORATISM -
-

Shoplifting as Social Commentary

Posted in the database on Thursday, August 25th, 2005 @ 09:28:43 MST (1067 views)
by Robert Andrews    Wired News  

Untitled Document

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."

"Yomangtistas" also rage against consumer culture by stealing supermarket food for park picnics or riding on public transport without paying.

Although some deride their lofty philosophy as bourgeois (Yomango denounces brands but its own slogans -- "your style: risky, innovative" -- carry the whiff of a perfume ad), the wily social shoplifters have so far evaded close attention.

But law enforcers cracked down hard recently when German police targeted a site they claim was being used by Yomango supporters to provoke mass looting.

In an Aug. 11 morning raid, officers searched a house occupied by the owner of the website for Precarity Camp, a weeklong, anti-capitalist rally at Luechow, near Hamburg.

According to a statement later published on the site, police presented a court order for the search stating "that, on the website, the term 'Yomango' ... is used and, in a preliminary program for the camp presented on this website, a Yomango action was mentioned."

The statement continued: "Some 30 cops were involved, searching and filming the entire house for several hours. They consider the use of this term criminal, which seems to be enough to seize the computer equipment of the activists."

Manfred Warnecke, the public prosecutor involved with the case, said the equipment was awaiting analysis but did not say whether arrests had yet been made.

"Among other things, two computers, one laptop, one data media device and written documents were secured that will now have to be evaluated," he told Wired News. "I cannot say any more at this time (except that) forms of Yomango action had not so far been known by law enforcement here."

Yomango's arrival in Germany may open a new front for what is largely a Latin American movement -- the phenomenon has roots in Argentina, where some angered by the 2001 collapse of the national economy began claiming goods without paying after witnessing the apparent implosion of capitalist doctrines.

But the web could push the pilfering further afield, according to counterculture commentator R.U. Sirius, author of Counterculture Through the Ages.

"I think it's great, spirited, irreverent fun -- instead of rejecting fashion, they are turning it into something rebellious and spontaneous," he said.

"Can I take it seriously as a strategy for changing the world? Not on its own and not as a form of political organizing. But as an embodied expression of the general spirit of open-source, file-sharing culture that could ultimately overwhelm systems of ownership in the increasingly digitized economy, it works."

Representatives of Yomango franchises did not respond to requests for comment.



Go to Original Article >>>

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Looking Glass News. Click the disclaimer link below for more information.
Email: editor@lookingglassnews.org.

E-mail this Link   Printer Friendly




Untitled Document
Disclaimer
Donate | Fair Use Notice | Who We Are | Contact
Copyright 2005 Looking Glass News.