Self-reduction of prices. Five finger discount. Proletarian shopping. Here‘s a stylish illustration thereof from the Scotsman (via).

OCAP did an action of this sort in ’04. Also in ’04 there was a similar one in Italy around precarity actions. Both were minus super-hero costumes.

The superhero thing reminds me, it’d be interesting to do a bit of research on practices of appropriation as linked with multiple names (Robin Hood, for instance.) This would also link up with the conversations about radical branding in projects like Yo Mango. (Yo Mango are worth a lot more time and attention. Mango’s web site list five shops in the US open or opening soon. Perhaps if the chain catches on here the counterbrand can steal a little mindshare – autoriduzione of word of mouth marketing?)

Napster was clearly a type of self-reduction. It might be a bit of a stretch, but I’d like to call coining a type of self-reduction. It is at least a type of monetary policy from below. Here‘s a piece from Qlipoth on the parallels between filesharing and coining.

These are, of course, all versions of a practice as old as the working class (as is this practice’s criminalization).

One name for at least one version of it is looting, of which there was a wave in Argentina during the end of ’01.

None of these occur at the point of production by people qua producers of surplus value (ie, there are clerks in the stores, servers in the restaurants, etc, but they are not the people acting, at least not primarily).

It strikes me there are a few different ways to sort these practices:
– time: more or less one off (looting, OCAP’s food grab, the Feltrinelli shopping spree), a more sustained series of one offs (the proletarian shopping of the Metropolitan Indians), and more long term practices like coining and Napster.
– quantity of goods taken, over all and per incident
– quantity of people involved, over all and per incident
– goal is symbolic vs reappropriative (a foodgrab or the superhero actions vs filesharing or looting during a riot; this is not an absolute distinction)
– modes of organization and planning involved (formal or informal, short term or long term organization)

I would be remiss if I left out that darling little ditty by the Smiths. And a couple other doo dads:

Bruno Ramirez, “Self-Reduction Of Prices in Italy

A brief discussion from Michael Hardt on self-reduction and one from Nick Thoburn that deals specifically with the Metropolitan Indians.

Franco Barchiesi, “Delivery From Below

Dario Fo’s play We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! is about proletarian shopping and gender in 70s Italy. I’ve never seen it performed, sadly.