” … an informative and inspiring how-to handbook of direct, confrontational social activism … “Dennis Hiebert, Geez magazine
“The pyramid of shoes worked because it was visually arresting, emotionally powerful, and easy both to participate in and to understand.”
“…the sculpture that arose from the accumulation of each of these simple acts, told a big, complex story that captured the scale of the problem.”
Love your country, and fight so that its flag and other national symbols evoke its most egalitarian and noble values.
When taking on a big and well-known target, it is often the target’s reaction to your action that’s the key to success. Therefore, anticipate your target’s reactions and write them into your script.
To give a glimpse of the Utopia we’re working for; to show how the world could be; to make such a world feel not just possible, but irresistible.
Two Republican Congressmen, Dick Armey from Texas and Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, have come to Boston to promote their snake oil proposals for a flat tax and national sales tax, two initiatives that would dramatically shift the tax burden off the wealthy and onto low- and moderate-income working families. They’ve …Continue Reading
To organize a show of dissent on short notice; to quickly replicate a successful tactic in a dispersed yet coordinated way; to create a shared moment of random kindness and senseless beauty.
By the fall of 2009, with Sarah Palin tweeting about “death panels” and town hall meetings overrun by angry teabaggers up in arms (literally) about a supposed “government takeover of healthcare,” progressives had officially lost control of the healthcare debate. Could a daring creative action that brought the fight directly …Continue Reading
Low-income tenants at a public housing project in Rhode Island — many of them working mothers with young children — wanted an affordable day care center in their building. With petitions, pickets, and letters to the city council, they built up a steady drumbeat of pressure on the key decision …Continue Reading
“Some people call you the elite,” George W. Bush joked to his wealthy funders, “I call you my base.” Whether candidate Bush meant it as a joke or not, the Billionaires for Bush (B4B) campaign used humor, street theater and creative media actions to show the country how true the …Continue Reading
Rituals like weddings, funerals, baptisms, exorcisms and vigils are powerful experiences for participants. By adapting sacred and symbolic elements you can use the power of ritual to give your actions greater depth and power.
Movements, viral campaigns and large-scale actions can’t be scripted from the top down. An invitation to participate and the right set of simple rules are often all the starter-structure you need.
Design your action so that your target is forced to make a decision, and all their available options play to your advantage.
In a hyper-mediated world, often the audience you care about is not the one in the room with you, but the one you’ll reach through mass and social media. Design your action with them in mind.
Kindness, smiles, gifts and unicorns (well, maybe not unicorns) can be potent weapons in the struggle against evil-doers.
If you look like a stereotypical protester, it’s easy for people to write you off. If you look like someone who doesn’t usually hit the streets (the guy next door or an airline pilot in full uniform), people can more easily identify with you. Therefore, don’t dress like a protester.
In the final analysis, groups don’t get things done, people do. Delegate!
Effective creative interventions require a judicious balance of art and message. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. If the role of the artist is to “deepen the mystery,” what is the role of the political artist?
To pressure a corporate or government target with a mass of people in the street telling a unified story.
Your actions should speak for themselves. They should make immediate, natural sense to onlookers. They should have an obvious logic to the outside eye.
To mourn the death of a public hero; to link a natural disaster or public tragedy to a political message; to protest the launch of a war.
To get important information into the right hands.
An empty or “floating” signifier is a symbol or concept loose enough to mean many things to many people, yet specific enough to galvanize action in a particular direction.