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News ::
Will We Play Into the Walk for Capitalism's hands?
30 Nov 2001
Modified: 02 Dec 2001
In thinking strategically, one needs to consider how one's opponent is likely to respond, and what one's opponent expects one to do. In planning for the Walk for Capitalism, some rumblings from the left may be exactly what the capitalists want us to do. Will we think strategically, or willwe let them play us like a violin?
There's been some discussion lately about how the left should respond to this Sunday's Walk for Capitlaism (starting at 12 noon at the Boston Common Info Booth, a bit down Tremont Street from the Park Street T Station). Some folks have discussed confrontational counter-demos, and a few have even mused about trying to block the walk. In considering what to do, we need to consider how the capitalists want us to respond, and whether our actions are likely to be just what they want.

Looking at the Walk for Capitalism website (www.walkforcapitalism.org), there's much rhetoric about how anticapitalists are violent thugs, including "reports" from May Day and last year's World Economic Forum protests in Australia (the initiative behind the Walk is based in Australia). They know that this effort is likely to produce outrage from the left, and that may be exactly what they're banking on.

Consider the scenario if anticapitalists tried to block the march, or especially if anyone got shoved or physically harassed. The capitalists would have a huge and wide open media platform to proclaim their own righteousness and to demonize anti-capitalists. Their laughable non-event would be turned into a beleagured crusade. The issues we're raising about the violence and cruelty of capitalism would be lost entirely.

And if any anticapitalists were arrested, one can be pretty sure that the capitalists would press charges as fully as possible, tying up the left's energies and possibly resulting in activists suffering jail time. This is not a protest against a huge and destructive institution like the WTO or WEF where there is a chance of a sympathetic jury. Our opponents here, a random collection of business people and Ayn Rand followers, would be easily able to portrray themselves as jurors neighbors and friends and us as violent crackpots.

In short, we need to consider whether a confrontational response would be just what the capitalists want, and perhaps even what they're planning on.

So what am I suggesting? Not a surrender by any means. But creativity in how we get our message out. My personaly suggestion would be to show up around noon, perhaps dressed nicely, and ready to "join" the march as over-the-top capitalists and point out what they're really about.

This will take some good satire, which is a bit of a balancing act. Someone standing there with a sign that says "I love to exploit the international proletariat" won't be funny, nor will it get through to anyone. But we're a creative crew, and we can do this. Try a few slogans stolen from the Billionaires (and if any of them are still in town, maybe they'll turn out, too). "Corporations are people too," "Free the Forbes 400," and "Plutocracy now!" come to mind. Then make some others touching on speicfic issues that the right likes--"Mass Traffic, not Mass Transit!" "Public Funding out of our Schools," "Politics Without Big Money is like management Without Profit!" "High Prices are Patriotic!" The list goes on.

Get some chants, too. "Big Money, United, Will Never Be Defeated" is one of my favorites, old as it is. Yell at passers-by to get back to work. maybe even create a flyer to hand out (and this can be more obviously satirical).

This is an event where the premise can mock itself if we just help it along a bit. Don't play into their hands, but use theri own absurd premise against them.

Satirize the Walk for Capitalism--All Power to the Imagination!
See also:
http://www.lpma.org/calendar/index.htm?month=12&year=2001
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Comments

Now this is an idea
30 Nov 2001
Beautiful.
keep 'em guessing...
30 Nov 2001
This is a great idea, and one that could add a whole new slant to our approach. As we all know, the thought that capitalism will lead humanity to a brighter future for all is a laugh in itself-but this march posses a brilliant opportunity to show exactly how ridiculous it is. Of course it has to be done with tact or we will never get through. See you all in ties on Sunday.
Bad Idea
30 Nov 2001
The only media coverage we get is negative, therefor we can not worry about what they have to say about us. The media is one of the greatest weapons of capitalism. So I say we must act radically. Blocking the march or having a counter demonstration would be a great idea. People are dying because of these capitalists, we can not let them celebrate this on saturday. They must be stopped. We can not act in fear of what the media will say or in fear of going to jail. We must do our best to stop this walk no matter what the consequences. The sooner capitalism dies, the better. Thankyou for your time.
But...
30 Nov 2001
But what if the capitalists start making fun of us? We shouldn't try to play on their field...Most of us don't feel very comfortable in suits and dresses...I don't know how "capitalist" my dreads look. I know we're much more creative than they are, but it may be that we won't have enough people with the capitalist look or smell to get the satirical message across.

I think direct action is the way to go. We know we're morally superior, it's time to force the media to see it too.

Down with the capitalist pigs! Down with hygienism!
Way Ahead of You
30 Nov 2001
Considering the satire tactic and infiltration of the march, BAAM and Barricada have already proposed to counter the walk for capitalism with phony signs and dressed up in suits and ties. We realize that a more aggressive type of action is just what the prodos institute, and other groups and individuals involved with this march, expects/hopes from us. We will not fall into their trap, as was suggested by the call we put out some time ago. We proposed this tactic not because we intent to pander the mass media (we all know that they demonize the movement every time they report on an event) or because we don't believe in more aggressive types of direct actions. Rather, we proposed this approach to the counter-walk it's the most effective way to make them look like the idiots they are to everyone who sees them.
So with all that said, let's walk! Meet up at Park Street T Stop 11 am. Dress appropriately (suits and ties for example) to blend in! Bring signs and banners ("Hurrah for misery/Hurrah for Capitalism" or "Profits before People" for example).
For more information contact BAAM or the Barricada collective at: baamcoalition (at) hotmail.com or barricadacollective (at) hotmail.com.
'm glad I saw this!
01 Dec 2001
Satirising them is just the ticket -- confrontation might get more news space, but not the favorable sort. Better to have nice, big, prominent signs (where is a good source for sign materials? 16x20 carton stock, smooth lath for handles. They're hard to find!). I like the suggestions so far for signage. I only have a few suggestions:

More Kids!
Lower Wages!
Higher Profits!

================
Make it OFFICIAL!
One $ = One Vote


================
MERCY-KILL
the Poor!


================
END POVERTY NOW!
Bring Back SLAVERY!



(and, on a seasonal note)
================
Bring back
POOR-FARMS
and
WORKHOUSES




Will the march have a permit for noisemaking, do you think?
I was there
02 Dec 2001
Wow. I am so glad I did not read this before I attended the Walk for Capitalism today. I can't believe that the only reason not to assault peaceful protestors was that it might "tie up the left" with jail time and "play into" Capitalists hands! Incredible! For the record, getting assaulted never plays into a rational persons hands.

I found the satire creative and amusing. But had I realized that some were contemplating using physical force to prevent us from expressing our beliefs, I would have stayed home. It must feel nice knowing you no longer need government to break up demonstrations; you can do it yourselves. Shame on you.

Those who did show were mainly nice and friendly and I thought we all had a good time and made our point. It was nice that both sides sang the National Anthem (except one really fat, angry guy who I think just didn't know the words...)

And I got a big kick out of y'all sipping Latte's at Starbucks after the counter-demonstration. The Revolution may not be televised, but it certainly will include $4 cups of coffee. (Hey, who picked those beans??)

See you next year!