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How To Break Rules In 2017 (Gonzo Notes 03)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

Gonzo Notes” is Kit’s newsletter of political analysis and direct action tips.

Break the rules, creatively.

Here in Austin, Texas, activists love to hold rallies at the state capitol building.

It’s a magnificent edifice of pink granite and the symbolic center of our state, so I can understand the impulse. Yet the grounds are so massive that all but the biggest crowds become visually lost among the monuments, and for about 18 months out of every 24 the building is empty (“a big pink tourist trap”).

I’m tired of attending protests outside an empty building. The bigger issue is that strongly worded speeches alone won’t solve the immense problems we face. Neither will petitions or angry letters.

This doesn’t mean we throw out all the old methods. Instead, if we really want to disrupt this ongoing, dangerous political coup, we need to find new tools and more creative ways to use them.

Can you shut down an intersection and hold your speak-out there? A bull-horn or even the people’s microphone can substitute for a proper sound system. You’ll probably have to shorten your speeches, but they might inspire listeners more.

As for letters and petitions, maybe we should start delivering copies directly to our politicians’ offices and homes.

And, given this is the holiday season, have you considered the subversive potential of Christmas caroling (inside a government building or bank)?

Make no mistake, the threats posed by the incoming fascist oligarchy are immense, and unique.

In response, we have to come out by the 10,000s and be willing to act in ways that the state has never seen before. Police and the government know how to respond to violence (with more violence), but the best direct actions don’t just shut down business as usual, they also confuse and confound the powerful.

If you’ve got time off coming, spend some of it thinking about what creative actions you’re willing to take to build a better world.

If you’ve got great ideas you want to share, email me.

We don’t need to be able to get to Standing Rock in order to be a part of the front line, as we think about it, because we can create front lines in cities around the country. There is a front line waiting to be created outside of every Wells Fargo, outside of every Chase bank, and we can all be doing this.

Gonzo action tips

If you’re still using one of the big banks, it’s time to switch to a credit union.

The last time “bank action” got international attention was during the Occupy movement, but it’s back in the center again as activists turn up the pressure against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Two of the top banks funding the pipeline which you might be using are Wells Fargo and Bank of America, but you can find a complete list here. Regardless of which of the megabanks you’ve been using, you’ll be better off, and your money will almost certainly be used more ethically, if you switch to a credit union or at least a smaller, local bank.

Here’s a complete guide to moving your money to a credit union, but the most important tip is to make sure you have your new account fully set up, including moving all direct deposits and automatic bill payments, before you close your old bank account.

Be sure to tell your old bank why you’re leaving, and to share your decision on social media and with your friends. The bad publicity is as, or more important, than the actual financial cost of losing our business. Remember, the purpose of this bank action is to make continued investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline seem like a risky proposition.

For a more daring (but still legal) bank action, see “How To Hold Up A Bank.”

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How To Break Rules In 2017 (Gonzo Notes 03) by Kit O’Connell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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