Get The Fuck Off Wall Street!

by TONY FYLER
edited by ANDREW HICKS

You want to hit corporations where it hurts? Make your own protest signs instead of buying the protest signs sold at Walmart.

Let’s be absolutely clear on one point – non-violent direct action is a truly kickass idea. It’s changed the world time and time and time again. It’s effective, it’s community-building and, if you do it right, it has the double-edged effect of making the forces of oppression absolutely livid while also ensuring they have no effective way of dealing with their lividity.

In essence, the key to great non-violent direct action is not so much using your opponent’s strength against him as it is making him so furious his head explodes, while you sing “Kumbayah” and eat quiche.
But let’s be clear about one other point, while we’re here. Non-violent direct passivity is just plain dull.

There seems to be a strain of really earnest hippie thinking at work in 21st century protest that makes me think the people doing the protesting haven’t actually read the manual. I mean, everything’s “plug and play” these days, so why bother with a manual, right? Your iProtest should just… work.

It’s as if these neo-hippies have seen pictures of protests from days gone by, and they think just showing up is pretty much enough to topple governments. Or change laws. Or suddenly make shitty people be just a smidgen less shitty to everybody who isn’t them.

Point of order: If the Boston Tea Party had been run in this new manner, the revolutionaries would have arrived, chanted their slogans about taxation and representation and yadda yadda yadda, and been shot stone dead, leaving the British to get on with their busy day of evil fuckery.

So here, for the Occupiers of Wall Street and DC and Evvvery Other Place Right About Now, is Fyler’s Handy Guide To A Successful Protest.

1. Have A Plan
Mass gatherings are awfully sweet, but if you don’t intend to do something when you get there, it’s basically a circle jerk. Gandhi always had a plan – yes, he walked the fuck out of his sandals, but at the end of it, he made salt, in a giant, one-fingered salute to the British.  Rosa Parks got on a bus and made history.

If you just hang around not having showers, you start to look like you’re just there for the songs. Last time a protest movement gathered in one place and then did precisely fuck-all? Two words: Tiananmen Square.

2.  Have Your Own Slogans
Slogans can make the difference between igniting the world’s attention and coming off like a bunch of 6 year olds trying on Mommy’s shoes.

This is pretty much like trying to get laid at the prom – think about your lines ahead of time, understand what they mean, deliver them with confidence, and you never know what might happen. Mumble something about the jocks being mean to you, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be going home to a cold empty bed and the awful knowledge of what you could have won.

So far, the Occupiers don’t seem to have worked out what slogans are for. Remember, guys – mindlessly chanting whatever anyone with a bullhorn says does not make you look cool.

3.  Have Demands
They don’t even have to be serious demands – some of the best protests in the history of the world have been done with tongue very firmly in cheek. But your demands have to get your point across. If your point is basically that the mean boys stole your lunch money and gave you a wedgie, you might as well be back at the prom, spectacularly not getting laid. If your point is that you’re one of the 99%, you have to get the message across that 99% of anything can kick the ass of 1% of anything, in a non-violent, electorally valid sort of way, of course.

4.   Have Original Ideas
This pretty much ties everything together, and I can’t stress how important it is. Have ideas. Your protest is against the rich, evil, cackling bastards who are squeezing the lifeblood out of your livelihood? Right. Good. Whaddaya gonna do about it?

You’re angry at the banks? Good. Fine; do a George Bailey and start a savings and loan.

You’re angry at Wall Street? Boycott companies. Don’t buy their products, don’t use their services, don’t validate their very existence.

You want the 99% to mean something to these people? Show your power in inventive, deliberate, calculated, coordinated ways. Find alternatives to empowering the fucks who keep you down. If you’re just there to piss and moan, then all you achieve are a bunch of “likes” on Facebook. And we all know how sad and slightly pathetic those really are, don’t we?

So here’s my plea – get the fuck out of Wall Street and Washington.

Apart from anything else, the atmosphere in those places could be contagious, and you wouldn’t want to get banker cooties.  Go home, and learn how to do this properly. Then come back and blow the fucking doors off.*

*This is an expression. Tony Fyler does not advocate the use of high explosives, even against doors.

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