by Chris Haire
There was a time in my life when I was a regular reader of Adbusters.
I was unhappy.
I was heartbroken.
I was nearly penniless.
But most of all, I was angry.
Very very angry.
And at this moment in time, Adbusters came into my life, and I found an outlet for my rage and a salve for my wounds: the destruction of Corporate America and the cult of consumerism.
Finally, I had a cause to fight for.
Finally, I had a reason to rage.
Finally, I had the courage to tell The Man he could suck go suck a Dirk Diggler.
I put up signs in bathrooms that said, "Urinals are broken. Please use sink."
I sent out a fake press release about a scholarship sponsored by the Future Abortionists of American.
I printed up pamphlets about a group called the Siesta Party that advocated mandatory workplace naps and inserted the flyers into copies of The Greenville News.
I sent faxes to Upstate media organizations telling them that the Siesta Party was planning to visit local malls wearing T-shirts that read, "Your mommy and daddy are Santa Claus."
And then, well, I got a job in newspapers, and I realized that I wasn't an anarchist. I was really just an asshole.
Shortly thereafter, I quit reading Adbusters. After all, I no longer wanted to fight the powers that be. I just wanted to fuck with them.
Every once in a while I will pick up a copy of Adbusters. Not much has changed. The staff there is still bitching and moaning about the same things: the evil influence of advertisements and our continued enslavement to corporate brands. Yawn.
Up until this morning, I hadn't thought about Adbusters in quite a while, that is until I found out about their relationship to the whole #OccupyWallStreet movement.
Now, the media has been led to believe that this whole thing is a grassroots movement and, well, they are passing that message on to you. But the truth of the matter is this: #OccupyWallStreet is nothing more than a publicity stunt cooked up by Adbusters. It's an advertisement from a group philosophically opposed to advertisements. And hundreds of kids have been duped into buying into this bullshit.
See, ladies and gentlemen, #OccupyWallStreet began as a call to arms by Adbusters, an announcement on July 13 urging its readers to flood the streets of lower Manhattan, namely Wall Street:
A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:
"The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."
— Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University
The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.
The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.
On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.
Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum — that Mubarak must go — over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?
As you know, people did take to the streets of New York City and others followed. Even last night, a group calling themselves #OccupyCharleston met up at Kudu and then walked over to Marion Square to form a circle and ... well ... I'm not exactly sure what they did but sit there and proclaim themselves to be members of #OccupyCharleston.
But one thing they did not do was suffer. No. At least not like the inspiring young men and women occupying Wall Street.
A Sept. 30 report from author Chris Hedges is particularly enlightening:
Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible.
Oh the humanity.
I don't know about you, but we here at the City Paper like peanut butter and we like bagels. Some of us have them for breakfast. Some of us have them for lunch. And some of us have them together. And we enjoy it.
So here's to you Adbusters. And here's to all the kids who have been swindled. Tomorrow morning, I will eat a bagel with peanut butter as a show of solidarity. I might even tweet a photo of it.
Long live the Revolution (TM). I've been to your URL and it's owned by Adbusters.**** And for all you folks that can't get enough of #OccupyWallStreet, check out the latest developments, videos, and tweets below. (I can't believe they believed that Radiohead was going to show up. Seriously, did they really think that one of the biggest bands in the world was going to throw them their own private concert. Isn't it enough that they've been getting free pizza for days?)