America, the great liberator, is in desperate need of being liberated from itself – from its own excesses and arrogance. And the world needs to be liberated from American values and culture, spreading across the planet as if by divine providence.
The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging.
The commercial media are to the mental environment what factories are to the physical environment
Overconsumption is the mother of all environmental problems. For the first time in the history of capitalism, consumption itself has become controversial.
People look at the future and see a black hole. They look at climate change and see an ecological crisis. They look at their leaders corrupted by money and see a political crisis. They wonder if they’ll ever be able to pay off their student loan or own a house. Given this ecological, political and financial crisis, what they want is a different future. Their fundamental demand is a different regime to provide that future.
American culture is no longer created by the people… A free, authentic life is no longer possible in AmericaTM today. We are being manipulated in the most insidious way. Our emotions, personalities and core values are under siege from media and cultural forces too complex to decode. A continuous product message has woven itself into the very fabric of our existence. Most North Americans now live designer lives-sleep, eat, sit in car, work, shop, watch TV, sleep again. I doubt there’s more than a handful of free, spontaneous minutes anywhere in that cycle. We ourselves have been branded.
A meme (rhymes with dream) is a unit of information (a catchphrase, a concept, a tune, a notion of fashion, philosophy or politics) that leaps from brain to brain. Memes compete with one another for replication, and are passed down through a population much the same way genes pass through a species. Potent memes can change minds, alter behavior, catalyze collective mindshifts and transform cultures. Which is why meme warfare has become the geopolitical battle of our information age. Whoever has the memes has the power.
I believe that one of the most powerful things of all is aesthetics.
In the global marketplace of the future the price of every product will tell the ecological truth.
It’s a measure of the depth of our consumer trance that the death of the planet is not sufficient to break it.
I want to live in a world where human beings, not corporate entities, create the future.
We got rich by violating one of the central tenets of economics: thou shall not sell off your capital and call it income. And yet over the past 40 years we have clear-cut the forests, fished rivers and oceans to the brink of extinction and siphoned oil from the earth as if it possessed an infinite supply. We’ve sold off our planet’s natural capital and called it income. And now the earth, like the economy, is stripped.
There is a profound injustice at the heart of the American economy. You look at the media and realize that these corporate-run commercial entities are failing to give Americans the information they need to make informed choices. You look at the food we’re eating and the obesity epidemic and realize there is something fundamentally wrong about our nutritional habits. So across the board there is something fundamentally unjust about every aspect of our personal lives.
The global economy is a doomsday machine that must be stopped and reprogrammed.
People have tried all kinds of ways to fix things, like electing Obama and having a debate about decreasing the power of corporations. Then the Supreme Court gives them personhood with the Citizens United decision. You realize that no matter what you do, who you elect, how wonderful your article is, how eloquently you speak on CNN, none of it will make a difference. Ultimately, the only choice is a revolution that pulls off a soft regime change.
All of us somehow felt that the next battleground was going to be culture. We all felt somehow that our culture had been stolen from us-by commercial forces, by advertising agencies, by TV broadcasters. It felt like we were no longer singing our songs and telling stories, and generating our culture from the bottom up, but now we were somehow being spoon-fed this commercial culture top down.
In the Soviet Union you weren’t allowed to speak out against the government. In the US you cannot speak out against sponsors.
The story in America was a vibrant, bottoms-up democracy subverted by corporations and financial speculators. Those people now control much of the narrative. They also control the congressmen and the legislation that’s passed in Washington. So we felt that America had become a corporate state and soft regime change was necessary. That was the concept that got us excited. Then we started thinking about ways to spark it.
An increasing number of people are growing uncomfortable with the gulf between the world’s rich and the poor. Ostentatiously splashing your money around simply draws attention to that disparity, and to your own position on the lucky higher ground. It suggests a callousness, an inhumanity, a let’s-just-rub-their-noses-in-it arrogance.
There’s some idea there, and the power of it comes from the fact that most of the time you’ll never be able to answer what it is. It’s just there. It’s just a magic moment that you can feel in your gut that it’s there, and you’re willing to go there and sleep there and go through the hardship and fight for it. Once you start answering it too clearly then the magic is gone.
Corporations are not legal “persons” with constitutional rights and freedoms of their own, but legal fictions that we created and must therefore control.
Our mental environment is a common-property resource like the air or the water. We need to protect ourselves from unwanted incursions into it, much the same way we lobbied for non-smoking areas ten years ago.
Jamming a coin into a monopoly newspaper box or liberating a billboard in the middle of the night can be a rather honest and joyful thing to do.