The recent protests of lack of adequate funding for education here in California were interesting…in a way.
In Berkeley, there’s always a nostalgia in every protest. People bring out the face/body paint. Someone tries to channel a young Joan Baez. Wavy Gravy shows up. Contact highs are to be had.
In San Francisco, the nostalgia is more for the 80’s. Hoodlums, literally in black hoodies, jeans and ski masks, roam the streets in organized gangs waiting for opportunity to break windows and set cars alight. Let’s relive the Battle in Seattle.
Overall, the protests got a big yawn from us. And, sparked a discussion about the future of protest. Here are some examples that we think are more forward and, certainly, more effective::
Billboard Liberation Front ::
When I was a kid, my mom and I where driving up Haight St, and stopped at a light at Divisadero. As we talked, she looked past me at something on the street and started laughing harder than I had ever seen her laugh. I turned to see a large KFC billboard with their new tag line “We do chickens right”. Directly underneath was spray painted, “You done them chickens wrong”. I didn’t get it. But every adult in my life couldn’t stop talking about it. It was the early work of the Billboard Liberation Front. Since them they’ve spent many years re-messaging boards around San Francisco and the world. And have brought joy and delight to my adult life. Seeing them recognized at the DeYoung Museum last year was awesome!
Tim DeChristohper ::
Most Americans don’t realize that any law or action in place for more than 21 days cannot be easily thrown out by an in-coming administration. In December 2008, many new executive orders were pushed through very quickly. That included allowing 150,000 acres of wilderness and public lands in southern Utah to be auctioned for private use, bid on mostly by oil and gas companies.
Tim DeChristopher was there and knew he had to do something. Standing outside holding a hand-made sign wasn’t enough. So, he walked in, sat down and picked up a paddle. He “purchased” 22,000 acres located close to national parks at a cost of approximately $1.8 million.
When he was discovered there was outrage, confusion and ultimately the entire auction was voided. He was formally charged with interfering with a federal auction and making false representations at an auction. “Sometimes just standing outside holding a sign isn’t enough…”