Thursday, September 24, 2009


"Balls Across America" direct-action campaign launched
NYPD abuse of authority big factor in arrest

    Contact: The Yes Men <>

Andy Bichlbaum, co-founder of activist group the Yes Men, emerged after 26 hours
in New York City's central lockup with all charges against him dismissed.[1]

"The judge just laughed," said Bichlbaum. "The police had a less well-developed
sense of humor - and, it turned out, much less regard for the law. But all in all,
I'm ecstatic that they arrested me."

At 10am Tuesday, Bichlbaum was arrested and charged with trespassing, after he and
21 "Survivaballs" [2] gathered on New York City's East River and announced they
were to going to "take the UN by storm" from the water, since all the land
approaches were sealed. Once at the UN, they would supposedly use the Survivaballs
to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until
they'd agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as Secretary-General
Ban Ki-Moon has demanded.[3]

The event was a "scenic and mediagenic way to call attention to what our leaders
need to do in the run-up to Copenhagen," said Bichlbaum. [4] It was also the
official inauguration of the Yes Men's "Balls Across America" series of civil
disobedience actions, inspired by the call for direct action on climate change by

Minutes after the balls began wading into the water, law enforcement swooped in on
the protesters by land, sea, and air. In order not to harm their attackers, the
balls admitted defeat and waddled out of the water and off the beach. Seven
participants were given tickets for trespassing, and one - ringleader Bichlbaum -
was whisked away to "the Tombs," New York's central processing facility at 100
Centre Street, due to an unpaid ticket for bicycle riding through Washington
Square Park. 

Bichlbaum's arrest led to hilarious prime-time coverage on CNN.[5]

"Sleeping on concrete was a challenge, but I met a lot of interesting people, and
my arrest meant major prime-time news coverage we wouldn't have otherwise had,"
said Bichlbaum. "That's the whole point of civil disobedience. Thanks to my
momentary discomfort, our symbol of the stupidity of not taking action on climate
change was seen by tens of millions of people. It all worked out great, and I
remain grateful to the NYPD for having accidentally made our event successful
beyond our wildest dreams."

Despite Bichlbaum's gratitude, one thing stuck out for his attorney, Wylie
Stecklow: in filing his report, the arresting officer had lied through his teeth.

"The officer said he'd seen Bichlbaum jump over the fence, which was obviously
impossible, since the police arrived after the Survivaballs had all entered the
beach," said Stecklow, who defended Bichlbaum at his arraignment yesterday
morning. "And the officer said there were prominent signs posted to the effect
that entering was forbidden - also untrue." [6]

"Perhaps the NYPD thought that if an officer did not swear that he saw Andy climb
a fence, AND that there were signs providing notice that this area was off-limits,
a judge might have dismissed the case," said Stecklow.

According to Stecklow, officers swearing to facts they couldn't possibly know is
an all-too-common occurrence. "Often, during mass arrests, we see a Supervising
Officer assigning junior officers to write up the paperwork. But these junior
officers end up becoming the 'arresting officer,' requiring them to swear to facts
that are not within their knowledge. This leads to constitutional violations and
wrongful arrests, and undermines the confidence that citizens should have in the
criminal justice system," said Stecklow.

The NYPD has, in recent years, been found guilty of making numerous
unconstitutional arrests in cases of political protest, and then falsifying their
statements to fit the arrests. There have in particular been several well-known
cases involving the tackling and arrest of bicyclists, with false excuses then
written into police reports. [7]

"My case doesn't matter in itself," said Bichlbaum. In fact, I'm really happy it
turned out as it did. But I hope we can help expose the systemic and nefarious
culture of lying within the NYPD, that has had the effect of criminalizing protest
in New York City."

"The police have to be told very clearly that they can't lie and expect to get
away with it," Bichlbaum added. "The stakes are far too high."

"We need to strengthen oversight of the police by those who empower them in the
first place - you and I, the citizens of New York City," said Stecklow. "Right
now, at a bare minimum, that means giving teeth to the formerly well-intentioned,
now powerless body of the Civilian Complaint Review Board."

"Unfortunately, even when we have video proving police statements to be false, no
one seems interested in investigating," added Stecklow. "That's got to change."

After reading the arresting officer's complaint against him, Bichlbaum decided to
file a complaint with the CCRB in order to hold this officer accountable for his
false statements."It's not much, but at least this guy will have to explain his
story under oath. And then next time, maybe he'll think twice before filing a
false statement to make the crime stick."

The Yes Men hope their next actions won't depend on police misconduct to make them
a success. "With 'Balls Across America,' our goal is to get arrested fair and
square, all across this fair land of ours," said Yes Men co-founder Mike Bonanno.
"It's a great way to get attention for a crucial issue."

[1] Bichlbaum actually received an Adjournment with Contemplation of Dismissal,
which normally results in full dismissal in New York State

[2] The Survivaball ( made its first appearance in 2006,
when "Halliburton representatives" attended a conference on catastrophic climate
change and demonstrated the functionality of the large inflatable suits which keep
corporate managers safe from global warming 
( That hoax, and many more like it, are
documented in the new award-winning documentary film, The Yes Men Fix the World
(, which opens theatrically in New York
October 7, before opening nationally October 23.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Tabloid Tells Truth About Climate Change and How It Will Affect City,

Fake New York Post:
Video News Release:
City report on climate change:
Wake-up call:

Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the
appearance of a "special edition" New York Post blaring headlines that
their city could face deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other
lethal effects of global warming within the next few decades. The most
alarming thing about it: the news came from an official City report.

Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the
paper has been created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as
a wake-up call to action on climate change. It appears one day before
a UN summit where Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will push 100 world
leaders to make serious commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the
lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Ban has said
that the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in
greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences
for people and the planet," adding that Copenhagen is a "once-in-a-
generation opportunity."

Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100%
true, with all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and
climate change experts.

"This could be, and should be, a real New York Post," said Andy
Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Climate change is the biggest threat
civilization has ever faced, and it should be in the headlines of
every paper, every day until we solve the problem."

The fake Post's cover story ("We're Screwed") reports the frightening
conclusions of a blue-ribbon panel of scientists commissioned by the
mayor's office to determine the potential effects of climate change on
the City. That report was
released in February of this year, but received very little press at
the time. Other lead articles describe the Pentagon's alarmed response
to global warming ("Clear & Present Disaster"), the U.S. government's
sadly minuscule response to
the crisis ("Congress Cops Out on Climate"), China's alternative
energy program ("ChinaÕs Green Leap Forward Overtakes U.S."), and how
if the US doesn't quickly pass a strong climate bill, the crucial
Copenhagen climate talks this December could be a "Flopenhagen."

The paper includes original investigative reporting as well. One
article ("Carbon counter counts New Yorkers as fools") reveals that
Deutsche Bank - which erected a seven-story "carbon counter" in
central Manhattan - not only invests heavily incoal-mining companies
worldwide, but has recently entered the business of coal trading itself.

The paper has the world's gloomiest weather page, covering the next 70
years rather than just 7 days. The "Around the World" section
describes the disproportionate effects of climate change on poorer
parts of the world, including
extreme droughts, floods, famines, water shortages, mass migrations
and conflicts. Developing countries will bear the brunt of climate
change effects even though they have done very little to cause the

But the paper isn't all doom and gloom. An article called "New York
Fights Back" notes that the carbon emissions of Big Apple residents
are only one third the national average, and that the city is building
1800 miles of bike paths, planting one million trees, and replacing
its fleet of police cars with hybrids. There's also a page of black-
humor cartoons (in one, Charlie Brown finds Snoopy drowned), a gossip
section that takes no prisoners, and a number of truly cheerful ads -
for sex ("Awesome. No carbon emissions."), tote bags, bicycles, and
tap water ("Literally comes right out of your faucet!").

Another ad promotes civil disobedience, encouraging readers to visit
and pledge to risk arrest in a planned global action November 30,
just before the conference in Copenhagen.

"We need strong action on climate change," said David Solnit of
Mobilization for Climate Justice West, one of the partners in "But history shows that leaders act only when people
take to the streets to demand it. That's whatneeds to happen now."

This paper is one of 2500 initiatives taking place in more than 130
countries as a response to the "Global Wake-up Call" on climate
change. For more information, visit

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Precarious United for Climate Action in Copenhagen (COP15)


Fighting for Social and Climate Justice. Because Climate Change Makes
All Precarious.

The economic crisis has heavily hit the precariat -- the sum of those
working non-standard, temporary, part-time contracts in services and
industry -- worse than any other social class. Millions of precarious
youth, women, immigrants are being made redundant by the Great
Recession. Unemployment has skyrocketed from the US to the EU, from
Iceland to Japan. Those responsible for the crisis -- big banks,
investment funds, free-market economists and policy-makers --
whitewash and greenwash without shame as if nothing happened and go on
with business as usual. Governments are giving trillions to the
bankers and peanuts to the permatemps. Riots and protests are
spreading as a result, also targeting a new wave of racism and
xenophobia, but the pressure against political and economic power
hasn't yet been enough, although an Autumn of Rage lies in store and
this could change the equation.

Yet on the horizon of this historic capitalist crisis, an even larger
crisis looms: global heating and climate change due to fossil-burning
capital accumulation. Humankind is in danger, and by mid-century
millions and millions could be wiped out from Earth if overdeveloped
economies don't cut emissions, i.e. if we don't bring into line the
major carbon emitters (oil, coal, energy conglomerates, manufacturing
corporations and their logistics, the aviation industry, fast food and
agribusiness, luxury tourism etc.). Copenhagen in December is an
excellent opportunity to do so. On Dec 7-18, the UN Climate Summit --
COP15 -- will take place in the Danish capital, a city with strong
radical traditions and a current history of rebellious agitation. All
the state and economic élites from all the countries of the world will
convene at Bella Center in Copenhagen to seek a successor to the Kyoto
Treaty, including those powers like the US, China, India who hadn't
signed it.

The solution to the precarious question is not going to be found in
the return to the old speculative, overindebted, overdeveloped,
ecocidal, supremely unequal consumer economy of yore, the very same
that has been responsible for the lion's share of greenhouse emissions
deposited in the atmosphere over the last three decades, but in the
fight for a new economic and welfare system built around the social
and environmental needs of the precarious strata of society, ensuring
that each human being on Earth is entitled to the same share of carbon
emissions. To achieve this, we demand fiscal distribution via capital,
corporate and carbon taxation to pay for: basic income for all adults
and finance a reduction in worktime such as the 4-day week, universal
free access to online knowledge, publicly assisted p2p social
production and sharing, free public health and higher education for
all, subsidized green housing and green jobs for all unemployed
wishing to work, socialized banking funding renewable energy and
sustainable living community projects, urban and labor rights of self-
organization and self-unionization, the end of discrimination and
persecution of immigrants and asylum-seekers, right to solidarity
strike and statutory minimum wage of €10/$10/¥1500 per hour, and any
measure geared to giving back power and the possibility of making
power to the people. Redistribution of wealth and power toward the
precarious, growth of immaterial knowledge, cultural enrichment of
society and massive expansion of leisure are fundamental social
conditions for the horizontal, open-source design of a resilient
postcapitalist society, freeing the time to pursue ecohacktive and
permacultural activities, giving the time back to precarized and
frightened people to think collectively about their own future, also
cutting the need for quick consumption and instant satisfaction among
precarious service and knowledge workers in the currently time-starved
global society.

A strongly relational and solidaristic economy would fulfill many of
the needs today obviated by individualized market consumption. We
reject carbon trading (the cap&trade approach) as a non-solution to
the problem of emission cuts, as proved by the complete failure of the
EU emissions trading system. We expect adequate climate reparations
from the old industrial powers of the North to the underdeveloped
economies of the South. We hope the multigendered and multiethnic
precariat can be the social driver for local economies of cooperation,
exchange and mutual aid, food and energy production, just as the
immaterial precariat has been at the core of the climate camp
movement, to which we have participated enthusiastically.

The power of markets and corporations over our lives is backed by
petromilitarism. Fossil capitalism destroys environments as it
precarizes peoples. We must fight it in Copenhagen, all together, to
unmask Barroso's (let's hope the Irish manage to finally sack him) and
Obama's carbon trading and government bailouts for the rich. They'd
better spend that money in social transfers, green jobs and renewable
energy, because the Recession doesn't do discounts and the Earth
doesn't do bailouts: act for social change to avert climate disaster!

Climate Justice Action (CJA,, follow
@actforclimate), the global movement network that for a year has been
organizing the December 12-16 protests, is calling all movements to
direct action in Copenhagen in the days from Dec12 (demonstration from
Parliament) to Dec16 (mass action at Bella Center).

On December 12, the precarious organizing the postcapitalist mayday of
precarious and migrants in many cities of Europe and Japan (and
Canada: no border, no precarity! call onto all
friends and accomplices across europe+world to join forces behind the
"Precarious United for Climate Action" banner, joining the
anticapitalist block ( at
the big demonstration that will gather every single environmental
organization and activist group on the planet voicing the need for
climate justice and the responsibility of global capitalism for
environmental disaster, marching from Parliament to Summit.

And on December 16, we ask all noprecarity activists to join the
pink'n'black PUCA block to push for climate justice at the RECLAIM
POWER! mass action painstakingly organized by the CJA Movement Network
around the Bella Center on that Wednesday. We will produce
postcapitalist subverts, crisis fortundising, ecohacking, climate
slogans, posters, wotnot, and exhort you to do the same. On Dec 13,
14, 15 look out for actions on production, borders, banks,
agriculture, north-south equity.

Movment Call for Mass Action on December 16:
Climate Action Calendar and Guide Toward Copenhagen:
Twitter: @actforclimate
CJA site:


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Imperceptible Strategies, Unidentified Autonomous Organizations : A Drifting Seminar

Imperceptible Strategies, Unidentified Autonomous Organizations
:: A Drifting Seminar :: London, October 23 ::

Anarchist and autonomous politics are often associated, in a kneejerk
way, with a celebration of chaos and disorder: a rejection of all
forms of organization. The reduction of radical politics to a cheap
joke ('anarchist organization, what's that?') comes to substitute for
an actual understanding of autonomous organizational practices. Far
from rejecting organization all together, the history of autonomous
politics contains a wealth of different modes of organizing, from the
formation of temporary autonomous zones to affinity group models,
maroon communities to networks and collectives.

These are forms of organizing that not always acknowledged as being
organizations because they do not conform to what it is assumed
organizations necessarily are: durable, static, and hierarchical. This
understanding of organization obscures and makes difficult an actual
engagement with the merits and weaknesses of different forms of
organizing. But what would be found if rather than working from a
fixed and unchanging concept of organization, one that excludes
temporary forms of organization from consideration, it was attempted
to tease out the organizational dynamics from all the temporary
alliances and alliances that appear and disappear?

Might it be possible that we are already enmeshed in a world of
unidentified autonomous organizations, a milieu of potential
liberation that has remained imperceptible because of a narrow
understanding of what organizations are? And might it not be that this
imperceptibly, rather than being a condition to be addressed as a
problem, could rather be part of building of what Robin D.G. Kelley
calls an infrapolitical sphere: a space for politics coming out of
people's everyday experiences that do not express themselves as
radical political organization at all.

The aim of this encounter is to explore the connections between
anarchism, autonomism, and the revolutions of everyday life, drawing
out conceptual tools useful to developing and deepening the politics
of these infrapolitical spaces and organization. How can we strategize
and build from the connections and movements of the undercommons,
working from everyday encounters to compose new forms of social
movement? How can we connect and work between spontaneous forms of
resistance without forcing them into some larger form that ossifies

This event will not be based around formal presentations, but rather
will rather take the form of a drifting seminar. Participants will be
asked to read several pieces of text that will form the basis of
discussion and exploration.

Registration for the event will be approximately 10 quid. There will
be some limited travel funding available. If you wish to be considered
forthis funding indicate this when you register.

For registration and information contact: /

Sponsored by the Anarchist Studies Network
( & Minor Compositions

Monday, September 14, 2009


From The Yes Men...

If you live in New York, please visit to
sign up for some GIANT, extremely FUN, potentially WORLD-FIXING
shenanigans on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. (Even if you don't, you can sign
up to participate in our "digital fun squad" by clicking the option on
your profile. And if you know any New Yorkers or big Facebook
hobbyists, please forward this email to them!)

Everyone who shows up Monday morning will get a FREE GIFT you can
SHOCK your friends with for years. Even just a few minutes Monday
morning will help. Sign up

We can't tell you much about what we'll be doing, as the element of
surprise here is crucial. But we can tell you that it'll be huge and
absurdly fun, and when a hundred world honchos meet the next morning
to discuss climate change at the UN, you may have helped set the tone
for progress.

Then, that evening (Monday, Sept. 21), we'll unwind from the action by
dressing up in our very best, er, suits and heading to the global mega-
premiere of climate blockbuster The Age of Stupid (
). Like us, they've got no advertising budget, but if enough people
see this film, fixing the world could be a bit easier. (LA Times:
"Think An Inconvenient Truth, but with a personality"; News of the
World: "You won't see a more important film this year.") The premiere
will be linked by satellite to 444 cinemas across America and 300 more
worldwide, with special guests Kofi Annan, Radiohead's Thom Yorke
(singing live), Gillian Anderson, Heather Graham, Moby, James Hansen,
Mary Robinson, and the film's star Pete Postlethwaite. As for us, if
you make it to your local theatre that day, you'll see us live on the
satellite feed. Visit the film's website to buy tickets now!

Our own film ( will be in US theaters
starting OCTOBER 7! It'll be at New York's Film Forum Theater for two
weeks (Oct. 7-20), and then spread out to 23 cities and counting.
Visit our screenings page
( to see if your town
is listed.
Check back often for updates!

See you soon!
The Yes Men and a whole lot of friends

p.s. The Sept. 21 events ( and Age of
Stupid premiere) are part of Climate Action Week in New York. A good
way to warm up is to join an "international photo opportunity"
coordinated by Oxfam on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 20 in Central Park:
the Human Countdown. To register, send your name, email and phone to

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Open letter to the Istanbul Biennial

Conceptual Framework of Direnal-Istanbul Resistance Days: What Keeps
Us Not-Alive?

An open letter to the curators, artists, participants of the 11th
International Istanbul Biennial and to all artists and art-lovers.

"We have to stop pretending that the popularity of politically engaged
art within the museums, and markets over the last few years has
anything to do with really changing the world. We have to stop
pretending that taking risks in the space of art, pushing boundaries
of form, and disobeying the conventions of culture, making art about
politics makes any difference. We have to stop pretending that art is
a free space, autonomous from webs of capital and power.
It'€™s time for the artist to become invisible. To dissolve back into

We have read the conceptual framework of the 11th International
Istanbul Biennial with great interest and a grin on our faces. We have
long understood that the Istanbul Biennial aims at being one of the
most politically engaged transnational art events. And what a
coincidence! This year the Biennial is quoting comrade Brecht,
dropping notions such as neolibreal hegemony, and riding high against
global capitalism. We kindly appreciate the stance but we recognize
that art should have never existed as a separate category from life.
Therefore we are writing you to stop collaborating with arm dealers
such as the Koç Holding which white wash themselves in warm waters of
the global art scene and invite you to the life, the life of resistance.

The curators wonder whether Brecht's question '€˜What Keeps Mankind
Alive'€™ is equally urgent today for us living under the neoliberal
hegemony. We add the question: '€˜What Keeps Mankind Not-Alive?'€™.
We acknowledge the urgency in these times when we do not have the
right to work, we do not get free healthcare and education, our right
to our cities our squares and streets are taken by corporations, our
land, our seeds and water are stolen, we are driven into precarity and
a life without security, when we are killed crossing their borders and
left alone to live an uncertain future with their potential crises.
But we fight. And we resist in the streets not in corporate spaces
reserved for tolerated institutional critique so as to help them clear
their conscience. We fought when they wanted to kick us out of our
neighborhoods, from our houses in Sulukule, Gülensu and Ayazma, we
also fought against those who would smear the land with cyanide to
search for gold in Bergama and the Kaz Mountains, those who aggrieved
hazelnut producers in Giresun and cotton producers in Cukurova, those
who blackened the lives of jeans sandblasting workers with the
silicosis disease, making them work for 12 hours a day in unhealthy
conditions in workshops, those who turned the docks into a death camp
at Tuzla by not providing the workers safe working conditions, those
who endanger the lives of the people in the region in Sinop and Akkuyu
by wishing to construct nuclear power plants, and those who caused
workers in Desa and Yorsan to be fired for registering with trade
unions. And our fight and hope keep us alive.

The curators also point out that the one of the crucial questions of
this Biennial is '€œhow to 'set pleasure free,' how to regain
revolutionary role of enjoyment€. We set pleasure free in the
streets, in our streets. We were in Prague, Hong Kong, Athens,
Seattle, Heilegendamm, Genoa, Chiapas and Oaxaca, Washington, Gaza and
Istanbul…. Revolutionary role of enjoyment is out there and we
cherish it everywhere because we need to survive and we know that we
are changing the world with our words, with our acts, with our
laughter. And our life itself is the source of all sorts of pleasure.

And we are in Ä°stanbul and preparing ourselves to welcome 13.000
delegates of the IMF and the World Bank as we do wherever they go. We
declared that we are not hospitable. We will take it to the streets in
the carnival of resistance (1-8 October) and shut their meetings down

Join the resistance and the insurgence of imagination! Evacuate
corporate spaces, liberate your works. Let’s prepare works and
visuals (poster, sticker, stencil etc.) for the streets of the
resistance days. Let’s produce together, not within the white cube,
but in the streets and squares during the resistance week!
Creativity belongs to each and every of us and can’t be sponsored.

Long live global insurrection!

Resistanbul Commissariat of Culture

Resistanbul-Resistance Days Coordination Against IMF and World Bank
will work in September for the preparation and mobilization of
Resistance Days activities and actions. The exact date of the Visuals
Workshop can be followed from the website. For your participation,
suggestions, and more revolutionary information:

[1] John Jordan, "€œDeserting the Culture Bunker"€, Journal of
Aesthetics and Protest, no 3