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By mary on Oct 26 2012 - 12:51pm Tagged:

Close up of Andy and Mike with spray paint cans

We're making a new movie, The Yes Men are Revolting, that uses humor and disruptive action to focus on climate change, the corporate money that keeps us from addressing it, and the movement that can take our democracy back. It will also launch our most ambitious plan ever: a platform to turn every viewer's enthusiasm and energy into action around these these life-or-death issues and more.

But to do all this we need you. We need you to support our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, or just spread the word.

When you pledge to this project, a whole host of unique rewards are yours—including a Secret Decoder Ring that's loaded with media and an access code to secret communications we'll be sending you soon. There are also some more practical rewards—like a Halliburton Survivaball, essential for surviving imminent climate catastrophe.

By pledging, you will be making possible a very funny film about our action-packed mission to hold governments accountable despite overwhelming corporate influence. It's got hilarious exploits, shocking documentary footage, nasty stings on evildoers, and a personal story that's sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

But what's truly unique about this film is that it's going to help every viewer get active herself via a human-staffed platform we're calling the "Action Switchboard." This platform, which we're designing in cahoots with folks at Mozilla, taps our 100,000-activist database to create fun, meaningful, movement-building projects around the issues we all care about.

On our Kickstarter page, you'll find one of the weirdest, funniest “direct action” videos you're likely to see. Check it out—and even if you're not in a position to kick in money, you can tweet or facebook the link.

Please support and spread the word about The Yes Men Are Revolting and the Action Switchboard. Direct action is critical to democracy. Let's make more of it!

 

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By mary on Oct 2 2012 - 12:38pm Tagged: Project: Murder Is Bad

Murder is Bad

Even in Nigeria

Houston, TX (October 2, 2012) — Early Monday morning, 71,010 Shell employees received an email from the company's "Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division" providing information on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a pivotal human rights case being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. The email contained links to news stories, as well as a tool to help employees tweet their feelings about the case at key US news anchors (and Oprah Winfrey).

The only thing is, Shell has no "Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division," and they don't want publicity for the case. The email was in fact the work of an activist group called People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM), who received the list of Shell emails from what they believe to be a group of disaffected employees. (A similar leak occurred two years ago.)

Within minutes of the email being sent out, Shell internally blocked the site, preventing employees from accessing it. "I would love to participate, but access is denied to all links you sent out," wrote one employee among many. The 71,010 employees were informed this morning of the situation and the site's new URL.

PALM intended the action to help shine a spotlight on the case, brought by the widow of Dr. Barinem Kiobel, who was hanged along with novelist Ken Saro-Wiwa for opposition to Shell's drilling plans in West Africa. Shell is alleged to have aided paramilitary forces that raided more than 60 villages, killed over 800 people, and displaced 30,000 more.

To prevail, Shell lawyers must overturn a 200-year-old law, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), that compensates victims of international crimes. (The lawhas been used to compensate Holocaust survivors who sued for restitution from corporations that profited from slavery and forced labor during World War II.) Shell's lawyers are arguing that their corporation is not subject to the ATS because it is not a person.

"When it comes to things like election spending, Shell and other corporations want to have all the rights of people," said Sean Dagohoy from PALM. "But when accused of murder, Shell conveniently argues that they aren't a person. A ruling in their favor would be a very dangerous precedent, and would badly undermine the United States' reputation as a place that cares about human rights. That's why we attempted to reach out to Shell employees to help get the word out."

"Surely most Shell employees, like most people, don't want multinationals to get away with murder just because murder's convenient," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab, which provided technical assistance for the action.

"Shell needs to let its employees speak," said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab. "They can prevent it for a day, but in the long run they have no choice."

Contact

Sean Dagohoy
People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM)

Andy Bichlbaum or Mike Bonanno
The Yes Lab

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Sep 30 2012 - 8:41pm Tagged:

Attention NYU students: TWO subversive pleasures are available for credit!

1. JOIN THE YES LAB, beginning October 13, and fight for a worthwhile cause while having more fun than you thought possible.

It'll start with a full-day introductory workshop Oct. 13, during which you'll team up with local activist groups and the Yes Men to figure out just the right project for you. You and your group will then meet once a week throughout the semester for feedback.

Visit the Hemispheric Institute website to sign up, and yeslab.org/projects to learn how people like you have used trickery, mischief, and giggles to promote a better, more interesting world. If you're interested in receiving NYU credit for Yes Lab participation, email nyu@yeslab.org.

2. ATTEND CREATIVE ACTIVISM THURSDAYS beginning October 11, and continuing all year. It's a series of lectures, workshops, and other events focusing on the potential for societal change, and what we can do to bring it about through creative tactics and strategies.

Visit the Hemispheric Institute website for our amazing fall 2012 lineup. And if you're interested in receiving NYU credit, email nyu@yeslab.org for more info.

Creative Activism Thursdays is co-sponsored by NYU Dean for Social Science, the Hemispheric Institute, the Yes Lab, the Humanities Initiative at NYU Working Research Group on Artistic Activism, CAA, and Not an Alternative. Speakers often attend following Yes Lab Friday.

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By mary on Aug 13 2012 - 1:21pm Tagged: pot, San Diego, Laura Duffy Project: Flow of drugs in La Jolla stopped cold

July 31, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHARMACY HOAX REVEALED

San Diego, CA – The San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group, working with LGBT activism group Canvass for a Cause and as part of the The Yes Men’s “Yes Labs” project, released a series of satirical press releases on Tuesday which indicated that U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy would begin targeting pharmacies for closure using asset forfeiture proceedings.  The purpose of the action was to draw attention to the U.S. Attorney’s harmful efforts to deny patients access to doctor-recommended medical cannabis.

“Just as the closure of retail pharmacies, like CVS or Walgreens, is poor public health policy, so is the federal government’s crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries,” said Eugene Davidovich of San Diego ASA. “Pharmacies, like medical cannabis dispensaries, play an essential role in our communities as they help the sick and dying treat and manage various medical conditions,” continued Davidovich. “Laura Duffy and the Obama Administration have no place interfering in the implementation of state law by shutting down dispensaries that thousands of patients rely on.”

The real Laura Duffy isn’t joking.  In October 2011, Duffy and her fellow U.S. Attorneys in California began an escalated attack on medical cannabis businesses. “The California marijuana industry is not about providing medicine to the sick,” said Duffy at the time. “It’s a pervasive for-profit industry that violates federal law.” Since October, Duffy has used threats of criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture to close over two hundred medical cannabis facilities in her District.

Despite claims from Attorney General Eric Holder that his Justice Department was only targeting dispensaries operating “out of conformity with state law,” Duffy and the other U.S. Attorneys have indiscriminately targeted these facilities, regardless of “conformity,” shutting down all but a few in San Diego County.  Most recently Duffy attempted to shut down the only collective in her district that is operating under a permit from the Sheriff’s department./p>

For many patients who cannot sustain the regular consumption of pharmaceutical medication, cannabis isn’t simply an alternative; it’s their only option. From reducing nausea and increasing appetite for people living with cancer or HIV/AIDS to stabilizing chronic pain, the vast majority of California’s medical cannabis patients rely on dispensaries. Advocates argue that by closing dispensaries, Duffy and other U.S. Attorneys are pushing thousands of patients into the illicit market and complicating the job of law enforcement.

“Today’s press releases may have been a hoax, but for the thousands of patients adversely impacted by Duffy’s attacks on medical cannabis, it’s no joke. The LGBT community fought hard to legalize HIV/AIDS medicine for their family and we carry on that tradition today” said Rachel Scoma, from Canvass for a Cause. “Patients need safe and legal access to their medication, not prosecution from the federal government.”

For more information contact:
sandiegoasa@gmail.com
National Media Contact: Kris Hermes
email: kris@safeaccessnow.org
phone: 510-681-6361

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Jun 22 2012 - 11:52am Tagged:

If you're with a New York-based activist organization and want to carry out an action around your campaign goals with advice from the Yes Men and the help of awesome NYU student interns—and learn the Yes Men's publicizing, brainstorming, and project-management techniques in the process—just visit www.yeslab.org/orgs and follow the links to apply!

NYU students take note! If want to engage in a kick-ass activist project with the Yes Men, and get essential experience with a local org (and internship credit!) at the same time, then visit www.yeslab.org/hemi and drop us a line! (Others will be welcome as well, though you won't get internship credit!)

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Jun 8 2012 - 11:48am Tagged: Project: Shell's Epic Party Fail

Arcticready or #Shellfail? Shell's Climate Disaster Gets a Rehearsal
Activists claim responsibility for viral sensation, corporate makeover

Greenpeace, the Yes Lab, and members of the Occupy movement are claiming responsibility for a set of actions that have focused intense attention on Shell's Arctic drilling program.

"This experience shows that a few energized people can compete with the billions that Shell spends on advertising and lobbying," said James Turner from Greenpeace, who posed as an advertising executive at the event. "As people find out how this oil company is exploiting global warming to cause yet more global warming, thus endangering everyone, they won't allow it, no matter how many billions Shell has in its war chest."

The centerpiece of the action was a lavish party in the Space Needle, in which a model of an Arctic-bound oil rig "accidentally" spewed liquid in the face of the rig designer's "widow"—actually 84-year-old Occupy activist Dorli Rainey, well known for having been brutally pepper-sprayed in the face by Seattle Police during Occupy protests last fall.

A one-minute video of that "malfunction," shot by Occupy "infiltrator" Logan Price, quickly reached the top spot on Reddit and the #2 spot on Youtube, with a half-million views in less than 24 hours.

"We know that climate change is putting the entire planet at risk," said Rainey. "It's our duty to stop companies like Shell from using fossil fuels as a lethal weapon—even if it means being sprayed again and again in the face."

As Shell denied, with disappointing blandness, having had anything to do with the party or the "malfunction," the Yes Lab sent out a press release on Shell's behalf, threatening anyone who reposted the video and attacking also the activists' brand-new ArcticReady.com website, which includes a social media ad generator and a dangerously addictive children's video game called Angry Bergs. The fake Shell release generated additional media coverage.

Earlier this year, Shell obtained a legal injunction stopping any Greenpeace activist from coming within 1km of any Shell vessel. To thank the company, Greenpeace teamed up with the Yes Lab to plan a promotional advertising campaign for Shell's Arctic drilling efforts, which Shell prefers to keep quiet. Besides the ill-fated ceremony and the website, the campaign includes a number of other elements that will shadow Shell's summer Arctic destruction campaign.

The device which sprayed Rainey's face was a model of Shell's drill rig, the Kulluk, which is set to soon depart Seattle for the Arctic. The Kulluk was built in 1983 by Mitsui, the same company that, two decades later, built the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. Earlier this year, Mitsui paid out $90 million to the U.S. for its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

"What Shell is preparing to do in the Arctic is the height of obscenity," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab. "We've got to do everything we possibly can to draw attention to this unfolding disaster, and more importantly we've got to stop it."

"The melting Arctic is becoming a defining environmental issue of our era, and this campaign is just a taste of what's to come," said Turner.

(Note: As of this writing, some major news sources are still posting information from the fake Shell press release. The Yes Lab's intention is not to allow misinformation to linger.)

Contact:
James Turner, Greenpeace, james.turner@greenpeace.org, 415-812-1142
The Yes Lab, info@yeslab.org

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By Andy Bichlbaum on May 14 2012 - 5:59pm Tagged:

Do you know any New York organizations that would like to ruin more nasty parties, or otherwise make a splash around a campaign issue? Read on!

And let's have our own party in Times Square TOMORROW (Tuesday, May 15th, at 6PM) to make it clear that another city (and another world, of course) is possible. More information: anothernyc.org, @anothernyc, facebook.com/anothernyc.

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By mary on May 14 2012 - 11:51am Tagged: TPP, globalization, award, party Project: Trans-Pacific Partnership Receives "Corporate Power Tool Award"

May 12, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DALLAS PARTY ENDS BADLY FOR U.S. TRADE REPS AND FEDERAL AGENTS
Dozens of rogue "delegates" disrupt Trans-Pacific Partnership gala with "award," "mic check," mass toilet paper replacement, projection

Two dozen rogue "delegates" disrupted the corporate-sponsored welcome gala for the high-stakes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations yesterday with a fake award ceremony and "mic check." Other activists, meanwhile, replaced hundreds of rolls of toilet paper (TP) throughout the conference venue with more informative versions, and projected a message on the venue's facade.

The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala's keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as "Git Haversall," president of the "Texas Corporate Power Partnership," and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the "2012 Corporate Power Tool Award," which "Haversall's" partner held aloft.

The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and "Haversall" continued: "I'd like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right."

At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening's formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.

Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed "delegates" (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted "TPP! TPP! TPP!" for several minutes until Dallas police arrived.

Fifteen minutes later, another dozen interlopers from Occupy Dallas interrupted the reception with a spirited "mic-check." Outside, activists projected a message on the hotel, and throughout the night, delegates discovered that hundreds of rolls of custom toilet paper had been installed in the conference venue.

The activists disrupted the gala to protest the hijacking of trade negotiations by an extreme pro-corporate agenda. "The public and the media are locked out of these meetings," said Kristi Lara from Occupy Dallas, one of the infiltrators. "We can't let U.S. trade officials get away with secretly limiting Internet freedoms, restricting financial regulation, extending medicine patents, and giving corporations other a whole host of other powers allowing them to quash the rights of people and democracies, for example by offshoring jobs in ever new ways. Trade officials know the public won't stand for this, which is why they try to keep their work secret—and that's why we had to crash their party."

There is mounting criticism of the U.S. role in pushing the negotiations forward in secrecy, despite the public's overwhelming disagreement with TPP goals. ("Buy American" procurement preferences are supported by over 85% of Americans, but U.S. trade negotiators are preparing to accept a ban on such preferences. Two weeks ago, 69 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking him not to accept that ban.)

Many are calling the Obama administration duplicitous: while the administration publicly hypes a plan to revitalize American manufacturing and create jobs in the U.S., U.S. trade officials push for new "investor rights" that would make it easier for American companies to lay off domestic workers and open plants overseas.

"The TPP has been branded as a trade 'negotiation' by its corporate proponents, but in reality it's a place for big business to get its way behind closed doors," said Pete Rokicki of Occupy Dallas. "This anti-democratic maneuver can be stopped if the public gets active—just look at the movement that killed the ill-advised SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) law a few months ago. That's why Obama's trade officials lock the public, the press and even members of Congress from the trade negotiation process."

"We're really happy to know that even in their most private moments, US trade reps are reminded that a vast majority of the public stands opposed to corporate-friendly, closed-door trade deals like the TPP," said Sean Dagohoy from the Yes Lab, who assisted in the actions.

Contacts:
    Occupy Dallas: Kristi Lara, kristi096@gmail.com, 505-463-7013
    The Yes Lab: disruption@yeslab.org

For more information on the TPP, live from Dallas, contact Lori Wallach, Public Citizen Global Trade Watch, Lwallach@citizen.org, 202-454-5107

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By Andy Bichlbaum on May 12 2012 - 2:24pm Tagged:

Know of a New York organization that would like to try some Yes Lab shenanigans in the fall? Read on!

May 12, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DALLAS PARTY ENDS BADLY FOR U.S. TRADE REPS AND FEDERAL AGENTS
Dozens of rogue "delegates" disrupt Trans-Pacific Partnership gala with "award," "mic check," mass toilet paper replacement, projection

Two dozen rogue "delegates" disrupted the corporate-sponsored welcome gala for the high-stakes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations yesterday with a fake award ceremony and "mic check." Other activists, meanwhile, replaced hundreds of rolls of toilet paper (TP) throughout the conference venue with more informative versions, and projected a message on the venue's facade.

The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala's keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as "Git Haversall," president of the "Texas Corporate Power Partnership," and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the "2012 Corporate Power Tool Award," which "Haversall's" partner held aloft.

The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and "Haversall" continued: "I'd like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right."

At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening's formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.

Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed "delegates" (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted "TPP! TPP! TPP!" for several minutes until Dallas police arrived.

Fifteen minutes later, another dozen interlopers from Occupy Dallas interrupted the reception with a spirited "mic-check." Outside, activists projected a message on the hotel, and throughout the night, delegates discovered that hundreds of rolls of custom toilet paper had been installed in the conference venue.

The activists disrupted the gala to protest the hijacking of trade negotiations by an extreme pro-corporate agenda. "The public and the media are locked out of these meetings," said Kristi Lara from Occupy Dallas, one of the infiltrators. "We can't let U.S. trade officials get away with secretly limiting Internet freedoms, restricting financial regulation, extending medicine patents, and giving corporations other a whole host of other powers allowing them to quash the rights of people and democracies, for example by offshoring jobs in ever new ways. Trade officials know the public won't stand for this, which is why they try to keep their work secret—and that's why we had to crash their party."

There is mounting criticism of the U.S. role in pushing the negotiations forward in secrecy, despite the public's overwhelming disagreement with TPP goals. ("Buy American" procurement preferences are supported by over 85% of Americans, but U.S. trade negotiators are preparing to accept a ban on such preferences. Two weeks ago, 69 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama asking him not to accept that ban.)

Many are calling the Obama administration duplicitous: while the administration publicly hypes a plan to revitalize American manufacturing and create jobs in the U.S., U.S. trade officials push for new "investor rights" that would make it easier for American companies to lay off domestic workers and open plants overseas.

"The TPP has been branded as a trade 'negotiation' by its corporate proponents, but in reality it's a place for big business to get its way behind closed doors," said Pete Rokicki of Occupy Dallas. "This anti-democratic maneuver can be stopped if the public gets active—just look at the movement that killed the ill-advised SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) law a few months ago. That's why Obama's trade officials lock the public, the press and even members of Congress from the trade negotiation process."

"We're really happy to know that even in their most private moments, US trade reps are reminded that a vast majority of the public stands opposed to corporate-friendly, closed-door trade deals like the TPP," said Sean Dagohoy from the Yes Lab, who assisted in the actions.

Contacts:
    Occupy Dallas: Kristi Lara, kristi096@gmail.com, 505-463-7013
    The Yes Lab: disruption@yeslab.org

For more information on the TPP, live from Dallas, contact Lori Wallach, Public Citizen Global Trade Watch, Lwallach@citizen.org, 202-454-5107

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By Andy Bichlbaum on May 9 2012 - 5:41pm Tagged:

We are looking for organizations that would like to be working with us starting in February of 2014!  
Email mary@yeslab.org if you, or someone you know, is interested.

The Yes Lab is seeking five activist organizations or coalitions who would like to work with the Yes Men, and with eager (and brilliant!) students, to develop and execute sexy, creative media-activism projects around their own campaign goals. Interested orgs should fill out this questionnaire before January 15.

Previous Yes Lab projects involving organizations and students have focused on goals around the issues of police violence, immigration, hydrofracking, Wall Street, smartphone production, coal power, and the Tar Sands. (Two more such projects are currently in development.)

What organizations can gain:

  • a project that brings media attention to a precise campaign goal;
  • the coaching of the Yes Men, and of previous Yes Lab participants;
  • the opportunity to recruit eager, brilliant NYU students, who could continue working with you in other capacities;
  • the development of skills and knowledge enabling you to develop more such projects on your own in the future, without anyone's help.

Each organization must have a New York presence, and will need to commit (1) at least two folks to spend time crafting and guiding the project (mainly at NYU's Hemispheric Institute) beginning this September, (2) a small amount of money to cover expenses and project costs, and (3) a clear campaign goal for the project. In more detail:

GOAL: Interested organizations will need to come in with a clear campaign goal—e.g. to affect public debate, push for legislation, stop a certain practice, embarrass a particular company or politician, etc.

FUNDING: We're asking participating organizations to contribute $500 total:

  • $200 to cover workshop expenses (food, operating and administrative costs) throughout the semester
  • $300 to support any projects developed (domain registration, printing, props, etc.)

If this is a dealbreaker, talk to us! We'll work with you to find fundraising options.

TIME: Most importantly, each organization must commit the time of at least two people (in New York):

  • one core member who will serve as project manager/bottom-liner
  • at least one other member or volunteer who will also help make the project happen

These two (or more) people must be able to commit to attending (40 hours total over the course of the semester, all at the Hemispheric Institute):

  • two full-day brainstorms and work days, at which they will brainstorm projects and learn media activism techniques
  • one workshop per week for the rest of the semester (TBD, but most likely Fridays lunchtime for 1.5 hours) to offer and receive feedback

Also, the participants must be able to devote sufficient time outside of the workshop to guide the project team and, if need be, to accomplish the project themselves (estimate: at least 40 hours over the course of a semester).

If you know of an organization that would like this kind of challenge and opportunity, please forward them this message and direct them to fill out this questionnaire before January 15, 2014. Any questions can be directed to mary@yeslab.org.

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