Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stop Coca Cola Trashing Australia

Video pulled by channel 9 at the last minute.

Subversion by GreenPeace

The Power Of Laughtivism

This is an inspiring and uplifting talk from Srdja. The points he raises make for a great toolkit for anyone wishing to stand up to dictatorship on any scale.  Laughtivism is so powerful in harnessing the absurdities of situations, and the opportunity to make an impact does seem proportional to the amount of humour that goes into an action. As he says: “If you’re a ridiculous looking non-violent revolutionary your chances are twice as big”.

His comment,  “Humour makes your movement look cool” is important for a global audience. The language of laughtivism in the form of slapstick and mockery is common across cultures and class. The amazing “spitting image “ style video from Syria is an incredibly brave and impressive satire, and as he says “despite all of the bombings and the violence, the people have found their spirit… there are Syrians who still believe in their humour”

 “Humour Melts Fear” is a reminder to people that they have a simple and powerful tool. As an alternative to violence, a good joke disarms injustices immediately, such as the occupy wall street “enough of this bull” action by the Yes Men activists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfrf71ALsEs

This is a talk to be celebrated, and as Popovic says:

 “Keep on laughing your way to victory and keep on changing the world with a smile on your face.”

Hijacking the Protest

Madonna performs wearing Pussy Riot's trademark balaclava during her Moscow concert

“You are a fake. Like your music and your mind.”

This Youtube comment is just one of the many directed towards American pop music icon Madonna in response to her Pussy Riot speech made during her recent concert in Russia.

Selected quotes from Madonna’s speech include:

“I think that these 3 girls Masha, Katya, and Nadia, Yes. I think that they have done something courageous, I think that they have payed the price for this act and.. I pray for their freedom.”

 “Lets hope that one day that we really will live in a world filled with peace and freedom and tolerance”

 “Are you with me?  Are you with me? Fuck Yeah ! Don’t you know how to swear in Russian?”

“Pussy Riot” are a collection of art activists who stage events designed to make political and cultural statements.  One such event was a 40 second punk music performance in a Russian Church. The act was directed towards Russian leader Vladimir Putin in which 3 balaclava – clad members sang “Punk Prayer Mother of God Drive Putin Away”. The protest was quickly shut down and two of the members have now spent over 8 months in a prison colony in central Russia.

Last week The Guardian conducted an interview with Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova, one of the two jailed members, who is more resolved than ever to be a voice of dissent in Putin’s Russia. From the perspective of “Pussy Riot” the support of the west shouldn’t be turned into a commercial opportunity or protest without substance.

Like Madonna, other commercial music giants have demonstrated support for this form of Guerilla style activism in Russia. A crass opportunism also takes place when an entertainment billionaire takes on a cause to boost their own credibility, even in the form of selling unauthorised Pussy Riot T-Shirts from their website.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, one member of the group, says:

 “The only performances we’ll participate in are illegal ones. We refuse to perform as part of the capitalist system, at concerts where they sell tickets”.

 “Any person can put on a balaclava, it’s all very good, but it’s important that the ideas are not warped”

Western artists like Madonna run the risk of trivializing cultural freedoms when warping genuine protest. Coaxing Russian audiences to be dissentful and chant “Fuck Yeah” at her concerts is disrespectful and almost a disneyfication of human rights.