nettime Help Iraqi resistance in Ter Apel (NL)

2012-05-10 Thread Jo van der Spek M2M
On the 8th of May 2012 refugees-on-the-street again started a camp  
outside the Collective Center at Ter Apel in the north of the  
Netherlands These migrants are supposed to return voluntarily to their  
country, because the Dutch government believes that they are not in  
danger there. However the government in Iraq refuses to take them back  
if they are forced. So they have nowhere to go to, no right to be here  
and no way to go there. But they act together for a chance to live and  
live better than before.

Finally it is not the USA that invades The Hague, in order to prevent  
the application of international justice to American citizens-  
soldiers. No, it's Iraqi citizen-migrants occupying common ground in  
the north of the Netherlands in an effort to force a radical change in  
the application of human justice to migrants that are so far denied  
acces and basic rights.

This act of occupation by a fast growing number of mainly Iraqi  
refugees-on-the-street is well timed and also well suited to create an  
uplifting  experience amidst the general lethargy that still covers  
Holland like  a blanket of mental smog.

Like so many times before in history an external agent, through an  
unexpected and autonomous action, is now intervening in the Dutch   
political landscape, at a moment that everyday political life is in a  
highly unstable state: no government, a parliament trying to gain  
legitimacy and a queen dying to hand over sovereignty to her son. The  
direct cause for this current limbo lies in  the response to the  
economic recession and the European conditions  forcing even a rich  
country like Holland to take extreme measures of austerity. However,  
the cornerstone of change, the hinge on which the minds and hearts of  
a significant section of youth and mindful adults may move, is the  
approach towards migrants and world affairs in general. Poverty is  
moving in and migrants are dying on the shores of Europe. Soon we will  
be drifting  together if we don't take drastic action.

We now see the face of globalization reflected in the mirror that  
Brussels and Ter Apel are holding up for us to see. We see Geert  
Wilders as just another make-over of Batman, unmasking himself as just  
another copy cat of Pim Fortuyn, only adding to the pitiful  
frustration of the merciless masses voting for him, proving once again  
time for messiah is over. One man will not make the difference. Ask  

Finally the Joker hits back. After two exercises last winter led by  
Somali brothers and sisters camping in the cold outside the  
deportation  complex of Ter Apel, now the weather is fine and time is  
ripe for the  real thing. These poor asylum seekers, strangled by  
foreign police  and immigration service IND, mentally broken by the  
thousands in administrative detention, suffocated by laws and lawyers,  
made  dependant on charity and church, are finally showing who they  
really are: human! They can really move! They are not victims but  

They can be tourists like you and me!

So let us not help the occupiers in Ter Apel. Let us not support them,  
don't give them tents, blankets or telephone credit. Do not bring your  
redundant laptops, I-pads or even worn-out  army boots and leather  
jackets to their field of honour. No, embrace their exemplary  
autonomous action, join Ali Aziz and Hadi Abu Sanad like in the 16th  
century we embraced the House of Orange, invading the Dutch swamps at  
nearby Heiligerlee. Temperature is rising, parliamentary politics is  
exhausted, corporate business is selling out to China's communists and  
Mexican coke dealers.

We got to save ourselves.

We are  here, we the people, we make the difference, we have no  
borders to cross, we have no cross other than our own indulging in  
apathy. Let's throw it off and start the summer. Leave your squat and  
camp out. Send your children abroad after the exams and restore  
disorder at home.

Forget your mortgage, bury your debts and love your neighbour.

Let migrants invade this place and help us chase away the ghosts of  
Rawagade, Srebrenica, the Schiphol Fire and most of all the mist of  
mental misery hanging over us.

Jo van der Spek

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nettime Help us launch the Yes Lab! Support our Kickstarter campaign

2011-09-08 Thread The Yes Men

Please support the Yes Lab!

Dear Friends,

The Yes Men need your help.

For years, we’ve been tossing our little buckets of water on the  
blazes of social injustice. Last year, we decided to form a bucket  
brigade: a system (we’re calling it the Yes Lab) to help others do the  
kind of funny, headline-grabbing actions we’re known for.

It worked. In its embryonic first year, the Yes Lab helped launch  
nearly a dozen activist media campaigns (see below), garnering a total  
of 4.5 metric tons of media hype. It even attracted threatening legal  
letters (frames not included) from five coal companies, one oil  
transport company, one utility, France, and GE! (Seriously, GE, no one  
meant to knock $3.5 billion off your share price. But no one’s sorry,  

Given this proof of concept, the Yes Lab is now (almost) ready for  
prime time.

It’s got a brand-new home at New York University, complete with plenty  
of space, a big supportive crew, lots of eager collaborators, and a  
structure that will let it tackle five or so projects at once. (If  
you’re in New York, come to our launch Sept. 14 and see how you can  
get involved!) It’s also got a lovely new website that will soon have  
a number of fancy tools to help hundreds more carry out or join up  
with Yes Lab projects.

There’s only one hitch. We’ve got the venue, the participants, and  
(soon) the tools. But we’re short on cash for the projects themselves— 
which, of course, are the entire point of the Yes Lab. That’s why  
today, we’re asking for $10,000 on Kickstarter, to hire project  
managers and cover expenses for projects that don’t have other  
funding. It's all the Yes Lab needs to become a fully-functioning  
mischief machine.

OK, you got the point of this email: the Yes Lab needs money. So here,  
without further ado, is a summary of last year's mischief,  
accomplished by just a few dozen folks. Imagine what hundreds will be  
able to do!

General Electric Short-Circuited
Activists US Uncut, with a little help from the Yes Lab, sent out a  
press release announcing that General Electric would repay the $3.2  
billion tax credit they received last year despite massive profits.  
The announcement was momentarily picked up as true by the AP, and the  
market, unable to leave a good deed unpunished, responded by knocking  
$3.5 billion off GE’s share price. The result was massive,  
enlightening coverage of GE’s tax-cheating ways on everything from  
local TV to CNN.

What the heck is an Asthmaze?
A small group of activists wondered how a big coal company might  
address the fact that coal causes childhood asthma. The result: “Coal  
Cares,” a faux greenwashing campaign in which Peabody Coal tried to  
“make asthma cool” with free themed inhalers to kids living within 200  
miles of a coal plant. The site, taken as real by many, quickly went  
massively viral, which didn’t amuse Peabody one bit but did help  
publicize coal as a major public health issue. And as it happened, in  
the week following the launch of Coal Cares, a real-life attempt by  
the coal industry to mislead children was defeated by the Campaign for  
a Commercial-Free Childhood. Hooray!

Beat Up On Chevron? We Agree.
Chevron decided to launch a $90 million greenwashing campaign with a  
street-art aesthetic, and was stupid enough to approach street artists  
for help. One of them, Cesar Maxit, promptly leaked Chevron’s plans to  
Amazon Watch. The Yes Lab helped Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action  
Network (RAN) release a much more honest version of Chevron’s campaign  
just hours ahead of the “real” McCoy, generating a deluge of media  
coverage. Hundreds of user submissions and some amazing videos from  
FunnyOrDie further derailed Chevron’s $90 million lie, infuriating  
Chevron even more—though not quite as much as the $18 billion judgment  
against them in Ecuador, which Chevron has vowed never to pay. The  
fight goes on.

Coal Burns Wealthy Neighborhood. Neighbors Nonplussed.
Students from Columbia College in Chicago came together with  
Greenpeace and the Yes Lab to create the illusion that a new coal  
plant was planned in their city—but that instead of going in a poor  
neighborhood (like the two coal plants that already exist in Chicago),  
this one would be built in a rich one. The plans got a rise out of  
residents and the media, and helped focus attention on Chicago’s much- 
needed Clean Power Ordinance.

Canada was the victim of two Yes-Lab-assisted actions, both targeting  
the Alberta Tar Sands, the England-sized mess that has made Canada the  
worst per-capita carbon emitter on earth.

Hair Clogs Pipeline
In the first Canadian action, a group of activists had Enbridge—who  
are aiming to build a massive pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands  
through pristine wilderness to the British Columbia coast—announce “My  
Hair Cares,” a crackpot plan to sop up inevitable spills along the  
pipeline route with the hair of volunteers. The