Journal of Aesthetics & protest

Conversations and Theory in
practice. go post-money!!!

issue 7

Protests Past and Protest Futures:
A critical conversation about the state
of protest and cultural composition.

by Benj Gerdes, Gavin Grindon and Rodrigo Nunes

Climate Camp UK

Editors Note: Benj Gerdes, Gavin Grindon and Rodrigo Nunes began a conversation around the economic and social performances intrinsic to Climate Camp UK and to other recent protests. What ensued was an inquiry into the state of movements today.


Rodrigo:I’d start less with a direct reflection on the Climate Camps (CC) than with some thoughts refracted by past ways of talking about things like Reclaim the Streets! (RTS), Border Camps etc. These I find problematic ‘in theory’ as well as ‘personally’, as someone participating in this kind of politics for a while, and who was heavily involved in the organization of the WSF camps in Brazil.

I’d present them as a set of tensions.

Prefigurative politics, or ‘being the change you want to see’, has since the late 1990's been proffered as characteristic of the ‘new new social movements’, and it has often troubled me. Partially because it can lend itself to the most depoliticised lifestylism – reducing social change to a matter of individual choices (and often consumption choices), creating self-satisfied, judgmental communities that are oblivious to how the availability of choice is in itself socially determined. Partially because it can generate lots of what I consider to be false problems with regard to questions of strategy/tactics. For example: if I want to produce a non-violent society, can I ever consider the use of force legitimate and tactically appropriate? Can I support a ‘lesser evil’ candidate/party against a ‘greater evil’ if I oppose
political representation? And so on.

So, CCs are presented as prefigurative, which is fair enough, but that raises many questions. Firstly, as to how sustainable this prefiguration actually is. We cannot forget that they are temporary, relatively small in size and homogeneous, rely partially on public infrastructure, depend on money from NGOs, private individuals (who only fund them because they are temporary, otherwise they couldn’t afford it!) etc. I’ll come back to this in a minute.

But also, it’s clear you’re not there exclusively to ‘live differently’ for a few days. It’s part of a symbolic struggle, serves as a temporary infrastructure and coordinating space for actions etc. At various times, choices have to be made as to which aspect of it will prevail in your political calculations: the experiment in living differently, setting up a community, … Or the fact that you set it up with certain goals and tasks in mind. A choice between the space as an end in itself, and the space as a tool in an ongoing struggle.

The tension, then, is this: ‘be the change’ is not some sort of karma for laymen (‘do unto the world as you wish the world to do. It will follow suit’), and it shouldn’t be allowed to erase the necessary antagonistic element. Opening up a space automatically sets up a border that separates inside and outside; you cannot expect relations on the outside to be the same as on the inside. For example, a network of solidarity economy enterprises, for instance, ultimately relates to other actors in the market in the mode of competition, not solidarity. Besides, you cannot ignore to what extent this space has to be, both metaphorically and literally, actively wrenched and protected from the state, corporations, and so forth. The Zapatistas created a new form of living together in their territory, but this territory was created and maintained by military means.

The second tension concerns the ‘festival’ or ‘carnivalesque’. It runs through the literature on the subject, from Bakhtin and Bataille to the Situationists; perhaps it’s clearer in those attempts to think of it within dialectics. Depending on how you read Situationism, for example, you might arrive at the idea that festival or carnival are mere glitches that spectacle/capitalism recuperates, and are in fact necessary for the overall health of the system. (This is quite clear in later Bataille: the interruption of restricted economy by the sovereignty of general economy through festival and sacrifice is not in itself sovereign, but put to use by restricted economy). Or you’ll conclude that they are the only true hope of upsetting the system, of creating something that escapes it definitively – either at once (the insurrectionary model) or through an accumulation of small ruptures in a historical continuum (as in Bakhtin, but also in the Situationists).

On either end I think we have negative and positive thought taken to their ultimate consequence, to the point of parody. Either the only real change is total change, and since change always must begin from some small point somewhere, real change ultimately cannot exist (or only exists as messianic redemption, coming completely from outside: this, I think, is the great appeal of the present environmental crisis for primitivists). Or every little change counts and is important, but then you either have to incorporate them into some historical progress (Bakhtin again), or you beg the question: surely all changes are changes, but some are more important than others? How much change amounts to substantial change? What criteria does one have to distinguish greater and lesser changes?

The two tensions are very similar I guess; their differences are, first, the kind of relation they imply with what they oppose and, second, the temporal relations involved in this opposition. Regarding the first point, the carnivalesque is the reversal or subversion of the order, whereas prefigurative politics (in the sense I’m criticising it) is posed in a sort of non-relation to everything else, as pure self-reference. Regarding the second, the carnivalesque is either a present or a sequence of presents in a historical series – either way, it’s exceptional, a suspension of empirical succession, necessarily punctual. The prefigurative I criticise, on the other hand, is something like a permanent present whose relation to the historical time of everything else doesn’t expose itself to any transformation; in its ‘karma’ version, it’s only a progressive ‘colonisation’ of everything by ‘the change you want to see’.

So I suppose the problem here is that, in celebrating things like CCs as
prefigurative, there’s a risk of ignoring just how carnivalesque they actually are – in the sense of being punctual, for a short time, and so on; and celebrating them as carnivalesque, on the other hand, begs the question of what historical series they’re included in, how this series is being built etc. In other words, the celebration of the ‘carnivalesque’ that was so common less than a decade ago, while still having its value, has to be supplemented by a consideration of the larger context in which things like CCs take place – the tactical and strategic stakes that surround them.

I believe the sheer enormity of the climate crisis, and the speed in which action is needed, has had the positive effect of making people much more attentive to these questions, and to the political (in a traditional sense) dimension. I do believe that CC’s greatest success has been in staking a space for itself that didn’t exist before in UK politics: neither lobbying NGO nor completely marginalised, criminalised ‘troublemakers’.

Attention to the ‘political’ and strategic has definitely grown; but what about a key area of prefiguration – the economy of the CC movement itself (or of movements in general)? Often, in emphasising the ‘prefigurative’, it’s easy to ignore the very particular economic conditions in which something like a CC can happen: the political economy that determines its attendance, the productive chains involved, where the investment in infrastructure, either immediate or presupposed, comes from... In emphasising the ‘carnivalesque’, punctual element, one risks ignoring how one of the things that make CCs possible they way they are is precisely the fact that they are punctual, small-scale etc. – and that the whole question is how, or even if it’s possible, to go beyond this.

"This event shows that it is possible for people to live differently"; how many times have we heard that? But that’s hardly the question: we know perfectly well from not-so-distant historical experience, and there’s plenty of ethnographic evidence today, that many have lived or are living differently. The whole question is whether it’s possible a) to live ‘differently’ (in a much more specific sense) at a large-scale and for the whole of the time; b) whether it’s possible to transition from the way in which we live today to this different, sustainable way; and c) whether it’s possible to do it within the available timeframe. (These are the difficult questions that primitivists manage to shortcut by pinning their hopes on cataclysm. If most existing infrastructure disappears we needn’t worry about transition, if more than half of our species dies we needn’t worry about scalability.)

This transition is, to a great extent, an economic question: how to uncouple our social reproduction from the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of others. Prefigurative politics is a great antidote to the traditional split between activity and passivity, production and reproduction that marked leftwing politics — which in itself could be a mark of the systematic economic ‘invisibilisation’ of social reproduction: I leave the wife with kids and go fight for a world where men and women are equal, I sell my labour all day to the media oligopoly so I can fight for democracy when I’m off work. But it has to be radicalised as a question not of individual, but of social reproduction as a whole. It is not a matter of personal responsibility, of ‘leading by example’, of ‘showing we can do it differently’, but of actively intervening in the passive conditions of reproduction so as to completely rewire them.

I do believe that, with this climate crisis, we’re beyond having to ‘convince’ people. I do believe most people realise, to a more or less conscious degree, the gravity of the situation and the little time there is to intervene. But punctual examples of small groups of people living differently – in conditions that most people, climate campers included, wouldn’t want to spend the rest of their lives in; and, more importantly, that (because they’re punctual) do not have to deal in a sustained and continued way with healthcare, child rearing, waste management etc. – are not enough to demonstrate that the necessary rewiring can be done. Either we start working in the rewiring itself – something sustained and with the capacity to expand, something that people could plug into in the process of unplugging themselves from social reproduction as it is today; which is very different from setting up now our little communes for after the cataclysm – or we’re not doing the most important part of the work.

Gavin: I agree this social 'rewiring' or recomposition should be the focus – but my question would be, what would this actually look like? As far as the UK Climate Camps, this dichotomy between 'rewiring' social relations and prefigurative communes isn't a total contradiction. Although they've inherited a specific set of forms from a movement oriented around prefiguration (RTS et cetera), they are themselves heavily tilted towards rewiring (both in terms of a tactical approach to the mass media and civil disobedience). The prefigurative aspects take second place not only to gathering mass but to supporting multiple small-scale actions. That's why, I think, CC's had the success in opening up new space.

Although I think of the camps functioning as an organisational moment in that rewiring, rather than purely as attempts to live communism now, I think it’s important to look at that contradiction. The idea of carnival as just one way of thinking prefigurative space comes up like a refrain in the aesthetics of these movements since the 1960s, but there is a limit to how useful it is as a tool of analysis for the actual material description of tensions and relations. So maybe we shouldn't mistake it for one.

As Rodrigo says, our 'festivals' are often figured as a moment, and not placed in a historical series of moments. Perhaps it’s more useful to look at it as an image, embodying a set of values and affects, and ask what that image is for.

I think there's often a gap here between rhetoric/theory and people's practical activity. At one level, it's necessary for the discussion and description to remain utopian, seductive and inspiring. But we shouldn't confuse this with matters of organization. Consensus decision-making isn't carnivalesque, and organizing an action is very stressful, however beautiful the event is. There are other affects besides pure joy involved here. I think that when we mistake ideology for organization, a group can begin to turn in on itself. The carnivalesque approaches often used by these groups are ironic towards power, but not always towards themselves, and in my experience I've seen these self-enclosures and fixations appear when a group doesn’t laugh also at itself.

We could put the argument backwards. The deep contradictions in such spaces make a base for greater possibility. Their short-term nature means these contradictions don’t have time to undo them, but can have practical effects. Their speed is what allows them to leap further.

Which is to say, that these 'festivals,' in this most recent cycle of struggles after Genoa, are a form of festival-beyond-festival. They tend to expand beyond supposedly 'indivisible' moments of prefiguration into a compositional movement which nonetheless makes critical and tactical use of the forms of the last cycle of struggle (RTS etc.). We're not only within and against capital, but in pushing beyond prefiguration, we're in a sense within and against these older forms.

Benj: I'm coming at this dialogue from a different place, which is initially a personal question about the dissonance between mobilizations and interventions I have been involved in which I understand as activist, and activities and campaigns that I would define as more mainstream in the United States, such as the 2008 presidential election.

I can only speak with experience from these contexts.; there is a very clear demographic distinction between the people who end up becoming involved in what I would really see as these two separate spheres of organizing with different aims and means.  Because in many ways the conditions feel ripe right now for coalition and movement building on a larger scale--I wanted to think about the possibilities for facilitating a passage from casual or temporary participation to involvement in longer-term or more radical forms of political engagement.  The situations I am most interested in right now are ones where people or groups become radicalized unexpectedly or almost by accident, in general the involvement of people "outside" the expected participants.  So, perhaps I'm asking how we might get to the rewiring Rodrigo writes about--can people slip out of social reproduction a few moves at a time, or is it an all or nothing deal?

Since cultural norm in many communities in the U.S.A. are against participation or agitation, I find potential in any form or structure which involves a person making some sort of break from their earlier habits and assumptions, whether at the subjective or collective level, temporary or long-term.  My interest in the intersection of art and activism is really about undermining certain preconceptions about political possibilities in the present, and trying to create new openings using aesthetics as a communicative tool. I also want to say that I'm interested in being critical from within or alongside these movements while recognizing what has been achieved, which is significant and ongoing.

The last thing I'll add is that from my NY-centric interactions with student activists right now; there's a real issue around language and recognition of difference. It seems to be getting worse at this moment when people are walking around saying capitalism sucks, but the same types of people are getting involved.  I've seen racial, economic, and gender differences disregarded because of the theoretical orientation of certain activists, and there seems to be a resurgence of white masculinist vanguardism. New structures or spaces might create bigger openings for desires that have not yet found a place to land.

Rodrigo: I definitely agree with Gavin that what stands out in the CC experience in the UK right now is precisely how it has given both the antagonistic and the prefigurative moments their dues – not letting the preoccupation with prefiguration get in the way of understanding that the whole reason why CCs are happening in the first place is because they are a strategic tool.

It is useful to draw a few distinctions, though. There is a difference between this political space which CCs have created and thrived on – neither lobbying nor outside of any dialogue –, and the rewiring itself, at least in the sense I’m using the word. The former has to do with occupying a space in the overall political debate and working to tilt it in a certain direction. In many ways: by framing it in a certain way, using mass media (and the symbolic dimension of things like carnival and prefiguration) to stake certain positions, demanding certain concrete measures, posing certain concrete problems (the most obvious being the sheer enormity of cuts in emissions) that cannot be dealt with in the framework of mainstream politics… It is different from lobbying because, whereas the first is essentially a relationship between certain actors and the state where triangulation with a ‘general public’ only happens at certain strategic junctures, this is a triangulation all along; and one whose demands, rather than being punctual and manageable within the given conditions, ultimately add up to a very profound, extensive transformation.

This transformation itself is what I would call ‘rewiring’. In a way, it would be the resultant of these demands put to the state, new practices and social relations created autonomously and the capacity to network them, and all the other vectors that resist it, point in different directions etc. (For some examples of the latter, say the oil industry and its powerful connections, but also the perfectly legitimate desire people have for cheap travel).

They overlap in a very unique way in this climate crisis, to the extent that the changes needed are so big, and so short-term, that it is absolutely unthinkable that it could come about simply by people instituting new practices and pretending they are outside and beyond the constituted powers that prevent these changes coming about. Still, they are different. I use ‘rewiring’ because I think of it as taking a machine as it exists, and progressively altering it by changing the way parts are related, getting rid of some parts, adding new ones… It is a capacity to work simultaneously on the front of building new relations and commons and that of imposing certain demands on the state – precisely by making one side reinforce the other. To name a few examples I have seen: demanding that the local government not only recycle all the garbage, but also hire self-managed cooperatives of unemployed workers to do the sorting and recycling; squatting a building, demanding public funds to make it inhabitable, hiring the people living there to work on it, then opening it up to other movements and groups. The question is always how to keep on building connections among these things, however disparate they may seem, to reinforce them and scale up.

So, to answer Benj’s question, I would say that I can only think of this transformation incrementally (and not only does it move forward, it also moves backwards: sometimes connections fail, parts malfunction, and you have to start rewiring in another direction). Precisely because of this, it cannot be deferred until some future time, but has to be done in the present – so that it may be possible to ‘slip out of [a certain configuration of] social reproduction a few moves at a time’.

This brings me to another point – and one that maybe explains why I might have sounded a tad too negative about the weight aesthetic discourses used to have some years ago. I would like to highlight how this relates to the ‘rewiring’ question.

Today I wonder if that excessive belief in the power of aesthetics (and the self-hyping that Gavin refers to) ultimately didn’t stem from a misplaced belief in the efficacy of the form of capitalism we have today, with its strong spectacular apparatus, mass media, advertising etc. As if you could just feed different content into these machines and obtain different results. Of course you can, and it is important; but it’s not the whole thing. You cannot ignore the extent to which the perpetuation of capitalism is ultimately underpinned by very material disciplinary mechanisms that function in such a way as to always already tie your reproduction to the reproduction of capital. (Massimo De Angelis’ The beginning of history makes this point brilliantly.)

If you position yourself as someone whose activism primarily consists in producing certain aesthetic effects – prefigurative propaganda, carnival etc. –, and the production of these effects becomes an end in itself, you end up in a double deferral, temporal and spatial. As if you were ultimately the global movement’s ‘advertising department’, in charge of representing a ‘real struggle’ which happens elsewhere (in the global South, among the peasants, among the poor…), or that you wish to conjure in the future. At the turn of the century, this was a strength – that people with greater media and language skills, more access to the production and distribution of information, to funds etc. took on the role of aiding the flow of communication among the various struggles going on. But if the struggle is incremental, it cannot be deferred to a later day, you have to start building alternative circuits of production and reproduction now (rather than wait for a break that will come from elsewhere). If it is a struggle over the means of global social production and reproduction, it takes place everywhere, and regardless of how much you should take advantage of your position to support someone else’s fight, you have fights of your own to take care of (rather than being the support line of the ‘real’ struggle). If you do not handle these fights – if you do not find ways of minimising the extent to which your daily effort to guarantee your own reproduction reproduces capital, and therefore exists at the expense of the reproduction of others and of the environment – you may end up fighting spectacle with spectacle.

This takes us to a second aspect. If you are middle-class, urban, highly skilled etc., which is the profile of many of the movements I was just describing, the circuits you are likely to tap into in order to secure your own reproduction (pay your bills) are those which would have an interest in the re-presentation of these struggles: media, academia, the arts etc. What I mean by re-presentation is: there actually is room in these spheres to talk about these struggles, provided they are taken out of their living context and turned into an object of aesthetic, intellectual contemplation. It is not them, but the representation of them that interests: their gesture, rather than what they do or their actual capacity for rewiring. Political content without political consequence, as Janna Graham would say. To use an example of the space I am mostly in, academia: if everyone starts making their work freely available, rather than publishing articles about copyleft in peer-reviewed journals, that will mean the end of the academic publishing industry. Another example, from a field in which I have worked. If you are building a career as an intellectual, artist, or even mainstream politician on talking about migrants’ rights, you have an interest in visibility, in showing non-migrants the things you talk about; but invisibility is often a prerequisite for the survival of migrant networks. So the condition that allows you to have something to ‘sell’ can be downright antithetical to those that make a movement possible.

I mention my own position here to make it clear that this is not about taking the holier-than-thou attitude that turns all of this into individual responsibility. Of course it is also individual responsibility, but the important thing about it is the social or collective dimension: if you are facing these markets on your own, and some of the social capital you have to offer is your knowledge of these struggles, chances are you will have no option but to sell it in the most sanitised, ‘aestheticised’, ‘intellectualised’ way. Pierre Bourdieu says something about how what makes artists palatable is their interest in disinterest. In a market that puts a premium on disinterest, you will have an interest in it too: it is a condition of your survival in that market, after all.

Everyone has to sell their labour. Everyone is involved in the reproduction of capital, there is no escape from that. (Not in any foreseeable future, at any rate.) But if we develop the collective capacity to negotiate our participation in these circuits of reproduction, we at least have greater leverage to decide how we will do it, and we can come up with ways which can, apart from reproducing the current configuration, wire certain things differently. On top of that, as a way of reinforcing it, you need the antagonistic dimension of opening and securing spaces for these circuits. I think this is a must for political art today: that the artwork must explicitly include in itself its own material conditions of existence, expose them, and insert them in some sort of rewiring, tapping into forces that already exist. A détournement at the level of political economy, if you will.

I wonder if this neutralising aspect of aestheticisation is not related to Benj’s impression of a resurgence of masculinist, vanguardist modes of political action. People have been talking about a ‘return to Lenin’ for a while; but I think we’re witnessing a return to the ‘Lenin gesture’ rather than to Lenin himself. That is, you see a lot of people talking in terms that are ‘Leninist’ – revolution as a clean, decisive break brought about by the unilateral affirmation of subjective will etc. But it is only to us, today, that Lenin appears as the man who wrote those texts advocating a radical rupture posed by the decisive affirmation of a subjective will etc. At the time he was writing them, he was an organiser who adapted his discourse and practice to the needs of the various situations he had to deal with, with the workers, inside the party etc. Someone who negotiated on various points so as to get to the position in which it was possible to have a successful revolution (of that model); and who, once contingence had put him in such a position, said ‘let’s strike now’. Since him, many people have talked in similar ways (how many tiny Leninist fringe parties?), but only a handful have been successful. So it is clearly what he did, rather than what he said, that mattered. That is, in order to be remembered as Lenin, I’m afraid it is not enough to write the books he wrote – you actually have to organise the Russian Revolution!

I would then see this tendency – of taking Lenin as a thinker rather than an organiser, someone you can emulate in theory rather than practice – as symptomatic of this aestheticisation. You erase all contingence, all daily grind, all trial and error, all negotiation, all the small mornings; and you end up with a pure form of revolution, the great night.

Of course, it is also a symptom of the perceived failure of some of the ideas of the last decades that we have been discussing here. But it just swings in the opposite direction, to find itself back in the same place: fighting spectacle with spectacle. Academia, the art world, the media – they can deal perfectly well, and even value (as seems to be the vogue these days) an armchair Lenin; it is only if this Lenin started going to factory gates at dawn that they would have a problem with it. As long as that does not happen, his place in the lecture circuit, his publishing deals, his guest lectureships – all those things that ensure a comfortable reproduction – are guaranteed.

Gavin: Benj suggests that the aesthetic of utopian moments, which are central to the forms we’re talking about, are actually socially exclusive. That the utopian aspect is enabled by similarities amongst participants. Our question seems to be what would be the aesthetic and the organisation of a form that goes beyond the present but still remains open?

I’m not sure about the division between ‘real’ organization and fighting spectacle with spectacle. I think as with Rodrigo’s example of Lenin’s theory and organization, the aesthetics of a movement are organizational, but can be falsely seen afterwards to be separate endeavors. I agree though that political artwork now must expose its own conditions and insert them into the rewiring. This as a tendency that is emerging, but which we need to make more of. We could relate it to institutional critique. Rather than working within art’s social institutions and offering critiques of them (a practice which has itself long since been institutionalized) , it works within social movements, and is ‘institutionalizing’ in another sense – that is, it tries to build new forms of social institution, and make itself a part of this work of rewiring.

So, one way I'd like to look at the political economy of these moments is to look at the affective element of class composition. That is, we first look at affect as materialist, as an organizing force. People already have all kind of desires and are already acting on them. So rather than separate ‘the composition of new worlds’ and ‘advertising for them,’ I think of this as a process of organizing desire. That is, a composition of desire towards political composition. Affective composition. As far as these desires are already present, looking for a place to land, these art and activist practices we’ve discussed aren’t necessarily separate from making new worlds. To do this effectively, art does become a bit like organization, because it has to look at what, in any circumstance, the affective element of political composition is, and work on this.

I’d like to hear what Benj has to say about the dynamics of these things in the US, especially in relation to the elections and grassroots movements. After the novelty and joy of those new forms of the 1990s, we have a series of crises of war, economy and climate. The affects of this cycle of struggle are very different, and it seems we still have something of a theoretical model (Empire) which in focusing on joy is a product of that previous cycle of struggles. Recently, there seems to be a process of enclosing hope: in the financialization of debts and of pollution in futures markets, in putting hope up for election. The aesthetics of climate activism have also been those of hope. But as the scale of the crisis looms, and as a recent Turbulence piece distributed at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp was titled, the future isn’t what it used to be.

Perhaps there’s something in looking at the possibilities of sadness. Colectivo Situaciones write about politicizing sadness, but for them it seems sadness is closure and failure, and politicizing means to overcome this and struggle for joy. But we need to struggle for spaces for sadness, too. I don’t know what they would look like, but I’m suggesting these kinds of spaces are necessary because if we are critiquing the enclosure of hope by capital as a deferral that is unsustainable, after the rush of joy at the turn of the millennium, how long does hope sustain us in a movement, before we fall back into old rhetorics of self-sacrifice or the isolating temptations of a millennial coming insurrection? Didn’t this happen to the movements of the 60s? Can admitting sadness make our movements stronger? How can sadness temper our joy to strengthen
our composition?

Benj: There are these two conflicting temporalities which overlap, there's a climate crisis and there's a crisis of social relations.  Second, the problem with understanding the state as a target is that it is a fast-moving one.  I response to Gavin then, it's always multiple temporalities we're dealing with now--how to strategically counter a present crisis while attempting to do so in a way that anticipates future claims and financializations (Melinda Cooper writes about this in relationship to biotech).  Second, the question of mobilizations (utopian or not) really needing to work on both the big crisis level and the social or collective level is very clear at this point.  And this is the point at which I think the tension between antagonism and movement building occurs, as well as the question of how and where to articulate demands.

Again to Gavin, I'm not sure how to begin an account of the the current dynamic between grassroots movements and the White House.  I think that while Obama did, as you say, sell hope, the campaign did foreground the promise of including people who had previously been or felt disenfranchised in the political process.  As far as I'm concerned, if a bunch of first-time voters really took the president up on this, it's not a bad problem to have.  My personal relationship to electoral politics is that they should be kept in check--the Left should get in the better candidate if there is one, then leverage that for as much as possible.  

Today's leveraging is really where the organizing affect question comes in, because it's really hard, I think, to try to tap into affect on a mass scale in a way that is qualitatively different than advertising--by which I mean you should want to address people in a way different from a commercial, even if you are engaging in subversive activist PR.  I guess I'm kind of disappointed in how uncreative we've been so far since last fall--it seems like there's a tremendous popular desire for anti-capitalist change, and yet they can't even get single-payer healthcare enacted.