Give me your Starbuck's, your Gap,
Your Nike Towns full of sweatshop inventory,
Your McDonald's, gobbling profit and craving more,
Send these, and tacky corporate-branded outlet malls to me,
I put my Louisville Slugger through your plate-glass door!
Oh, alright, so I'm not the first to parody Emma Lazarus, but it seemed to fit so well here, and was one of my rare moments of lyric/poetic mockery inspiration; the verse just sort of sprang out of my head fully formed and ready, and it seemed a shame not to use it.
I'd also done several versions of Miss Liberty, but all of them portrayed as a victim, or as being set upon by mobs of born-again rightist nutcakes. This is the first time I'd done her as someone taking direct action on her own behalf, and with a downright awful attitude.
This was a companion piece of sorts to Who Will Control The Government's Guns?, addressing the whole question of corporate property destruction and what constitutes "violence" in the context of the mass actions in Seattle which shut down the WTO meetings that year.
Like Who Will Control..., this was done within a few days -- if not the very day after -- seeing TV footage of the night of November 30 and reading accounts via the Seattle IMC of police violence against nonviolent protests and Seattle city government abuses of the basic civil liberties of the general population. I ended up taking a position on the property destruction issue which, like my gun-law stance, provoked a lot of eyebrow-arching among the old-line "Gandhi Groupie" contingents in The Movement™. Basically, I decided that if no humans were targeted or injured in a Black Bloc-style attack on corporate property, it was OK, and that it didn't constitute "violence". What the hell, I thought; when the windows on big banks and the fronts of Nike Town or Starbucks are smashed all to hell, do all the un-smashed globalized chain stores' windows organize a solidarity commmittee? When the windows on all the Navigators and Explorers are smashed out within five blocks of the WTO meeting, do all the other SUVs organize a collection to cover the repair bills? Besides, what about all the destruction of human lives and communities being carried out by the corporations whose windows were smashed out during WTO Week? Windows are comparitively cheaply and easily replaced.
I also suggested the reactionary Old New Left types consider the acts of the Berrigan Brothers who, by dragging cabinets full of draft records into a parking lot and setting them afire, helped impede business as usual for the Vietnam War, not to mention proabably saved a lot of young guys from dying in Vietnam. I also reminded the Gandhi Groupies to take a look outside the coddled world of US activists, and consider how demonstrations and direct action are done in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and pretty much the entire planet outside of the USA -- the French students in 1968 flipping cars to use as barricades, striking Bolivian miners bringing dynamite sticks to protests because they know the police and soldiers aren't there to protect them.
Medium-res jpg image, 323k