The Yes Men, culture jamming activist group, have struck again. Hooray!
Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno infiltrated the National Homeland Security Congress and proposed a plan to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. They were joined by Gitz Crazyboy, an activist from the Athabascan Chipewyan First Nations, whose land includes the Alberta Tar Sands.
[To see the unveiling of other actions, book the Yes Men for a lecture and a workshop when they release their new film The Yes Men Are Revolting. Obvious benefits include good karma, and it’s a great way for universities, students and activist organizations to devise and carry out ethical, media-getting, high-impact projects around crucial issues by gaining access to the Yes Men’s creative minds. To bring The Yes Men to your campus, please write to info at eviltwinbooking.org. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!]
The conference attendees – which included a retired Navy Admiral, a retired USAF General, a former Seal Team Seven leader, an aspiring Republican Congressman, the Sheriff of Houston and homeland security contractors seeking lucrative bids – applauded the fictitious new U.S. government plan called “American Renewable Clean-Energy Network”. After the announcement, The Yes Men and indigenous activists led the audience in a large circle dance to celebrate.
Here’s the speech delivered by “Benedict Waterman,” Undersecretary of Policy Implementation at the U.S. Department of Energy (actually Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men), and “Bana Slowhorse,” a Bureau of Indian Affairs official with the “Wannabe Tribe” (actually Gitz Crazyboy).
The Yes Men impersonate government officials and industry bigwigs, infiltrate their home turf, and deliver dark satire, or, engage their audiences in the utopian dream. For example, they announced on live television that Dow Chemical was finally going to clean up the largest industrial disaster in history they caused in Bhopal, India and compensate the victims.
Just as no one believes that generations of people in Bhopal should suffer from a toxic spill caused by a greedy and negligent corporation, no one believes the bio diverse boreal forest of the Athabasca Tar Sands should be turned into a toxic, barren wasteland. The Yes Men create moments where the audience realizes that it’s obvious to do the right thing – such as converting to renewable energy now – and wonders what is stopping us from doing it.
The Yes Men’s action spreads two messages: first, that a complete renewables conversion is indeed possible today, with our current technology; will give us independence from the fossil fuel companies; create millions of jobs; save on health care costs; and as a special bonus, give our civilization a chance of surviving well into the future – and second, that this will only happen if millions of people take action.
Besides the Yes Men and Crazyboy, participants in this project included Tito Ybarra, an Ojibwe comedian and singer, members of Idle No More, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Black Mesa Water Coalition, The 1491s, Yansa.org, Greenpeace, Popular Resistance and Codepink. And, RuPaul’s wig designer concocted Benedict Waterman’s wig for the occasion.
The action occurred just a few days after the new kind of CIA – the Cowboys and Indians Alliance – rallied against the Keystone XL pipeline.