12/01/2013

Help Longtime Burner Reverend Billy (and friends)

reverend billy at the playa jazz cafe
A jubilant Rev. Billy (right) and Stop Shopping Choir at Playa Jazz Cafe, Burning Man 2010
(While those responsible for this site are a bit disinterested in sharing links to crowd-funding sites in general it seems this example is slightly different. While indie-gogo, and others, do likely benefit from such transactions it seems that calls to action such as this one are for a greater end than making sure a project makes it to the for-profit burning man event. So, without further ado, here we go.)

Help longtime burner Reverend Billy deal with the legal repercussions of a protest that took place in New York City earlier this year. Him and compatriot in the Church of Stop Shopping. Nehemiah Luckett were charged, for their protest performance, with "riot in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, unlawful assembly, and two counts of disorderly conduct". A bit of information from the fundraiser page:

The New York City District Attorney’s office is requesting one year in prison for "this criminal stunt." Attorney Wylie Stecklow insists that the, "15 minutes of performance art about the Earth's crisis," was well within, "expressive political activity," protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Chase Bank is one of the worlds top financiers of extractive industrial projects, thought to be responsible for more CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere than any other single institution, with the possible exception of the Chinese Government.The Church of Stop Shopping believes we must highlight the role of Big Banks in The Climate Crisis
For those unawares Rev Billy and the eclectic group of singers and musicians whom he works with have played a very active role in the Burning Man community for a long time. From participating in calls to action in response to Hurricane Katrina, to a daily slot on BMIR 94.5FM in 2010, to weddings all over the playa and countless performances and appearances Rev Billy and the Choir have become as much a part of what makes Burning Man what it is as many other playa tradition. 

Along with interactions at Burning Man the Church Of Stop Shopping have been outspoken activists for years. From the website which explains a bit about what they do comes this:
We sing, we dance, we preach, sometimes we perform small “interventions”, invisible plays, acts of ritual resistance. We exorcise cash registers and remythologize the retail environment, we illuminate the Devil. We make media and send it out around the world. We get hassled by security guards and sometimes get arrested.

Above all we try to complexify the moment of purchase, to snap people out their hypnosis and back into the mystery of being human. We remind people that things come from somewhere, that products have a resource past, a labor past. Someone made It, and It is made of something, we trace the route a product took to get on the shelf, the life it might have when we throw it away. We animate the objects that surround us and in so doing we re-animate ourselves. We become citizens again.
If you want to help out head on over to their webpage and chip in: