Tactics That Tickle: Laughing All the Way to the Win

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Tactic Card: Just add humour (by Tactical Tech)

Hi all,

Just wanted to share this great resource developed by Tactical Tech to assist and inspire activists to use humor to spread a serious message in a light and effective way.

This resource is featured in Tactical Tech's '10 Tactics for turning information into action' - a collection of 10 tactics that practitioners can adapt to use information for activism (see our past dialogue on Information Activism: Turning Information into Action).  The '10 Tactics' video has been shown in countries all over the world.

Tactic 5 is titled 'Just add humour' and this tactic card includes:

  • video stories
  • a case study
  • suggestions for the different ways you could use this tactic
  • a featured tool
  • tips

The tips shared in this tactic card include:


“In Egypt we have had a dictatorial regime for 25 years. If I get a joke about my President and forward it to 10 of my friends and each of them forwards it their friends, the joke might get modified on the way, but it is spreading virally and very quickly.”


“The flash mobs in Belarus weren’t very popular in all regions, because they depended on the active online community, and internet penetration wasn’t that strong outside of the capital back then. But they were important because they showed fresh and creative thinking, and brought together a lot of the young people who likely never before participated in any political or civic actions.”


“Humour is the first step to break taboos and to fears. Making people laugh about dangerous stuff like dictatorship, repression, censorship is a first weapon against those fears…without beating fear you can not make any change. So humour is very effective.”

Read the whole of Tactic 5. This card includes more links, tips and examples: DOWNLOAD CARD (PDF)

This is a great, accessible resource for practitioners that are beginners to using humor in their work, but is also useful for those that want to think about new ways to use this tactic. Tactical Tech also shares great tools that practitioners can use (usually for free) and has step-by-step toolkits for how to use them:


Fix the World Challenge (via Yes Men): online community

Did you know that there is an online community started by the Yes Men for "like-minded folks that want to fix the world"?  This looks like it could be a great resource for those looking for ideas and tips for getting started.  Practitioners share their own stunts and request advice from experienced activists. For example, there is an FAQ section with tips on 'How to make a fake newspaper,' 'How to hijack a twitter backchannel,' and 'How can I become an excellent actor.'

There is a Challenge page that lists specific tactics to use.  One challenge is:

  • Create a ridiculous spectacle: Create a humongous, ridiculous spectacle celebrating your least favorite corporate entity (or entities). Document extensively.
  • Truth in Advertising: From Adbusters to Banksy to the BLF, there are lots of ways to drastically improve the images entities like to give of themselves. Try your own!
  • Hijack a Conference, Virtually: Find a Twitter "backchannel" for a really bad conference and start posting. Prize for the best, most entertaining, most revealing exchange. (Here's how to find and post to a backchannel.)

What a great idea! Has anyone utilized this online community?


Resources for trainings your troops on effective use of humor

Humorous practitioners,

There have been questions and concerns raised around how to reign in 'rogue' activists and comments made about the importance of training, such as Bruce's comment on the 'Shop-in':

Sojourner wrote:

Because the well-trained CORE activists performed the shop-in with a sense of humor rather than self-indulgent rage or pompous posturing, no one felt physically threatened and even some of the clerks had to laugh.

How can we train our troops to carry out these tactics effectively, safely, and appropriately? Can you share any resources, tips, advice, training tools?


Channeling the Creativity and Passion of your Volunteers

At Billionaires For Bush, we decided early on that instead of trying to stifle or control the contributions of our incoming volunteers, (be they creative or passionate or otherwise) we would do our best to CHANNEL that energy by first creating a super strong set of messaging, guidelines and materials.  You can get a sense of those efforts with our DIY kit, a 30-some off page of Do's and Don'ts.  This was important because, as a registered "527" in the American political tax code, there were very specific things our members, volunteers or not, could and could not say lest we run afoul of election laws.  Breaking these rules too often or (even once) too publicly would have resulted in our tax-status being revoked, which would have wiped out our ability to raise money and, more importantly, advocate on the economic issues we were focusing on.  On that point, we also made the decision to remain rooted in our advocacy mission, which was to mostly address economic inequality issues, and avoid socially divisive issues such as religion, abortion and others altogether. 

Our strong messaging, signs, talking points, How-Tos and other materials empowered and inspired our members to contribute along these lines by making them even stronger.  These decisions and the hard work of early preparation to get it "right" first, before going "live", had the reciprocal affect of turning off those interested in more “violent” or dramatic interventions.  Of course there were members who took their own creative contributions to higher levels than we began with, but overwhelming on the whole these were for the better at our events and our messaging.  Those who sometimes "didn't get" what we were trying to do or suggested tactics and messaging that fell outside of the realm of either our methods or focus were easily voted down by the larger group with minimal tension.  Other ideas served to inform or spark new creative directions or tactics that we may have otherwise missed.

That said, in the heady days before and after the 2004 election, there were many members who left the group for one or more reasons: be it disagreeing with our tactics, our messaging or targets were "too soft", new members didn't "get it", we were evolving into something other than what they felt they joined, etc.   In any campaign there are bound to be egos that clash and feelings trampled.  But I found, on the whole, that getting your messaging and materials as strong and consistent and attractive as possible before you launch, goes a long way to channeling the energy of your members in ways most effective to the mores, values and goals of the organization. 

kantin wrote:

How can we train our troops to carry out these tactics effectively, safely, and appropriately? Can you share any resources, tips, advice, training tools?


Kristin Antin - New Tactics Online Community Builder

How to make I.D.E.A's into reality

I think this is the real key - giving people clear boundaries in which they can be creative. At GetUp we use a method called I.D.E.A which came to us recently. 

I = Ideas. Everything is on the table, no idea is too crazy. In fact you need to go crazy to be able to find the really interesting ideas. This can take no more than an hour but is one of the most enjoyable parts of being at GetUp.

D = Development. This is where those ideas are taken for a little walk in reality. "D" is where you try to answer the question "How can we make this work". It doesn't destroy the idea, but puts a few parameters around it and sees what we can do to improve it. A wise person told us that this is often the least prioritised area of creative ideas. Often this is where consultants will come in, people "authorised" to explore.

E = Evaluation. Where the rubber hits the road, where bad ideas get rejected. But not rejected in that they can't reach reality. An idea that fails the "E" stage goes back to Development to see if the issues can be resolved creatively. Imagine if you want to get out of a room. You find the door is locked. Do you give up? Or do you go back and see what else could work.

A = Action. This is the doing, where it all comes to life.

We add in one more. Evaluation. Going back to look over what we've done, pick out the best bits to make sure we do again, and those annoying bits which didn't work out. 

This has been a great framework for us because it means that those people who love brainstorming don't feel left out in a room of people who love to think very practically. Everyone knows where they're at in the process and when they can contribute.

New Tactics to inspire new ideas assist in application

This is great, Oliver - thanks for sharing your I.D.E.A. process.

Here at New Tactics, we often work with human rights practitioners to brainstorm on innovative tactics that they can apply to their work - but we also help them to identify exactly where and how these tactics should be applied. I see this New Tactics project fitting into these different steps:

Ideas - New Tactics has collected and written about 186 successful human rights tactics that we hope can be used to inspire new ideas and new innovation.  There are so many ways to approach an issue - we want to show you a glimpse of this wide range.  The tactics are categorized under Prevention, Intervention, Restorative, and Building Human Rights Cultures and Institutions [check out the online tactics database].  We also hope that these dialogues will ignite new ideas. (I'm also hoping to take some of these tactics shared in this dialogue to add to our database - if you're interested, let me know!)

Tactical Mapping photoDevelopment & Evaluation - We use a tool that we've developed called 'Tactical Mapping' to visualize all of the people, systems and institutions involved in the issue, and then we identify the nature of each relationship on this map.  The map is intented to allow your to see new possible allies, new points of intervention (via tactics), and track the potency of tactics. Next, we use a tool developed by Training for Change called 'Spectrum of Allies' that helps you to visualize where these people on your tactical map lie in regards to your issue - do they actively support your cause? Do they actively appose your cause? Or perhaps they are more neutral than that? It is helpful to identify where they stand so that you can use your resources most efficiently and effectively (for example, you wouldn't want to apply tactics that are meant to move someone from being actively opposing your issue to actively supporting your issue - it's so hard to do that you probably shouldn't spend your time and resources on that one).

Action - well, this part we'll leave up to you. But we always love to hear how things went so that others can learn from success and mistakes (evaluation - yes!).

Moving I.D.E.A.s to reality

Oliver - this is great, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

I liked the way you describe the "E" stage - both those ideas that couldn't reach reality in "round one", but may be great seeds for the "Development" stage in the future, when the context, timing, politics may shift. And the post-action Evaluation stage where you look at what worked and what didn't. All too often we're so busy moving on to the next event or issue that we forget this step of gathering critical information that will help us in the future.

You closing comment is also especially helpful to remember - about the different types of individuals and the needs they have.

OliverMacCollGetUp wrote:

This has been a great framework for us because it means that those people who love brainstorming don't feel left out in a room of people who love to think very practically. Everyone knows where they're at in the process and when they can contribute.


Training and Self-Discipline

Kristin writes:

How can we train our troops to carry out these tactics effectively, safely, and appropriately?

That's a really good question. In the early years of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, we were small bands of protesters facing hostile mob and police violence on a regular basis. We insisted on participants voluntarily accepting the discipline of picket captains and protest leaders, maintaining self-discipline, and going through formal training beforehand. Because of the self-evident danger, protesters accepted this (those who didn't, or who rejected nonviolence, simply didn't participate). In the middle years, as our numbers increased, protests were still led by the cadres who had been trained and who were disciplined, and their example, and their firm insistence that others maintain self-discipline, prevailed.

But in the later years, as our numbers swelled into tens of thousands and we expanded into other issues and locales, that broke down. In part it broke down because the ratio of trained/disciplined to untrained/undisciplined became too small. But even more, it broke down because there emerged an ideology of individualism, personal freedom, anti-leadership, anti-self-discipline, "do-your-own-thing," self-gratification, etc. In my opinion, the social roots of this extreme individualist ideology came from the ranks of the privileged children of the white middle and upper-classes. The Black and white working-class & poor from whom the origins of the Freedom Movement sprang were resisting real, brutal social and class oppression, wheras to the spoiled brats from the elite universities "oppression" meant anything that limited their freedom to do whatever they wanted --- be that social custom, or the threat of being drafted into the army. (Okay, okay, I know what I just wrote is way harsh and and overstated, but sometimes you just need to speak bitterness from the heart, even if it's not nuanced.)

As I look back on it now, I realize that while our insistence on discipline and training was motivated by the necessity of surviving violence, the political result of discipline and training was more important than the safety aspect. What I mean is that self-discipline and training resulted in protests with clear, powerful, and effective political messages. A political effectiveness far greater than the larger undisciplined "do-your-owen-thing" protests of latter years.

In regards to how we dealt with 'rogue' activists and provacateurs, in the early and middle years we were trained to face violence from hostile mobs and cops, so risking violence from provacateurs was no great leap. It usually wasn't necessary, but when it was, if politely asking them to leave did not work we simply nonviolently isolated them and pushed them out (or held them in place while the march marched past). If they hit us, it hurt, but we kept our hands in our pockets and endured it until they stopped. This worked because the bulk of the protesters voluntarily accepted the notion of self-discipline for achieving a victory and they supported us. But once the ideology of "do-your-own-thing" individualism took hold, when we tried to isolate or expell rogues and provacateurs, others in the broader protest turned on us as authoratarians attempting to repress the provacateur's free-expression. From what I've seen, this individualist mentality is still prevelant today.

Dear Bruce, I wrote my

Dear Bruce,

I wrote my earlier comment thinking also about the crucial points you raise here. Training for nonviolent action is as important to activists as it is to soldiers going to war. To ignore this is to plan defeat at the hands of our well-trained, well-equiped opponents.

I am thankful for your courage to state key features of the problem, including the blatant class and ideological makeup of those who will not accept agreed-upon collective limits on their behaviour. I have seen the clueless, privileged kids you talk about. They make the actions unsafe and downright dangerous for those not as privileged as them.

It has been my experience that the problems you raise have only worsened with the addition of the "Respect for a Diversity of Tactics" straightjacket (discussed here and there on my blog, and here in relation to the more recent G20 protests in Pittsburg) to the mix of quaint extreme left "armed struggle or nothing" ideologies. One way this new "tactical neoliberalism" has become manifest is in the push to refuse any and all "nonviolent action guidelines" in many coalitions, as somehow repressive of diversity and of the right to self-expression. How throwing molotov cocktails and raining rocks and insults on the police can be cast as some kind of "right" is beyond me...

All I can say is that many of us, you included I'm sure, haven't given up. Truth be told, there are many many creative and successful, confrontational and appealing campaigns of nonviolent direct action being waged right at this moment, all over the world. The recipe for success hasn't been lost. Each day brings new examples and inspirations. 

Veterans like you are needed now more than ever. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your multiple decades of knowledge and experience with us at New Tactis. I am very, very grateful for your contributions to this dialogue.

And I salute by the same token everyone's contribution. This has been a high-quality, fun learning experience for me.

Let's keep our best smiles on our glowing faces. Keep showing teeth 'till victory. And make sure anyone can join the revolutionary dance.

Make is so everyone -- and I mean everyone -- can have the last laugh, together!

Diversity of Tactics vs Hijacking

Philippe Duhamel wrote:


I am thankful for your courage to state key features of the problem, including the blatant class and ideological makeup of those who will not accept agreed-upon collective limits on their behaviour. I have seen the clueless, privileged kids you talk about. They make the actions unsafe and downright dangerous for those not as privileged as them.

It has been my experience that the problems you raise have only worsened with the addition of the "Respect for a Diversity of Tactics" straightjacket (discussed here and there on my blog, and here in relation to the more recent G20 protests in Pittsburg) to the mix of quaint extreme left "armed struggle or nothing" ideologies. One way this new "tactical neoliberalism" has become manifest is in the push to refuse any and all "nonviolent action guidelines" in many coalitions, as somehow repressive of diversity and of the right to self-expression. How throwing molotov cocktails and raining rocks and insults on the police can be cast as some kind of "right" is beyond me... [Snip]

Yes, we're running into that "diversity of tactics" scam out here in California in relation to the widespread protests to defend public education. I wish I knew some magic solution, but I don't. To my mind, those who join a nonviolent demonstrations and then engage in violent acts are "hijackers" of other peoples' protests. Since the police, press, and bystanders don't distinguish the nonviolent many from the violent few, the effect of these hijackers is the opposite of tactical "diversity" because they create a situation in which everyone is forced to either abandon the action or be part of their violent tactics. If they really believed in "diversity of tactics" they would organize their own separate rampages in which all those participating know in advance what they are getting into. But hijacking a nonviolent action is not "diversity."


Diversity of Tactics serves to hijack mass demonstrations

I couldn't agree more with your analysis here. The upstream solution is simple: if all of those who have seen and experienced the true power of nonviolent resistance would step up and argue as convincingly and fiercely as we could whenever and wherever the Diversity of Tactics scam showed up its foolish head (coalition meetings, grassroots assemblies, movement communications, etc.), the days of this dead-end approach would be counted.

I have found that too many of us "angry gentle people" put up with such bs without speaking out and playing our full role as movement elders. Sometimes it's fear of inter-generational conflict, sometimes mere meekness. But it's about time we challenged publicly such a bankrupt idea. The track record is appalling.

I hope to go to Toronto soon, at the invite of a reader of this very dialogue actually, to help local organizers argue the case for rejecting the Diversity of Tactics platform for the local coalition that is planning protests against the G20/G8 summits in June 2010. (There are of course other strategic issues, but no space here to get into that.)

Downstream, because we'll need practical solutions similar to what the civil rights movement used to do, I suggest here a few ideas to explore. 

Here's hoping more of us will start to defend the strategic nonviolent approach everywhere we go!

With peace and laughter,

More tools for telling your story: SmareMeme

I was remiss in posting too much yesterday but did attend SmartMeme's workshop on Story-based strategies for social change & action design.  While these tactics aren't always rooted in humor, their tools and strategies work because they focus on "winning the battle of the story" and not "the story of the battle".  I highly recommend reading their online references.  

They have also just published a book detailing many of their past projects, how and why they worked, as well as learning from some that didn't.  It's called "Re:Imagining Change: How to use story-based strategy to win campaigns, build movements, and change the world" and I'm proud to have helped craft or execute a few of the projects within its pages.

Here are some links to some excellent SmartMeme concepts:

Memes & Smart Memes

Narrative Analysis of Power

Story Based Strategy

Why Now? (Situational Analysis)

De-Colonizing the Revolutionary Imagination

Training resources available from CANVAS

I wanted to be sure to share these two great resources from CANVAS - Srdja Popovic referenced some of the useful points and tips found in these resources in his posts during the dialogue:

How Do You Work This Thing Gorden.

obalme.jpg President Obalma's awarded vanity leaves him in a unpredictable situation, and ask's for help from Gorden Brown who is also in a similar situation but less sever.

Satire drawn to the extreme at first looks quite harmless & humorous, but do they need such mockery in a stressful job in which they try their best to fulfil.  Like or unlike the politicians does this kind of imagery really bring about any change, or do we just laugh because nothing can be done..........(;

A Tiara [with message] on an Election Poster

Election poster

This was a local and highly popular action in a rural australian city as this blog by a not usual supporter shows:  http://www.northern-truth.com/2009_04_01_archive.html

The action was designed to hold a local parliamentary member accountable for the unhelpful role she played in a campaign to save a community social venue in a site marked for development.

A Tiara with words Yacht Club were openly sprayed on 80 election signs in broad daylight, and photographed by Cairnsblog journalist Mike Moore. Cost about $50. The Labor party was muchly annoyed but didn't do anything until after the election when they charged Bryan for willful damage for which he now faces jail.

It brought the issue back into the heart of the election discourse; and back into people's minds. Many people thought it was very funny and rather artistic!



Humourous Warship Inspections vs Serious Ones

Our group Cairns Peacebypeace began conducting humourous Inspections searching for weapons of mass destruction when US warships visited Cairns for recreational leave.

Here is a picture of a humourous inspection: we did funny walks and had 'instruments' that went ping. We made ourselves fancy coats and acted very serious while being rather silly. We had developed this scenario as street theatre without ships.


After the first visit in 2004 of ships heading to the Iraq War, then sadly underway, it became clear that the funny walks and funny noises were not really appropriate or necessary.  A straightforward attempt at inspection was enough. The media were able to make light of that in any case and made some excellent 60-90second stories based around the narrative of Inspection.

However, that has apparently run its course now and people are wanting to move back to directly humourous with "Penguins for Peace" - people dressed as penguins who actually swim to stop the ships docking.

I personally don't think it is necessary. I think the audacity element speaks for itself.


Great Audacity, maybe good to keep changing it up

This is a great action, and yes, audacious.  Mabye it's good to change the shtick a bit now and again, just to keep it fresh and keep people interested.  Whether it's penguins or some other change?  It does seem confrontational and disruptive (in a good way) to actually swim out to the ships, no?  In costumes to put a silly face on a serious action? 

How about the nonviolent raid tactic?

Sounds like, with a little work, you could devise your own take on the "citizens inspection team" presented in this blog post. Here's a tactical notebook that should give you a pretty good idea how to organize such an action. And a clip to help you visualize the concept. Good luck!






-         Usually in the form of questions with a surprise answer that provides the humour.



-         A very short story with an unexpected ending.  The element of the unexpectedness or surprise creates the humour.



-         A joke using words and pictures and sometimes just pictures.



-         a play on words where the meaning of the word is altered to make it fit into another meaning.

Organizational names as puns and goals

Kathleen, thank you for sharing this. It brought to mind a great example of a pun from Egypt that I was reading in the recently published book, Civilan Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democractization, and Governance in the Middle East. The organization "Shayfeen.com is a clever combination of "we see" (shayfeen) and a simple suffic (com) that slighly alters "we see" to "we see you," or "we are watching you". It became the driving force behind the creOTPOR raised fist symbolation of a larget movement, Eygptians Against Corruption." (quote found on page 269 of the book)

I also wanted to bring to mind the great "branding" idea from OTPOR! (Resistance!) and the the symbol that galvanized their movement (the raised fist). 

This choice of a name that might also reflect the goal, might limit the on-going ability of the organization to respond to rapidly changing situations. For example, when the Nestle Boycott was launched in the late 70s over the practice of Nestle and infant formula, the organization had to eventually change to accommodate the success of their boycott tactic.

I'd like to ask Srdja - and others in this dialogue - about your experience when the organizational name that represents your goal has been reached, how does the organization or the members transform?

SalAMI or Dirty Friend

Back in 1998, I designed an action called "Operation SalAMI". It was part of an international effort to scuttle the planned adoption by the OECD of the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI or AMI in French), hence the name meaning not just the tasty sausage, but also "dirty friend" (sal ami). It created an instant meme.

The campaign involved lots of education work and the use of a civil disobedience blockade (see Operation SalAMI: Inside the Montreal Blockade if you have 52 min to spare, it's a good introduction to this style of CD). Our actions were based on an explicit nonviolent framework, mandatory trainings, and what we called the "Dracula" strategy. The idea was simple but it worked. The MAI was so bad, so outrageously one-sided for investors and nefarious for everyone else, that shedding some light on its dark secrets would derail the negotiations. It was how the "altermondialiste" movement got quick-started in Québec, many months before the famous protests in Seattle. The strategy worked.

We ended operating under that name for a few years. It became a household word in Quebec, gaining much public sympathy. As a pun, and as a statement of what we thought of corporate globalization and its so called "free-trade" treaties were to citizens' real interests, it worked too!

Using humor to arouse citizens

Another demonstration of an effective use of humor to make civil society more aware was by Otpor! during the time of Milosevic. It is featured as a new tactic titled "Using humor to put an oppressive government in a lose-lose situation."

The nonviolent civil-resistance movement initiated by Otpor! used satire and other unconventional ways of successfully spreading its message of resistance against the tyrannical regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

The Milosevic regime ruled over Serbia and Yugoslavia for about 13 years. To maintain control, the Milosevic regime was infamous for arbitrary arrests, beatings, imprisonment and even murder of avid opponents. 

Otpor!, Serbian for “Resistence” was founded in 1998 by a group of 15 students at Belgrade University. They initially got together to protest against new laws that would hinder the freedom of the media as well as the autonomy of the universities. However, the group continued to grow by actively mobilizing citizens against the oppressive regime.

In 2000, before the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, a government initiative to support agriculture involved placing boxes in shops and public places asking people to donate one dinar (Serbian currency) for sowing and planting crops. In response, Otpor! arranged its own collection called “Dinar za Smenu” (Dinar for a Change). This initiative was implemented several times and in different places in Serbia. It consisted of a big barrel with a photo of Milosevic. People could donate one dinar, and would then get a stick they could use to hit the barrel. At one point, a sign suggested that if people did not have any money because of Milosevic’s politics, they should hit the barrel twice.

When the police removed the barrel, Otpor! stated in a press release that the police had arrested the barrel. They claimed that the initiative was a huge success as they had collected enough money for Milosevic’s retirement, and that the police would pass the money on to him.

In this way, Otpor! left both Milosevic and his supporters with no space for reaction. If the police did not take away the barrel, they would be seen as weak and ineffectual. And even when they did remove it, Otpor! continued to make jokes. No matter what the regime did, it lost.

Through their use of satire, Otpor! was able to remove fear from those who opposed Milosevic’s government. Moreover, they were effective in uniting the oppositional forces and effectively applying nonviolent means of resistance. The use of satire enabled Otpor! to expose and mock the government in its activities. This was a piece of a larger movement that eventually empowered the citizenship to overturn Milosevic, despite mass beatings and arrests.

Due to the non-violent nature of this method, an oppressive government is likely to respond to protestors in a brutal manner. It is important to understand the dangers of retribution. Moreover, because Otpor! began as a small-scale movement, it became more effective over time, creatively used many tactics as its support base broadened.

The use of humor through satirical methods is a powerful tactic that can be transferred to many other contexts. To learn more about the various tactics used by this movement, refer to the Otpor! tactical notebook.


Humour as a discussion in a group

1. Okay!! we all seem to like putting our opinions secretly forward for some alternate reason or other sanction, as a simple word as tickle arouses stimulation to create this freedom. I feel the simple word such as this here has become used as excuse to unload free consumerism, whining, abuse, self historical hiatus, marketing failure's, blatant egotism, psychiatric excuse & drivel.

2. My head has nearly exploded after trying to fathom your many opinions upon a short poem as tactic tickle, and are bewildered into an embarrassment that is neither tickled or tactical.  2a. So some of you obviously have a company with many contacts and are obviously well educated inside academia, well then write a book!! instead of paste & link............

3. Is satire funny! before I go I'll leave you a little drawing in context with current political affairs, this to ponder your also word filled eyes upon, yes images are to a language, maybe even greater than a spoken or written method. Keep up the good work comrades............................................................... Regards Andy 



re: Using humor to arouse citizens

I love this example of creating a 'lose-lose' situation for the opposition.  You are exactly right, as humor delegitimizes the opposition, it also disarms them, so to speak, while empowering your members and attracting new ones.  

Some links...

Hi folks,

Just wanted to provide some links to some of my writings that seem relevant...

about the Oil Enforcement Agency:


About the Billionaires For Bush and others at the RNC 2004:


real quick piece about Tactical Performance:


a little more theory and detail:


about the radical drag queen who contributed to the electoral defeat of a far-right parliamentarian:


a strange piece about pro-immigrant/labor rights and professional wrestling and the wrongful arrest of the Money Devil:



Our own Olympic mascot

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were a key focus of Amnesty International Australia's Uncensor campaign looking at:

  • Unwarranted Internet and media censorship
  • The death penalty
  • Repression of human rights defenders
  • Torture and detention without trial

Like many campaigns a key challenge was engaging with a target audience, and two key targets of this campaign were young people, and Chinese speaking Australians.

Meet Nu Wa 怒娃

Nu Wa was created as a parody of the Olympic mascots, the Fuwa (or "Friendlies") – "Their overly happy and cute demeanor defies the worsening human rights situation inside China today. Nu Wa wants to set the record straight by speaking about the human rights abuses suffered by people in China."  The play on words both adding to the cheeky appropriation and reaching out to one of our target audiences in the campaign in Chinese speaking Australians ('Nu Wa' means outraged, angry young boy).

The objective in the use of this character in the campaign was to present a friendly face, encourage an alternative perspective, and highlight the risk of China's commitment to improving its human rights record (made in its Olympics bid) from being forgotten.

Nu Wa became a point of contact (Supporters could become his friend on Facebook), a narrative voice in campaign materials, and through being our unofficial Olympic mascot a constant reminder of the missing side to information being officially reported.

The campaign certainly had its successes with a number of other tactics working along with Nu Wa to achieve some impressive numbers in mobilisation and supporters, as well as shifting the debate.

Nu Wa's contribution was that of an effectively communication an additional message around the Olympic games to the Australian public, and engaging audiences who otherwise may not have been reached, the light-hearted and humourous delivery being key. 

For a brief summary of the campaigns achievements visit: http://www.amnesty.org.au/china/comments/19959/

Pierrots for Peace

A Clown Brigade?!  What a great way to teach my 8 year old how to combine love and fun and imagination and organization and bravery and militant pacifism... all for fraternity and justice!  And my new words of reproach to the black blockers will be, "Hey!  Start clowning around!" 


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