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By Andy Bichlbaum on Jan 16 2019 - 11:34am Tagged: Project: Trump is over - if you want it

Unauthorized Special Edition of the Washington Post: “Trump Flees White House”
“Bye-Bye 45” offers road map to creating the near future we want and need

Contact: byebye45@theyesmen.org
For a physical copy of the paper, visit our store or donate to the gofundme.
Newspaper website: democracyawakensinaction.org
Photos: a few here, and also here, here, here, etc.
Press: lots of it, here!

Early this morning, thousands of commuters in Washington, D.C. were handed a spitting image of the Washington Post. But this one was dated May 1, 2019 — and in lieu of the Post’s usual tagline, "Democracy Dies in Darkness," the phrase "Democracy Awakens in Action” appeared at the top. The paper's lead headline: “Unpresidented: Trump Hastily Departs White House, Ending Crisis.” (An online version of the paper has also been making the rounds, at democracyawakensinaction.org, complete with PDF of the print version.)

A scan of the paper's front page offers up a compelling backstory for Trump's flight: a women-led, multi-racial grassroots resistance. Their winning strategy is borrowed from other movements against authoritarian rulers: target those who support the tyrant, rather than the tyrant himself.

That strategy has also led to growing support for a package of groundbreaking progressive legislation known as the "Bundle": 64 bills sure to be popular across the political spectrum, including some — the Green New Deal bills, Medicare for All, the H.R. 1 election reform bill — that already are.

“The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” says author Onnesha Roychoudhuri, who created the paper together with author L.A. Kauffman and trickster activist collective the Yes Men. “And it’s anything but far-fetched. We’re already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What’s next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”

Also included in the paper is an action guide, “Bye-Bye 45: A Guide to Bringing Him Down,” in which leading strategists outline ways to bring about the paper's ambitious vision.

The special Post edition outlines other elements of this very possible near-future: Mike Pence is sworn in for a “clipped-duck” term—held in check by the millions of Americans who have mobilized, protested, occupied their elected officials’ offices, and otherwise thrown sand in the gears of his predecessor’s tyrannical presidency. The “actions that turned the tide,” according to the paper, are diverse and colorful, and include widespread, everyday resistance like ride-share drivers refusing to pick up Trump administration officials. Larger-scale actions include sticky and rambunctious “sippy-cup sit-ins,” in which mothers with young children occupy their representatives’ offices until they agree to stop cooperating with Trump. And there's also a “wall of floof,” in which young women in quinceañera gowns use their layers of taffeta to blockade a government building.

“This newspaper is a fantasy,” says Kauffman, “but it’s rooted in both reality and scholarship. Our stories build on real-world resistance to Trump and insights about how ordinary people can dislodge an unfit leader.”  

 

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By keil on Jan 14 2019 - 11:07pm Tagged: Project: BlackRock Does the Right Thing

SUBJECT: Hoax Compels Investment Bigwigs to Bigly Wig Out

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 16, 2019

NEW YORK -- In the early morning of January 16, a few hours before announcing their fourth-quarter 2018 earnings, Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the biggest asset manager on earth, received an email copy of his annual letter to investors. There was just one problem: he had not sent the real one out yet.

The letter, posted to a website made to look like a BlackRock corporate site, was a hoax intended to pressure Fink’s company—the world’s largest owner of fossil fuels including coal—to actively reduce their stake in climate destruction. It went viral on Twitter and was covered by the Financial Times before being revealed as fake. Since then, the hoax has been described in Business Insider, Barron’s, Financial News, the New York Post, and Axios.

The rogue letter, which activists sent to the media and thousands of BlackRock employees, falsely announced that the company would be taking on climate change by laying out a series of feasible steps that would improve global stability and thus long-term returns:

First, BlackRock would make all investments screen out fossil fuels by default, so that clients will need to actively opt-into societal and ecological collapse; and second, BlackRock would use its ownership power to compel fossil-fuel companies to align their business models with the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

“Everything called for in our fake letter are steps BlackRock could take while still remaining model capitalists,” said Jeff Walburn of the Yes Men, who helped author this more visionary version of Fink’s letter. “These slightly less extinction-oriented moves would make more money for investors and ensure their customers have a stable economy to profit from down the line. This is hardly a radical push; but it’s a push we need, for the sake of humanity’s survival and, yes, its asset owners.”

Despite leadership by Fink, a lifelong Democrat who talks about long-term thinking and better corporate governance, BlackRock fails to walk its greenwashy talk. In past letters to investors and CEOs, Fink has repeatedly encouraged action on climate change and berated corporate leaders for short-term thinking that threatens long-term stability. His 2018 letter implored companies to serve a “social purpose” and to “make a positive contribution to society.”

However, BlackRock’s track record contradicts his own ideals. BlackRock owns more fossil fuel stocks than any other company, making them the biggest driver of climate destruction on the planet. It is the largest investor in new coal plants—the most harmful fossil fuel—than any other company, and they have the worst record of any asset manager on shareholder engagement when it comes to transparency and disclosure around climate action.

“This prefigurative nudge we gave BlackRock is the actual rational common-sense adjustment the finance industry needs; it's truly bananas to think large asset managers, with broad based investment products are creating Zombie Funds of the Apocalypse and leading us off the climate cliff,” said Walburn. “BlackRock could fulfill its social purpose by playing a game-changing role in shifting how every global corporation addresses climate change. Or, they and other asset managers can continue with business as usual, funding these world destroyers and encouraging them to continue extracting and burning fossil fuels. Larry Fink knows what to do, he just hasn’t acted on it.”

The Yes Men deployed the hoax after learning about BlackRock’s frightening role in climate calamity from activists behind BlackRock’s Big Problem. To learn more and take action yourself, visit www.blackrocksbigproblem.com. Read the hoax letter here. Read responses from BlackRock here and here.

Larry Fink’s real 2019 letter to CEOs has not yet been released.

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By keil on Jan 14 2019 - 11:05pm Tagged: Project: BlackRock Does the Right Thing

Advisory: Hoax Letter Not from BlackRock CEO

Company Release - 1/16/2019 5:00 PM ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- On January 16, an unidentified party sent an email to the news media and several thousand BlackRock employees containing what looked like Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink’s Annual Letter to CEOs. This was in fact a hoax designed to confuse journalists and the public by claiming that BlackRock advocates an environmentalist agenda.

The hoax letter contains false and misleading statements about BlackRock’s plans to screen out of all investments companies that do not comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, forcing investors to actively opt-into coal, oil, and gas stocks. Further, it claims that BlackRock will transform its shareholder engagement by pressuring companies toward Paris-compliance and long-term sustainability.

These policy changes, although admirable in intent, are at odds with near-term profitability. While similar initiatives have been considered by BlackRock, they remain exploratory, pending further risk analysis and greater investor and public demand.

BlackRock seriously evaluates risks that climate change poses to economic stability, and engages with companies we invest in to prioritize long-term sustainability.

Mr. Fink’s annual letter to CEOs has not yet been released.

Media Relations
Brian Beades
347-384-9834
brian.beades@blackrockesg.com

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By keil on Jan 14 2019 - 11:04pm Tagged: Project: BlackRock Does the Right Thing

Larry Fink’s Letter to CEOs
"Purpose In Action"

Dear CEO,

At the start of each year, I have made it a tradition to write to you, the leaders of companies in which our clients are shareholders, to advocate governance practices that we believe will maximize long-term value creation. This year, while celebrating our 30th anniversary amid a turbulent market, I took time to reflect on new areas of opportunity and consider how BlackRock and companies it invests in should adapt. It has been a great privilege and responsibility to manage the $6.4 trillion in active and passive investments that clients have entrusted to us. BlackRock reaffirms our commitment to protecting and enhancing the value of our clients’ assets by encouraging management practices that drive long-term performance and take into account environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

Last year, I wrote that companies must declare a social purpose that benefits all of their stakeholders—not only shareholders, but employees, customers, and society at large. The importance of serving a social purpose was never more clear than in 2018, as geopolitical instability, fear, and changing investor preference contributed to high volatility. But volatility in equities is normal. The US economy expanded in 2018, fueled by tax cuts and spending increases. Stock prices have climbed back since their December plunge, and BlackRock foresees economic growth in 2019.

Still, uncertainty has increased. Our analysis locates various causes, including political irregularities in the US, trade war frictions, fragmentation in Europe, the rise of populist political parties, 2019 elections planned in India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the EU, and the 2020 US election. But we find that the biggest contributor to uncertainty is also the greatest threat to the long-term stability of our economy and our investors’ assets: climate change. Companies must address climate risk factors or fail in their fiduciary duty.

Sustainable Profitability

BlackRock has engaged companies we invest in toward longer-term growth and discouraged short-term thinking that leads to volatility and downturns. I spent much of 2018 reflecting on BlackRock’s own social purpose and how it protects long-term value for our clients.

Our market position brings significant influence to bear. This power is a privilege we wield by engaging with management to drive the sustainability our clients need. As fiduciaries, we are entrusted with grave responsibilities. Our investments affect decisions made in C-suites around the world and shape corporate behavior at the highest level. If we are honest about the central role asset managers play in driving the global economy, we must also be honest about the direction we are steering it in.

As we enter a year of increasing uncertainty, BlackRock will make two strategic pivots to better align our investment decisions with our social purpose, and engage companies we invest in to adopt similar methodologies. We will move beyond merely defining our social purpose—we will demonstrate that purpose in action.

Purpose In Action, or Purposeful Inaction?

BlackRock has always been motivated by social purpose. In the past few years, we have evolved our approach to ESG. Michelle Edkins, Global Head of Investment Stewardship, and her team will continue to engage with companies toward greater long-term thinking. Brian Deese, Global Head of Sustainable Investing, has been working to move more assets under ESG target-date funds and exclusionary screen ETFs, and is developing new emerging market fixed-income indexes, all with ESG principles. We spent much of 2018 mapping near-term climate risks that will affect municipal bonds and real estate, and we’re going to scale that methodology across all of our investments. We engaged companies on increasing board diversity and expanding ESG values. With our partners in the Investment Stewardship Group, we criticized the Trump administration for pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. We see the Paris Agreement as an important framework for long-term sustainability. Despite denouncing the short-term thinking that pervades management, BlackRock’s voting record has not aligned sufficiently with our own ideals. That’s going to change. Moving forward, we will demand more accountability. We will require all companies we hold stakes in to align their business models with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We have made strides in this direction, but the urgency of the threat demands that we increase our focus.

After extensively analyzing our role in driving market trends, and acting out of a need to protect our clients’ long-term returns, we have identified two pivots that we have the ability to make this year—a structural adjustment to our exclusionary-screen indices, and a cultural adjustment to our shareholder action:

First, we are expanding a screen of non-Paris compliant companies to now apply by default to all ETFs, mutual and other broad indexed funds we offer, except when investors opt out and explicitly ask for these stocks. It is not enough to simply create exclusionary funds that screen out certain companies, because we offer thousands of products and most investors are passive. To make good on the threat I issued last year, we will begin this work by divesting from coal companies in our actively managed funds. Within 5 years, more than 90% of our 1000+ investment products will be converted to screen out non-Paris compliant companies such as coal, oil, and gas, which we see as declining and endangered. As a result, an increased percentage of our assets under management will align with our ESG values while sustaining high returns. This approach keeps responsibility in the hands of our clients, who will always have the choice to opt-out of our vision of a stable future and back into coal, oil, and gas.

Second, BlackRock will shift its approach to engagement. We have always supported management, but our clients have become impatient with companies that tout ESG values but do not align their planning to a Paris-compliant model. Beginning in 2019, BlackRock resolves to use our considerable stake in energy and related sectors to vote in favor of management only when we find them to be working toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We will use our shareholder position to keep companies accountable to resolutions that align with these values, and aggressively vote down those that do not. In cases where companies consistently fail to value long-term viability, we will vote out obstructionist boards and vote in members who are more forward-thinking.

Generating sustainable returns into the future requires that we have a future. BlackRock’s market share and influence offers an historically unprecedented opportunity to make lasting change that will protect long-term returns by protecting global stability. By designating non-Paris-compliant companies as a screened-out “sin stock” by default, and by taking more aggressive shareholder action, we will build a healthier economy while still securing long-term profitability.

It is time that companies evolve beyond short-term interests that we all know drive instability and risk. Companies must now be able to reconcile their strategy for long-term growth with their publicly articulated social purpose. If a strategy for growth cannot be synthesized with social purpose, no matter how profitable it may seem in the short term, we will no longer consider that a sustainable model.

With climatic threats positioned to destabilize markets at ever greater levels in 2019 and beyond, BlackRock is determined to take a leadership role in building a Paris-compliant economy. Our clients—who are your company’s owners—are asking you to demonstrate management practices that will drive not only healthy investment returns, but also civilization’s very survival. We look forward to engaging with you to that end.

Sincerely,

Laurence D. Fink
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Laurence D. Fink is Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, Inc. He also leads the firm's Global Executive Committee.

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Dec 11 2018 - 8:10pm Tagged:

Dear Friend,

Remember when we told you we were cooking up a surprise—something that would put a smile on your face and a big ugly orange grimace on someone else's? Well, our world-jiggling plan's nearly here!

Like thousands of you, we worked hard around the midterm elections. The House and many state-level offices will now be in the hands of Democrats. That makes our big little project even more potent, and we can't wait to unveil it. But we need just a little more moolah to finish this job.

Thanks to your already incredible generosity, the project is nearing the finish line. All we need now is to cover a few remaining project costs, and to pay everyone a token amount for the months of work it's entailed, keeping everyone's spirits up so we can make the best project we possibly can.

Luckily, it's ho-ho-ho season, so any contribution (and the rewards that come with it) can make a nice gift, personally dedicated and emailed to the feisty young niece, worried grandma, or politically bewildered brother of your choice. (The project itself, and therefore the rewards, will be ready early in the New Year.)

Can you kick in $20, $35, $50 or more to kick off the new Congress in style, and help put our country on track to a better future?

Here's wishing us all a happy holiday season and—especially—many happy returns!

Love,
The Yes Men and friends

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Sep 2 2018 - 3:20pm Tagged:

Dear Friend,

We have great news: As of Friday, we have an official partnership with a huge progressive organization with millions of members, who will help get our secret project to a giant swath of Americans. We can now think really big! And to pull this off at the change-making scale that's now, thanks to our new partnership, possible, we're upping our campaign goal to $60,000. (Our partner org is, rightly, using their finances for the midterm elections.)

Your incredible enthusiasm—in its very first day, our campaign exceeded all expectations, and in only five days we reached our four-week goal—shows how badly we're all craving something to keep the 2018 midterms momentum going, and not only help rid the land of the orange menace, but steer us to a future (almost) everyone can get excited about.

We can't tell you how grateful we are for your incredible support. We're exploring all fundraising avenues for this expanded project (please email us if you have any ideas!), but we also need you, our community, now more than ever. Please donate if you're able, if you haven't already—it's tax-deductible, and for donations of $60 or more we'll send you a lovely souvenir.

And even if you can't, please take two minutes to spread our campaign by sharing the post at the top of our Facebook page, or retweeting our twitter post, or adapting the below text for your social media poison of choice:

I'm helping the Yes Men's new (secret!) project to make a great post-Trump world! Join us at https://bit.ly/2ogTF5U #ByeBye45 #HelloBetterWorld #Resist @theyesmen

THANK YOU for everything you've already done. And finally: please, please, please get involved in a Midterm election near you. Sure, elections are only the start of taking our country back—but they're definitely an essential one.

Love,
The Yes Men and friends

P.S. We want more than your money—we want YOU… to help when this action rolls out. If you haven’t already, please visit your profile by entering your email on our front page, lower left, and let us know (more or less) where you live!

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Aug 28 2018 - 7:32am Tagged:

Dear Friend,

We have a big crazy plan, a secret surprise—and it needs your help. We can’t say much more, but here’s what we can say:

  1. It'll build on the 2018 midterm elections, and will be a kick in the pants—to a future we can all be excited about.
  2. It'll put a smile on your face, and an ugly orange grimace on someone else’s.
  3. No one has tried anything like this, at least not since that calamitous 2016 election. It's simple, it's bold, and... oops! we've said too much already!

We've got great support and collaboration already—but we need a bit more of both. Can you pitch in a few bucks (tax-deductible!), and be part of our most important action ever?

If you join our GoFundMe here, you’ll be the first to hear about this when it happens. Any amount is useful, but for donations of $60 or more, we'll also send you a lovely souvenir of the time we helped save our country together, which you can mount on your mantel and show your great-grandkids.

If you need to know more… well, sorry, we just can’t tell you! But if you join our most important action to date, you'll be the first to find out.

Love,
The Yes Men and friends

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Feb 26 2018 - 10:06pm Tagged: Project: NRA Shares the Safety

#WECALLBS ON THE NRA'S VERY EXISTENCE
New Yes Men film highlights fundamental racism of modern gun lobby

Available formats: YouTube, Facebook

(Feb. 28, 2018) In the wake of the Parkland shooting and the inspiring activism of teen survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the National Rifle Association and its Republican partners are facing intense scrutiny for their critical role in the rise of mass shootings and of homicides overall in America.

The NRA’s unhinged rhetoric and utter lack of remorse have been on full display since the horrific gun massacre at Stoneman Douglas two weeks ago. Spokesperson Dana Loesch (notorious for her recent ads that seem to be mustering NRA supporters into a pro-Trump paramilitary) even seemed to blame the media for the shootings, while NRA President Wayne LaPierre spewed more of his usual "arm the teachers" lunacy (promptly parroted by the current occupant of the Oval Office).

A short Yes Men film, completed in August 2017 and launched today on YouTube, uses shock humor to remind us where the NRA's lunacy and ugliness come from: FEAR—specifically, the profoundly terrified racism of the '70s. Featuring a Yes Men hoax performed June 22, 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the film tells:

  • how Republicans—in a terrified reaction to the Black Panthers' performative activism—once promoted the first gun-control legislation;
  • how, once the Black Power movement was crushed, Republicans began calling for looser gun-control legislation, presumably for (white) "defense";
  • how the NRA, once a moderate organization, became a tool of racist Republican fear when it was hijacked by extremists including LaPierre, its current president; and
  • how fear of a Black uprising partly morphed into the right-wing street's signature terror of "government" (which in its best form, after all, is just another word for "people power").

The film communicates how the NRA and the Republican Party, tapping into deep racist fear for their power and profit, have turned America into the most violent high-income country in the world by a truly immense margin, both overall and specifically. (We have 7 times the homicide rate, and 25 times the rate of gun deaths, of the average high-income country—mainly thanks to Republicans and the NRA.)

The film also features a comical encounter with the NRA's Dana "Paramilitary" Loesch and her sinister, truth-indifferent "debate" techniques that so spectacularly failed at CNN’s Town Hall last week when she tried to use them against Parkland school shooting survivor Emma González.

With this film, the Yes Men wish to join the students of Stoneman Douglas (and many others before them) in calling B.S. on the NRA’s very existence. Please support them, and the nationwide #NeverAgain movement:

 

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Feb 2 2018 - 3:52pm Tagged: Project: Somos El Muro (We Are the Wall)

#SOMOSELMURO: SATIRE DENOUNCES PREJUDICE AND VIOLENCE TOWARD MIGRANTS IN MEXICO

#SomosElMuro is a satire created by a group of artists and activists from Mexico, Central America and the United States to make visible the xenophobia and discrimination faced daily by Central American migrants and refugees in Mexico. Launched in January 2018, #Somoselmuro presents a group of ultra-right, pro-Trump’s wall Mexicans who propose to turn Mexico into a giant human border. The video and the song ask, “What part of the wall are you?” and remind you that “By doing nothing, you’re also part of the wall.

The thousands of migrants who cross or seek refuge in Mexico each year are not criminals. On the contrary, they flee from conditions of extreme violence and poverty that have been systematized by to corrupt governments and neoliberal policies, which in turn feed the power and reach of organized crime.

They flee from one nightmare and encounter another. Instead of finding free transit and humanity, they are faced with rape, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, assault and demonization by local authorities, the National Institute of Migration, the police and military, as well as drug cartels specialized in human trafficking. It is extremely alarming that 80% of women who cross into Mexico are raped and thousands of migrant girls and boys are detained by the authorities despite the laws prohibiting it.

To denounce the system that dehumanizes migrants in Mexico, which profits from its mobility condition and uses euphemisms to obfuscate the violence inflicted, this group of artists and activists also created the satirical project “Migratón“: a Telethon for the migratory industry that launched on December 18, International Migrants Day. The Migratón website is a minefield of information, with links to reports on human rights abuses, articles on the root causes of Central American migration, and news that highlight the violence and exploitation they suffer in Mexico.

Violence’s best ally is ignorance. A large percentage of the population is not aware of the conditions migrants face in Mexico, and another large percentage does not want to be. Ignoring something does not make it disappear. Our silence another brick in the wall.

Many people on social networks—believing that these satirical projects are real—have been outraged and raised their voices in defense of the migrants. Thank you for criticizing, contributing, and speaking out.

We invite you to join the dialogue, get informed and take action.

Contribute to the Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano and the Caravana de Madres
Ask the government to stop deporting refugees
Collaborate with the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías
Support the Casa del Migrante Saltillo
Volunteer with FM4PASO Libre
Join forces with La 72 en Tenosique
Volunteer with Sin Fronteras
Foster the work of the Red de Casas Scalabrinianas
Collaborate with the Albergue de Migrantes Hermanos en el Camino

Check out the interview (in Spanish) with “Gloria Vallarta de Valle de Bravo” from #SomosElMuro (Ana Francis Mor from Las Reinas Chulas) in EL ALMOHADAZO, aired on February 12, 2018:

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By Andy Bichlbaum on Oct 4 2017 - 5:29pm Tagged: Project: RefuGreenErgy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2017

Bicycle Hoax Highlights Soulless Cycle
Belgian collective, in cahoots with refugee groups and the Yes Lab, hits hard at European policy towards refugees, false market solutions, assholes

Reveal video here (with English subtitles)
Photos and posters here
Hoax website, promotional video, Facebook, Twitter
Contact: Hélène Collin or Alexandre Dewez, contact@refugreenergy.org

Hundreds of spectators witnessed a bizarre spectacle Saturday, when a slick new tech startup called RefuGreenErgy held a three-hour launch event in central Brussels. The event featured four "RefuGreens" (actual refugees) happily pedaling battery-filling bikes while "company representatives" (actually activists) described to tourists and others how the refugees were producing "green" electricity they could buy; the refugees, in exchange, would get 24-hour periods of amnesty and 1.60 euros per day. "It's a guilt-free way to help others," explained one representative.

Reactions ranged from quiet approval to horror. The hoax was finally exposed when, after two "company officials" explained the concept to an assembled crowd, a member of the public, a man who works with refugees, spoke up emotionally against the concept, and the "officials" admitted it was a hoax. (See footage here.) At that point, Saïd Elouizi, a member of Brussels collective Voix des Sans-Papiers (Voice of the Undocumented), spoke of the importance of taking action as citizens: "We need to react to every speech and act, and not remain passive consumers.... Solidarity is our power."

The hoax, by WAAR (We Are All Refugees, a group of "artivists" from Belgium and abroad, working in cahoots with refugee groups and the Yes Men) was carried out in the capital city of Europe in part because refugees are constantly threatened, deported, and locked up by many European states, including Belgium. One Belgian politician, Theo Francken, has even brought agents from Sudan—whose president is under an international arrest warrant—to identify Sudanese refugees so that they can be deported back to the danger they fled.

The hoax was designed to call attention to the moral responsibility of countries like Belgium for the so-called "refugee crisis." 

“There are increasing numbers of climate refugees—perhaps 250 million by 2050," said WAAR member Zelda, referring to a United Nations report. "Climate change is caused by the industrial countries, and they bear responsibility for it."

"If we want to look at deeper causes of the wars and violence that force refugees to flee, it's not a big stretch to see our colonial history as a root cause," said WAAR member Hélène.

Another WAAR member noted that European colonial history continues as companies cause large-scale conflicts that force citizens to flee, as in the case of Areva in Mali.

"Our objective was to highlight the logic by which capitalism deals with and takes advantage of crises—even those that it's caused," the activist explained. "Faced with the ecological crisis of climate change, many companies respond with solutions that serve the objective of profit, without having any concrete effect on the problem itself. A horrible idea like RefuGreenErgy is sadly plausible, thanks to the 'Uberization' of society, ‘greenwashing,’ and the utopian view that the unregulated market can fix the world."

The hoax has so far received coverage in several Belgian media outlets. WAAR also launched a website, a promotional video, and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The hoax was developed during a week-long workshop with The Yes Lab at La Fabrique de Théâtre as part of the Brussels SIGNAL festival, and was carried out with the participation of refugee-activists from several organizations.

WAAR requests that you:

  • Support collectives and organizations that help the undocumented in their quest for work and legal status.
  • Support airplane passengers who oppose the deportation of refugees by air, who are now being prosecuted by the Belgian justice system.
  • If you are in Belgium, welcome a refugee from Maximilian Park (Brussels) into your home to allow him/her to rest, and to protect him/her from police raids.
  • Visit asylum seekers in Belgian refugee centers.

Media contacts: contact@refugreenergy.org
Hélène Collin, +32 474 99 31 33
Alexandre Dewez, +32 498 33 88 62

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