“Progressives are quite adept at the critique of this ‘manufacture of consent,’ but we need to learn how to construct dissent … as well. We need to acknowledge that politics – even our own politics – is about persuasion, and that one of the most effective ways to persuade people, and effect change, is to tap into their dreams. If progressives are going to take politics and power seriously, we need to learn to use spectacle not grudgingly but enthusiastically and free of guilt. We need to make spectacle our own.”
Destructables.org is an advertising free Do It Yourself website for projects of protest and creative dissent. The site features user generated step-by-step video and photo/text based instructions for a wide range of dissenting actions, including (but not limited to): art actions, billboard alterations, shop-dropping, protest strategies, knit-bombing, making protest props, interventions, methods of civil disobedience, stencil work, performative actions, and many other forms of public dissent – from the practical and tactical to the creative and illegal. It is a living archive and resource for the art and activist communities.
Destructables was developed with a few basic ideas in mind:
Dissent is necessary for a healthy society (not that our societies are currently healthy).
Debate, dissent, and radical viewpoints fight against the reductionist monoculture of corporate hegemony. Sure, we are good consumers, but down deep we are so much more. We have been corralled this direction. It is safe, orderly, and bland, but what do we really want society to look like? Let’s debate in the streets. Let’s live it!
Public space is politicized:
The “public square” - spaces for discussing beliefs and ideas with other individuals without larger political bodies exerting their influence – are rapidly shrinking. Through advertising, surveillance, and privatization, our true public realm is vanishing before our eyes. Increasingly our ‘public space’ is sold off and then redistributed to us in the form of shopping malls and corporate plazas. While this space carefully mimics the public space that was lost, it is subject to a more restrictive, and often arbitrary, set of rules. We support people taking action to reclaim public space for people!
Resistance and protest needs constant re-invention:
In an era where traditional peaceful protest has become almost inconsequential in the United States, In an era where demonstrations are put on in specific zones and widely ignored in the media, in an era of constant media feed, connectivity, and decreasing attention spans, and in an era where marketers steal the tools and the language of dissent and revolution, we are in dire need of new strategies. We need new tactics and methods to shake things up - to create a new 'ethical spectacle' of grand proportions.
Destructables was conceived and developed by Packard Jennings and realized through the generous support of Southern Exposure and Di Rosa. It was also made possible by the talents and insight of CrimethInc. It would, of course, not be possible without the contributions of amazing artists and activists, and the warm support of the larger artistic and activist communities.
The Destructables.org website was constructed with the hard work and thoughtful web design of Quilted. Quilted is a worker-owned, cooperatively-managed company stitching together technology and social change.