Mall Intervention

This action is a triple-pronged assault on the local sweatshop-using, environment-destroying clothing company of your choice. The three separate components of the action work well together or individually, depending on how many people are in your action group. Five to ten is an optimal number to execute all three components simultaneously.
You will need ( tools or supplies ): 
At least a dozen helium balloons of your favorite color
Banner-sized sheets of paper
Spray paint or thick markers
Kite rods
Lots of fliers

The first aspect of this recipe is the Balloon Banner.

This action only works indoors, optimally inside a mall in which the target store is on the highest floor. Prepare ahead of time a large paper banner reinforced with kite rods—for example, “GAP USES CHILD LABOR.” Large rolls of paper are usually hidden in high school offices to cover bulletin boards in different colors. If you do not have access to paper, look for a thin bed sheet in a thrift store or dumpster.

Next, designate well in advance a good spot on the ceiling of the mall where your banner can hang down with optimum visibility in or in front of the store you are targeting but out of reach of security guards. At the time of the action, move quickly to the designated location, tie the balloons firmly to the upper kite rod, and release the banner. Be sure to test it out beforehand to make sure you have an adequate number of balloons for the weight of your banner.

Shortly before the test run that is described at the conclusion of this recipe, another affinity group launched a balloon banner in a corporate bookshop on their opening day. Two operatives entered the store separately, one in civilian dress with a dowel and a rolled-up banner with loops in the top secreted separately on her person, the other dressed as a clown bearing balloons. As it was a festive occasion for the bookshop, the presence of the clown didn’t attract unusual attention. The dowel was slipped into the banner, the banner was slipped to the clown, and the clown affixed the balloons to it and released it, making swiftly for the exit with the secret of his identity kept safe, thanks to his absurd getup.


To complement the balloon banner, or as a separate action, print off massive quantities of fliers describing the corporation’s exploitation of workers and the environment. Whenever possible, try to include the testimonies of actual sweatshop workers instead of speaking for them; these can be found easily enough on the internet.

To distribute the fliers most effectively, we recommend placing them in folded clothing and posting them in dressing rooms (perhaps by means of wheatpasting or stickering), where customers will read them before they buy anything. Armed with a stack of fliers the right size, you can fill a pile of shirts or pants with remarkable ease and swiftness.


In addition to the first two tactics, someone should greet the customers!

This is where the name badge and smile come in handy: prepare for your new job as a greeter! Stand just inside the door, and as customers walk in, smile and say something like, “Welcome to the GAP, where we bring you low prices by destroying the planet. Can I help you find something?” If you prefer a more subtle approach, try writing a slogan on your T-shirt and striking a pose with the mannequins—everyone loves a cute anarchist showing off the latest fashions covered in handwritten slogans like “GAP: made for kids, by kids,” or simply the cleverly-modified logo “CRAP.”


Mall security cameras can be used effectively to identify participants after the event. Masks are an option to bear in mind, but that approach has drawbacks as well. Perhaps the clown makeup described earlier is the best solution.

Engaging with customers directly can be surprisingly effective. The average shopper doesn’t put too much thought into where her clothes are made, and will most likely be as outraged as you are once you share the testimonies of sweatshop workers with her.

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