Defending the Earth against the American right wing.
Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping are a post religious church: a radical performance community. We hold services wherever we can, in concert halls, theaters, churches, community centers, forests, fields, parking lots, mall atriums, and perhaps most importantly, inside stores, as close to the cash register as we can get, within spitting distance of the point of purchase.
We sing, we dance, we preach, sometimes we perform small interventions, invisible plays, acts of ritual resistance. We exorcise cash registers and re-mythologize the retail environment. We illuminate the Devil. We make media and send it out around the world. We get hassled by security guards and police and often get arrested. We try to complexify the monoculture, to snap people out their consumer 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. We animate the objects that surround us and in so doing we re-animate ourselves. We become citizens again.
We think freedom from consumerism is virulent, contagious. Tell your neighbor you stopped shopping and it gives her permission to do the same. Tell your brother you work for the Earth and ask him to join you. One day we can all live in richly varied and hilarious neighborhoods, with people who seem to have invented themselves, and so are endlessly fascinating, something beyond entertainment. Yes there IS a Life After Shopping!
And now! The monoculture is Occupied. 2000 communities and counting are moving into public space and reclaiming their citizenship, countering the force of corporate consumerism with the tenacious strength of fresh democracy in their bodies. We are duty bound to the Earth and the perils of climate change and make it our work to focus the energies of this emerging Occupy movement toward the well being of the natural systems of which we are a part, so that we recognize that all justice lies within our response to the assault of capitalism on the Earth. For The Church of Stop Shopping 2012 will be a year of spectacular trouble making as we confront the agents and financiers of climate change and extractive industry.
Over the next 12 months we will launch a major public performance cycle against The Koch Brothers, energy moguls and lead financiers of The Tea Party and the Climate Change Denial movement in the US. We hope these spectacles, utilizing the 45 person Earthalujah Choir, the indomitable voice of Reverend Billy, the many earth activists of New York City as well as visiting artists, scientists and activists will not only pressure cultural institutions who lend the Koch Brothers legitimacy by accepting their funding but keep the climate emergency in the spotlight during this presidential election cycle. New York City, this charged stage, is thought to be home to more than 35,000 journalists and media makers, it is an ideal though challenging place to amplify the dire consequences of heavy industry and, in particular, big coal and tar sands. We seek a wild visibility, and will perform wherever necessary.