You can Occupy Wall Street anywhere

Daily Kos 

Way back in the days of the dinosaurs, there was a time when many of us knew, at least in theory, that it was time to discuss the infractions of the Bush-Cheney administration in terms of (gasp!) impeachment.Now, we had all sorts of arguments at the time about whether that was politically wise or politically feasible. And some minds changed over time. But way, way back at the beginning of my own involvement with the issue, the very idea of impeachment—indeed, the very utterance of the word—was viewed with horror. No one Serious (let alone Very Serious) wanted to have anything to do with its mention. It was only later that opponents became comfortable discussing it, even if only in terms of its being “off the table.”

And so I hit upon an idea, unrefined at the time, and which I later found out had occurred to others who had already begun to take the same idea to the next level. I would start a sort of guerrilla marketing campaign to force the word “impeachment” back into the discussion.

As I said, I later discovered that there were others doing similar work, and doing it much better. I’m speaking here of the famous Freeway Blogger, with whom I later collaborated in trying to spread the simple “Impeach” message. His methods were so simple, cheap and sound, it seemed perfect for that particular movement, and seems only more so now. Let me let him show you what I mean.

Now, you might not be able to realistically spend your days (and nights) at an Occupation in your area. Or there might not even be one near you, even if you wanted to participate. Maybe you even feel like you’re the only one in your town who even would support such a thing. Well, the Freeway Blogger has a way for you to make a statement, regardless. Almost anybody can do this:

Homemade signs have been a big part of the Occupy movement from the beginning. Everyone gets to express themselves, even if it means scrawling a message in magic marker on the inside of a pizza box. But as you can see from the above video, there’s an easy way to get a little more polish for your sign, and scale things up some, too, without any fancy printing equipment, and with a minimum of expense. If you do happen to be at an Occupy event, the larger your sign is, the better your chances of catching the eye of the media sent to cover the happenings.And if you’re not at an event? What can you do? What can you say? Who can you reach with your sign? Say whatever you want, of course. And reach thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, depending on where you live. How? Like this:

It doesn’t matter where you live, really. There are public spaces near you where your message will be seen. And even if it says nothing but “Occupy” that message will be understood. The single word has its own meaning, now. Want to expand to larger messages? Great! Want to keep it simple? No problem. Everyone will get it.Now, when I was working with the Freeway Blogger on the “Impeach” signs, we made the conscious decision to go with Times New Roman lettering, black on white, because it was visually evocative of newspaper type and the Very Serious Media. It has that inherent advantage over freehand chicken scratch. So that’s nice.

But how do you actually make such a sign? What are the mechanics of it? Well, you saw in the first video that the lettering is actually very simple to reproduce. What we did was print the desired message (in Times New Roman, or any other font if you’d rather) on a transparency sheet, available at any office supply store, and use an overhead projector to blow it up to whatever size we needed, and then just trace the letters in pencil onto our sign, then fill in the lines with black paint.

Where did we get those big white “canvasses” to paint on? With a little dumpster diving, and the cheapest paint we could find. Check it out!

The cardboard’s free. Almost any retailer you pass by in your area will have a dumpster full of it out back. Pull up, load up your car, and haul it home. Cut the boxes open, get a roller and some cheap white paint, and go to town. Interior house paint is your best bet here. It comes in bulk, it’s cheap, and it doesn’t have to be anything special.Where do you get an overhead projector? Well, I once found a lot of half a dozen of them for sale on eBay for about $35, so that’s one way. So yes, you can find ’em cheap. But even if you don’t turn any up, don’t worry about it. The shape of the lettering is secondary to getting your message out. It helps speed up the process, and can give your signs a really nice look, but it’s not an absolute necessity by any means. And if you’re dumpster diving for free cardboard, messing up a few signs with freehand lettering isn’t the worst thing in the world.

When it comes time to fill in the lettering, your best bet is lots of cheap black paint. I used mostly stuff from the craft stores instead of house paint. But the best tip is: use those flat foam brushes. They make the neatest lines, are easily maneuverable, cover the smoothest and the fastest, and are the cheapest.

How do you hang them up? Some good methods here, but quick and dirty is all that’s necessary. Cheap bungee cords from the dollar store can strap a sign onto chain link fencing. Larger signs can be hung with wire hangers duct taped to the back so that the loops stick out above the sign top, and you can stick those through fencing and give them a twist. If the placement is right, you can even tack a sign up with a staple gun on a wooden post.

But even if you can’t (or aren’t ready to) try something like this just yet, there are even simpler things you can do, referenced in my first link—the long-ago diary. Even things as simple as printing your message out on regular paper, and posting it on a bulletin board. Tacking it to a sign post. Leaving it on coffee shop table. Anything at all. I mention these options because it was hearing the story from a friend of what it meant to see a random “We Are the 99%” sign posted at a big corporate bank’s ATM location way out in the boonies that finally inspired me to pull this old diary out and rework it for the Occupy movement.

You can do the same.

One Comment

This highly informational bit of simple technology is really worth “saving”, for use at times of “convenience”. I’m going to archive it, myself. It promises great efficacy!