Saturday, January 12, 2008

Army of None: a Televisual Montage

Army of None is a book written by David Solnit and Aimee Allison about the "military recruitment complex" - their term for the researchers and advertisers who profit from military recruitment needs - and how to counter-strategize and shut down the war machine through counter-recruitment actions. The authors have been in the Northwest recently, and I produced a short video report from their visit in Olympia, WA where IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) activist Chanan Suarez-Diaz from Fort Lewis was present.

The Go Army videos emphasize that the US Army is the strongest force in the world. It's "not just strength in numbers, but strength in brothers." It's "more than physical strength, it's emotional strength." Our allies have similar military complexes. This British Recruitment ad is a series of buzzwords with images of heroes from action film scenes. "For the fun. For the friendships. For the Friday nights," the narrator says in a Scottish accent, just as we're shown a hipster scene at a foreign dance club. Watch this Australian recruitment ad. "Challenge yourself" is the challenge the aussies are putting to their youth. This multi-million dollar advertising industry is also a challenge to counter.

But with just a few extra dollars spent on wigs and paint, my favorite counter-spectaclists with their powers combined become the Clown Army. The clowns seem to be most prominent in Scotland, where they wander around aimlessly proclaiming "love and respect.... la la la..." while the police have no idea what to do with them. Here is a video of the Oakland, CA Clown Army at their Army recruiting station, oohing and ahhing at "all this stuff..." The Clown Army at the 2007 G8 Conference in Rostock appear to be leading attacks on everyone: the polizei and the black block. They also look for happiness at McDonald's but can't seem to find it.


JCD said...

I'm more partial to the black bloc techniques myself.

JCD said...

But very nice video btw

Acumensch said...

The next big march in Seattle I think it would be cool to see a Harry Potter bloc. I think culture jamming is much more fun than old school black bloc techniques. People are affected by popularity when it comes to marches and other actions. If you do something that resonates with their own cultural experience (including your own) people relate to it more and are more likely to come out in the streets with you.