Nonviolent Method Number 8: Banners, Posters, and Displayed Communications, has been much used by the environmental movement. The Ruckus Society and Greenpeace like to climb to the top of towers and unfurl gigantic banners so people can go “Oh, look, there’s a sign hanging from the Statue of Liberty! Wow that’s clever.”
But, unfortunately, it hasn’t proved to be something terribly effective. It’s remarkable, but it’s ineffective. Kudos to them for climbing to the top of great edifices, but at this point, it seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of reward.
According to my research, it seems like these things really only work when a lot of people are doing it, or a lot of signs are going up.
After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the people of Prague put up protest signs all over the city, but then the Russians were like “Well that’s bullshit, we’re gonna tear up all their signs and put our own signs up!” So one night they went out and they tore down all the signs and put up their own signs. But at some point during the night the Czechs got wind of what was happening and so they went out and started tearing down the Russian signs and re-replacing them with Czech signs, so by the morning Prague was covered in Czech signs all over again! That’s pretty scrappy! They probably had a lot of signs pre-made to do it that fast.
In Rotterdam in 1942, people put up signs urging people to show respect to the Jews that had to wear the yellow stars. That was very cool and very brave.
Otpor in Serbia turned every Slobodan Milosevic election poster against him by slapping “He’s finished” stickers on top of them.
Advertisements have been cleverly turned on their heads by looking the same at first glance, but having very different messages.
In India, in 1930 and ’31, sidewalks and even paved streets were used as blackboards for revolutionary messages.
Sympathetic shop owners could totally help spread the message by putting the signs in their window. I mean, that would be a smart long-term business strategy for them: support averting planetary disaster!
Another cool thing they did in Prague was they painted “U.N.: S.O.S.” on buses. It was a great way to let people all over town in on the resistance.
You could put signs on your own car, which is like, legal. You know that’s kind of cool to do something that’s actually legal. It could say something like “Join our climate group” and your website.
This should really be done in university towns. Because, again, what’s the point of an education if the world’s gonna be more or less screwed by the time you’re, like, thirty!
So you could like hang banners from dorm windows and stuff.
Or you could just wear t-shirts that have the message you’re trying to portray. This works especially well for people who are drop-dead gorgeous. “Look at her! What does her shirt say? Oh, I’m gonna go there!” People are so shallow!
You don’t have to be gorgeous, you just have to be interesting. You could have one guy freeze like a statue, and another guy project onto his white t-shirt little silent videos of the melting Arctic and stuff. People would stop and check that out. “What’s the deal with these frozen guys?”
They actually have little hand-held projectors that you can project onto anything basically. You could project stuff onto walls outside theaters and sports arenas where people are lined up at night. There’s a good way to get the message across.
“I’m not graffiti-ing, they’re waiting to see a movie so I’m showing them a movie!”
Anyway, those are just some examples of Banners, Posters, and Displayed Communications.