What the hell am I talking about?
I'm talking about a) Climate Camp keeping on doing the same thing, squeezing the lemon dry, rather than- as mooted in June 2006- doing different things to prevent ossification, burnout, colonisation by NGOs (this based on participant observation, a couple of friends' recent reports on the camp meeting in Oxford and- gosh- a PhD about climate camp that I've just read.)
I'm talking about b) flash mobs.
I can't say I was ever a huge fan because I'm a young fogey. They always seemed like pickets for the ADHD generation If they're followed up by intensive work on creating the conditions for further "proper" engagement, then fine, but they're not, I think (I could be wrong of course). So here in Manchester we recently had a charity "organising" a flash mob as a publicity stunt.
That's what this tweet conversation is about...
"Sarah_Hartley @MartinSFP @davemee charities r using the means & style.But is it flashmob in truest sense of the word or organised gathering?mobilisation"When the corporates invade, it's just as bad as the cops figuring out tripods or tunnels or whatever, and it's time to get the creative juices flowing again.
In the meantime, we need some re-branding to stop "our" brand from being smeared by "their" use of the term. Phlash mobs? (like phishing, you see). Flash harries? Flush mobs? Answers on a postcard to the usual address...
Here's something I wrote from last September:
"Flash! Ah-ah, it'll save every one of us. Not." or "The revolution is just a t-shirt away?"
The title is ironic of course, no one is claiming that the latest Cool Tactic- Flash mobs- will save everyone. It's not like spokescouncils or social forums where the advocates claimed that direct democracy was here. And before that there was tripods, there was tunnels, there was camps.)
All of these things attract a bit of a buzz and then become passe. By this time next year, today's flash-mobbers will be chasing some Kewl new fad.
Flash Mobs perfect for this generation.
There are very very low "entry costs"
Unlikely to get nicked
Demands no particular forethought or preparation
- Only requires a few minutes of your time
Get to express your individuality (or collectivity) by what you wear, totally in tune with what we're being told.
Capturable on your mobile phone. Youtube friendly. All ipoddy and so forth.
Oooh, all hip and daring to organise.
As with any action/event, we should be asking ourselves a set of questions-
What does it achieve?
Who does it threaten? How does it force them to change their ways?
What capacity does it build among those who participate? How are the participants smarter, more able to do things in the future?
NOT all actions have to have great answers for all of the above, but my god, Flashmobs achieve so fucking little, in inverse proportion to their popularity and sexiness. And the media will very soon get sick of them.