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Someone named ransackedroom on YouTube has an idea for activism and it's starting to go viral.  It has over 34,000 45,000 55,000 109,000 125,000 views right now.  Let's help it really go viral.

I saw it on Twitter last night:

@OccupyWallSt Occupy Wall Street
Wow. I want this EVERYWHERE.… #ows
14 hours ago via TweetDeck

A fast, easy, free, and non-violent way to drive the big banks out of their greedy little minds is sitting in your mailbox right now. You just don't know it yet.

I transcribed it for those of you who prefer or need a transcript:


Hi.  Do you get a lot of junk mail?  I do.  

Most of the junk mail I get is unsolicited credit card offers and up until Occupy Wall Street I used to just toss these in the bin unopened.  But Occupy Wall Street got me thinking.  These offers are from the same financial institutions that ruined our economy by speculating on the housing market.  This isn't junk mail. This is an opportunity for dialogue.  

Why? Well see inside all of these credit card offers is one of these. It's a business reply mail envelope.  The banks sign contracts with the post office to get these envelopes and they only pay postage on the envelopes that get mailed back. So the banks are assuming that we will use these envelopes to send back our credit card applications but we don't want more credit cards, do we?  We certainly don't want them from the big banks that caused the financial crisis.  We can use these envelopes in other ways.  We can have a dialogue.

So, phase one, this is the easiest. Everybody can do this.  Just take the envelope, lick it, seal it, send it back.  It's quick, it's easy. It takes you five seconds at the mailbox every day and it costs the bank about twenty-five cents. Now I know that means banks pay less for postage than we do but please, let's have that protest another day.

Phase two, if you are willing to put a little more work into it would be to send it back full, to take all the materials that came in the envelope and put them in there.  Take the envelope itself and put that in there.  I mean after all the heavier the envelope is, the more it's going to cost them in postage.  And then any other junk mail you got that day that you think might be interesting to them.  I got this baby products catalogue.  I'll put that in there. I mean, bankers have babies and being immoral doesn't mean you're infertile.

The other thing that I do is, I send them a note. I printed out a bunch of notes on my printer and I just clip them out and I put them in with each envelope.  That way, they know that this wasn't just a miscommunication.  It actually was communication.  This one says "Hello big bank clerk.  Please join a union."

Now, phase three, if you're willing to put a little bit of money into it and I do mean a little bit, would be a wood shim.  This is a wood shim. It's exactly what it looks like.  It's a piece of wood. You can get a pack of about twelve of these at a hardware store for about $1.50.  Now a wood shim when you put that into the envelope, oh, and put a message on it too so that it's actually communication.  This one says #OWS for Occupy Wall Street. Put the shim in the envelope and suddenly the envelope becomes really heavy and more importantly it becomes rigid.  Now why does that matter?  Well the rigid mail piece costs more postage to mail. That's why Netflix has to pay more money for their DVD mailers than you have to pay to send a postcard.

You can go further with this idea.  I think the gold standard for postage paid protest would be something like a roofing shingle that's really heavy and dense and crumbly. But it's important that this should be about communication so I think that putting some kind of message, you know, clear, clear rational debate, a slogan, something you saw on a good sign, I think that that matters too.  

Think about the scene in the mailroom at a big bank when they get a few dozen roofing shingles, a few hundred wood shims and a few thousand empty envelopes.  They're probably going to have a meeting about it, and that's the point of this.  This isn't really about running up the postage bill on the big banks, although that's a nice side effect. The real effect of this is to force banks to react to us.  If they start getting hundreds and thousands of weird responses to their credit card applications, well they're going to have to have meetings. They going to have to develop new procedures and every hour banks spend reacting to us is an hour banks don't spend lobbying Congress on how to screw us.  It's an hour banks don't spend foreclosing on our houses.  So I think that that's progress.

Now, this postage paid protest sort of thing -- this is no substitute for getting out into the street and making your voices heard.  The Occupy Wall Street movement started in the street and for the time being that's where the life of this protest is.  But after you've been out there lending your voice to the crowd or you happen to live in a city that's away from the big cities where they're having major Occupy movements, go to your mailbox.  Spend five seconds sorting through your junk mail and send some stuff back to these guys.

If you can't occupy Wall Street, you can at least keep Wall Street occupied.

Happy postage paid protesting to all!

Originally posted to joanneleon on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 10:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, DKOMA, Occupy Wall Street, and Progressive Hippie.

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