So what does an ordinary citizen need to do to get one's political voice heard in this day and age where one needs money and access to play with the big whigs? If you are me, you not only dress up in costume, grab some props and exhibit comic performance art on the street, you stage your own protest. Here's the best advice on how to stage an effective action that gets attention:
1. Just like those wonderfully wacky dancers of the strip-tease advised Rose Louise in the 1962 movie, 'Gypsy,' on what it takes to have a successful burlesque career, you as a protester have gotta have a gimmick. That can include a costume, props, music and even a dance performance to draw the public in. One of my best ideas was to strip an inflatable effigy of the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, on 6th Avenue outside the World Business Forum at Radio City Music Hall. To the tune of sexy New Orleans jazz, forum participants, police, media and passers-by mobbed me for photos and were nearly tripping on each other while walking the street when I pulled a boa of fake $100 bills out of his crotch. People love a show.
2. You also need a serious set of intellectual cojones. Research the heck outta the issue, study with academics and activists to really understand the gravity of how it affects society and don't hold back. Tell the world who is truly responsible for causing real pain. Then come up with catchy signage/sound bites that make your argument in few words. That's one of the most difficult challenges, but if it does work, you will emerge a twitter celeb, to which strangers may start to identify you..."Oh, aren't you the 'Bank Reform Bitch' that spanks bankers? Ya know...Jamie Dimon is my boss and he's a really nice guy," or "I couldn't believe the Money Bunny got more coverage than Mayor de Blasio [in the Daily News], but you need to watch that camel-toe if you want to seriously fight for social justice."
3. Connect with like-minded activists and invite everyone you know to come to your protest. Then, alert the media yourself, even if they begin to hate you. Local television is so sick and tired of my calls, reporters rarely answer my emails and no-one ever tweets me back after I profess my undying love, but I don't care and neither should you. You exist to kick your issue into the public eye and that means you go at it full throttle. But along the way, make relationships with media, cultivate them regularly, and most importantly, come up with great ideas. Great ideas that are unique, colorful, kinda sexy and are engineered to fight injustice will drive a movement and drive human beings to your cause. So much so, that activists will come out of the woodwork, the media will come running and if you can illustrate it cleverly, you will get the public on your side and the result will be exponential. And then maybe you can run for public office.
Check out Marni and members of OccuEvolve, FedUp, People's Power Assemblies and interested citizens outside the New York Times, located at 620 8th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets, today from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., to protest corruption in government and muse on why New Yorkers couldn't be bothered with a governor under federal investigation. If you see a sexy She-Devil torturing an inflatable Cuomo doll with a pitchfork for ethics violations, you'll know you're in the right place.
Marni Halasa is the founder of Revolution Is Sexy, the one-stop shop for effective media-worthy protest, www.revolutionissexy.com.