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The Human Dilemma
For most of us, design is invisible.
Until it fails.
For most of us, capitalism is invisible.
Until it fails.
For most of us, global warming will remain invisible until it tips out of control.
For millennia, atmospheric carbon dioxide had never been above this line.
What we will need now is a bit of Design Anarchy.
From #152: The Big Ideas of 2025Get this issue
Terrorism Is as American as Apple Pie
Gruesome spectacles of violence. Belief in ethno-religious supremacy. Fundamentalist notions of social order. Preoccupations with purity and vengeance. Recruitment tactics aimed at the disaffected and disenfranchised.
This describes ISIS's modus operandi as much as that of America's own homegrown brand of terrorism — a phenomenon at least as old as the Civil War and rooted in the nation's original sin.
Organized by embittered Confederate veterans, the Klu Klux Klan was established to advance the reinstatement of white supremacy in the newly reunited republic. Targeting all non-white, non-Protestant, and non-native-born residents of the United States, but above all African Americans, Klansmen waged a brutal campaign of terror — consisting of kidnappings, hangings, whippings, mutilation, and murder — prompting Congress under President Ulysses S. Grant to pass laws outlawing the KKK as a terrorist group.
But by then, the KKK had already begun to disband. With the advent of Jim Crow laws — which later earned Hitler's praise and admiration as a model of state-sanctioned racism — the Klan had largely achieved its goal. White supremacy had once again become the law of the land.
Fast-forward past two major revivals of the Klan to the post-9/11 era. Today, despite the mounting threat of racist violence to the very integrity of American democracy, far-right extremists are rarely prosecuted as terrorists. That fate is far more likely to fall on suspected "Islamists" with trumped-up affiliations to jihadist groups. Meanwhile, white supremacists organize, rally, and commit heinous crimes, often in the open. (And how many are held at Gitmo?)
Calls for domestic-terrorism laws may seem reasonable, but one should be wary. Current counterterrorism legislation is routinely and grossly abused. Black and Muslim Americans, as well as political dissidents of various stripes, are regularly and unjustly harassed by law enforcement. What's needed isn't a new suite of oppressive tools. Instead, what's needed is a reckoning with America's legacy of racially justified exploitation. Until such an unlikely moment of introspection, however, domestic terrorism will continue to flourish — as American an institution as baseball or apple pie.
Five dead, the U.S.'s democratic reputation indelibly sullied, and its hapless political class unable to rally itself to take up even elementary justice. The question is not whether the Trump-fanned right-wing rabble achieved anything immediate by storming the Capitol. It's what the long-term consequences of its calamitous tantrum will be, as it sets a dark, dangerous precedent for the further erosion of democracy's integrity in America — and, the U.S. being the world's longstanding (and long-travestied) bastion for democracy abroad, in the rest of the world. America's empire is at last undergoing its own decline and fall, its global predominance foundering along with it. What will fill the void?
Facebook, Enemy of Free Speech
This summer, our “White House Siege” raised the hackles of the far right, provoking a rabid reaction on social media. But not long after it launched, Facebook censored the campaign's main hashtag, hobbling our efforts to resuscitate American democracy. Despite our inquiries, the social-media platform has never clarified why it did this.
Our adherence to peaceful protest being reaffirmed in briefing after tactical briefing, it could hardly have been because our campaign violated Facebook's "community standards." None of our WHS-themed posts came close to being "violent and graphic content" — they stood for the exact opposite — let alone any other form of "objectionable content" the platform forbids.
So, what explains Facebook's actions? We can't be sure, but it's not far-fetched to speculate that the WHS was wrongly and ham-fistedly suppressed for the same reason as so much else on the platform. Facebook knows it has a big problem on its hands, with both misinformation and hate-speech flourishing on its watch. But in the absence of regulation, and with too much of it circulating too rapidly to assess properly, Facebook has resorted to knee-jerk, catch-all, and politically motivated censorship.
During these pandemic-plagued times, digital communications have become more crucial than ever to both the discussion of ideas and the organization of dissent. To resist corporations’ policing of internet-based speech, we need to take immediate action — before the digital realm becomes a place where only certain opinions, and certain ideologies, are permitted.
Fight for free speech. Resist the tyranny of Big Tech. Join the Mental Liberation Front to take back your mental space by force.
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The Big Ideas of 2025
Our 200-page year-end issue offers a new tone, a new aesthetic, a new structure of feeling for the 21st century. A must-read for writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and creative people of all stripes.
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Keepers of Mindscape
Do we still have it? Can we invent new aesthetics, design sustainable products and rid our cities of waste . . . cultivate new sensibilities for our post-materialist age?
There are hints of this new aesthetic in Kenya Hara’s Designing Design when he talks about “a future without artifice,” “whispered value systems” and creating “vehicles of thought and feeling.” He says products are supposed to inspire “acceptance” not “appetite” . . . that the appropriate response to a product is “This will do,” not “This is what I want.”
And there are clues to it in Jean-Marie Massaud’s mission to create “a new art de vivre,” and examples of it in Banksy’s (and other street artists’) heady mix of politics, design and the intimacies of everyday life.
Our century will be a time of monumental ideological clashes, paradigm shifts and metamemetic insurgencies on multiple fronts. We artists and designers must be the advance guards - positioning ourselves at the forefront of every struggle and debate.
Just as farmers are the keepers of land, we are the keepers of mindscape. We must nurture it and care for it and make sure there will always be wilderness, diversity and freedom there.
GRAPHIC AGITATION CONTEST!
Attention all visual artists!
Give yourself a break from kissing corporate ass!
Send us your most inspired spoof ads, cartoons, posters, video mindbombs, brand-bustings, logo-fucks, situ-styledetournements and assorted tinkerings with the soft insides of the capitalist doomsday machine.
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Crucified by Capitalism
We decided to call our magazine Adbusters.
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Let’s do this here!
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Uncovered Anarcast Podcast
ReOccupy - Better Angels
The Big Ideas of 2025
You can’t always see aesthetics, but it is there . . . In the brutalist face of a bank building, cold as an autopsy table. In the way the city exhales after dark. In the knack and smack of internet trolling . . . in the angst of Christmas shopping.
Can we invent a new aesthetics, cultivate new sensibilities for our post-materialist age . . . come up with new ways to live, love and think?
Our century will be a time of monumental ideological clashes, paradigm shifts and metamemetic insurgencies. We artists, designers and creatives must be the vanguards — positioning ourselves at the forefront of every struggle and debate. Just as farmers are the keepers of the land, we are the keepers of mindscape. We must nurture it and care for it and make sure there will always be wilderness, diversity and freedom there.
Build a new aesthetics with us . . . for a future that computes.
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