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Stencil Action Focuses on Recruitment Centers

August 13, 2009

A stencil grafitti direct action aimed at counteracting concerted effort by US Military to recruit in minority and poor neighborhoods.

“We are a group of anonymous culture jammers. This action marks the start of our campaign of counteracting manipulative and exploitative propaganda aimed at the most vulnerable members of our community, through non-violent direct action. We encourage everyone who watches this to think of a creative ways of engaging injustices in their communities. Do not be complacent, do not be indifferent…”

I’ve noticed this posted around a bit, but didn’t watch it until recently. I applaud the efforts of the folks involved and they did a good job on putting together the video. That said, I think the choice of words, stenciled, are quite obvious and I’m not sure if they engage people on the street in any effective way. Do people connect them with the activities that happen in those offices? Moreover, the text painted on the roll-down cages of recruiter offices seem less intended for people wishing to enlist than passers-by of these storefronts after hours. Do the words “KILL” or “DIE” really speak to the issue being raised in the video? That recruiters focus on poor neighborhoods of color in urban areas? Is the idea to raise awareness that the ruling class is using poor folks of color to fight “their” war? Or state the more obvious fates within this apparatus.
I bring up these points not in judgment, yet to push a critique of the efficacy of this action. I am asking myself, what does this action encourage anyone else to do? (In other words, how does it help realize the agency and potential of individuals and movements?) It’s exciting to hear about activity in NYC around the themes of recruitment and the continuing war, and I look forward to ever more creative confrontations!!

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