Chicago Indymedia :
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Chicago Fool's Day 2001

"Today, in this action, we have illustrated the mindless, unintelligent behavior money and capitalism generate over people," reported one participant.
Fool's Day 2001: Activists throw money at Michigan Ave Mall

Chicago, IL- Sunday afternoon shoppers were greeted to a few extra dollars as a large group of Chicago area activists participated in Fool's Day 2001, a direct action campaign to expose the power of money over people . In an effort to illustrate society's "foolish" infatuation with money, one hundred one dollar bills were dumped off the seventh floor balcony at Water Tower Place, 845 N. Michigan Ave., at 1:30 pm today. Many activists were on hand to record the circus-like atmosphere that ensued.

Inspired by Abbie Hoffman's 1967 visit to the NYSE where a similar demonstration completely halted trading, today's action was designed to create a similar level of turmoil amongst shoppers. Shoppers, employees and tourists dropped everything to scramble for the loose bucks, and for a few moments all attention was focused on the loot.

"Today, in this action, we have illustrated the mindless, unintelligent behavior money and capitalism generate over people," reported one participant.

A parent who witnessed the action and engaged in conversation with the activists said, "What a powerful statement. I've never seen or heard of anything like this."

While security at Water Tower is heavy, the action itself left many of the security guards scrambling to determine exactly what was going on. Activists were spread throughout the building and it was difficult to pinpoint responsibility. Two of the activists were detained briefly immediately following the money drop, but were released without citation.

The action had been promoted online for the last few weeks by Adbusters, a nonprofit media foundation dedicated to eliminating existing power structures in favor of a more socially responsible, directly democratic way of life. According to the Adbuster website, such actions were scheduled to take place all over the country and deemed April 1st as Fool's Day 2001.

"Society could be organized in an intelligent way to satisfy the true needs of people, but most people don't know this. In fact most people cannot even imagine that a different life is possible. And this, most probably, is the biggest and most important achievement of the capitalist system: to steal our fantasy, our creativity, and our ability to act and think for ourselves. Alternatives do exist, and people are creating new and exciting avenues of existence," one demonstrator explained.

The message was clear to those who listened. Several activists were engaged in conversation by onlookers, even after leaving Water Tower Place.

According to the group involved in today's action, they stand in solidarity with the people and campaigns gearing up to oppose the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec, Canada, April 20-22, as well as with all people around the world who are fighting for a better way, both in their daily lives and in their communities.

Photos forthcoming.



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