Actions always fail, but movements usually succeed

Actions on their own can't change much, no matter how cool or amazing they might be. But movements almost always succeed — so as part of a movement, actions succeed as well. It's that simple.

The Zapatistas, feeling their way into poetic rebellion against NAFTA, wholeheartedly gave their communities over to a different world, ultimately inspiring the Seattle activists in shutting down the World Trade Organization, which was NAFTA writ large.

Seattle in turn inspired many thousands more activists, who encircled meeting after meeting of the world's most powerful for several years — rising up again as Occupy Wall Street, freshly inspired by rebels in Tunisia and Egypt.

OWS, in turn, gave its heart to the Bernie Sanders campaign, which came not so far from taking the Presidency, twice, and is the reason for anything truly progressive coming out of the Biden White House.

So many actions — and in a way, one single movement.

Instances in which we learned this lesson

One leak, and over a 48-hour period we scuttled Chevron's campaign... and then many friends scuttled it a lot more. It remains scuttled today.
Through some Yes Men sleight of hand, we ended up as Newsmax's contact for the American Enterprise Institute. And when they wanted to talk about the…
Here's a sketchy timeline of the Yes Men's most mammoth project, a collaboration with the Anti-Advertising Agency and many other groups and…
Around 1996, we'd started an "anti-corporate sabotage corporation" called ®™ark (don't ask why we called it that). ®™ark was ostensibly a way for…
This one's pretty self-explanatory. Watch the video and you'll get it... or read the press release for more details. What might not be quite as…
Back in 2011, a small brainstorm around the NYPD's racial profiling ("Stop and Frisk") led to an idea that everyone laughed and cringed at…
Shortly after launching a battalion of Survivaballs to draw attention to the climate crisis in advance of the COP15 (that we had some fun at as well…
(For the 2020 postscript, visit our story of Doctors for Opening America.)
Together with our brand-new police escort, we all headed towards the Wall Street Bull a few minutes south. When we got there, the protest changed…
Off we went to Salzburg, Austria—to speak as reps of the WTO. What we'd encounter would change our lives forever.