"Zombie Politics" Street Theater Script:
Below is an example of a small, simple, creative, and fun nonviolent action developed by a local 99Rise team for raising awareness, recruiting new members, and building capacity. It can be used purely as an example to get your team thinking about the many different kinds of creative actions that are possible, or it could be replicated and adapted to your community/event.
Action cues are italicized
Bolded words should be emphasized
Narrator: What’s this! Attention citizens of ________! The political living dead are upon us!
Zombies move out toward the crowd.
Narrator: But wait! Fear not for your brains! Your elected officials feed not on flesh, but on the money of the 1%!
Money reveals itself and eggs on the zombies; zombies follow the money.
Narrator: You see, they need campaign contributions from corporations and billionaires in order to survive.
Zombies moan about their addiction.
Narrator: Now watch, as they become frenzied when the money goes dry, endangering their reelection!
Money hides/crouches; zombies freak out and wail looking for it.
Narrator: Luckily for our plutocratic comrades, their appetites are modest.
Money comes back and zombies follow.
Narrator: A few billion dollars is all it takes to sustain them, so that they can diligently use their offices to protect and subsidize the interests of the worst of the 1%.
Zombies get all chummy with the money, put their arms around each other, high-five, etc.
Money abruptly moves away, zombies continue to follow.
Narrator: But wait! Surely once elected into office, our politicians will respond to the will of the people! And surely, seeing as it’s Earth Day, they would be open to some environmental reform. Let’s watch!
99Risers/people from crowd approach zombies and ask them to represent their environmental interests. E.g.,
· “Catastrophic climate change is accelerating. Why don’t you stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and impose a strong carbon tax on greenhouse gas emitters?”
· “Over 90% of our country’s forests are gone. When will you stop the logging and invest in sustainable wood alternatives?”
· “Our current industrial paradigm cannot be sustained! We need to cut back global consumption and reorganize the economy. Take bold action now to save the planet!” (The money should outright laugh at this one)
During each request the zombies begin to stop and vaguely start to listen. After each request, the money beckons to them and they ignore whoever asked the question.
Narrator: Alas, it would appear that the political living dead heed only their corporate masters. They crave only money. The sights and sounds and smells of democracy have been forgotten!
Zombies look around, smell the air, scratch their heads, look confused, as if trying to remember something.
They snap out of it and go back towards the money.
Narrator: And with the tacit promise of a life after congress making millions of dollars as corporate lobbyists, even moderate, obvious reform for the common good becomes impossible.
99Risers/people from crowd intercept the zombies and ask them for reasonable environmental reforms:
· “Excuse me, we all deserve clean drinking water and a stable climate. Why are we ramping up fracking when we should be banning it outright? Ban fracking now!”
· “The U.S. military is the worst polluter on the planet. Why aren’t you talking about this? The Department of Defense should be strictly regulated and controlled.”
· “Conventional agriculture destroys our soils and undermines rural communities. Why don’t we transition to small-scale organic paradigm?”
Zombies stare dumbly at people making demands. The money looks exasperated/frustrated/bored, checks his watch in impatience, counts his money, makes “wrap it up” gestures, etc. He beckons to the zombies after a few requests.
99Riser passes by with a sign reading “Election Season”
The zombies get crazy, tripping over each other and getting louder to reach the money.
Narrator: Oh no! I think election season has begun! They must feed soon on fresh capital or else they may not have enough to run smear campaigns on their equally corrupted opponents!
Zombies stand erect, point, and make derogatory gestures towards each other, point towards themselves with assurance/satisfaction.
The money keeps walking. The zombies remember the money and drop their posturing to fervently pursue it. Zombies shriek in panic, rush towards the money as pathetically as possible.
Narrator: If only we could save the poor souls! If only there were a cure to the corruption of big money in politics!
99Risers/people from crowd come in gloriously with syringes.
Narrator: Wait… what’s this!? The Cure! They’ve found the cure! I can’t believe it… what could it be!
99Riser inoculates zombie #1
99Riser: GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!
Narrator: Yes, yes of course, that’s exactly it! …But how!?!?
99Riser inoculates zombie #2
99Riser: A MASS MOVEMENT OF THE 99%!!!
Narrator: Yes, that’s right! Surely we must unite in a common struggle to take back democracy! But… but what’s the strategy? We cannot simply take to the streets and expect to win!
99Riser inoculates zombie #3
99Riser: ESCALATING DIRECT NONVIOLENT ACTION!!!
Narrator: Ah-hah! This really is the cure! The issue that is at the root of so many others!
Narrator: This is very exciting, very exciting.
Narrator: Now, let’s hear from one of our formerly possessed representatives. How do you feel?
Zombie #1: I don’t… I don’t need to call Chevron or Monsanto anymore? What about Koch Industries? Just a quick call…
Zombie #1 begins to take out their cell phone.
Narrator: No, no my friend, that’s no longer necessary.
Narrator grabs cell phone away.
Narrator: You're free to listen to the people for a change. Try taking a stab at mitigating that whole catastrophic climate change thing.
Zombie stops and thinks seriously.Starts nodding earnestly.
Zombie #1: Yeah, yeah OK. I can do that!
Narrator: Tremendous! Why don’t we hear from another of the recently liberated?
Narrator walks over to zombie #2.
Narrator: You there, what is it like to be free at last from the insane recommendations of earth-destroying extractive industries?
Zombie #2: I feel funny… like there’s this voice in my head telling me it’s probably not a good idea to support the Keystone XL pipeline… or any pipeline transporting crude oil… What is that?
Narrator: Well good chum, what you’re probably experiencing is the strange, wondrous phenomenon of actually caring about the common good of your constituency. You know, the health and well-being of the citizens you are entrusted to represent.
Zombie #2: That makes so much sense!
Narrator: Yes. Yes it does.
Narrator: And there you have it ladies and gentlemen! The cure to this corrupting disease of big money in politics is to get money out of politics through a mass movement of direct nonviolent action!
Narrator: Resist your corporate masters and their industrial interests! Join the resistance! Thank you!
Bask in well-earned applause.
99Riser takes the megaphone; sincerely invites people to come talk to us about the skit, money in politics, 99Rise, etc. (example below)
99Riser: Hi everyone. My name is _______________ and I’m a volunteer organizer with 99Rise. I know that the skit was really silly and ridiculous, but we are working very hard on this critical issue of big money corrupting our democratic process and making meaningful change impossible for this country. If you have any questions about what was presented during the skit or want to learn more about 99Rise and the growing struggle to reclaim democracy from corporate interests, please feel free to come talk to any of us, grab a flyer, sign up to receive emails on upcoming actions and trainings and hang out with us for a bit. Thanks so much! And come talk!
Everyone goes and gives flyers/begins conversations/collects contact information (when appropriate) with people in the crowd. 1 or 2 people stay with the table.