A Toolkit for Culture Jammers

How to unravel the pervasive influence of consumer culture


| July-August 1999



The next revolution—World War III—will be waged inside your head. It will be, as Marshall McLuhan predicted, a guerrilla information war fought not in the sky or on the streets, not in the forests or around international fishing boundaries on the high seas, but in newspapers and magazines, on the radio, on TV, and in cyberspace. It will be a dirty, no-holds-barred propaganda war of competing worldviews and alternative visions of the future.

We culture jammers can win this battle for ourselves and for planet Earth. Here's how: We build our own meme factory, put out a better product, and beat the corporations at their own game. We identify the macromemes and the metamemes—the core ideas without which a sustainable future is unthinkable—and deploy them. Here are the five most potent metamemes in the culture jammer's arsenal:

True cost: In the global marketplace of the future, the price of every product will tell the ecological truth.

Demarketing: It's time to unsell the product and turn the massive power of marketing against itself.

The doomsday machine: The global economy is a juggernaut that must be stopped and reprogrammed.

No corporate “I”: Corporations are not legal “persons” with constitutional rights and freedoms of their own, but legal fictions that we created and must control.