Cardboard Protesters Take Berlin

How’s this for innovative direct action? Last week, 25 life-size figures appeared in front of a Deutsche Bank branch in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. At first glance they appeared to be protestors, but were in fact cardboard “clones” of Occupy activists from around the world. Because you can’t arrest a piece of cardboard.

In October, two Berlin designers visited Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC and Occupy London to meet occupiers and take their photos. “The protests of the Occupy movement address global issues,” said Paul Stabe, one of the designers, who dubbed the project Wall Street To Your Street. “We wanted to give protesters the opportunity to make their voice heard in other countries.”

Deutsche Bank was heavily involved in bringing about the financial crisis, knowingly selling subprime mortgage-backed securities that its own analysts described as “crap.”  Although the German bank received $11.8 billion in bailout funds, European governments insist that the costs of the financial crisis be paid for by working people as part of the hugely unpopular austerity programs.

The cardboard protestors also made an appearance during the global day of action against austerity on May 12. And who knows? Perhaps one day you’ll find yourself at a demonstration, face-to-face with a cardboard cutout of you.

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