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Learn more about GAPS Project GAPS: Made BY children, FOR children
Various 1998 Projects Past projects / Other past projects / 1998 projects
(see also additional items below main release)
November 10, 1998

Contacts: RTMARK (
          American Booksellers Assocation (
          Friends United (, 512-494-9273)

Destruction of neighborhoods by corporate chains is target of bag-wearing "billies"

AUSTIN - A nationwide coalition that includes recording artists Negativland, author Robert Anton Wilson, the estate of Terry Southern, and others is declaring November 23 to be "Bag Day," and asking that at noon on that day, people all over the U.S. protest the homogenizing and destructive effects of corporate chains, by browsing in Barnes & Noble bookstores--with paper bags on their heads.

RTMARK is channeling $1200 in anonymous donations to aid with promotion of Bag Day. RTMARK has helped sponsor two other mass-action protests, both tremendously successful: last April's Phone In Sick Day, which was deemed responsible for the "sickout" of 80% of the Irish police force, and September's Zapatista FloodNet, which the Pentagon called "immoral" and attempted unsuccessfully to repel, and which the FBI called an example of "worldwide electronic insurrection" (another FloodNet action, also sponsored by RTMARK, is scheduled for November 22; see below). For press reports on these and other RTMARK actions, see

The choice of Barnes & Noble as Bag Day's primary target is due in part to a lawsuit filed in March by the American Booksellers Association along with two dozen independently-owned bookstores. The lawsuit contends that the enormously successful chain, whose legal worth has nearly doubled in the past year, has "engaged in a pattern and practice of soliciting, inducing, and receiving secret, discriminatory, and illegal terms from publishers and distributors," and that much of the chain's expansion "can only be profitable if the chains receive illegal deals and existing independent booksellers are driven out of the marketplace." (See for more on this lawsuit.)

The broader purpose of Bag Day is to call attention to similar behavior by other corporate chains that results in the destruction of small businesses, and with them the individuality and character of whole neighborhoods (see for example The bag is also meant to be evocative of the Old West bandit's stereotypical facial covering; November 23 is Billy the Kid's putative birthday, and bag-wearers will be known as "billies" to commemorate this figure who primarily attacked corporate entities that had stepped out of line.

The idea for this national protest was conceived and launched by an Austin-based activist group ( In recent weeks, many other groups and individuals have joined in to help promote the event, including recording artists Negativland, author Robert Anton Wilson, the estate of Terry Southern, Alt-X/Black Ice, the AK Press, the Church of the SubGenius, and others.

For more background, please see: (above suit against B&N) (related issue) (Dept. of Justice
             inquiry into B&N; includes models for letters to Janet Reno) (another suit against B&N) (RTMARK press page) (Friends United) (corporate monitors) (corporate monitors) (article about independent bookstores fighting chains) (RTMARK video) (Melbourne Bag Day)

RTMARK was established in 1991 to further anti-corporate activism, often by channelling funds from donors to workers for the sabotage of corporate products. Recent and upcoming acts of RTMARK-aided subversion are documented on RTMARK's web site,


November 22 marks another RTMARK-sponsored Zapatista FloodNet action, this one directed against the School of the Americas, which has trained top-level members of the Mexican Army who have subsequently played a key role in the "low-intensity conflict" in the States of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. Simultaneously but independently, the School of the Americas Watch ( will conduct a civil disobedience action at the school itself.


Managed by Dr. Strangelove co-author Terry Southern's son, founded on the third anniversary of the author's death (October 29), The Magic Christian Fund commemorates the first culture-jamming literary hero, Grand Guy Grand. See for more on this newest addition to RTMARK's family of funds, and watch that space for two more funds coming soon.


RTMARK representatives will be speaking in Stuttgart and Berlin in mid-January. If you would like to arrange a speaking engagement in the area, please write

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