Welcome to the Church of Stop Shopping!

Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir is a radical performance community based in New York City, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands.

We are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities all over the world defending community, life and imagination.

We compel action in those who have never been activist,  revive exhausted activists, and devise new methods for future activism. We also put on a great show.

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ONE OF THE CULTURAL ORIGINS OF "HANDS UP! DON'T SHOP!"

vimeo2.jpgWatch the video from the activist archives. http://vimeo.com/4988483

This is the Westfield Mall in Shepherd's Bush, London. Back when we still wore robes, in 2009, we incite ascending layers of law enforcement to wrap around us. as we shout "Stop Shopping children! It's time to slow down your consumption!" 

Note the level of panic at the cameras, in this case the videographer is Richard DeDomenici, a popular performance artist and comedian in the UK - harassed by security men who seem to be the rugby players who didn't make the team. The aggression that is released by the interruption of shopping is an important key. 

Eventually, as we came to understand the violence that is organized by the big box economy, the sweatshop products/union busting/fossil-fuel-centric/saturation marketing of the Walmarts of this world - this response became less bizarre. These are the underpaid renta-cops on the front line of a very deep army. By the end, we were confronted by the local bobbie captain, who knew what a performance artist was, and knew we'd been on the BBC singing about the sins of shopping.

As the "speaker's corner" in Hyde Park languishes, Westfield Mall, the biggest mall in England, sweeps everyone into a fake commons where expressive citizenship is disallowed. The heartbreaking testimony near the end by the store worker lady, who says "American has scads of malls and we don't have any - we love Westfield," shows us the difficult terrain we are hiking here. How do you confront the mistaken love of "The New?" We must raise "The Earth" to that level of attraction for the average predator Human. Quite a job.

We are looking back at the progression of our anti-shopping because of the recent breakthrough at the Ferguson Black Friday. "Hands Up! Don't Shop!"

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First They Came For The Druggies

1620971_10152418511915974_7017261082488348293_n.jpgFirst they came for the druggies who tried to make their fantasy economy away from the bigger killers, but I did not speak out, because I'm white with powder cocaine. Then they came for the immigrants, flooded by Clinton's subsidized corn and dragged screaming by ICE from their homes, and I did not speak out, because I'm sitting here waiting for my Mexican cook to bring me my pasta special. Then they came for the poverty-dizzied young from zip codes like Bed-Stuy and the Bronx, fed into the for-profit prison pipeline, and I did not speak out, because where do you start? It's a national operation run by Wall Street. Then one day the Earth came for me, the ocean turned to acid sweeping through the streets, and I cannot protect my family, because America is declared a permanent emergency, and the cops and soldiers are the same guy, jailing us in our upstairs apartment, and no-one is left to speak for me because permits to speak in public are rationed by Chase Bank.

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