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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Our Blog

Public Safety After 9/11

copstanding.jpgPublic safety after 9/11 is identified with law enforcement.  The safety built up by the sharing of culture by many different kinds of people – with uncontrolled things like humor, large gestures and tom-foolery, loud-voiced speechifying, children as central and music as ever-present – that “eco-system” of culture was actively discouraged, especially for black, brown, poor or queer citizens.  (In most cities this is much of or most of the population.)  For years in New York, the police take people to jail from their front stoops.  Singers in the Stop Shopping Choir tell stories of being told to “move on” when they are talking to friends in the doorway of their own apartment house. 

There is always the threat that you will just be hand-cuffed on the spot, without explanation or cause, and that after some days and nights in the system you will be granted “credit for time served” for pleading guilty, a ritual of humiliation before the judge.  This “sentencing-by-police” has grown to epidemic proportions over the years.  It is extra-legal.  And of course, it makes any protest of government or corporate abuses a risky outing.  We proceed with our arms penned with the numbers of 1st Amendment lawyers and loved ones.

In Grand Central Station, a raised voice, a group of people gathered in common purpose, placards that suggest criticism of official violence – all such activity is quickly surrounded by police and solders, Homeland Security and state troopers.  In the winter season, the famous old train station is the spot where an ordinary voice can carry to the maximum number of fellow citizens.   But the fear of the message is palpable.  So our pride in the message must over-ride that official fear. 

Now is the time to trust the creative safety that is grown by uncontrolled free speech of citizens.  We have so much to build in our communities, and so much work to do to live in a nonviolent way with the Earth.

 

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A Man In A Suit

10685599_10152580951875974_9153969302753979641_n.jpgA man in a suit stands next to a car that looks like a bullet. Another man stands next to him in clean, neat work clothes, the construction project manager. He stands next to an SUV-like vehicle with a 4 by 4 truckbed. He unfolds a blue-print and lays it flat on the open tail-gate. The man in the suit takes his eyes from the forest before him and looks down.

They look many times from the map back at their property. The project manager points, placing building lines over the rough green foliage that faces them. A wind blows from the property, and if you held up a certain kind of microphone, up into the forest wind, you would hear a voice.

“You have no jurisdiction here. This is the world. And here in the world we have our own predator, hidden in the rustling leaves, up in the swaying branches. The world’s power may be unnoticeable to you, a crack of a twig on the ground, a flickering shadow over the sun. The predator that beat you here by a million years is all over everything, like a storm. 

“It should be the only thing on your map. It is the life that holds everyone of us in place. You only see the contour of the hill and the edges of the lake. If your truck explodes with rust, then you have met the power. Look at yourself. Weeds are growing through your bodies like beautiful swords.

“There is a storm of life in here, at rest, waiting. Our life turns toward you with ten thousand eyes. We see you.

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