(see below the article for photos by various people who attended the 12 hour marathon event!)
Who said SL was dead? Who said SL was all about a chat room and “3D phone sex” and greed and debauchery? I’m not sure which SL commentator dissed SL as an also ran in web 2.0, but I disagree completely with him. SL has much more potential than perhaps was previously thought.
I have used the platform for now nearly five years. During that time, I have been involved with people using it for protest, education, art, writing, discussion and enjoyment. And the thing is, see, all of the people I have been involved with use it for more than one of these things and a myriad of combinations of all of these things.
My satisfaction in SL comes with linking people. I love to see talented people in SL use their talents constructively and I suppose, in a political, engaging way. This is why I was an organiser of perhaps the biggest, most globally publicised protest in SL’s history, when the French Front National decided to use the platform as a recruiting base – we kicked their ass both in SL with talented people creating protest sites, art work and events that made the RL news through TV, newspapers and across the net. We educated people about the rise of the new fascism across the world. We made an impact on the French elections in 2007 - the Front National were seen as being in battle with cartoon characters and "Pig bombs." They were laughed out of the polling stations.
This is also what happened with our involvement in various protests and events since, from “Lag 4 Peace”, “Don’t Iraq Iran”, through to the much publicised and written about IBM Italy strike etc.
The most satisfying piece of work I have been involved with was last nights RAWA fundraiser.
It hit the target in so many ways. Bringing together artists, artistes, politics and organisational skills. And the talent on show last night was incredible, from the amazing builder and political artist, Trill Zapatero, through the various singers, bands, DJ’s – and even a comedian – who took part. And we raised $500 USD in one go through doing what we all do in SL, but coordinating it into one event.
Truth be told, there were few organisers in this event. Trill, Merriam Galaxy, Agnes Sharple, me, Ilsa Hesse and Siri Vita at various stages lent a hand – all doing what we were good at. And then in the end, the people who came to the events/ the 12 hour event – all lent their bodies and linden wallets – spending money that would otherwise have went on virtual clothes and pixel penises.
What I have learned from helping organise this event (besides the logistics) is that there are ways to link political activism with what is popular in SL. Trill Zapatero is at the heart of this zeitgeist with her BoHo HoBo shop. She sells amazing, detailed, well put together POPULAR clothing and all proceeds bypass her pocket and go straight to RAWA.org and this is what happened last night – tips went straight to RAWA.org – and even some of the musicians gave back some of the tips they made to the charity(VLB in particular who gave ALL of what they had made).
We raised L$125000 in small donations, from less than a dollar up to five dollars a time.
Damn you Maggie Thatcher – you told us there was no such thing as society. You and Reagan told us we were all selfish entities struggling and fighting each other to claw every pound and dollar into making ourselves powerful and rich. How wrong you selfish shits were. I see it in SL all the time. This so called “game of capitalism” is being subverted by a bunch of people who have good in their hearts. A group of people who use Rock for RAWA.org. A group of people who educate through art, machinima, giving people freedom, lending time, talking, and ultimately creating something so good it will affect the real world forever.
What was said from the stage all night by all of the artistes was that L$250 ($1USD) can educate a child in Afghanistan for a month. Think about that. Buy a pair of pixel pants at Trill’s store and you have influenced a society. Tip a sign because you love the sound of Max Kleene, VLB, WhirliPlacebo, Senjata Witt, Lazarus Doghouse, Shannon OHerlihy or the comedy of Rodolpho Teardrop/ Billybob Neck and you have helped a future president /peacemaker/ father /mother /farmer/ scientist /educator… the list goes on.
Think of a whole grid of this. People living out their fantasy second life – buying pixel penises with the money going to AIDS research or pixel fur coats and the money going to animal welfare. Going to see a live band or singer and the money buying instruments for disabled children or a comedian who diverts his tips to victims of hatecrime.
No? You don’t see it? Well then, you are not part of it. But hey – I want to exploit you. I want to exploit your want to dress your avatar and your need for an escape into a world apart from your daily mundane existence. I want to take your lindens and I want to educate children with it. I want to help fund anti-nuclear campaigns and left political parties. I want to divert your money to Amnesty to help campaign for the release of Ayat al-Qarmezi I want to take your unthinking money for RAWA; I want you to feel good as you dance the night away at my expensive club that will take your cash and help The Albert Kennedy Trust. Let’s subvert this capitalist mish mash that has left a bad taste in so many people’s mouths as they live out even more debauched lifestyles to escape their banker induced austere RL ones – because they just can’t think of a way away from excess over poverty. Let’s change this virtual world, one linden and one pixel hat at a time. Let’s make SL sustainable!
If you are with us, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank all of the superb acts who gave their time and their lindens to this project. All of you (listed below) where superb. You are welcome to come along and use our stage or the Red Star Bar for fundraisers in the future. Along with the enjoyment you give and the money residents spend, we can change the world. Let’s face it – a gig a week for charity aint gonna break you.
As for you clothes and penis makers – use your imagination. For the most of you, your mortgage does not depend on the few thousand lindens you make – and even if you are operating a big concern – why not make your best selling product the charity product? Divert the cash to CND or Cancer Research. Sl is so much more – and I know that from last night – and I know from all of the positive educational protest and joint actions I have been part of in the past five years.