Leap Day Action Night 2008 — Friday, February 29, 2008 — is only a few months away and affinity groups and individuals all over are laying plans to disrupt business as usual. Leap day is an extra day — a blank slate waiting to be transformed into a spontaneous, inspirational rebellion against dreary business as usual. Every other day, the wheels of global industrial capitalism spin around, running over our freedom and the earth in the process. Leap day offers an opportunity to go beyond protest — merely decrying what we’re against — and focus on living life in a positive, creative, loving, cooperative, sustainable fashion without domination of others or the earth.
This will be the third Leap Day Action Night. The first was organized somewhat as a joke in 2000 in response to too many boring, scripted, single-issue protests. It was raucous — a mob of finger puppet-armed radicals with a bicycle sound system re-enacted the Seattle WTO protest by shutting down local banks and chain stores, smashing TVs, and simulating sex acts on dumpstered mattresses in the street. The police were too confused to control the mayhem! In 2004, Leap Day went global with protests in the UK and several US cities.
The ideal Leap Day Action is not organized and does not take months of planning, lots of meetings or e-mail lists. What it takes is inspiration, creative proposals that have never been tried before run amok, and a dash of recklessness. It takes some word of mouth, fliers or some way to invite both your friends and folks you’ve never met. Oh the joy to finally be in the streets with no police around — because this isn’t a ritualized confrontation at a well-policed World Bank meeting or two-party convention.
Let’s stop just talking about freedom and start creating chaos in real time — getting back to the roots of rebellion instead of running our activist efforts like we’re trying to replicate the computerized, bureaucratic structures of “the man”!
Leap Day Action Night is local — fitting the local needs each of us knows best. This avoids the need for airline tickets, hitchhiking and road trips. Every single town and neighborhood has corners that need beautification with a garden, a flaming barricade, a free market, a bicycle drive-in. Every business district has a slumlord, chain store, bank or corporate headquarters crying out for exposure and outrage.
It is amazing that with the war, global warming, corporate speedups, homogenization of culture — a million oppressions — there are so few outbursts of rioting, strikes, protests, sit-ins, direct actions. Maybe this is because people are convinced that resistance doesn’t work anymore — or because people feel too isolated to rebel. Maybe we’re all waiting for someone else to start it. Well, at this point, resistance is our only hope. The system won’t reform itself. Nothing is going to change because people sit around and complain in the privacy of their own armchair.
On Leap Day it is up to each of our individual initiative. This is primarily a joy — an opportunity for freedom, self-determination, courage, innovation, community and love. What will you do? What have you never thought of before — or what have you always imagined but never had the excuse to try? We can’t let the grind of daily life make us forget the spark of being alive, and we can’t let the systems of oppression crush our spirit. Leap for it!
Check www.leapdayaction.org for info.