The Yes Men – 2004-05-05 09:32:56
(May 5, 2004) — At the Heritage Foundation’s annual Resource Bank meeting in Chicago last Friday, protesters masquerading as a right-wing think tank took the stage and announced that, in light of Bush’s shortcomings, they were nominating former Reagan Attorney-General Ed Meese for president.
The audience applauded for nearly ten seconds. Meese, eating at a table just feet away from the podium where Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men made the announcement, grimaced and shook his head in surprise.
Heritage is the most influential think tank in Washington, spending over $25 million annually to influence policy. Just as the wildest anarchists aim to “smash the state,” Heritage hopes that “the liberal welfare state can be brought to collapse,” in the words of its current president.
The Yes Men registered for the Heritage event as “The Society for Socioeconomic Stability” and spent two days mingling among the 650 participants before approaching the microphone during a lull in the closing luncheon.
Echoing sentiments expressed by others throughout the event, Bichlbaum condemned Bush as an inadequate free-markets candidate. But while others had condemned Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program as “socialistic,” Bichlbaum focussed on the administration’s war in Iraq, calling it “crony corporate welfare” and “market distortion on a fairly gigantic scale.”
“The Iraq war was history’s biggest illegal trade subsidy,” said Yes Man Mike Bonanno, who was also in attendance. “One thing we’ll be trying to do in the months ahead is lodge an official complaint about this with the WTO in Geneva.”
“In a free market, companies like Halliburton and Exxon should be funding their own market expansion projects instead of depending on the Federal government for it,” said Louise Smith, another Yes Man attendee.
To see the Yes Men in action at the Heritage Foundation, click on:
pictures and video
The Yes Men are best known for having represented the World Trade Organization in a number of venues; a movie about these adventures will be released by United Artists this coming August: