It is with great rejoicing that we announce our latest triumph, the successful development of an effective new means of fundraising to support targets of state repression.
All you need to try this yourself is 1) a person or cause that deserves fundraising support, 2) another person who cares about that person or cause, and 3) a bunch of people who want to play a practical joke on the caring person.
In our case, the targets of state repression are Scott DeMuth and Carrie Feldman, two young anarchists the FBI is struggling to tie to an Animal Liberation Front action that occurred at the University of Iowa in 2004 when the two were barely in high school. Scott is charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act; he goes to trial September 13. After serving four months in prison for refusing to speak to a grand jury, Carrie has been subpoenaed again, this time to testify at Scott’s trial. The two face tremendous legal expenses and are in dire need of support.
Last November, we were fruitlessly trying to brainstorm new ways to raise funds for Scott and Carrie. At the same time, we were teasing our friend Steve for hating folk punk, an obscure musical genre. Have you ever had a friend who loved to hate things and be miserable in a way that was positively adorable? Steve is that kind of person, as hundreds of admirers can attest. Somebody had spread a rumor that Steve was in a folk punk band, Steve was incensed, it was hysterical—and suddenly we had a brilliant money-making scheme.
We knew that Steve would never stand in the way of a benefit for Scott and Carrie no matter how personally humiliating it was. So we sent out a top secret email soliciting pledges to their legal fund on the condition that Steve record a folk punk album. We hoped to reach $1000 worth of pledges, but within a week we had more than $2000—everybody wanted in on this prank! We broke the news at the last show of a From the Depths tour: picture a wild crowd waving fistfulls of dollar bills, holding signs reading “Don’t let us down!” and chanting “STEVE! STEVE!” A dumbfounded Steve was ceremoniously presented with a banjo and eventually stuttered that the album would be recorded, to the glee of all.
Performing under the nom de shame “Spook Rat,” Steve has now completed the recording. Hearing Steve’s anguished voice belting out these tuneless anthems warms our wicked hearts—Steve is a highly trained musician and a perfectionist who never dared sing a note until now. And the album does not disappoint: it’s at least as funny as the prank itself! Borrowing from Umlaut, plagiarizing Manowar, and covering Kool Keith, Spook Rat mercilessly satirizes folk punk, anarchist subculture, and everything else within reach. “Drunk Dialing Legal Support” and “You Say Oogle like It’s a Bad Thing” are destined to become timeless classics, while “Deth 2 Folk Punk” is more introspective, capturing Steve’s meditations on life’s inescapable tragedies.
So, to Steve’s eternal misery and mortification, we present “The Shape of Bagels to Come,” Spook Rat’s magnum opus:
Spook Rat: “The Shape of Bagels to Come” 10-track album, complete with PDF liner notes [30 MB].
To quote the insert, “SHAME on anyone who listens to this without donating their life savings to prisoners!” Click here to make a donation to Scott and Carrie’s support campaign via Paypal.
The beauty of this tactic is that it can draw money from outside politicized circles; we raised money from people who would not otherwise have donated a cent to Scott or Carrie. Traditional fundraising tactics usually require political sympathies on the part of those at whom the appeal is directed. This one requires only two people who give a damn about anything: the organizer of the prank and the victim. We call on all anarchists who find our story entertaining to commence testing this method out in their own social groups immediately.
When we say that we are prepared to go to any length to support our prisoners and overthrow capitalism, we don’t just mean we’re willing to break things or go to jail or get killed. We also mean we’re ready to invent brand new tactics and even have fun if that’s what it takes—we mean that nothing is sacred, including our friends and our pious notions about anarchist organizing. When it comes to maintaining long-term defendant and prisoner support, a little fun might not hurt.
The Original Top Secret Fundraising Plea
Famed bassist of From the Depths and Requiem and guitarist of Network of Terror, Steve is an amazing musician and can play almost every instrument there is.
For some reason, Steve hates folk punk. It drives Steve crazy! Steve is a funny person who loves to hate things. Sometimes we speculate that Steve loves the same things Steve hates, because it makes Steve so happy not to like things.
But Steve cares a lot about Scott DeMuth and Carrie Feldman, the two young people alleged by the FBI to have something to do with an Animal Liberation Front action in Iowa in 2004. Scott and Carrie languish in jail, even though the event in question happened when they were barely in high school.
We have a crazy idea. We’re soliciting pledges for people to promise to donate a certain amount of money to the support fund for Scott and Carrie, on the condition that Steve records a folk punk album. When we’ve got $1000 pledged, we’ll break the news to Steve, who will have no choice except to record the album. We’ve already raised hundreds of dollars—we’re close and just need a little help!
If you like folk punk
Steve is a great musician and is bound to record an album that will shoot to the top of the folk punk charts, knocking Ryan Harvey out of #1.
If you don’t like folk punk
Life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Even folk punk can serve a purpose when it comes to offering legal support to political prisoners—and playing practical jokes on our friends.
If you like Steve
Show you care by helping out Steve’s friends, and playing this teasing trick!
If you don’t like Steve
This prank will mortify Steve! Just imagine Steve’s reaction when Steve finds out that Steve has to record a folk punk album or deny friends $1000+ of funds they desperately need.
If you like defending targets of state repression
This is an opportunity to break exciting new ground in prisoner support! If pranks like this can be tied to prisoner support projects, it will open up broad new horizons for fundraising and spreading awareness. This isn’t just about Scott and Carrie—it’s about the future of prisoner support!
If you don’t care about defending targets of state repression
Then fuck off!
To participate, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell how much you can pledge. We’ll contact you when we’ve reached $1000 and can break the news to Steve. Everyone is invited to the surprise party at which we will make the announcement.
Feel free to forward this email to others you trust. Thanks so much, everyone!
“Thank you all so much! We are so thrilled and honored that Steve is doing this for Carrie and Scott. It’s a huge help. And we can’t wait to hear the album!” -Support Committee for Carrie Feldman
“This is a significant contribution to Scott’s struggle for justice, and for justice for all peoples.” -Family and Friends of Scott DeMuth [apocryphal]
“I hate folk too, but I like making people suffer, especially my friends!” -Bryan Funck of Thou
“This is the best idea ever. No really, EVARRRR.” -Anonymous supporter