It was the perfect slogan. Harkening back to the hippie era in personal computing, when PCs were synonymous with the ideals of peace and love, and rock music, Apple’s 1997 advertising campaign struck a distinctly generational chord. It was technology in opposition, the sort that promised revolution, but ended up more Whole Foods than Zapatista.
But the slogan stuck, because Apple had a monopoly on artists and education, in terms of its customer base, and the artifice was transparent even to the loyalists. In the late 1990s, when the brand began to resurface, with Steve Jobs’ return to the firm, and iMacs became the computer du jour, you knew that if you bought their gear, you were also buying into a lifestyle – one which was as critical as it was consumerist.
Today, one would be hard pressed to find Apple trafficking in such conceit. It’s just too moneyed, and successful, even if it does conflict with the US government. Still, it’s high time someone repurposed the slogan, if only to joke about the fact that when it comes to commerce, there really is no pretense of difference. Just a culture of buying, with at best, a stream of TED talks substituting for a counterculture.
Like any advertising logo, that’s what ‘Think Different’ devolved to. Ten years from now, perhaps someone will invent a piece of technology with a similar cultural overlay, tying it to an era of caring, and of sharing – of MP3 files perhaps – emphasizing racial equality, and personal freedom, in an entirely different context. Say, in Berlin, as opposed to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The following German-language flyers and translations, certainly bring that possibility to mind. Particularly given the overlapping of software developers with left-wing activists in the city, frequently sharing increasingly uncheap flats in derelict, pre-WWII apartment buildings, covered by tags and graffiti. In all likelihood, that’s where the guy in the bunny suit, in the lead photo, probably still lives.
THE AMBIENT NOISE OF RACISM (r)
pervades our everyday lives. Those of us from a migrant background get it in the ear on a regular basis. Whether it’s the police, politicians, the authorities or just passers-by. Racism is structural and an instrument of government.
All of us – especially our top-earning managers and bosses – benefit from the cheap production of foreign factories with inhumane conditions and the sale of weapons and military equipment, even to dictatorships that foment the very prejudices that drive people to seek refuge with us and at whose expense we live so well.
While politics and the economy are the causes of people’s flight, politicians spout their supposed concerns about the welfare of fugitives. On the other hand, people are sorted into either “usable” or “spoiled” goods. Warehouses for these human goods, stronger control mechanisms and monitoring of the borders keep the machine rampaging along.
WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE ARTIFICIALLY IMPOSED BOUNDARIES AND CATEGORIES
Racism serves as an outlet for the exploited, who have to toil away all day for the same arseholes and deal with the same sadism from above.
Racism distracts them and gives them a reason that explains away our problems and oppressive social conditions. A simplified image of an enemy allows them to push through laws that guarantee the unconditional exploitation and social insecurity of at-risk workers, especially migrants. The fear of getting poorer and our security being eroded has to be diverted onto something else, because it could easily turn into anger. Anger that should logically be aimed at politicians, companies, people and structures that have had a hand in exploiting and controlling us.
UNITED AGAINST A COMMON PROBLEM: THE EXPLOITERS AND EXPLOITING AUTHORITIES
DIFFERENT DEMANDS (l)
The demands of politicians and their pollsters don’t interest us, as to recognise them is to recognise their control. Why not make the starting point of our desires “completely different”, in contrast to our reality that is full of fear, competition, hatred and envy?
Do we really want a society that controls, isolates, exploits, alienates, criminalises and humiliates people?
Surrounded as we are by products, the latest lifestyles and new technologies, in the midst of a continuous digital brown noise, we seem to choke on questions about the spiritual emptiness of everyday life. To such an extent that we don’t dare question the appropriation and independence of our own lives.
AN INDEPENDENT LIFE FREE OF PAPERWORK AND PROPERTY!
Our demands are based on a liberal and anti-authoritarian sense of self-organised solidarity: No one should be imprisoned, controlled or exploited. Everyone should be free to live their own lives, rather than being left to the whims of government.
However, this requires a permanent break with today’s norms and their constraints. The everyday revolt against all authority, no matter where, is a question of self-determination and independence. It is left up to us to challenge the existing order.
I decide whether I look the other way or intervene against checks and surveillance, as they attempt to restrict us.
I decide whether I accept the structure of ownership as it is right now or fight back against those who want more than they need.
I decide whether to profile people or get to know them in order to foster relationships on an equal footing with each other.
I decide to join the attack against those who seek to exploit and appropriate us.
UNLEASH THE FURY AGAINST ALL AUTHORITY
NAZIS, DEPORTATION AUTHORITIES, THE RULING ELITE, WAR PROFITEERS, CAPITALISTS AND GOVERNING STRUCTURES!
Translated from the German by Samuel Morgan. Photographs courtesy of Joel Schalit.