Adbusters’ September 17 White House Siege Is Now 50 Days of Improv Jazz

Getty The White House is seen on March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Adbusters was planning a 50-day White House siege starting September 17 that was promoted widely on social media. Is the nonviolent protest still happening? As it turns out, the protest has evolved a bit since it was first announced and is now 50 days of jazz improv.

Here’s what you need to know.


The White House Siege Is Now 50 Days of Nonviolent Improv Jazz Throughout the Country

Adbusters –On September 17, 2020, we launch 50 days of peaceful protests across DC and the entire United States of America. Why? To stop Donald Trump from stealing the election. So alright you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there, Trump is trying to steal the election . . . it’s got many of us pretty rattled…2020-09-17T00:32:19Z

Since first announcing the siege in July, Adbusters has changed how the siege is going to work. It’s now promoting 50 days of nonviolent improv jazz on street corners and in front of federal buildings all over the country. This is the new focus, rather than a siege in front of the White House, according to Adbusters’ website.

The website refers to this as a “carnival of joyful resistance” in their Tactical Briefing #6. They wrote:

Starting tomorrow September 17, let’s summon the revolutionary sweetness that was our calling card in Zuccotti Park and electrify the 50 days leading up to November 3.

On street corners and in front of federal buildings of every town and city, and in front of the White House, let’s start playing non-violent improv jazz in defiance of Trump’s tyranny.Bring your horn, find a comrade, and strike up a riff. As the music swells, the air above the entire nation will become steeped in the deep blue revolutionary hue of collaborative, organic, improvised jazz.Our 50-day blast of impassioned jazz could change the outcome of the election.

In Tactical Briefing #3, the site was still mentioning having the focus of the protest be in Lafayette Square, but they mentioned that they would show up at the square playing improvisational jazz. This was a change from Tactical Briefing #2, which simply mentioned a 50-day siege of the White House and people meeting at Lafayette Square.

The change was also mentioned in Tactical Briefing #5. The original idea to focus the protest at the White House appears to have changed. The briefing notes: “Bring courage and wits — and your musical chops — to a street corner near you . . . and to pop-up sieges in front of federal buildings across the nation . . . and as the election approaches, to the White House in Washington, D.C.”


A Group Organizing the Lafayette Meeting Said It Was Canceled Due to Violent Threats

On September 11, DC General Assembly announced that they would be organizing Occupy’s White House Siege event.

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The group then tweeted on September 17, noting that a general meeting at Lafayette Square was not happening, and tagged Adbusters in the tweet. Adbusters retweeted the notice.

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DC General Assembly wrote, in part:

NOTICE TO ALL PROTESTERS: After intensive talks and multiple considerations, we’ve decided to cancel the General Assembly scheduled for 12 noon in Lafayette Square. We received MANY threats of death and violence from Trump supporters and white nationalists…

THE STATE OF OUR NATION: It is a dark day in the United States. Between the threat of violence from White Nationalists and Trump supporters, protesters have to face the threat of violence from police as well. This is NOT a free country. #Shame @Adbusters @OccupyWallStNYC…

THE THREAT OF VIOLENCE: Its very real for protesters in Trump’s America, the hypocrisy of his position leaves worlds to be desired. Good people are harassed and intimidated by thugs who care NOTHING for democracy or truth. #Shame #Fascism #WhiteNationalism…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OCCUPY! It is with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of today’s General Assembly. We simply can not justify risking anyone’s safety. The right to assemble and speak freely is under heavy, direct attack. #OccupyTrump…

The day before they had tweeted a video of a backup location for the protest, but as of the time of publication, it appears that the D.C. general assembly event has been canceled overall.

On their Facebook page, Adbusters noted that this was now “50 days of mental occupation starting on the 9th anniversary of #Occupy.”

Adbusters, the group organizing the 50-day siege, was also the group that helped start the Occupy Wall Street movement. NPR reported in 2011 that early Occupy protests seemed to be connected to Adbusters, a Vancouver, British Columbia magazine that had an anti-consumerism slant. The group proposed a September 17 “Wall Street” occupation that seemed to kick-off the movement. NPR reported that Adbusters never claimed any control over the movement itself, but played a role starting it.

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