Videos threaten very existence of WEF
In a series of diabolically stupid video manipulations, a cabal of anti-poverty filmmakers have performed an elaborate slander of the World Economic Forum, showing its “leading lights” taking a dramatic departure from the litany of meaningless pledges they usually make at the annual gathering in the Swiss resort town.
In response, WEF spokesperson Adrian Monck could barely contain himself. “The only defense to satire is common sense!” he sputtered, before racing back into the WEF war room to deal with the burgeoning crisis.
Fortunately for the WEF, few media outlets picked up on the WEF’s fantastic but fictional approach to world poverty (“World Leaders Pledge Strategy to End Poverty Now”). Instead, the media was dominated by coverage of a real WEF press release warning of “Over Regulation of the Financial Sector” (sic).
The forged videos showed eight of “leading lights of Davos” outlining a few clear strategies to end poverty.
The CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, the world’s largest agribusiness conglomerate, spoke of “agriculture’s role in today’s economic savagery, and the broader long-term issues of robbing whole groups for the greed of the food industry,” before calling for “universal justice and agriculture’s reform” via Food Sovereignty. “We want to undo the injuries of global capitalism,” added a much-improved “Klaus Schwab,” founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
“The source of our financial treasure was violence towards the colonies of the global South,” admitted “Queen Elizabeth II” most refreshingly, before pledging to sell her lands and use the proceeds to improve the lot of the world’s poor. “We have caused this disaster,” added “Prince Harry” with a stalwart giggle. “Nobody wants a catastrophe,” Canadian Prime Minister “Stephen Harper” chimed in most helpfully.
“Haiti was a house of cards that we built through a history of exploitative economic policies,” said a tired-looking “Bill Clinton.” Now we have a chance to rebuild a more independent society by ending exploitation, forgiving their debt and bringing back real sustainability.”
The perpetrators included a prominent film director, several Hollywood voice actors, at least one disaffected member of the World Economic Forum itself, and thirty-four of the Yes Men.
“Yes, these are real talking heads,” explained Robert Diaz Leroy, a Hollywood film producer who was one of those behind the action. Another co-conspirator, film director Philippe Diaz, went into greater detail.
“We did this out of frustration with the fact that each year in Davos, the wealthy and powerful figure out ways the global economy can continue to benefit them,” said Diaz, who directed The End of Poverty?, which opens this Friday in New York. “Even this year, they’re still talking about economic growth and de-regulation as the solution to poverty. That’s especially obscene in light of this year’s economic crisis, which resulted from those exact policies and has disproportionately affected the poor.”
Despite the WEF’s annual posturing, neoliberal policies have proven to be a massive failure for the vast majority of the poor, said Diaz. “When a disaster strikes a poor country like Haiti, our culpability becomes graphically clear.”
Diaz explained that growth has by and large benefited only the wealthiest fraction of the population. “Our economic system depends on the resources of the global South that we have plundered since 1492. Only the tools have changed: nowadays we rarely use guns or armies, we mainly use economic instruments. But the damage is just as real.” (See the fake press release for some real statistics to that effect.)
“What you won’t hear in Davos is anything about the structural factors at the root of global poverty,” said Beth Portello, who produced The End of Poverty?. “Poverty is created: it’s the byproduct of centuries of exploitation of human and natural resources maintained into modern times by unfair trade, tax and land policies, and odious debt.”
“Unlike the lip-service solutions from Davos, the proposals on our fake WEF site would actually end poverty,” said Diaz. “We’re going to do everything we can to make them happen. The film is just the beginning.”
“Poverty isn’t an accident, and it won’t end by accident, either,” added Portello.
In a dramatic bit of irony, it was revealed that the fake Queen Elizabeth II was played by boy actor James O’Keefe, who was recently arrested for feloniously attempting to tamper with the phone line of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, not long after being honored by House Republicans for his “ACORN pimp” role last year.
“Oh that queen,” said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. “Who knows what trouble she’ll get into next.”
The End of Poverty?, a film with some real solutions to global poverty, is currently playing in US theatres. If you happen to be in New York City this weekend, come meet Philippe and Beth at screenings this Friday (1/29), Saturday or Sunday matinee at Cinema Village in lower Manhattan. Phillipe, Beth and Andy are all available for interviews in NYC or by phone: conta ct firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-780-4008 to arrange.