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"Sweatshop" written on outside of downtown "Gap Body" store over 500 times

Local guerilla artists write the word "sweatshop" outside of the downtown "Gap Body" store over 500 times with over 150 arrows poiniting to the store.
PORTLAND, OR -- Between the late hours of 11:00pm Wednesday night and 12:30am Thursday morning, a masked band of anarchists wielding colored chalk descended upon the downtown "Gap Body" store (formerly "Gap Women") off of Pioneer Square and managed to write the word "SWEATSHOP" over 500 times, with 12 of them in foot-high letters, and accompanied by over 150 arrows pointing at the store, before finally succumbing to "the man" (aka hand cramps) and returning to their places of dwelling.

The convoluted effort by the group will surely be washed away by valor Gap employees come time morning, so if you happen to be downtown early tomorow, stop by and see the mosaic in all its gore-y before it is swept away into the sewage of time forever.

cheap promo: visit www.earthjam.com for information on a free open-air music/art/food festival including some great funk bands and a huge bon-fire!.

homepage: homepage: http://www.earthjam.com

seen this one before 14.Jun.2001 07:25


Yawn -- did this "action" really accomplish anything. By the way, I'm sure they will hire an outside source to clean up. The Gap employees won't be out there scrubbing. We all know many major retail chains use sweatshop labor, yet people continue to shop there and graffiti isn't going to stop them. Hate to sound jaded, but graffiti really isn't much of avenue for social change. Be more creative.

Corporate Vandalism 14.Jun.2001 08:50


I disagree that this didn't accomplish anything. The more we make our message known, the more it becomes a reality to the average American. The GAP, McDonald's, Exxon, etc. have all spent billions of dollars so that their messages are all that the American public sees. We should take every opportunity to try to undo the damage that has been done. We have been inundated enough.

Boxer Rebellion! 14.Jun.2001 11:55


Admit it: The chalkers were just hacked-off at the idea that Gap expects them to wear those idiotic fashion-victim boxer shorts in the display-windows! ;-)

The words were still there when I passed, shortly before 9 AM. The arrangement and chalk colors combine nicely with the bricks to make a rather artistic display. Kudos to the perps.

Anony: This action was simple, effective, and non-toxic. Unlike with a lot of "standard" grafitti, no one can seriously claim that those chalk marks damaged anything. Except Gap's composure. But then, that was the point.

action! 14.Jun.2001 12:43

Josh gapsucks at earthjam.com

> Yawn -- did this "action" really accomplish anything.

Yes, it did! While "chalking" last night, almost everyone who walked by stopped dead in their tracks, completely astonished by the sheer scope of the "art", the word "sweatshop" streaching out seemingly into infinity.

It truely inspired the people I spoke with -- you could almost see that spark of disbelief ignite in them of what can be done by even just one person and a little concentrated effort.

> We all know many major retail chains use sweatshop labor, yet people
> continue to shop there and graffiti isn't going to stop them.

If we are to change the mental landscape of the hearts and minds of those who exploit people and those who support that exploitation by purchasing those products, we must change the physical landscape first, in whatever humble or ambitious ways possible.

Every inch counts, and in this case, literally.

> Hate to sound jaded, but graffiti really isn't much of avenue for social
> change. Be more creative.

Cynical criticism of activism isn't much of an avenue for social change either! Activists should not be discouraged from executing ideas because they're worried their idea is not "creative" enough, or won't provide direct "social change".

ALL action, even misguided and failed action, is, at the very least, STILL ACTION! Not reading about action, not commenting about action, not planning and organizing for action -- but real, honest-to-god, 100% USDA unapproved, not-modified-to-fit-this-screen, unfiltered, no-cream-no-sugar-please action!

Pig Patrol 14.Jun.2001 13:54


Hey Josh, did you happen to notice any of Kroeker's underlings while you were out. You took a big risk spending an hour and a half chalking across from portland "liveing room". What were your plans if someone saw? And isn't it risky talking like this on an open forum.
Just trying to watch out for a fellow activist.

chalk 14.Jun.2001 14:57


Two patrol cars passed by during the 90 minutes and neither took an interest in the chalk. Additionally, building security came by twice and thought it was pretty cool.

What was done was not illegal. If it were, they'd have to bust every ten year old schoolgirl out there playing hopscotch, and Fred Meyer would have to start an "18+, We Card" policy on selling sidewalk chalk like they do with selling spraypaint.

If a bust occurred anyway, well, that's a small price to pay, and a modest price compared to the price that GAP sweatshop employees are paying every day.

Vera has made criminals out of all those who post fliers on telephone poles. If she wants to add sidewalk chalk to the list, so be it -- but resistence will continue!

Chalking Busts in NYC 15.Jun.2001 01:15


In NYC cops bust activists who chalk all the time. Bravo on the action, but don't think they won't eventually bust you for it.

chalk poh-lice 15.Jun.2001 07:21


If chalk patrol should even so much as look twice in that direction, then I sure hope that someone is on hand to show them pictures of that EXACT same street 5 days earlier when the rose parade threw all downtown neighborhoods into complete upheaval and where one could see the hundreds of kids and their parents chalking up the place - streets, sidewalks, everywhere - like mad.

That is, if you fought your way past the near-endless ranks of lawn chairs and coolers to even get to where you could see it: pedestrians were not meant to walk down Broadway that day, though the chalk fiends certainly had their way with the city pavement!

(Freedom of expression is conditional...)

Truth In Advertising 16.Jun.2001 12:12


Anybody see how $5 in sidewalk chalk can counteract millions of dollars in advertising? What a great public display! Talk about stretching your protest budget!

To the anonymous person who so freely bashed these efforts, please remember that protest is expression, and there are all types of expression.

Sweatshops are horrible places and anybody who is taking personal time, let alone personal risks, to bring attention to these issues deserve your support.

Who ever thought that we would have protest critics reviewing actions for creativity and verve? Please!