portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements united states

actions & protests

The Dollar Bill Campaign...Operation Infobill

An idea inspired from the folks who bought you wheresgeorge.com
Hello comrades. I had an idea recently and I'm not sure if it has been attempted yet, but here it is. I'm sure you've all been delighted by wheresgeorge.com scrawled on all your hard earned cash. Click on the site and find out all the fantastic places the bill you're holding has been to. It just goes to show how far a bill can travel in a short amount of time. This is great. Now, instead of scribbling meaningless nonsense on a dollar bill, how about something like " your teachers and parents are clueless ...www.commondreams.org" or "www.alternet.org." For example, I wrote a quick summary on the real purpose of tax cuts for the wealthy around the outside border of the back of a bill. On the face of a twenty, featuring Andrew Jackson, of course, I wrote "I committed genocide on the Native American Peoples. Learn more about my crimes by reading A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn. " Pick your cause, from animal rights to forest activism, from globalization to global warming, the well travelled dollar bill can reach a lot of different people, especially younger people, in a short amount of time. This is a good way to get the progressive word out to the unsuspecting and the vulnerable. Who knows how many we can turn with a single bill! It's probably better to write on the back of a bill, though, because most tellers and cashiers instinctively face bills up and won't look at a bills back if they don't have to. Spread them out and only use one or two infobills at a particular transaction to avoid any questions. What's that troll? It's illegal? Oh yeah, I know it's illegal to deface the almighty dollar but hey, ain't it illegal to base the invasion of a sovereign nation on lies and deceit? Or to steal an election by denying Florida blacks the right to vote? Or to give billions of taxpayer dollars to your top campaign financers?
I really like the idea that some kid in Nebraska can buy a coke from a convenience store and get back change that has some website he's never heard of before which questions just about everything he's been told by authority figures. It's a leaflet that doesn't get trashed but instead is passed on again and again. Let those who would use markers do their job, we'll just continue to do ours. Be sharp, be funny, be intelligent, but just remember, when you write on the money, be right on the money! %>)

I'll probably post this again tommorow night at a better hour but I figured I'd demo it on you nightowls.
just wondering. . . 24.Jun.2003 09:38


Is scribbling on a bill considered defacing it? Is this illegal in any way?

spread the knowledge.

The laws as I understand them 24.Jun.2003 14:59


Given that a piece of currency is your property, you can do whatever you want to it. However, if it has been altered (i.e. written on), it may potentially cease to be 'Legal tender for all debts public and private,' i.e. the alteration can be cited as grounds for an individual or business' refusing to accept it as a form of payment.

Yes! 24.Jun.2003 18:50


I've been doing this very thing for a while now. My main theme tends to be anti-Bush, but I also write Peace messages on money. Above the words "The White House", I write "Throw Bush Out Of". I also make cartoon balloons coming out of Lincoln's mouth saying "Bush is a Disgrace" or "Bush Sucks". Under "In God We Trust", you can write "In Bush We Don't", or "In Bush We Fear". You can also turn all the circular symbols into peace or anarchy signs.

Possible Considerations 24.Jun.2003 19:51

Wild Mint

Here are some thoughts that might come to mind and be evaluated for the situation at hand by one possibly considering money advertising. This activity is possibly illegal.

* Use a random variety of writing styles, common instruments and messages.
* If focusing on one or a short list of message topics, use a variety of phrases and expressions, seeking to avoid
duplication. Or use phrases and topics that are common.
* Never have more than one message bearing bill in possession at any time.
* Don't mass produce message bearing bills.
* Don't post a message that doesn't have wide, general significance. Don't, for instance, post the date, time and place of
an action, event or meeting, unless it is relatively massive in nature; or don't post a message on an issue that is
extremely local and specialized.
* Placing the message on the back of the bill will exploit a margin that is wider than the one on the face of the bill.
* Distribute the message bearing bills randomly with respect to times and locations, seeking to avoid any perception of a
zone of dispresal.
* Don't distribute the message bearing bills within a narrow range of enterprises--like always at a gas station, or always at
a 7-11.
* Consider using a variety of automated change makers, not always the same kind, like Metro ticket machines, for
* Post messages on used bills--but not on old ones, which are nearing retirement from the money system.
* As much as possible, vary the denominations of bills used for messages.
* If a message bearing bill is noticed when you use it at a particular location of exchange, consider not using that location
again for distribution.

As always, all 'rules', including these, are made to be broken.

good feedback 24.Jun.2003 21:52

Mr. G.

Regardless of whether or not it is illegal, it seems like a good way to direct unsuspecting people to valueable sources of information that they may not be aware of. I am personally inclined to list websites such as znet. alternet, common dreams, moveon, indymedia, the memory hole, what really happened.com, etc., etc.. It would appear that on the bottom border of the back of the bill is the area that is most noticeable to the person possessing it while being unnoticeable to a cashier. Today, though, a girl at a marketplace laughed when she saw some work I did on the front of a dollar bill. Like Zbear, I drew cartoon bubbles on each side of Washington's face. One said " I grew Hemp" and the other, "I owned slaves". Then, on the bottom right half I wrote " Read A Peoples History of the Untited States by Howard Zinn". I claimed to have gotten it somewhere else breaking a five! I guess I won't drop one there again, or at least on her. It's a cool idea and I encourage every one to be as careful and persistent as possible.

Good luck.