3 ways people are using money to protest, literally


Americans hear a lot about how you can vote with your money, and typically it’s consumer purchases based on ethics or politics that come to mind. But it’s not just about what people buy (or don’t buy in the case of consumer boycotts). You can use physical currency as a tool to spread a message in the most literal sense.

In 2014, protesters from Global Ultra Luxury Faction, an offshoot of the Gulf Labor coalition, signaled a demonstration in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. A handheld bell sounded, and 9,000 “1%” mock dollar bills rained down with messages, such as “What does an ethical global museum look like?”

G.U.L.F. has led numerous demonstrations against the Guggenheim to protest the poor working conditions of migrant laborers building Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The demonstration in the rotunda was inspired by Abbie Hoffman’s 1967 intervention at the New York Stock Exchange, where he orchestrated dumping fistfuls of real and fake bills down to the traders below.

Using dollar bills to make a statement isn’t a new tactic, and it’s not going away any time soon. Money talks, as they say, and using money as part of spectacle can speak even louder. Here are three ways consumers use physical dollars to call for change.

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