Socialist Worker

The Yes Men Fix The World

by Christine Lewis
Issue No. 2162

A still from the film

A still from the film

This documentary follows the exploits of Mike and Andy, the Yes Men, who attempt to “fix the world” through a series of elaborate hoaxes.

They are anti-globalisation activists, who travel the world passing themselves off as representatives of corporations, to expose and challenge the ideas and practices of big business.

The skill, humour and sheer nerve required to pull it all off makes this intriguing viewing.

Sometimes it is also shocking and informative, at others simply bizarre.

The film shows us a world where corporations have the freedom to make profit despite the risk to thousands of people’s lives – where the powerful are able to present versions of events which suit them, as fact.

This is what the Yes Men manage to expose and subvert.

And they employ hoaxes to good effect. These include the announcement by a fake corporation spokesman of a $12 billion compensation package for the people of Bhopal in India, devastated in 1984 by a leak from a pesticide factory.

They also pose as government agents pushing through a new public housing programme for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

The blurring of fact and fiction work very well in raising the question of what is possible to achieve if people were put before profit.

It exposes the real hoax that the corporations inflict on us – that they can do nothing to solve problems which in many cases they have been central to causing.

The Yes Men quite rightly acknowledge that it will take more than a couple of guys in cheap suits to change the world.

Yet the project manages to combine a serious attack on free market capitalism with a keen sense of humour, leaving the viewer feeling optimistic.

While at times naive, the film not only reminds us that another world is possible but encourages us to get up and to do something about it.

Released 7 August

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Article information

Tue 28 Jul 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2162
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