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March 25, 2013

Out of Order Campaign

Describing itself as a “peaceful environmental movement” using humour and creativity to highlight serious issues that affect society, Out of Order is comprised of ordinary individuals striving to make a difference. However, are its methods out of order?

Presently the Out of Order campaign is targeting Coca Cola, in protest over its successful opposition to Northern Territory recycling laws. What the Northern Territory Government proposed was a 10 cent refund on every returned bottle and can bought in NT jurisdiction. Coca Cola, however, piped up over the refund, believing it could hurt its sales by acting as a tax on its products.

The soft drink giant ended up launching legal action against the state’s recycling laws and winning. The action prompted protest from several environmental groups, who put ‘out of order’ signs on perfectly working Coke machines. However, the act wasn’t started by the Out of Order campaign, but by a “shadowy internet force” known as Anonymous, along with renown NGO Greenpeace (unofficially).

out of order sign

Rather, Out of Order adopted the cause. Member Katso explains why the Out of Order campaign began – “we started Out Of Order as a direct, peaceful action in January 13 to fight ANZ bank in solidarity with Jonathan Moylan, who created the Whitehaven hoax”.

In case you haven’t read or heard the news lately, the Whitehaven hoax was a fake press release sent by Moylan, which depicted ANZ as withdrawing a whopping investment from a mining company on ethical grounds. As a result, share prices for the monster bank plummeted, recovering a short while after.

Coke Machines Out of Order

So was ANZ investing sums in unethical mines? Out of Order campaign member Katso states “ANZ are funding many but one particularly unethical coal mine in NSW, Australia, which threatens a population of endangered Koalas as well as guarantees to give climate change a huge boost if the coal is burnt.”

Subsequently, around 40 organisation members placed ‘out of order’ signs on 110 ANZ teller machines in a matter of minutes, before creating a viral campaign on Facebook to create awareness of the mine.

Out of Order rely largely on individual supporters to download the out of order campaign signs (which come with a QR code that leads to the Facebook group) and deploy them. Such action is considered vandalism, an act of civil disobedience, which is why organisations such as Greenpeace don’t officially endorse the act.

The campaign opens up numerous questions, such as does it take civil disobedience to create real change? And are Out of Order out of order? You decide.

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