Free Communication

If you don’t like the news, why not go out and make your own? Creating free media depends to a large extent on your imagination and ability to follow through on ideas. The average Amerikan is exposed to over 1,600 commercials each day. Billboards, glossy ads and television spots make up much of the word environment they live in. To crack through the word mush means creating new forms of free communication. Advertisements for revolution are important in helping to educate and mold the milieu of people you wish to win over.

Guerrilla theater events are always good news items and if done right, people will remember them forever. Throwing out money at the Stock Exchange or dumping soot on executives at Con Edison or blowing up the policeman statue in Chicago immediately conveys an easily understood message by using the technique of creative disruption. Recently to dramatize the illegal invasion of Cambodia, 400 Yippies stormed across the Canadian border in an invasion of the United States. They threw paint on store windows and physically attacked residents of Blair, Washington. A group of Vietnam veterans marched in battle gear from Trenton to Valley Forge. Along the way they performed mock attacks on civilians the way they were trained to do in Southeast Asia.

Dying all the outdoor fountains red and then sending a message to the newspaper explaining why you did it, dramatizes the idea that blood is being shed needlessly in imperialist wars. A special metallic bonding glue available from Eastman-Kodak will form a permanent bond in only 45 seconds. Gluing up locks of all the office buildings in your town is a great way to dramatize the fact that our brothers and sisters are being jailed all the time. Then, of course, there are always explosives which dramatically make your point and then some.


Another way of using the news to advertise the revolution and make propaganda is to call a press, conference. Get an appropriate place that has some relationship to the content of your message. Send out announcements to as many members of the press as you can. If you do not have a press list, you can make one up by looking through the Yellow Pages under Newspapers, Radio Stations, Television Stations, Magazines and Wire Services. Check out your list with other groups and pick up names of reporters who attend movement press conferences. Address a special invitation to them as well as one to their newspaper. Address the announcements to “City Desk” or “‘News Department.” Schedule the press conference for about 11:00 A.M. as this allows the reporters to file the story in time for the evening newscast or papers. On the day of the scheduled conference, call the important city desks or reporters about 9:00 A.M. and remind them to come.

Everything about a successful press conference must be dramatic, from the announcements and phone calls to the statements themselves. Nothing creates a worse image than four or five men in business suits sitting behind a table and talking in a calm manner at a fashionable hotel. Constantly seek to have every detail of the press conference differ in style as well as content from the conferences of people in power. Make use of music and visual effects. Don’t stiffen up before the press. Make the statement as short and to the point as possible. Don’t read from notes, look directly into the camera. The usual television spot is one minute and twenty seconds. The cameras start buzzing on your opening statement and often run out of film before you finish. So make it brief and action packed. The question period should be even more dramatic. Use the questioner’s first name when answering a question. This adds an air of informality and networks are more apt to use an answer directed personally to one of their newsmen. Express your emotional feelings. Be funny, get angry, be sad or ecstatic. If you cannot convey that you are deeply excited or troubled or outraged about what you are saying, how do you expect it of others who are watching a little image box in their living room? Remember, you are advertising a new way of life to people. Watch TV commercials. See how they are able to convey everything they need to be effective in such a short time and limited space. At the same tune you’re mocking the shit they are pushing, steal their techniques.

At rock concerts, during intermission or at the end of the performance, fight your way to the stage.


Announce that if the electricity is cut off the walls will be torn down. This galvanizes the audience and makes the owners of the hall the villains if they fuck around. Lay out a short exciting rap on what’s coming down. Focus on a call around one action. Sometimes it might be good to engage rock groups in dialogues about their commitment to the revolution. Interrupting the concert is frowned upon since it is only spitting in the faces of the people you are trying to reach. Use the Culture as ocean to swim in. Treat it with care.

Sandwich boards and hand-carried signs are effective advertisements. You can stand on a busy corner and hold up a sign saying “Apartment Needed,” “Free Angela,” “Smash the State” or other slogans. They can be written on dollar bills, envelopes that are being mailed and other items that are passed from person to person.

Take a flashlight with a large face to movie theaters and other dark public gathering places. Cut the word “STRIKE” or “REVOLT” or “YIPPIE” out of dark cellophane. Paste the stencil over the flashlight, thus allowing you to project the word on a distant wall.

There are a number of all night call-in shows that have a huge audience. If you call with what the moderator considers “exciting controversy,” he may give you a special number so you won’t have to compete in the switchboard roller-derby. It often can take hours before you get through to these shows. Here’s a trick that will help you out if the switchboard is jammed. The call-in shows have a series of hones so that when one is busy the next will take the call. Usually the numbers run in sequence. Say a station gives out PL 5-8640, as the number to call. That means it also uses PL 5-8641, PL 5-8642 and so on. If you get a busy signal, hang up and try calling PL S-8647 say. This trick works in a variety of situations where you want to get a call through a busy switchboard. Remember it for airline and bus information.


One of the best forms of free communication is painting messages on a blank wall. The message must be short and bold. You want to be able to paint it on before the pigs come and yet have it large enough so that people can see it at a distance. Cans of spray paint that you can pick up at any hardware store work best. Pick spots that have lot of traffic. Exclamation points are good for emphasis. If you are writing the same message, make a stencil. You can make a stencil that says WAR and spray it on with white paint under the word “STOP” on stop signs. You can stencil a five-pointed star and using yellow paint, spray it on the dividing line between the red and blue on all post office boxes. This simulates the flag of the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. You can stencil a marijuana leaf and using green paint, spray it over cigarette and whisky billboards on buses and subways. The women’s liberation sign with red paint is good for sexist ads. Sometimes you will wish to exhibit great daring in your choice of locations. When the Vietnamese hero Nguyen Van Troi was executed, the Viet Cong put up a poster the next day on the exact spot inside the highest security prison in the country.

Wall postering allows you to get more information before the public than a quickly scribbled slogan. Make sure the surface is smooth or finely porous. Smear the back of the poster with condensed milk, spread on with a brush, sponge, rag or your hands. Condensed milk dries very fast and hard. Also smear some on the front once the poster is up to give protection against the weather and busy fingers that like to pull at corners. Wallpaper pastes also work quickly and efficiently. It’s best to work both painting and postering at night with a look-out. This way you can work the best spots without being harassed by the pig patrol, which is usually unappreciative of Great Art.


The generally agreed upon flag of our nation is black with a red, five pointed star behind a green marijuana leaf in the center. It is used by groups that understand the correct use of culture and symbolism in a revolutionary struggle. When displayed, it immediately increases the feelings of solidarity between our brothers and sisters. High school kids have had great fights over which flag to salute in school. A sign of any liberated zone is the flag being flown. Rock concerts and festivals have their generally apolitical character instantly changed when the flag is displayed. The political theoreticians who do not recognize the flag and the importance of the culture it represents are ostriches who are ignorant of basic human nature. Throughout history people have fought for religion, life-style, land, a flag (nation), because they were ordered to, for fortune, because they were attacked or for the hell of it. If you don’t think the flag is important, ask the hardhats.


Want to construct your own neighborhood radio station? You can get a carrier-current transmitter designed by a group of brothers and sisters called Radio Free People. No FCC license is required for the range is less than 1/2 mile. The small transistorized units plug into any wall outlet. Write Radio Free People, 133 Mercer St., New York, New York 10012 for more details. For further information see the chapter on Guerrilla Broadcasting later in the book.


Ripping off the phone company is so common that Bell Telephone has a special security division that tries to stay just a little ahead of the average free-loader. Many great devices like the coat hanger release switch have been scrapped because of changes in the phone box. Even the credit card fake-out is doomed to oblivion as the company switches to more computerized techniques. ln our opinion, as long as there is a phone company, and as long as there are outlaws, nobody need ever pay for a call. In 1969 alone the phone company estimated that over 10 million dollars worth of free calls were placed from New York City. Nothing, however, compares with the rip-off of the people by the phone company. In that same year, American Telephone and Telegraph made a profit of 8.6 billion dollars! AT&T, like all public utilities, passes itself off as a service owned by the people, while in actuality nothing could be further from the truth. Only a small percentage of the public owns stock in these companies and a tiny elite clique makes all the policy decisions. Ripping-off the phone company is an act of revolutionary love, so help spread the word.


You can make a local 10 cent call for 2 cents by spitting on the pennies and dropping them in the nickel slot. As soon as they are about to hit the trigger mechanism, bang the coin-return button. Another way is to spin the pennies counter-clockwise into the nickel slot. Hold the penny in the slot with your finger and snap it spinning with a key or other flat object. Both systems take a certain knack, but once you’ve perfected the technique, you’ll always have it in your survival kit.

If two cents is too much, how about a call for 1 penny? Cut a 1/4 strip off the telephone book cover. Insert the cardboard strip into the dime slot as far as it will go. Drop a penny in the nickel slot until it catches in the mechanism (spinning will help). Then slowly pull the strip out until you hear the dial tone.

A number 14 brass washer with a small piece of scotch tape over one side of the hole will not only get a free call, but works in about any vending machine that takes dimes. You can get a box of thousands for about a dollar at any hardware store. You should always have a box around for phones, laundromats, parking meters and drink machines.

Bend a bobby pin after removing the plastic from the tips and jab it down into the transmitter (mouthpiece). When it presses against the metal diaphragm, rub it on a metal wall or pipe to ground it. When you’ve made contact you’ll hear the dial tone. If the phone uses old-fashioned rubber black tubing to enclose the wires running from the headset to the box, you can insert a metal tack through the tubing, wiggle it around a little until it makes contact with the bare wires and touch the tack to a nearby metal object for grounding.

Put a dime in the phone, dial the operator and tell her you have ten cents credit. She’ll return your dime and get your call for free. If she asks why, say you made a call on another pay phone, lost the money, and the operator told you to switch phones and call the credit operator.

This same method works for long distance calls. Call the operator and find out the rate for your call. Hang up and call another operator telling her you just dialed San Francisco direct, got a wrong number and lost $.95 or whatever it is. She will get your call free of charge.

If there are two pay phones next to each other, you can call long distance on one and put the coins in the other. When the operator cuts in and asks you to deposit money, drop the coins into the one you are not using, but hold the receiver up to the slots so the operator can hear the bells ring. When you’ve finished, you can simply press the return button on the phone with the coins in it and out they come. If you have a good tape recorder you can record the sounds of a quarter, dime and nickel going into a pay phone and play them for the operator in various combinations when she asks for the money. Turn the volume up as loud as you can get it.

You can make a long distance call and charge it to a phone number. Simply tell the operator you want to bill the call to your home phone because you don’t have the correct change. Tell her there is no one there now to verify the call, but you will be home in an hour and she can call you then if there is any question. Make sure the exchange goes with the area you say it does.

Always have a number of made-up credit card numbers. The code letter for 1970 is S, then seven digits of the phone number and a three digit district number (not the same as area code). The district number should be under 599. Example: S-573-2100-421 or S-537-3402-035. Look up the phone numbers for your area by simply requesting a credit card for your home phone which is very easy to get and then using the last three numbers with another phone number. Usually making up exotic numbers from far away places will work quite well as it would be impossible for an operator to spot a phony number in the short time she has to check her list.

We advise against making phony credit card calls on a home phone. We have seen a gadget that you install between the wall socket and the cord which not only allows you to receive all the calls you want for free, but eliminates the most common form of electronic bugging. They are being manufactured and sold for fifty dollars by a disgruntled telephone engineer in Massachusetts. Unfortunately you are going to have to find him on your own or duplicate his efforts, for he has sworn us to secrecy. If someone does, however, offer you such a device, it probably does work. Test it by installing it and having someone call you from a pay phone. If it’s working, the person should get their dime back at the end of the call.

Actually if you know the slightest information about wiring, you can have your present phone disconnected on the excuse that you’ll be leaving town for a few months and then connect the wires into the main trunk lines on your own. Extensions can easily be attached to your main line without the phone company knowing about it.

You can make all the free long distance calls you want by calling your party collect at a pay phone. Just have your friend go to a prearranged phone booth at a prearranged time. This can be done on the spot by having the friend call you person to person. Say you’re not in, but ask for the number calling you since you’ll be “back” in five minutes. Once you get the number simply hang up, wait a moment and call back your friend collect. The call has to be out of the state to work, since operators are familiar with the special extension numbers assigned to pay phones for her area and possibly for nearby areas as well. If she asks you if it is a pay phone say no. If she finds out during the call (which rarely happens) and informs you of this, simply say you didn’t expect the party to have a pay phone in his house and accept the charges. We have never heard of this happening though. The trick of calling person-to-person collect should always be used when calling long distance on home-to-home phones also. You can hear the voice of your friend saying that he’ll be back in a few minutes. Simply hang up, wait a moment and call station to station, thereby getting a person-to-person call without the extra charges which can be considerable on a long call during business hours.

If you plan to stay at your present address for only a few more months, stop paying the bill and call like crazy. After a month you get the regular bill which you avoid paying. Another month goes by and the next bill comes with last month’s balance added to it. Shortly thereafter you get a note advising you that your service will be terminated in ten days if you don’t pay the bill. Wait a few days and send them a five or ten dollar money order with a note saying you’ve had an accident and are pressed for funds because of large medical bills, but you’ll send them the balance as soon as you are up and around again. That will hold them for another month. In all, you can stretch it out for four or five months with a variety of excuses and small payments. This also works with the gas and electric companies and with any department stores you conned into letting you charge.

You can get the service deposit reduced to half of the normal rate if you are a student or have other special qualifications. Surprisingly, these rates and discounts vary from area to area, so check around before you go into the business office for your phone. There is an incredible 50 cents charge per month for not having your phone listed. If you want an unlisted phone, you can avoid this fee by having the phone listed in a fictitious name, even if the bill is sent to you. Just say you want your roommate’s name listed instead of your own.

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