Veteran anarchists and anti-capitalist campaigners CHUMBAWAMBA have sold out to US car giant GENERAL MOTORS – but are using money from the organisation to campaign against it.
The collective have agreed to allow GM to use ‘Pass It Along’ from their 2000 album ‘WYSIWYG’ for £70,000. But while they were in negotiations with the motor corporation over use of the song in a US ad for a new Pontiac, the band were talking to anti-corporate activists to see if they would take the fee and put it to use.
They contacted Corpwatch, a US campaign group to see if it would “put the money to good anti-capitalist use if we accepted the ad”, Sunday’s (January 17) Observer newspaper reports. They also got in touch with IndyMedia, a radical global network, and like Corpwatch they agreed to accept the funds. Both have now decided to mount a campaign against GM.
“We’re planning on using some of the money to document some of the social and environmental impacts of General Motors itself,” Joshua Karliner, executive director of CorpWatch, said. “It’s known for resisting the kinds of change in production that would assist in reducing climate change, and for helping debunk the science of global warming. If the company knew how its fee was being used, I’d imagine it would make executives squirm in their big comfortable leather chairs.”
For their part, General Motors are unaware of how the money was being used. “I didn’t know that. That’s very interesting,” said Dayna Hart, publicist for Pontiac.
Writing on Chumbawamba’s website, www.chumb.co.uk guitarist Boff made it clear that the reason for donating the cash was not altogether altruistic.
“What we get out of it is exposure; people might hear the song and go out and buy an album. An album that came out ages ago, which isn’t readily available, and which contains a totally different version of the song. That’s the knock-on effect for us.”
Chumbawamba briefly stepped into the mainstream spotlight at 1998’s Brit Awards when member Danbert Nobacon poured a bucket of water over Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to protest over treatment of the Liverpool striking dockers.