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Primary source study

Kspace

Primary source study

Greedozer mask

This mask is part of a costume created by protestor and performance artist Benny Zable, worn as the character ‘Greedozer’. Zable was one of the most distinctive participants in the protests against the construction of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania in the early 1980s.

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Gas mask with black cloth attached to the back and the international symbol for radiation painted in red on the nose cone.
Greedozer mask worn by political activist and performance artist Benny Zable at the Franklin Dam protests in the early 1980s. National Museum of Australia. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Environmental activism

Zable created Greedozer to make a strong political statement. He argued that rampant greed and consumerism could destroy the world’s natural environment and wore the mask with black robes printed with slogans including:

  • 'Work Consume Be Silent Die'
  • 'I rely on your apathy
  • 'It's costing the Earth.

Right to protest

Zable's views were shaped by world events including wars, nuclear accidents, student uprisings and general strikes. He has been involved in many protests including peace marches, anti-nuclear campaigns and environmental blockades.

Protesting is one way people can try to influence public opinion and decision makers, such as politicians and political parties, to support a particular point of view.

In Australia, people generally have the right to protest because they live in a democracy. Most states issue permits allowing protesters to gather and march in a specific area, but sometimes people choose to occupy areas without a permit. This is called civil disobedience and can lead to arrests for trespassing. Civil disobedience draws attention to a dispute, and was one of the methods used during the campaign to save the Franklin River.

Questions

What are some of the issues or causes people might protest about? What actions might they take?

What are people who are protesting trying to achieve?

Why do you think Benny Zable created the Greedozer character?