Picked up your latest copy of Financial Crimes?

Why are anti-globalisation campaigners turning to hoax newspapers to get their message across?

I'm in a three-bedroom flat in north London. It's 3am. The place is covered in rucksacks and people reading print-outs, passing comments. There's one computer, manned by a homeless designer, his face furrowed in concentration.

I'm in a three-bedroom flat in north London. It's 3am. The place is covered in rucksacks and people reading print-outs, passing comments. There's one computer, manned by a homeless designer, his face furrowed in concentration.

You may see the result today being handed out on the streets in London and beyond. You would be forgiven for thinking you were reading the FT. The pink paper, the world market graphics, the features on fuel, debt, the Olympics. But after considering the slant on the lead - "World Bank terrorism - more evidence" - you may have realised that the logo reads, in fact, Financial Crimes. It is the latest, ever-more professional tool in the kit of anti-globalisation campaigners - the spoof newspaper.

Today is touted as the latest in a line of days of action against global capitalism, timed to coincide with the 55th meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Prague. It follows the carnival in the city of London on 18 June last year, the unprecedented scenes in Seattle in November and the May Day riots. Each day has seen its own pretend paper.

Since the first 20,000 print run of Evading Standards, a skit on London's Evening Standard, was published in April 1997 for a march in support of the Liverpool Dockers, the mockery idea has spawned its own imitators worldwide.

That original issue was seized in bulk by police and three people were charged with incitement to affray. The use of the masthead with the statue of Eros and a joke advert for the Metropolitan Police breached copyright. But the spoofers sued the Met for wrongful arrest and were awarded five-figure costs. The money funded the next edition, and Evading Standards made a return for the demonstration in the City of London with an appropriate thanks in the small print.

"Developing alternatives must be a collective endeavour. Publishing this newspaper is only part of that process," says the Financial Crimes editorial, written by the direct action collective Reclaim the Streets. It is an attempt by campaigners to bypass the mainstream media and deliver their message direct.

The lengths they go to are sophisticated. One mock London Underground flyer was published using the exclusive Johnson typeface, leaked to the group by an anti-privatisation Tube worker.

And it appears to be effective. The subversives responsible for the regional south coast effort this year, the Brighton & Hove No Leaders, received this glowing tribute from the proprietor of the real thing, the Leader. "We have evidence that substantial confusion has already taken place," wrote Howard Scott, managing director of Newsquest (Sussex) Ltd. "We are not against parody and satire as such. However, we believe your publication goes a long way too far." Another one of Newsquest's publications, the Evening Argus, was renamed the Evening Anus in an earlier stunt. In Bristol, the Evening Post is now variously the Evening Pissed or Pest. Not very subtle, but the monickers have stuck locally.

Giving the paper out on the streets was the only distribution method available to UK pranksters, but when the concept crossed the Atlantic, the game moved on. Protesters against the World Trade Organisation produced a quality copy of the awkwardly named Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Squads of early morning paperboys and girls simply opened up the street boxes with a quarter, replaced the outer four pages and put them back. They were attacked in an angry editorial the next day.

The San Francisco Chomical used the same technique to highlight the incarceration on death-row of black activist and writer Mumia Abu-Jamal. "Nothing like this has ever happened before," said Randy Schuller, head of security for the San Francisco Newspaper Agency. "We've hired an investigator to check it out."

America has seen this before, however. In 1978 a New York Times spoof was produced by striking journalists, including Watergate's Carl Bernstein. Many other hacks in dispute have done the same, from London's Time Out to The Morning Star. "The most successful pastiches are done by ex-employees," says underground newspaper chronicler Nigel Fountain. "You've got to really understand the thinking behind the product to satirise or deconstruct," he says, but admits he has yet to come across the new protagonists. The difference in the new field is two-fold. One, the satire is generally one page deep to pull in the reader and the rest is analysis, ranging from quality critique to diatribe dogma. Secondly, this is no media-on-media effort, merely a vehicle.

There was an all-night debate in the north London flat over the four lines of type which run at the foot of the Financial Crimes. Fearing a capitalist compromise, the final disclaimer reads thus: "The aping of newspapers, the use of advanced technologies and the use of printers run for profit, should in no way be seen as an endorsement of newspapers, capitalist social relations or industrial society." No FT? Plenty of comments.

The writer is news editor of 'The Big Issue'

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution