Anti-fascism is one of the most common topics of protest stickers. This photo was taken on the Walworth Road on 26/09/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
If you start looking out for protest stickers as you move around a British city, you will quickly notice that anti-fascists are particularly prolific sticker-ers. I’m not sure why, but anti-fascism is one of the most frequent themes of protest stickers, aside from anarchism. Most large towns and cities have an anti-fascist group, and as the largest of the lot London is home to several groups, as well as drawing in groups from elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most common groups represented in London anti-fascist protest stickers are London Antifascists. This picture was taken on the Aylesbury Estate on 05/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The logos employed by anti-fascist groups can vary, but an image with a circle is a common feature. This logo features Emily the Strange, a popular gothic character who began life on stickers advertising the clothing line Cosmic Debris. She has since featured on clothing, stationary, and all kinds of objects, but here she comes full circle, appearing on stickers once again. This photo was taken on the Mile End Road on 13/08/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Although stickers which just feature a group’s logo and website are common, some are more complicated, like this one photographed on the north bank of the Thames near the City on 25/02/15. This sticker is still quite general in terms of focus however, it doesn’t specify what to fight back against (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Two flags (one red, one back) enclosed in a black circle is the most common and recognisable anti-fascist logo. This sticker points to the complex interconnections between anti-fascism and class politics, suggesting that London Antifascists only care about working-class communities. Or perhaps they are implying that racism and Nazism are only to be found amongst the middle- and upper-classes? This photo was taken at Elephant and Castle on 28/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The double flag logo is so recognisable that I can be quite sure that this sticker is by an anti-fascist group, even though I cannot read the words. This photo was taken near Camden Underground Station on 10/03/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This sticker, photographed at Elephant and Castle on 13/04/15, is also focusing on racism, and has the familiar image surrounded by a circle logo. I must admit that the imagery and font confused me at first, at first glance I thought that this sticker was defending white pride rather than condemning it (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
When anti-fascist groups go travelling, they often leave evidence of their presence in the form of protest stickers. This sticker was produced by Brighton Antifascists, although I found it in Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, on 12/03/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The 161 Crew are a Polish antifascist group that has a strong presence in London (the sticker in the previous photo is also one of theirs). This sticker appeared in Elephant and Castle on 14/09/15. I thought it was incredibly brave, as this was during a period of the refugee crisis where the debate around immigration was particularly vicious. Immigrants are supposed to be grateful and loyal to their host country, not encouraging cross-border class-based networks of dissent (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Unusually, this sticker does not feature an anti-fascist logo, which leads me to suspect it was not made by a specifically anti-fascist group. This photo was taken on Flint Street, near the occupied Aylesbury Estate on 05/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Location can be integral to the meaning of protest stickers. I found this sticker in Cable Street, one of the sites of the famous demonstration known as the Battle of Cable Street, which has gone down in anti-fascist collective memory as a rare victory. No Pasaran is Spanish for ‘They Shall Not Pass’, one of the slogans of the Battle which was taken from the Spanish Civil War. The Battle is an important event in British anti-fascist history, a key source of pride and hope (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 25/02/15).
This photo was also taken in Cable Street, next to the mural which memorialises the Battle of Cable Street. The double flag logo is present, although within a heart rather than a circle. Not surprisingly, Cable Street has a high concentration of anti-fascist stickers of various types, making it feel almost shrine-like (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 25/02/15).
Not every Londoner is an anti-fascist supporter. The word ‘Antifascists’ and the website has been scratched off this sticker very deliberately. Someone clearly took exception to London Antifascists publicising themselves. This photo was taken on Borough High Street on 29/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
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University Teacher in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Interested in the cultural, historical, and political geographies of resistance.
View all posts by Hannah Awcock
February 4, 2016 June 23, 2022
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