London’s Protest Stickers: Anarchism

07-06-15 Brick Lane (2)
Stickers of all kinds are ubiquitous on street furniture in London, like this post box in Brick Lane (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 07/06/15).

Along with anti-fascists, anarchists are some of the most prolific stickerers I’ve come across in London. The Anarchist Federation (AFed) are particularly keen on stickers as a method of protest. At its simplest, anarchism is the belief in a society based on voluntary, cooperative institutions. Force, compulsion and government are not required. Anarchists believe that this is the only way to achieve a fair and just society. The Anarchist Federation is a working class organisation that works towards achieving that.

As anarchist communists we fight for a world without leaders, where power is shared equally amongst communities, and people are free to reach their full potential. We do this by supporting working class resistance to exploitation and oppression, organise alongside our neighbours and workmates, host informative events, and produce publications that help make sense of the world around us.

(Anarchist Federation, no date.)

01_20-05-15 Upper Street, Islington (2)
This is the most recognisable style of stickers that AFed make. The colours, logo, and web address remain the same, but the content changes. This photo was taken on 20/05/15 in Upper Street, Islington (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
This is another variation of  the classic AFed sticker. The group advocates direct action for achieving their goals (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 12/01/16).
03_17-04-15 Malet Street (2)
This sticker is part of another series that the AFed produce featuring prominent figures in anarchist history. This is Buenaventura Durruti, a Spaniard who was very active in the run up to the Spanish Civil War, as well as the War itself. He was killed by a sniper in November 1936 (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 17/04/15).
04_12-05-15 Byng Place
Emma Goldman (1869-1940) was, and still is, well known for her anarchist writing and speeches. Born in present-day Lithuania, she moved to America when she was 16, and was significant in the development of anarchist philosophy in the US (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Byng Place, 12/05/15).
05_20-05-15 Regent's Canal Towpath Islington-Camden (12)
This is one of the best known quotes attributed to Emma Goldman. I don’t know who made this sticker, but it is a sentiment I have seen in other AFed stickers. (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Regent’s Canal Tow Path, 20/05/15).
06_04-06-15 Heygate Road
This sticker is one of my favourites. It is made by Active Distribution, which makes and sells all things anarchic. I come across their stickers quite often (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Heygate Road, 04/06/15).
07_25-06-15 Elephant and Castle
AFed have also been known to use references to popular culture in their stickers. This sticker features Finn and Jake, the main characters of an animated TV series called Adventure Time. It is made for children, but has developed a large adult following (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Elephant and Castle, 25/06/15).
08_27-02-15 Euston
And who doesn’t love a good yoda impression?! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Station, 27/02/15).
AFed stickers can often be funny. This is a relatively new sticker (I think!), and is particularly pertinent in the context of the Islamaphobia that our society is currently struggling with (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 09/02/16)
10_05-05-15 Aylsebury Estate (6)
This is another one by Active Distribution; you can just make out the web address in the top right corner. I found this sticker on the Ayslebury Estate during the occupation that took place there last year (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Ayslebury Estate, 05/05/15).
11_19-05-15 Tottenham Court Road (4)
This sticker echoes the sentiments of the Emma Goldman quote above. It looks like someone objected to the message however, as the sticker has been quite badly torn. It reads “never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth” (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Tottenham Court Road, 19/05/15).
12_17-04-15 Malet Street (4)
My French is rusty, but I know enough to identify this as an anarchist sticker! I think that it roughly translates to “The elections…are you still having fun?  Abstention” Revolution! Self Management!” (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 17/04/15).

You can see where I found these stickers on the Turbulent London map.

2 thoughts on “London’s Protest Stickers: Anarchism

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