An anti-fascist sticker in front of the Cable Street mural (Photo: Hannah Awcock, St. George’s Gardens, 09/10/16).
Apart from anarchists, anti-fascist groups may be the most prolific sticker-ers that I have ever come across. So much so that they’ve provided me with enough material for a second blog post (the first post can be found here). In this post, I am focusing on the ways in which anti-fascist groups interact with, and make use of, history and geography. For many activists and social movements, the memory of past protests and events is an important source of inspiration and morale. This process is demonstrated by stickers that refer to significant moments in the history of anti-fascism. Geography also seems to be significant to anti-fascists, as many stickers refer to particular locations or local groups. It seems like anti-fascists might be as pre-occupied by time and space as geographers are!
The location of all the stickers featured in this post and others are marked here, on the Turbulent London Map.
Based on the background of this sticker, I assume it is referring to the holocaust, a powerful reminder of the atrocious acts committed because of fascism. This sticker is one of those that appeared on Cable Street around the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Cable Street, a significant moment in anti-fascist history (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/10/16).
This sticker directly refers to the Battle of Cable Street, making a connection between past anti-fascist movements and present ones. I found this sticker in Cable Street itself, so the connection between past and present is even stronger (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/10/16).
Using the same text and layout as the sticker above connects the Battle of Lewisham into this narrative of anti-fascism in London. On the 13th of August 1977, a National Front march in East London was met by counter-demonstrations, leading to violent clashes between the two groups and the police. There are striking similarities with the Battle of Cable Street (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/10/16).
This sticker is also using the past to inspire modern-day anti-fascism, this time the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The Polish resistance timed the uprising in occupied Warsaw to coincide with the advance of the Soviet Army, but the Russians halted their advance, leaving the resistance to face the German Army alone. They held out for 63 days before they were defeated (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Cable Street, 09/10/16).
This sticker is not making a direct connection between past and present ant-fascism, but it is referring to a victory in anti-fascist history. In July 1936 a military coup in Barcelona was thwarted by forces loyal to the government and members of an anarchist union. It was one of the events that contributed to the start of the Spanish Civil War (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Cross Road, 20/03/16).
If history is important to anti-fascists, then so is geography. Anti-fascist groups often make stickers with their name and location on, placing them in their local area and when they travel to different towns and cities. This sticker was put up by the London Anti-fascists on their home turf, Euston Road (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 03/09/15).
I found this sticker, produced by the Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network, in front of the Cable Street Mural after the 80th anniversary march of the Battle of Cable Street. I suspect that someone from the Network came to London for the anniversary, but didn’t want to leave without leaving their mark (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/10/16).
Some anti-fascist groups come from even further afield. This sticker is produced by the 161 Crew, a Polish group (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Elephant and Castle, 15/07/16).
Most anti-fascist groups have a location, but the No-Fixed Abode Anti-Fascists are unusual. They are a group of squatters, travellers, and homeless people, focusing particularly on bailiffs (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Tavistock Square, 09/02/16).
Anti-fascist groups can sometimes be quite territorial, using stickers to declare certain areas ‘Anti-fascist zones’ or simply by making their presence known, as in this sticker (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 12/03/15).