Brighton’s Protest Stickers: Electoral Politics

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This is too big to strictly be a protest sticker, but it was too good to leave out! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, King’s Road, 26/03/17).

For the past year or so, I have been living in my home city of Brighton. As a place with a general anti-authoritarian vibe, the city has a pretty lively culture of radical street art and protest stickers. I have featured Brighton’s protest stickers on Turbulent London before, but now I’m living in the city again I’ve decided to do some more blog posts on the topic. Electoral politics often feature in protest stickers, mostly as the target of criticism. Occasionally, however, stickers are supportive of mainstream political parties, particularly Labour. Perhaps because Brighton regularly plays host to the Labour Party annual conference, quite a few of the protest stickers in the city relate to mainstream electoral politics. Below are some of the stickers that I’ve found on my various wanders around the city.

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Some stickers are critical of the political system as a whole. This is a quote from the well-known American activist and scholar, Angela Davis (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Prince Albert Street, 09/08/17).

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Brexit is just as controversial in Brighton as it is in the rest of the country. This sticker dates from before the referendum, and is encouraging people to think carefully about the implications of voting Leave (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 18/05/16 Queen’s Road).

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68.6% of Brightonians voted to remain in the European Union, and if this sticker is anything to go by, there are still people who are actively opposing Brexit (Photo: Hannah Awcock, West Street, 01/10/17).

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This sticker could be interpreted as supportive of Brexit, suggesting that Britain is making a timely exit from a burning building, escaping whilst it has the chance. I think it’s a clever use of imagery, reproducing a symbol that is so familiar to us in order to convey and political message (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Upper Gardner Street 09/05/16).

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The message of this sticker is much more explicit. I would guess that it was meant to be worn on clothing, but was placed somewhere on the street instead (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Gardner Street, 26/03/17).

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Some stickers are related to specific political parties. This sticker uses the colour scheme and logo of the Conservative Party to criticise their policies (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Ship Street, 09/08/17).

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This sticker has superimposed the face of Theresa May onto the face of Margaret Thatcher, implying that no matter who leads the Conservative Party, their policies and attitudes remain unchanged (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 09/08/17, King’s Road).

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The snap election called by Theresa May in June this year inspired it’s own set of anti-Conservative protest stickers. This sticker is playing on the use of the word landslide to describe an overwhelming victory in an election (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 10/06/17, North Street).

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This sticker is referencing Theresa May’s favourite catchphrase during the election campaign, ‘Strong and Stable.’ It is drawing unfavourable comparisons between that phrase and May’s own behaviour (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 10/06/17, North Street).

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There are two universities in Brighton, as well as many schools and colleges, so there is a high number of students in the city. This sticker is appealing to them, although it doesn’t specifically mention the general election in June 2017 (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 10/06/17, North Street).

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Whilst protest stickers about the Conservative Party tend to be negative, those about the Labour Party are more likely to be supportive. This one is linking the Labour Party to support for the NHS (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 18/05/16, Queen’s Road).

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This sticker could be interpreted as critical of the current Labour Party leadership. Ed Miliband wasn’t especially popular when he was leading the party, but this sticker implies that even he did a better job than Jeremy Corbyn. Whatever the intent, the #Imissmiliband hashtag hasn’t caught on (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 24/12/16, London Road).

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Brighton is the only city in the country that has a Green MP. The colours of the sticker suggest that it is also supporting something else Brighton is well-known for, the city’s large LGBTQI+ community (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 04/02/17, Church Street).

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It is not just British electoral politics that is the subject of protest stickers in Brighton, American politics, particularly Donald Trump, is also a focus. This sticker is fairly self explanatory, I think (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 26/03/17, York Place).

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I particularly like this sticker, as I think it would really upset Trump if he ever saw it. He is an incredibly vain man, and I don’t think his vanity would cope well with the representation of him (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 24/03/17 Queen’s Road).

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I also think that this sticker would massively upset Trump, so it’s another favourite of mine! It was produced by Sonny Flynn (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 18/05/16, Queen’s Road).

Protest Stickers: Haywards Heath

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Haywards Heath in Sussex wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the train station (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

A common side effect of academia can be moving around a lot. For the first 2 years of my PhD I lived in London, and I am now back in my home town of Brighton, but for a year in between that I lived in Haywards Heath, a semi-rural commuter town on the London-Brighton train line in Sussex. Like Egham in Surrey, it is not the sort of town where you would expect to find protest stickers. It is not the sort of place where you expect to find any alternative politics, to be honest. Nevertheless, I did find protest stickers, although  not all of them promoted the left-wing, progressive politics that I normally expect to find.

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Like many towns south of London, the commuters have Haywards Heath have suffered as a result of the dispute between Southern Rail and the RMT Union. The conflict has been dragging on for some time now, but I was surprised when I realised I took this photo more than two years ago; no wonder patience is running out on all sides. I found this sticker in the Haywards Heath train station (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 01/12/15).

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This sticker is on the back of a traffic sign on the outskirts of Haywards Heath. It is referring to the fox hunting ban, which was introduced in 2005, so there’s a possibility that this sticker is quite old. Haywards Heath is surrounded by small, rural villages, so there is a lot of support for fox hunting in the area (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 05/07/16).

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This is the detail of the logo from the above sticker. It is hard to make out the words because the sticker has been scratched, but I think it says “Felix says keep hunting.” The web address no longer works, further evidence that the sticker is old (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 05/07/16).

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This was placed on  the entrance sign on one of the numerous office blocks that line one of the main roads in Haywards Heath. Needless to say, it was removed quite quickly. I was surprised to find such radical sentiment expressed in Haywards Heath (Photo: 06/08/16).

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This sticker is produced by Active Distribution, who make quite a lot of the protest stickers I come across (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 07/12/15).

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This sticker was trying to persuade people to vote Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum for the sake of the environment. Haywards Heath did vote to remain in the European Union, by a small margin (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 01/10/16).

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Most protest stickers are left wing, but I do come across some supporting right wing groups and policies. This small sticker was advertising the British National Party, a far right political party which has been in decline over the last few years (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 12/01/16).

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The National Front is another small far-right party. It advocates a form of racist nationalism, seeing anyone who isn’t white British as a threat, hence the demand this sticker makes (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 22/12/15).

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Sadly, I found a higher proportion of right wing and racist stickers in Haywards Heath than I have done in other cities.  Overall, the town is quite conservative politically, and I guess that results in a relatively large proportion of people with far-right beliefs (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 06/01/16)

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I have seen this sticker in a few cities around the country, and to be honest I’m not entirely sure it counts as a protest sticker. There are some people who still beleive that the world is flat, but I’m not sure if that’s what this sticker is really about (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 11/01/16).

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I know this isn’t a protest sticker, but I wanted to finish on a positive note! (Photo, Hannah Awcock, 06/01/16).

London’s Protest Stickers: Israel-Palestine

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This is not technically a sticker, but I like the work of this artist, so I decided to include it (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Oxford Street, 15/04/15).

On the 25th of August, Frankfurt City Council approved a bill that will ban the use of municipal funds for Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) activities targeting Israel, if it is approved by the city parliament. Frankfurt is the first German city to take this step, but it looks like Munich will follow suit in the autumn (Jerusalem Post, 2017).Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor and city treasurer for Frankfurt, argues that the movement is anti-Semitic. The BDS movement campaigns to put economic pressure on the Israeli state in order to compel Israel to obey international law in its dealings with Palestine. Founded in 2005, BDS is a coalition of groups from Palestine and around the world. London’s protest stickers suggest that support for the BDS movement is much stronger here than it is in Germany. In fact, every sticker I have found in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict in London is pro-Palestine.

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

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The colour scheme of BDS stickers usually reflects the Palestinian flag, which has three horizontal strips of black, white, and green, overlaid with a red triangle on the left hand side. War on Want is an organisation that campaigns on multiple issues relating to human rights, social justice, and the root causes of poverty (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Lewisham Way, 20/03/16).

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This sticker, which features the Palestian flag, is produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which claims to be the biggest organisation in the UK campaigning for Palestinian human rights (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Mint Street, 25/02/15).

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This sticker doesn’t directly refer to the BDS campaign, but it does also use the colours of the Palestinian flag (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Cable Street, 25/02/15).

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Again, this sticker uses the colour scheme of the Palestinian flag (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Pentonville Road, 23/03/17)

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I suspect that this sticker was designed to be worn by people rather than street furniture, because of its small, round shape. However, stickers worn on street furniture tends to last longer than stickers worn on clothes (Photo: Hannah Awcock, British Museum, 12/05/15).

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This sticker was produced by the Socialist Worker Student Society, the student arm of the Socialist Worker’s Party, a revolutionary party that campaigns for socialism and internationalism (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 28/05/17).

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This sticker does not use the traditional BDS colour scheme, but it does illustrate the logic behind BDS in a way that I think is quite striking (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Russell Square, 15/04/15).

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The boycott element of BDS includes academia. In 2015, the SOAS Student Union held a referendum over whether or not the university should implement an academic boycott. The students voted yes to the boycott (Photo: Hanna Awcock, Malet Street, 17/02/15).

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This sticker Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st century is a group that campaigns on a whole range of issues. This sticker is calling for BDS, using the image of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, 09/08/15).

Protest Stickers: Manchester

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Manchester is a wonderful blend of old and new (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

A few months ago, I spent a couple of days in Manchester. I’ve already blogged about the brilliant museums I visited whilst I was up there (the People’s History Museum, and the Imperial War Museum North), but I also found some great protest stickers whilst exploring the city. Paying attention to a city’s protest stickers helps me get to know a place, by giving me an insight into the issues that matter to the city. Manchester had a lot of protest stickers, many of which I hadn’t seen before, which is just one of the reasons I liked it so much. Manchester is a vibrant city with a fascinating history. Protest stickers in some cities are dominated by only one or two issues (Newcastle, for example, had a lot of stickers relating to animal rights), but this was not the case in Manchester. Its diversity is reflected in the wide range of issues that are represented in the city’s stickers. There were also a lot of stickers in Manchester that I haven’t seen before; I have not seen any of the stickers featured in the post anywhere else. I’m not saying they are all unique to Manchester, but it is an indication of the city’s healthy culture of dissent.

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This is the first sticker I found when I arrived in Manchester. Although the Bedroom Tax has been a contentious issue since it was introduced in 2013, this is the first sticker I have ever found about it (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Stickers relating to the EU, both pro- and anti-Brexit, were quite common in Manchester. Most of them were supportive of the EU, such as this one (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This is probably more of a poster than a sticker, but I wanted to include it because it’s unsual to see hand-drawn protest stickers or posters, they are usually designed on a computer and printed. This poster is advertising an anti-Brexit protest in central Manchester, a few weeks after the referendum (Photo: Hannah Awcock)

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Again, this is probably too big to be a protest sticker, but I think it sums up Manchester’s irreverent attitude nicely. I also don’t like Nigel Farage (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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You are much more likely to find stickers that criticise the Conservative Party than supporting them, and Manchester is no exception. This sticker is referring to the Conservative Party Annual Conference, which is frequently held in Manchester (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Bun the Tories also started out as a call to protest the Conservative Party Conference in 2015. If you follow the link there’s an…interesting music video, and you can buy a Bun the Tories t-shirt, the proceeds of which go to homeless charities in Manchester (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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It is not just the Conservative Party that Mancunians object to, but also their policies whilst in government. Jeremy Hunt has been Health Secretary since 2012, and is blamed by many for the difficulties which the NHS now faces (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The conflict over Junior Doctor’s contracts in 2015 and 2016 is perhaps one of the most controversial episodes of Jeremy Hunt’s career. Hunt tried to impose new contracts on Junior Doctors, which they refused to accept. Neither side would back down, leading to strikes in which Junior Doctors only provided emergency care. A survey by Ipsos MORI found that 66% of the public supported the Junior Doctors (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The Scottish National Party also comes under fire in Manchester’s protest stickers. Most of the stickers I have seen in London relating to Scottish politics have been pro-Scottish Independence, so I was interested to find a sticker with a different perspective (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Anti-fascism is one of the most common topics of protest stickers that I find in London. I particularly like the design of this sticker, which was produced by a Mancunian anti-fascist group (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Animal welfare is another relatively common topic of protest stickers. Although it’s a common topic, I have never seen this particular sticker before (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Working class solidarity is also a topic I have seen before in protest stickers. They make the argument that the working classes should be uniting against the rich and powerful (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Football is a huge part of Mancunian life and culture. The sport, particularly the Premier League, is now a multi-million pound industry, and there is increasing opposition to it being commercialised to such an extent (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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I have seen protest stickers relating to prisons before, but they are quite rare. I found several different ones in Manchester, which is very unusual. This sticker was produced by the Empty Cages Collective, which campaigns for the abolition of prisons (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The prevalence of CCTV cameras is not something I have seen before on protest stickers. The statistics on this sticker are pretty eye-opening, and I like the way that whoever made it included their source–perhaps they have had academic training at some point? (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Protest Stickers: Egham 2

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Protest stickers at the main entrance to Royal Holloway, University of London (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 16/11/16).

Around the time I was putting together the first Protest Stickers: Egham blog post, person or persons unknown went on a protest stickering spree on and around the Royal Holloway campus. I can’t know for certain that they were all put up at the same time by the same person (or people), but I suspect that they were. The next time I was back on campus two weeks later, quite a few had been peeled or scratched off, so I think that I just happened to be at Royal Holloway just after they were all put up. All of the photos in this post were taken on one of these two days, the 16th and the 30th of November.  Most of the stickers were anti-fascist, which is a very common topic for protest stickers, and also another reason why I think that they were all put up at the same time.

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This is the only sticker that explicitly mentions a campaign group. Anti-fascist groups often put up stickers when they travel to other places, and it appears that the London Anti-Fascists  are no exception (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Harvest Road, 16/11/16).

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I like the powerful visual imagery of this sticker, which I found at the traffic lights at the top of Egham Hill, close to the Royal Holloway campus (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham Hill, 30/11/16).

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This sticker uses the same image as the last one, but the wording is slightly different (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Harvest Road, 16/11/16).

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My Dad is not a big fan of board games, and whenever we force him to play Monopoly he always sabotages the game by adopting this approach, and refusing to buy anything. I’m pretty certain this sticker isn’t referring to my Dad’s Monopoly style though (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 16/11/16).

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This sticker was located at the main entrance to Royal Holloway, making its message all the more meaningful. Someone took exception to it however, as when I went back two weeks later it had been completely removed (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 16/11/16 and 30/11/16).

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This sticker was on the other side of Royal Holloway’s main entrance. It was also removed by the time I went back, but not quite as effectively. I wonder if it was the same person who scratched both of them off (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 16/11/16 and 30/11/16).

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This sticker is also at the traffic lights at the top of Egham Hill. It has also been scratched away, but because of its location nest to a pedestrian crossing, I am inclined to suspect it was more to do with boredom whilst waiting for the lights to change than a strong opposition to the sticker’s message (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham Hill, 30/11/6).

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This is the same sticker, on the road between the traffic lights and Englefield Green, a village even smaller than Egham. It has not been defaced, so the sticker’s message is clear (Photo: Hannah Awcock, St. Jude Road’s, 30/11/16).

 

London’s Protest Stickers: Anti-Fascism 2, History and Geography

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

 

Protest Stickers: Brighton

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Brighton has a lively street art culture, which reflects the city’s accepting and radical atmosphere. This photo was taken in Trafalgar Street on 24/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

The city of Brighton and Hove, on the south coast of England, has a reputation as one of the UK’s most cosmopolitan, radical, and open cities. I have blogged about protest in Brighton before, as well as the city’s role in the campaign for female suffrage. Brighton must also be home to a large number of sticker-ers, as the streets are covered in stickers of all kinds, including protest stickers. I have already blogged about the stickers I found on one walk down London Road, but I have found some other great stickers elsewhere in the city that I wanted to share.

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After the UK general election in 2015, the South of England became a sea of blue, apart from a small oasis of green (the constituency of Brighton Pavilion) and red (Hove). Thus was born the People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove, a group calling for the city’s independence from Britain. They were joking (mostly), but the logo has become a common sight around the city. These stickers were on a post box in Brighton Station, welcoming visitors to the city (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 23/10/15).

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Some protest stickers in Brighton can be found in cities across Britain, like this anti-UKIP sticker that started appearing in the run up to the 2015 General Election. This photo was taken in Kensington Street on 24/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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One the other hand, some stickers are unique to Brighton. Reclaim the Night is an annual event that takes place in cities across the country that protests against violence against women (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Queen’s Road, 24/05/15).

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Brighton Hospitality Workers is a campaign unique to the city. It is run by the Brighton branch of the Solidarity Federation, the British Branch of the International Workers Association. They campaign for better working conditions for employees in the hospitality sector, and help individual workers in disputes with employers. This photo was taken on North Street on 24/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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A lot of British cities and large towns have an anti-fascist group. Brighton Antifascists has a strong presence amongst the protest stickers in the city. This photo was taken on York Place on 31/12/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The March for England is an annual event organised by the English Defence League, often held in Brighton. I suspect the city is chosen deliberately because the EDL know that they will not be welcomed to the city; the resulting clashes have frequently garnered a lot of publicity. This sticker is old and faded, but I think it was playing on the advertising slogan ‘United Colours of Benetton’ (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 24/05/15, Jubilee Street).

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Brighton is well known for having a large LGBT community. This sticker is referring to the struggle of this community to win rights, which in many countries is still ongoing. This photo was taken in Queen’s Road on 23/10/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Class War is a common theme in protest stickers, although normally the implication is that it is the working class that are at war. I’m not sure if this sticker is sarcastic, but there has been a lot of debate over the last few years about the ‘squeezing’ of the middle classes, so maybe it is heartfelt. This photo was taken in Kensington Street on 24/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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I have seen plenty of protest stickers concerned with the environment before, but only in Brighton could you find something like this! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Kensington Street, 24/05/15).

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I have never seen a sticker about digital rights before. EDRi is an association of civil and human rights groups that campaign for human rights in the digital realm. They focus on privacy, surveillance, net neutrality and copyright reform. This photo was taken in Jubilee Street on 24/05/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The Brighton Peace and Environment Centre works to create a more peaceful and sustainable world. The ‘Not in my name’ slogan was popularised during the campaign against the war in Iraq. Social movements frequently reuse and reinvent symbols and catchphrases from previous campaigns. This photo was taken in Bond Street on 31/12/15 (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This is one of my favourite stickers I have ever found in Brighton. Falling somewhere between protest and art, it criticises modern society for being so wrapped up in the virtual world that we risk missing amazing things happening right in front of us. This sticker was found on the inside of a cubicle door in the ladies toilets at the Odeon cinema (Photo: Emily Awcock).

London’s Protest Stickers: Health and the NHS

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Stickers of all kinds are a significant part of London’s urban fabric (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Waterloo Bridge, 15/12/16).

The conflict over Junior Doctors’ contracts was arguably one of the biggest news stories of 2016 with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, imposing new working and pay conditions. The NHS more generally is one of the biggest battlegrounds of modern British politics, with constant debates about funding, privatisation, and the quality of the services provided. Like other key issues and events in politics (such as the EU Referendum, immigration, and housing), the conflict over the NHS has manifested itself in London’s protest stickers. Some stickers refer to other health-related issues, such as the legalisation of drugs and mental health.

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Stickers that were designed to be worn by people often end up being worn by the city, like this sticker produced by the British Medical Association (BMA) in support of the Junior Doctors. Stickers like these caused some controversy amongst Junior Doctors, when the BMA sent out stickers for Junior Doctors to wear at work as an alternative method of protest to striking (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Grafton Way, 03/05/16).

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One of the main arguments against the new contracts was that the changes would risk the health of patients. As such, it is not just Junior Doctors who should take an interest in the dispute (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Lewisham Way, 20/03/16).

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Unison is a union for people who work in public services, including employees of the NHS. This sticker is also making the argument that the users of the NHS should be just as involved in the fight for to save the NHS as those who work in it (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Great Russell Street, 16/06/15).

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The NHS is an important political issue. The funding and running of the NHS often becomes a topic of debate during elections. The Conservative Party, for example, are frequently accused of trying to underfund and privatise the NHS. (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 19/08/15).

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The National Health Action Party is a group that campaigns to halt and reverse the privatisation of the NHS. I found this sticker on the Euston Road, outside the University College London hospital. Sometimes, the location of protest stickers can contribute to their meaning (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 16/06/15).

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Keep Our NHS Public is another group that campaigns for the preservation of the NHS. Le Turnip produces protest stickers that take a lighthearted and sarcastic view on a whole range of issues (Photo: Hannah Awcock, High Holborn, 09/08/15).

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The NHS is not the only health-related issue to inspire the production of protest stickers. Feed the Birds is a campaign run by the London Cannabis Club. The campaign aims to destigmatise cannabis and call for its legalisation by feeding hemp seeds to birds (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Prince Consort Road, 09/07/15).

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The Feed the Birds campaign makes some bold claims about the powers of cannabis (Photo: Hannah Awcock, High Holborn, 09/08/15).

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This sticker was produced by the Psychadelic Society, which advocates for the legalisation of psychadelic drugs (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Upper Street, Islington, 14/04/15).

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Mental health is also a topic which gets people talking. This sticker is objecting to the way in which mental health terms are used in everyday language, which can belittle mental health problems (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 03/08/16).

To see where I found all these protest stickers, check out the Turbulent London Map.

Protest Stickers: Egham

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Founders building on the Royal Holloway, University of London campus (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

Generally, protest stickers tend to be found in large towns and cities rather than smaller towns and villages. There are some exceptions however, such as Egham, a small town in suburban Surrey. It is the location of Royal Holloway, the University of London college at which I have been studying for the last seven years. Students have historically been associated with radical politics, and student politics has experienced a resurgence since the campaign against the increase in English university tuition fees in 2010.

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In recent years, there has been a backlash against the commodification of university education. For some, the focus of contemporary university programmes is too much on developing productive employees rather than education for the sake of education. This sticker is a reflection of this opinion, alluding to the university as a factory, churning out workers to keep the economy going (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway campus, 26/11/15).

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The recent EU referendum permeated almost every aspect of British life. The position of students and academics from the EU, vital to the health of the British academic system, is uncertain in post-Brexit Britain. The National Union of Students (NUS) campaigned for a Remain vote (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 08/06/16).

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Most of the stickers I’ve come across in Egham are not directly related to student politics. This sticker is also advocating a Remain vote in the EU referendum, but it is a generic sticker that I have seen elsewhere, such as London and Brighton (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 08/06/16).

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Some stickers become so weathered that it can be difficult to see their original message. It is possible to make out two clasped hands however, which a common visual symbol of solidarity. If I had to guess, I would say that the words read ‘Solidarity Forever’ (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham High Street, 24/02/16).

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ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) is a common way of expressing discontent with the police in Britain. This sticker demonstrates that the phrase is also recognised in other countries, in this case Germany. ‘Acht Cola Acht Bier’ (which means eight cokes and eight beers) is apparently a common method in Germany of disguising ACAB as a drinks order (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham High Street, 24/02/16).

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This sticker is also in German. The texts beneath the symbols of the five major world religions translates to ‘Do not be afraid of each other,’ an admirable sentiment (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 01/02/16).

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This sticker, which is located near the library on the Royal Holloway Campus, looks as if attempts have been made to deliberately scratch it off. It is difficult to judge the motivation of people who deface protest stickers; this could have been done by students on a cigarette break, or by someone who opposes the sticker’s message (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 01/02/16).

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This sticker was produced by the 161 Crew, a Polish Anti-fascist group (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham Hill, 01/02/16).

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Anti-fascist groups are some of the most prolific stickerers I have ever come across. When localised groups travel, they often put stickers up in the place that they travel to. I assume that is what happened here (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Egham Hill, 01/02/16).

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There are over 100 student Amnesty International groups in the UK, so they are a familiar presence on many university campuses (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Royal Holloway Campus, 14/01/16).

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M31 was an event that took place in 2012, so this sticker is at least 4 years old. Not many stickers achieve this kind of longevity (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 01/02/16).

London’s Protest Stickers: Animal Welfare

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You find stickers of all kinds all over London, sometimes even in posh places, like these outside the National History Museum in South Kensington (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Exhibition Road, 30/08/16).

As regular readers of my blog will know, you can find all kinds of different issues represented on the protest stickers that plaster London’s streets. Over the last year and a half, I have written about protest stickers relating to immigration and race, housing, and the EU referendum, amongst others (see the Turbulent London Map for locations of all the stickers I’ve featured). But all of my topics so far have been rather human-centric, and many activists concern themselves with the non-human. The way that humans treat animals has been a topic of fierce debate for decades. It’s a complex issue, which can escalate rapidly into a philosophical debate about whether or not animals are entitled to certain rights in a similar way to humans. The debate also manifests itself in practical ways however, such as opposition to experiments being carried out on animals, and concern for the treatment of farm animals bred for human consumption. In recent years, ethical consumerism has reduced the amount of product testing carried out on animals, and vegetarianism and veganism has increased (the number of vegans in Britain has gone up 360% in the last 10 years (Source: The Telegraph, 2016). This has not been enough to satisfy everyone, however, and animal welfare continues to be a topic of protest stickers.

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This sticker equates animal with human liberation, mirroring the symbolic raised, clenched fist with a raised paw (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Cross Road, 23/08/16).

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The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) use of animal experimentation is a common topic of protest stickers in London. The British Heartless Foundation is an organisation that aims to promote the fact that the BHF fund experiments on animals- they argue that less people would donate money to the BHF if they knew that was the case (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 11/03/15).

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The British Heartless Foundation produce a variety of different stickers. This one features rats (Photo: Hannah Awcock, East Street, Southwark, 04/06/15).

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According to the British Heartless Foundation, BHF also fund experiments on pigs (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Tottenham Court Road, 19/05/15).

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This sticker references recent culls of badgers in an attempt to prevent the spread of bovine TB. The effectiveness of the policy has been questioned by campaigners, who argue that the policy is cruel and unnecessary (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Southbank, 12/09/15).

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A lot of protest stickers promote vegetarianism and veganism. This sticker equates killing animals for food with murdering a human (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Cross Road, 20/03/16).

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The Friendly Activist is a vegan who campaigns for animal rights and the environment, amongst other things. He seems to have gone quiet recently though (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 26/06/15).

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Animal Aid campaigns against all forms of cruelty against animals and promotes what they call ‘cruelty-free living’ (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Russell Square, 15/04/15).

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This sticker is relatively low-tech; it is not very waterproof, so is likely to deteriorate quickly. Veganstickers.co.uk sells vegan protest stickers, and Earthlings is a documentary  about animal cruelty (Photo: Malet Street, 08/03/16).

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This sticker is a similar style and quality. It is advertising vegankit.com, a website that provides advice, information, and links to vegans and people who are considering veganism (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 08/03/16).

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This sticker is the same as the last, although its condition suggests it has been out on the street for longer. The photo was taken two months after the previous one and close by, so they could have been put up at the same time. Someone has crossed out the YouTube videos and web address, perhaps because they disagree with the sticker’s message (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 03/05/16, Gower Street).

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This sticker was also located in the same vicinity as the previous two; they may have been put up by the same person (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, 08/03/16).

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Location can be very important for protest stickers. I found this sticker outside a McDonalds in Islington (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Upper Street, Islington, 01/12/15).

If you want to see where all these stickers were located, take a look at the Turbulent London Map.