Activists Subvert London Billboards: Don't Vote, Engage With Politics, Take to The Streets
Activists Subvert London Billboards: Don't Vote, Engage With Politics, Take to The Streets
By Alex King / huckmagazine.com
Apr 30, 2015

This afternoon a communique arrived from the Special Patrol Group, a radical offshoot of STRIKE! Magazine. It read:

Rupert Murdoch has more influence than the entire UK electorate. All of the candidates are idiots: a truly democratic system would have an option to vote for none of them. DON’T VOTE: spoil your ballot, engage with politics, take to the streets!

Lots of love,

The Special Patrol Group

You may remember these subversive agitators who informed tube passengers that their jobs were bullshit on the first day back at work this year and subverted advertising billboards to announce that the Metropolitan Police are ‘still really racist’ after Ferguson went up in flames.

Just days before the UK’s general election, the SPG have launched another timely action.

As commuters trudge home, their senses dulled by agonising hedge fund-bankrolled party political broadcasts and inane campaign updates from the mainstream media, they will be confronted with billboards across London that shout: Don’t Vote.

Instead, the SPG are calling on Londoners to engage with politics through alternative means, by spoiling their ballots or taking to the streets. As with every action it’s backed up with some solid philosophy, which you can read here – including this gem from Audre Lorde: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Huck caught up with a member of the Special Patrol Group to talk about the Don’t Vote action. The shady figure raised the visor on their riot helmet to give this exclusive interview.

Wait a second, I thought voting was being politically engaged?
We think coming out once every four or five years to put a mark in a box is apathetic. Spoil your ballot: a vote for none of the above, if you will, a vote against the system. Engage in politics: find a campaign or issue that matters to you. Take to the streets: make a banner, create a zine, build a movement. Do something! Lots of amazing people already do.

Why are you encouraging people to spoil their ballots? Why not just stay at home?
Because we have an unfair system, not-voting gets counted as ‘ignore me’. It seems obvious to us that a properly democratic system would include an option to vote for none of the above; perhaps if it did, we wouldn’t be stuck with such woeful ‘representatives’. Until we can change the system, spoiling your ballot is the only option that shows that you’re unhappy with it – nobody should endorse it by voting for it.

Warren Street

What’s your beef with Rupert Murdoch? What’s an ageing Australian who can’t even vote in the election got to do with all this?
It’s not about the individual ageing Australian, although he is obviously a very unpleasant individual. It’s about wealthy individuals and interest groups having more influence, significantly more leverage than, not only individual voters, but the entire electorate.

If you took the money out of politics, placed limits on spending etc., the people with the best ideas rather than the most money would win. But politicians have done the opposite of that – they’ve made themselves available to the highest bidder. Bribery and corruption in our system is euphemistically referred to as ‘lobbying’, as though ordinary people have the same clout as multinational corporations.

One of your posters shouts ‘Take to the streets?’ When? Where?
Always and everywhere until the change you want to see has happened. But it’s not supposed to be taken so literally: it’s about a mindset. It’s about realising that the only thing that has ever created change is collective action – and that usually, literally, happens in the streets. The beauty is in the streets – not the ballot box.

What really gets your goat about outdoor advertising? What would an SPG future without advertising look like?
Outdoor advertising is one of the few things less democratic than parliamentary politics. If you buy a newspaper or switch on the television, you can turn the page or change the channel – outside nobody has any choice but to be bombarded with messages that are trying to convince you to give up your hard earned, often by telling you you’re too fat, too ugly, or otherwise incomplete. The visual realm belongs to everyone, so nobody should be able to buy it.

And other places have already recognised this and banned outdoor advertising completely – notably Grenoble and Sao Paulo. It’s interesting that both Westminster and the City of London seem to have already passed by-laws banning outdoor advertising – presumably because rich people don’t like having their visual landscape sullied with shite either. The difference is, they’ve got the power to do something about it, and we don’t.

The Special Patrol Group is an offshoot of STRIKE! Magazine. Find out more about their Don’t Vote action here.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
PROPAGANDA (2012)
95 min · 6,136 views today · Since it mysteriously appeared on YouTube on July 18, 2012, ‘Propaganda’ has been described as ‘1984 meets The Blair Witch Project’, ‘A mouthful of scary porridge’, and ‘Even...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,361 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Science Behind Connection
9 min · 3,171 views today · Evolutionary Biologist, Bruce Lipton, visits the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, India with UPLIFT writer, Jacob Devaney. Making a pilgrimage back to one of the epicenters of...
Life Goes On: A Positive and Uplifting Response to Dark Times
2 min · 2,859 views today · Recent world events have a lot of people feeling fearful and angry. But there is much more good than bad in this world, and I choose to remain hopeful. This video explains why.
The Safety Pin and the Swastika
Shuja Haider · 2,528 views today · The frameworks of liberal identity politics and “alt-right” white nationalism are proving curiously compatible.
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 1,402 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,049 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 445 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
Stunning Photos By Alexander Semenov Showcase The Alien Beauty Of Jellyfish
Earth Porm · 430 views today · Jellyfish appear like beautiful aliens in Alexander Semenov’s photography, calling a new attraction to a magical species of marine life. Alexander Semenov is a marine...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 416 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 286 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 282 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 264 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 247 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 235 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 223 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 181 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 177 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 177 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 167 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Activists Subvert London Billboards: Don't Vote, Engage With Politics, Take to The Streets