Much of the previous VANDALISMS columns have been focused on elaborating the theoretical underpinnings of why we see vandalism as part of an insurrectionary strategy. If you haven’t already, we highly recommend checking them out for both the writing and of course all the sweet graffiti.
This time, we’re going to start looking at spreading the practices themselves.
Let’s start small, though, and work our way up. Stickers are probably the simplest tool here. Putting them up is quick and even if people see you do it, like who cares? Imagine a cop getting a 911 call about someone putting up a sticker. It would be laughable.
So first things first, swing by your local USPS post office and grab some free shipping labels. They should be just chilling next to all the other supplies. Take as many as you want and write slogans, messages, tags, or whatever you like on them. We’re going to re-use a photo from last week to show you what it looks like:
"Defend-J20 – Fuck Trump!" Lots of these new, hand-made #defendj20 stickers just went up at #dupontcircle. #resist #Trump #protest #sticker #theresistance #signsofresistance #dcsignsofresistance #dc @defendj20 https://t.co/DQ91wlwJRE pic.twitter.com/bh5RLJzh2U
— Patrick C. Irelan (@Patrick_Irelan) February 27, 2018
While these are fun to make and more importantly completely free and accessible (if you can’t get to a post office, you can get them for free online), we can’t forget about all the beautiful pre-made stickers out there! Here are a few places you can get them.
— unionized AI❤️🖤 (@humanfriend_) March 23, 2018
CrimethInc. sells a handful of stickers for very cheap through their website, including the one shown above.
This sticker is available in packs of 10 from the Belli Research Institute.
Limitless Mailorder also sells 10-packs of stickers we’ve featured many times in previous columns. You can also get several anti-fascist stickers when donating to the International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund. We don’t know where the following stickers come from, but if you do, hit us up and we’ll share it in the next column.
These are the results of solid anti fascist organizing in a difficult city. pic.twitter.com/m5q2MbHH38
— Michael Loadenthal🏴 (@mloadenthal) March 18, 2018
— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) March 24, 2018
— Mike (@georgetownmike) March 25, 2018
Gorgeous day out, with brilliant sun and hint of spring cutting through the air, meaning that folks here in so-called Michigan are breaking out the skateboards, shorts, and street life in anticipatory joy of warmth! Which for me is (as always) the anticipatory joy of dreaming about a world without states or capital, even as we also continually try hard to break out of reaction and instead prefigure social relations already pointing beyond state and capital. #FallInLoveNotInLine #SelfDetermination #SelfOrganization #SelfGovernance #DoItOurselvesTogether #TryAnarchismForLife (photo: #ArtOfResistance, spotted in the alleyways and brave spaces of so-called Ann Arbor, MI)
With vandalism, we’d like to say a wholehearted yes on both accounts!
Like we said above, stickers are about as low-risk as it can get. Getting together with a friend or two and hitting the streets one night is a good way to get comfortable operating with each other as an affinity group, which will matter when you’re doing riskier things.
You can also just keep a couple of stickers in your pocket every day as you go about your life. That way you can put them up wherever you’re going as a daily practice.
Next, let’s talk markers. Sharpies are common enough and a lot of people use them where they’re not supposed to.
But there are so much more to the world than sharpies. There are paint markers, solid markers, mops, hell people even use white-out pens to write graffiti with. We are mostly guessing at what tools were used for which tags, but here are what these markers look like. Here’s a mop:
As you can tell, mops are drippy! Now here’s what a solid marker looks like:
And here’s a paint marker, and it looks like tags surround Z(A)D are done with a solid marker.
While markers take a little longer to put up than stickers and would seem to draw a little bit more attention from potential witnesses, their size and ease of use lends itself to implementation of a daily practice much like stickers. Already it seems like this is often the case from people who don’t strike us as taggers of any sort. Think of little messages written in sharpie at the bus stop, for example.
Most of the types of markers mentioned are sold at art supply stores, graffiti shops, or in the case of white out, just the office/school supplies sections of a dollar store. If there is a graffiti store near you, check it out! Maybe you can connect with people there and cross-contaminate the existing graffiti subculture with autonomous struggles.
people in capitol hill sure don't like this bezos fellow……..
Oh my ! ! ! ! pic.twitter.com/PzvrezbTOx
— skankleduece (@spacedeath2) April 5, 2018
This brings us to wheatpasting. A lot of anarchist projects have put together guides on how to do it. We’ll share the one put together by Plain Words Bloomington:
Wheatpasting is a simple, dirt-cheap way of spreading ideas, news, analyses, and creative expression outside of (and against) the pacified modes made available by the institutions that control and mangle our lives. Let’s reclaim, together, the means of expression from the media, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, and everything else that reduces us to mere observers of life. Poetry is in the streets!
WHAT YOU NEED
•1 cup of flour
•2 cups of water
•Stove or hotplate
•A pot or pan
•A large paintbrush
•A bucket or container
•Flyers that you want to put up
•Latex gloves (if you don’t wanna walk around with drippy hands)
(OR, you can use a gallon of pre-made “wallpaper paste,” which can be bought cheaply at hardware stores. If you do this, you can skip these first three directions.)
•Mix the 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water together in a pan and stir until there are no lumps.
•Heat the mixture by boiling it until it thickens.
•Cook for about half an hour, and then let it cool.
•Put the wheatpaste solution into a container, grab a paintbrush, some flyers, and head out into the night. Keep in mind that wheatpasting is not “legal” and therefore, it is best to go late at night and avoid being seen by cops.
•When you locate a visible, non-porous surface like metal or glass, use the paintbrush to apply the wheatpaste to either the back of the flyer or the surface itself and smooth the flyer down so there are little or no air bubbles. Put some more wheatpaste on the front of the flyer (especially the edges) to secure it to the surface.
For whatever it’s worth, the recipe is very approximate. We’ve heard other recipes with a 1:3 or even 1:4 flour to water ratio. If you have celiac, the pre-made pastes available in stores are sometimes wheat-free.
Now that you know how to wheatpaste, the question becomes what to wheatpaste. It can be posters advertising an upcoming demo or event, or the personal information of a recently outed neo-Nazi.
I wonder how he's fairing with his culturally diverse co-workers or if he's quit yet. These flyers are right across from his work entrance. pic.twitter.com/JUcwtT2TqO
— skankleduece (@spacedeath2) March 23, 2018
— Filler PGH (@PghAutonomy) March 22, 2018
— AllOutATL (@AllOutAtlanta) April 12, 2018
Double trouble: Every Monday, 3-6 pm at the Canterbury House in so-called Ann Arbor, MI, scheme and dream at the Pop-Up Anarchist Social Space; this summer, July 21-29, in so-called Worcester, MA, co-learn and cavort at the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s Anarchist Summer School (spots are limited; apply by or before May 1 at advancedtroublemaking.wordpress.com)! #ArtOfResistance #CareNotCops #EducatingOurselvesForFreedom #BraveSpaces #InstituteForAdvancedTroublemaking #MutualAid #Solidarity #SelfOrganization #TryAnarchismForLife (wheatpasting spotted on the walls of Ann Arbor)
People also put messages of solidarity on posters, in support of struggles both near and far. Some, like Plain Words and Montreal Counter-Info have created posters out of communiques in order to spread reports of attack without the internet.
— Atlanta Against Amazon (@NoNewHQ) April 16, 2018
Public display of affection: On yesterday’s International Day of Action, March 24, to #DefendAfrin, a hearty group of rebels in so-called Ann Arbor took to the walls of downtown in the midafternoon. The sun was out, and so were many people, especially in the popular “graffiti alley,” where it’s fine to do everything from spraying paint to taking selfies. Wheat pasting and flag waving, along with a zine on the #RojavaRevolution, were both meant as face-to-face outreach and long-distance show of solidarity, from so-called Michigan to the cantons of the autonomous, self-governing region of northern Syria that’s been a beacon of inspiration for over five years — and is now under assault from fascistic Turkey. Passersby stopped to look or ask questions or engage in conversation. One even helpfully took the group photo shared here. And hopefully these posters will linger a long while, reminding people here that other ways of being and living and struggling are possible. Or as they assert in Rojava: “Women! Life! Freedom!” #SolidarityAcrossBorders #ArtOfResistance
— BARE NOLA (@bare_nola) March 22, 2018
Let’s take a moment to note the important of showing solidarity with sex workers right now, given the enactment of SESTA/FOSTA. This solidarity should take many forms—graffiti can be just one (money is another, by the way!).
Spray paint. The classic form of graffiti. Spray paint is sold all over the place, and it all works about the same way. To get started, Home Depot sells cans of black spray paint for less than a dollar if you can’t steal it. Whatever you do, don’t pay for spray paint at a traditional art supply or craft store. The brands they usually carry are way over-priced, and are of questionable quality. Hardware or graffiti stores are your best bet.
More so than the previously mentioned tactics, spray painting is higher risk and will usually draw much more attention to you if seen. While doing these activities in groups can be part of building a sense of affinity with your crew, be careful about proposing something with the real potential to land you in jail.
Brooklyn has been responding to the NYPD murder of #SaheedVassell on the fencing of new property developments in the past week. @HuntedHorse @_mjwilliams_ @capital_crab @cuntymeme @jaybeware @AshAgony @NYCAntifa @macc_nyc @IGD_News @EqualFlatbush @BRRN_Fed @NYCShutItDown pic.twitter.com/CeKUK0oDJp
— no pasarán (@notmynypd) April 10, 2018
— Filler PGH (@PghAutonomy) March 23, 2018
Does this say ego or ega pic.twitter.com/58S0Z5jk0S
— Dylan Petrohilos 🏴 (@dpetrohilos) March 20, 2018
Probably the most important thing to remember is that you circle A’s, you don’t put A’s in O’s. That’s the rules, sorry.
Lastly, we’d like to say RIP to Dopher, Stephon ‘Zoe’ Clark, and HINT.