Monday, 8 February 2016

Deconstructing political graffiti: London and Warsaw

Exhibit One, below: photographed on the wall on the overpass as ul. Złota passes under ul. Marszałkowska, across the road from those temples of consumerism, Domy Handlowe Centrum. To all orthodox economists, this logan is heresy, anathema. Yet I can see some sense in the slogan - it alludes to posts I wrote recently (here and here). Much of what passes as 'growth' is merely the sale of a thing to a person that can't quite afford and doesn't actually need. And this is not good for our planet.

However, economists - and indeed politicians - would recoil from this sentiment as it would inevitably lead to a growth in unemployment and with it social unrest. Left and right, politicians would agree that it's better that the economy ticks over (even if only barely) than begins to contract.

I must say, graphically, this would make a wonderful album cover for a 1976-vintage punk band.

Exhibit two, below: on the bridge taking the A40 Western Avenue over the Grand Union Canal Paddington Arm at Greenford. Again, I have alluded to this thought in recent posts (here and here). This is the slogan of populists the world over, from Trump to Le Pen. Until they get into power. And then just look at Venezuela.

The thing with this slogan is the person voicing it is not in any position to offer any alternative 'game'. Nor is he even aware of how complex the 'game' is, and how, when attempting to implement ill-conceived ideas, often gets its quite wrong. Even when an intellectual like Karl Marx devises a new game, the result is so botched, so murderously awful, that the detached observer has to admit - OK, let's leave the game as is, let's stick to changing the players.

Other political graffiti I have snapped in recent months in Warsaw does not bear propagating, suffice to say that graffiti featuring crude unpleasantness directed at the new Polish government outnumbers that aimed that the old government by a ratio of three to one.

Having said that, maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, or looking in the wrong boroughs, but I've not seen any rude epithets directed at Mr Cameron sprayed on the walls of London.

This time two years ago:
Europe's peripheral woes

This time three years ago:
Winter returns to Warsaw

This time four years ago:
Babcia vs. Roma action, Centrum
[A classic bit of photo-reportage, if you don't mind me boasting]

This time five years ago:
Reasons to be cheerful

This time six years ago:
Skiing in the Beskid Wyspowy

This time seven years ago:
What's to be done about Warsaw's unmade roads?

This time eight years ago:
Jeziorki in the fog
[some lovely photos]

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