I saw this piece of art yesterday. Are we a generation of fighters? Especially for what we believe in? Especially when that requires that we give up some of the luxuries that we enjoy?
I live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A city and a country with a long history of protest and the victories it has achieved. But what this simple piece of art is saying goes beyond some tweaks to ideology to something that has been on my mind for some time.
The way we live our lives in the West is untenable, unsustainable and unethical. To enjoy the benefits of a multitude of cheap goods and food, somewhere in the world there have to be people working for next to nothing. It’s the only way the economics of scale works.
This is the existence that capitalism ignores. This is what the graffiti tells me will lead to resistance. But will it?
Protest Not Protest
Look at the art: carefully printed on paper. Means access to resources. Cheap resources. How where those obtained? Ultimately at the expense of the very existence we are supposed to be resisting.
I’m all for getting angry. I’m with John Lydon, Anger IS an energy. But more than anger, we need ACTION. New kinds of actions, new solutions, new ways of solving old problems.
As cool as it is, I fear this piece of art is just more of everything that has gone before and THAT is the problem.
This is where one can do into overwhelm when you realise that all the good you want to do will be expressed in a system that does not do good. Where one person can seem to have no effect at all.
Be The Change You Want To See
But let’s be honest here. If you can afford to make protest art like this, you can afford to buy locally made and sourced goods. You can create better options. You have the resources. You just don’t feel like you have the power.
But you do. The decisions you have to make every day are your power. If you choose differently and can persuade a couple of others to do the same and so on and son, you can change the world. Get creative, reject the status quo and rebel against the way things are done.
It’s far more important to be doing things like this than creating cool, ‘edgy’ art.
Things you can do to change the world:
- Stop buying plastic (forget recycling, just stop buying it)
- Buy local made and grown
- Sell your old stuff, buy 2nd hand
- Support your local charity
- Help in your neighbourhood