ART ACTIVISM WORKS

DISCLAIMER

The contents of this article are for information and educational purposes only. Patriot Propaganda does not officially recommend using any of the tactics, techniques or procedures presented. 

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An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. BUDDHA

Mahatma Gandhi marched 240 miles to the sea in dramatic defiance of the British salt monopoly in India. Peering back further, we encountered the poetry of Muhammed, the radical teachings of Jesus Christ, the spectacles of Moses, and the captivating riddles of the Buddha. The more we look, the more we find examples of art activism.

ART ACTIVISM WORKS

ART ACTIVISM WORKS, and always has. So, why does so much political art feel like we’re getting a lecture from a righteous vegan at a Texas barbeque? And why does so much activism feel like a day at the DMV? To find another way, we’ll need to recruit the wisdom and experience, in many cases, of our “liberal” adversaries. Those who you might consider “woke” have, until now, been on the leading edge in the field of art activism around the world. Accept it with a slice of humble pie, patriot. It is what it is. 

Whether it’s migrant rights activists in San Antonio, transgender artists and activists across eastern and western Europe, sex workers in South Africa, queer activists in North Macedonia, and many more represented in countries such as Russia, Pakistan, and China, what we can tell you with absolute certainty is that there’s nothing spontaneous about the success of their campaigns. Without exception, all of these art activist entities have undergone education and training to help them achieve their aims. And you need to be dedicated to doing the same. That said, it’s not only the woke who have succeeded with the methodologies we are sharing with you. In fact, these tactics have also been used by veterans of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. And learning from dissident artists around the world, our intent here at Patriot Propaganda is to catalogue the different approaches used, research what works, and equip you with the best tools to deploy in your own campaigns.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

One of the things we’ve learned from successful practitioners in the field is that art activism is not the preserve of the privileged (although we can understand how you might see it that way). Art expression and cultural creativity flourish among communities who are marginalised within formal spheres of politics, law, and education. We’ve also learned that art activism works particularly well in repressive regimes where overt political protest is prohibited, yet art practices are tolerated or even celebrated. And finally, we’ve learned that, while culture is something we all share, we don’t all share the same culture. 

The building blocks, the symbols and stories that give art its content and form, differ among different people and places. Nevertheless, thousands of activists and artists from several continents and dozens of countries have learned to think creatively about activism, and their populations have been energised and inspired, bringing a sense of discovery and play to the serious business of social change. We can assure you that innovative and creative approaches bring concrete winds in activist campaigns. This stuff really works.

The first rule of guerilla warfare is to know the terrain and to use it to your advantage. We may not be huddled up with Che Guevara in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, or fighting in the jungles of Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh, but the lesson still holds. Our modern political terrain is a highly mediated landscape of signs and symbols, story and spectacle. For us to stage successful battles on this cultural topography we need to observe, think, analyze, and respond creatively. We need to become art activists. 

This is what our resources are for. While there is theory in these articles, our content is not theoretical. Nor are we giving you history lessons, though you will see many illustrative historical examples. And although we include cutting-edge creative work, these are definitely not art lessons. 

Our resources are all about changing the world around you through doing, not just analysing and critiquing. As our adversary’s beloved author, Karl Marx wrote, “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” He was right about that. The lessons we teach you are not intended to be read, considered, and then returned to the shelf in a library – the lessons are about art activism. They’re meant to be acted upon, and actively used as a guide for your own art activism.

However, we’re not giving you a recipe book full of instructions for creative actions. The problem with such resources and books is that they promote a “best practices” approach to art activism where we reproduce what’s been done well in the past. We don’t think this is very creative. Nor is it very effective. 

Art activism only works when it takes into account local talents, cultures, and contexts. Our aim is to impart the history and philosophy that goes into developing art actions, and to nurture your expertise and creativity so you don’t need recipes; you can make them up yourself.

CONCLUSION

It’s been said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. This is certainly true, and if we’re to win the culture war against our capable adversary, we really have to embrace the critical role that art activism will play in reclaiming the cultural ground that patriots have lost over the past generation. It’s only once we’ve begun to occupy this vital ground that we will begin to penetrate hearts and minds and, in time, restore sanity in North America.

Everything we’ve learned from activists and artists is being handed to you. We want to see it work for you, too. Art activism is more than just an innovative tactic … it is an entire approach – a perspective, a practice, a philosophy. And the art activist practice we hope to promote is not about copying what others have already done. Rather, we want these materials to help you generate new ideas; to formulate concepts that give you clarity in what you want to do; to do your art and activism more effectively; to turn back the waves of cultural Marxism crashing against our shores. 

Above all, dear patriot, the resources we offer are about you creating yourself as an art activist. 

REFERENCES:

This article was adapted from Duncombe, Stephen, and Steve Lambert. The Art of Activism: Your All-Purpose Guide to Making the Impossible Possible. OR Books, 2021.

Other References:

Sharp, Gene. From Dictatorship to Democracy. Serpent’s Tail, 2022.

Beer, Michael, et al. Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, 2021.

Popović, Srđa, and Hardy Merriman. CANVAS Core Curriculum: A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle: Students Book. Serbia, CANVAS, 2007.

Marovic, Ivan. The Path of Most Resistance: A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning Nonviolent Campaigns, 2nd Edition. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, 2021.

Sholette, Gregory. The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art. New York, United States, Macmillan Publishers, 2022.

Clark, Howard; Garate. Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns. Revised edition, War resisters’ International, 2022.

Thompson, Nato. Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Twenty-first Century. Melville House, 2015. 

Gavin, Francesca, and Alain Bieber. The Art of Protest: Political Art and Activism. Gestalten, 2022.

Miller, Matthew, and Srđa Popović. Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World. Random House, 2015.

Alinsky, Saul. Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. Vintage; Reissue edition, 1989.

Bernays, Edward. Propaganda. Ig Publishing, 2004.

Abbott, Daniel. The Handbook of 5GW: A Fifth Generation of War? Amsterdam, Netherlands, Adfo Books, 2021.

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