The sharpest piece of political Graff I ever saw was on a wall near the Vic market and it simply read "Hunt Coward". It was 2005 and "the people" were agitating. It was the beginning of the end of Howard and for me, the end of my early adult years under Liberal reign.
And so we see ourselves here again and I sense you wondering how I am going to weave Street Art into this. I don't think I can yet. I have seen so little commentary for so long I would be clutching straws to bring you a collection of political pieces. Correct me if I am wrong. There has been the Abbott on the wall of faces off Brunswick St but so far as I can tell, that's it.
We have seen complacency in Australia over the past decade and it has seeped into the Australian Graffiti and Street Art scenes. I partially blame the general bleaching of political activism from the universities under Howard's reign. Voluntary Student Unionism saw the death of the student activist platform that had been an essential voice of dissent. And unionism everywhere was drained of power to leave us with a pile of individually disgruntled people with no collective power.
It took years for the people to vote that fucker out. When they did, they were gasping for breath. Rudd swept in and apologised, finally, for our invasion. "Work choices" was rightly scrapped as a ridiculous blight on the landscape of workers rights. Mistakes were made, these cannot be denied, but not enough to bring the Libs back in.
When Jules swept in Murdoch machine went into overdrive. The "she did it" take on the "we can do it" posters appeared briefly but again aside from a few wheatpastes, the streetscape remained apolitical. We were hopeful for a while. And then at every turn she fell. And there was nothing on the street to mark it. White ants don't come close to describing the media manipulation, she was essentially wading through acid wearing legs of steel.
So, people, we now have Abbott. FFS. A man described by Malcolm Fraser as dangerous. A man who all sides of politics describe as conservative. The man who was never meant to be the leader of the party, now the leader of the nation!!?? And why, because of 'economic mismanagement' or 'the boats' or whatever rhetoric you have heard and chosen to believe? It's all bullshit.
I beg all writers and all street artists to call it as it is. So whether you voted him in or not, when he reduces minimum wages, say it on the street. When he diverts funding from hospitals, satirise it. When he reduces taxes on the rich, get angry. When he reduces "the debt" that had meant we had a healthcare system,try really hard not to get sick.
Just remember, he once described himself as the love child of Bronwyn Bishop and John Howard. And thanks to Murdoch, he now has a mandate to rob from the poor to give to the rich. Don't let what happens hereon in go unchallenged. Get your politics back on. Hunt Coward!