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Toward an Anarco-Design Practice

June 9, 2008

I just found this article entitled Toward an Anarco-Design Practice on the Anarchist People of Color (APOC) blog Illvox. Here’s a sample:

It would be wrong to view this text as some kind of blueprint for anarchist design action. This is not a manifesto. Nor is it the justification for graphic design as a specialist, elitist profession to continue in its current form for the ‘aid’ of social change. As Proudhon wrote to Marx, “Let us not make ourselves the leaders of a new intolerance. Let us not pose as the apostles of a new religion, even if it be the religion of logic, of reason.” And while there is a definite place for the graphic designer in an activist role, both in an educational and provocative sense, designers must not make the mistake of becoming some kind of vanguard group of directors. Whereas Marxism is often justified in both political and academic fields in this respect — defending the role of a necessary vanguard party towards the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ — anarchism vehemently refutes and rejects this concept. The everyday individual or anarchist design practitioner, through the basic act of joining their libertarian principals with their material production, should, and could, greatly contribute to the transformation of everyday life towards a more just and humane existence. As educator and mediator, it is the responsibility of anyone with an understanding of visual communication to instill in people’s minds a broader sense of possibility, using the communicative powers of artistic imagery to encourage and enrage. It is important to shift societies’ many urgent concerns from the fringes and into the public realm, in a direct and unavoidable manner. However, purely negative and angst-ridden critique can only go so far — it is the sense of positive possibilities that need to be associated with the ideas of Anarchism. The marginality of current grassroots movements must be overcome — the isolation of both activist groups and concerned individual’s thoughts must be rendered public, transparent, and shared.


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