As part of the Diesel School of Island Life series with workshops, D.I.Y. lessons, parties and events hitting the UK, Don't Panic have been enlisted to run a Political Placard competition where all are invited to create and design their own placards to make their voices heard. With an inspiration gallery here, the only requirements are that the slogans are under a Twitter-esque 140 characters and are to be as punchy as you dare. The winning design will be printed on Don't Panic's 80k posters to be distributed across the UK...
Dazed Digital: A slogan of 140 characters? Seems very Twitter-inspired - how important is social media to contemporary protesting?
Joe Wade: Twitter has been an important tool for groups like UK Uncut to organise their actions, and communicate with each other during protests, so it can help campaigners avoid police kettles, for example. The reason for specifying 140 characters was a feeling that the new placard slogans had been partly inspired by people getting more experienced at thinking up witting one liners and broadcasting them.
DD: What's on your own Top Three list of things worth protesting against these days?
Joe Wade: The number one issue facing the country is the Coalition's plan for the NHS, which is privatisation by the back door. The NHS is the envy of much of the world and once its gone we won't be able to get it back.
Carbon emissions - the world is heating up and there needs to be a global agreement to prevent a catastrophe.
Tax avoidance - rich individuals and really profitable companies pay a much smaller percentage of their income in tax as ordinary individuals. UK Uncut identified Vodafone among others and the practise is widespread, even supposedly progressive companies like the Guardian Media Group are at it. If the right amount of tax was collected a lot of the cuts wouldn't be necessary.
DD: What's the best political slogan you've seen of late?
Joe Wade: It's more a chant but I do like 'Nick Clegg We Know You, You're A Fucking Tory Too'
DD: What are the 'ingredients' of a great slogan?
Joe Wade: Depends what your trying to achieve. The chant above is good as it expresses rage and tars Clegg with the dreaded Tory brush. Obama went with the all encompassing 'Change' because of its inclusiveness and to tap into people's revulsion with Bush.
DD: How, in your opinion, do today's protester's slogans compare to the olden golden days of protesting?
Joe Wade: Adobe have made it easier for everyone to design a nice looking sign although aesthetics are now less important than in the 60s where French protest posters were works of art. Possibly because in the 60s everyone got huge grants and could work on their placards for weeks and not have to work.
DD: In the competition, are we allowed to be cheeky towards Diesel?
Joe Wade: Yes!
DD: Why and how do you think Don't Panic and this competition is a shoe in for Diesel School of Island Life?
Joe Wade: Mainly because they are open to ideas.
DD: What's next for you and Don't Panic?
Joe Wade: We're working on a big street art competition and making loads more political stunt films, some for TV and not just our site. I've got another piece on the Burmese political resistance in Dazed later in the year.