Nothing is innocent on the street. The graffiti below, for instance, on the wall of the old waterworks along the Elbe River in Dresden, looks at first glance as the casual art work of a child too nice to get down and mean about street fighting with a spray can. Mushrooms for Everyone! Aw.
You are supposed to be fooled with this little druggy message, because in post-communist Dresden, mushrooms, a drug, are the new opium for the masses, taking the place of religion in Marx’s day, and we all remember what Marx said, right?
Darn rights. Now the drug of choice is mushrooms, and look at that little poppy growing beside it, with an Anarchist symbol at its heart. So, the message really is: The Anarchists are on Drugs. Ah, but what does this “for everyone” mean, in the “mushrooms for everyone slogan?” Fascinating stuff. Let’s look in the Dresdener Neustadt for the answer, shall we? I found another piece of graffiti there, with the same faux naiveté. Have a look.
This one says “Ingwer für Alle” or “Ginger for everyone.” So, on the surface the message, in this trendy global community of youth and immigrants fought over weekly by communists, socialists anarchists and neo-nazis, is: go to the local tea shop and drink some Asian ginger and get mellow. Well, someone had some fun with that and slapped up a ginger-haired woman. I fear she is someone’s identifiable girlfriend, alas. But there’s a deeper meaning than all this teasing and provocation and faux gentleness: “Ginger for everyone”, in the context of the Pegida, the right wing “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of Europe”, means something very specific: don’t accept the liberal form of immigration practiced in Canada unless you are willing to have your culture eventually over-run by and replaced by a foreign culture, in which your cultural freedoms will be absorbed in a demographic majority and “Ginger for everyone” will no longer mean “you have a choice to drink ginger tea” but “everyone will drink ginger tea, without a choice.” It’s against that that someone put up the (likely taunting but nonetheless deflecting) image of the ginger-haired woman. Why all this cleverness? Because elderly women who remember such stuff rise at 5:30 a.m. and tear all the Neo-Nazi graffiti off the wall, leaving the rest, to deny the far right the streets. This new Pegida tactic is complex enough, and clever enough, to escape their notice. It remains, for all its apparent silliness and anti-violence …
… an expression of almost pure force. The irony is that this is the opium of the people right now.