What is Politics?

I once had a painting studio in an artists collective in Liverpool. There was a notice pinned up on the board that someone would be visiting the studios looking for artists to submit work for an exhibition at the trade union social club . I forwarded my name saying that I would be interested in contributing or lending work.

At the time I was working on still-life flower paintings in what I thought was a questioning manner that was not particular to the usual handling of that type of subject. (The history of still-life painting is fascinating in any context you wish to mention.) After a lengthy discussion I described what I was trying to do, where I was trying

to go with the work and so forth. The person who was the one man selection committee moved to leave explaining to me “it’s actually political paintings we’re looking for. I was a bit dumfounded. What did he want blood. I didn’t do un political paintings. in fact I believe that there is no such thing as an un political painting. (As there is no such thing as an un political life)

I could have run after him and explained more but was there a point. He had made up his mind what political paintings were. This is an example of a modern day problem of trying to place something (in this case a painting) to serve the purpose of an ideological category.

Political speak

And so it is with people in general they know what politics is and what it is not. Like when you have a conversation in the pub or wherever and the person talking to you says. ‘Why don’t you become a politician if your into that stuff’. That stuff being something deemed that only politicians speak or know about. So the art critic decides what a political painting is or in my case isn’t. No sooner will he be deciding if I am a political person and if even my opinions are worthy of consideration.

The less the individual is concerned about politics the happier governments are. If this is not the case why do they try to make politics sound so difficult.(or boring) Politics is trivia and can be understood and participated in by most people. If you can not under stand the ideas behind a political statement, movement or convention 99% of the time someone is up to something they do not wish you to understand. You. How you act. What you do and how you live are your politics. These are the tools you use to analyze ideas not the political ideologies of others.

A good way to to start understanding why politics become so difficult is to look at its tools of persuasion. Propaganda is a good place to start.



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