14 Jan 2016

Squaring up to the Square Mile

Squaring up to the Square MileĀ was conceived as a tool for protesters at London’s 2009 G20 summit. Listing the location of almost every major law firm, arms trader, bank, and other generic ‘evil’ corporations situated in the center of London, the map quickly provided protestors some idea of where they should be headed.

For me, it’s interesting to see a piece of my country’s recent political history that, surprisingly, I was almost totally unaware of at the time.

This map has, in my opinion, quite a few problems. In hindsight, it’s an early example of slacktivism and similar veins of contemporary, ineffective protest.

I say slacktivism partially because of the way it was presented. When reading the media surrounding the map, you are toldĀ that simply by printing off this map, and thus being informed of the enemy situated in London’s heart, you became an activist.

This is linked to the map’s greatest flaw: It paints in black and white in a way that is ultimately unhelpful. It tells the reader that the way they should protest is by going into the Square Mile and then just object to everything happening there. The simplicity and lack of direction in this map is the same simplicity and lack of direction that caused the Occupy movement to rise and fall without doing a damn thing.