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Toronto-> like just above the US

Chicken George

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Damn, I’ve been sleeping on this thread! Loving that kane freight just up top. I regret not having my camera that day I went up in that sweet spot with the oldies.


I also regret not fixing my scanner. I got a bunch of stuff I would like to share, but I guess it’ll be a while. :dazed:

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let me preface this by saying i got this from another thread, and while not about toronto it is still important here...its happening everywhere....



The War on Graffiti is a War on The New Class

An Analysis of the Strategy and Tactics of the War on Graffiti in Philadelphia



By Zener, Praez, and Chris Caruso

Of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union

Web: http://www.libertynet.org/kwru

E-Mail: kwru@libertynet.org


October 1998



I. Background:


There have been fundamental changes taking place in the economy in recent

years. Changes in the production process (how things are made) are changing

the social order (how we relate to each other). Since the 70's, new

technologies such as robotics and computers have led to vastly increased

productivity (meaning they can produce more stuff with less work). This

enormous productivity could mean that we could all work less, and still have

everything we need. Instead, the profits from this increased productivity are

going directly to the owners of these companies, while more and more of us

forced out of work, sometimes permanently. Every MAC machine you see used to

be three bank teller jobs. Those scanners they have at the grocery store mean

that the lines move faster, so they can hire less people to work the

registers. This is happening all across the country, in many different



This has lead to the birth of a new class. Many of us have been shut out of

work by the decisions of the owners of these companies in response to the new

technologies. Instead of sharing the benefits of this new technology, some

people are getting massively enriched and others are simply being thrown out.

When we can't get work, we can't get paid to buy food, clothing and shelter.

We are forced to fight for our very survival. This is the new class.


A lot of anger and frustration has been created by these new conditions. One

example of this is the uprising in LA a few years ago. While the corporate

media portrayed it as a race war, it was really a bread riot. The items most

stolen from shops were not TVs and VCRs, but canned foods and baby diapers.

People were reacting to the conditions under which they are being forced to

live. The owning class (those who own the companies and run the government)

want to hold on to what they have. They are making billions of dollars from

these recent changes in the economy. They are afraid that the people will get

organized and demand that they share the wealth that we all have produced

fairly. So, they are instituting new means of social control to keep people in



II. Strategy


The old means of social control of the new class- the welfare state, is

eroding every day. The strategy of the owning class is to replace the welfare

state with the police state as a means of social control. The "War on

Graffiti" is a major tactic of the strategy.


The graffiti artists represent the youth of the new class who are organized

into an independent protest activity- namely, writing graffiti. The owning

class is terrified of that organization because it is organized against them

and their interests. The War on Graffiti is an attempt to destroy that

organization through building the police state.


Strategically, The War on Graffiti has two elements. The first is to build the

social and political basis for the police state. The owning class is in

hegemony. They are very clear about their agenda to build the police state.

However, numerically, they are in the minority. They need the support of the

community leaders to implement their policies effectively. One way they do

this is through public-private partnerships: partnerships between community

organizations and business. A report from the Pew Charitable Trust states this

quite clearly.


Many of the Philadelphia neighborhood-based organizations started as

advocacy groups with a strong adversarial relationship with the city and

local administration. Some groups still use those tactics. But while the

adversarial organization plays a role in community development, the more

successful groups have moved from that confrontational stance to a more

businesslike approach, building relationships with corporate leaders…

some of the original founders have remained with their organizations, but…

those leaders evolved into seeking pragmatic solutions to the problems of

their neighborhoods. As the leaders changed, so did their groups. ("A Matter

of Vision," Pew, Sept. 1988)


PhilaPride, the organization that sponsored the "Greater Philadelphia Graffiti

Vandalism Symposium" is one example. PhilaPride is a partnership between the

Greater Philadelphia First Corporation and the City of Philadelphia. The issue

of graffiti is being used to organize the community groups around the agenda

of the owning class.


The second element of the strategy of the War on Graffiti is to divert public

attention away from the issues of economics, poverty and homelessness. Why do we have poverty and homelessness? The owning class cannot answer this question. This is why the tactics of the Kinsington Welfare Rights Union have been so effective- the owning class has no answer for homelessness amidst plenty. So, the War on Graffiti diverts people's attention away from these fundamental issues and onto an issue that the owning class does have an answer to. Thus, the question becomes graffiti and the answer becomes a police state. Thus, we are not talking about economics, poverty, welfare cuts, or layoffs. Instead we are talking about weather to ban spray paint in the city or not. No one talks about the reality of life for graffiti artists- that they have no recreational facilities, no public spaces, very little prospects for

employment, and little access to education. Instead, they talk about how to best put them in jail. The War on Graffiti is estimated to cost 7 billion

dollars a year nationwide. No one talks about how we could spend that money in our own interests


III. Tactics




On May 2, 1995 Mayor Ed Rendell announced a major campaign for "zero

tolerance" of graffiti in the city.


Mayor Rendell said: "One of the worst problems facing this city… is graffiti…

While it is true that graffiti can't kill or main… graffiti is-a more

insidious Problem… It can kill morale…" (Daily News, 5/3/95)


The city now spends $3 million dollars a year on this campaign, up from $1.5

million a year ago.


The mayor has declared three zero-tolerance zones:


1. The Empowerment Zones

2. Broad Street

3. The Rec Department properties


"Zero Tolerance" means that all graffiti that goes up will come down within 24

hours. This has already been achieved in areas of other cities, including LA.


The mayor uses the power of the bully pulpit to advocate for tougher anti-

graffiti measures throughout the city.




There have been 3 major legislative reforms to the criminal code regarding

graffiti in the last year:


1. Prior to 1995, graffiti was a summary offence whose maximum penalty was 90

days and $300 in fines unless they could prove an offender did over $5,000

worth of damage to property. Unsatisfied with this, the laws were changed. A

new law called "Possessing instrument of crime" was created.


The law "Prohibits the possession of instrument of crime with intent to employ

it criminally; 'instrument of crime' is anything used for criminal purposes,

under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses it may have"

(18 Pa C.S. 907). It is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 5

years or $10,000 fine. Indelible markers and cans of spray paint are now

"instruments of crime" under the law.


2. Laws that hold parents liable for damages (up to $600) from their

children's graffiti have been passed.


3. Laws that penalize property owners for not cleaning up their property have

been passed.


In addition, enforcement of existing curfew ordinances is being explored. In

Norwalk, CA, they send out a patty wagon every night to collect all the youth.

On the way to the police station, they pick up the youth's parents. Norwalk

has reported a 40% decrease in graffiti. Suspension of driver's licenses for

offenders is also being explored.


In addition to criminal laws, the "victim" of graffiti may sue for damages in

civil court. In another recent legislative reform, insurance companies can now

be victims of graffiti. This was not advocated for by the insurance companies,

but by the anti-graffiti legislators. They hope this will result in many more

lawsuits against graffiti artists and their parents.


Councilwoman Happy Fernandez, Councilman Frank DiCicco and Councilman Michael

Nutter are anti-graffiti leaders in City Council.




At the May 2, 1995 press conference which kicked off the current anti-graffiti

campaign, "District Attorney Lynne Abraham pledged to prosecute…and Municipal

Judge Seamus McCaffey vowed to sentence the culprits to community service,

including graffiti-cleanup duty" Abraham said: "We are going after all the

taggers…We have to tag the taggers." (Daily News, 5/3/95).


John Delaney, Deputy, Juvenile Division, District Attorney's Office, City of

Philadelphia says that they will "find you guilty in a fair trial" and

promises that every youth in juvenile court will be forced into a "community

service army to repaint graffiti" (6/18/96 Graffiti Symposium).


A special Graffiti Court has been instituted with two full-time graffiti

judges. "All graffiti misdemeanor cases will go to two judges who have shown

an inclination to both give tough sentences and to force graffiti vandals to

work on cleaning up not only their own mess, but that of others," Rendell said

(Inquirer, 5/23/96).


Seamus McCaffrey and William Meehan 3d are graffiti judges. An ex-cop of 20

years, McCaffrey promises to "aggressively take control of these individuals"

with "very serious penalties for repeat offenders" (6/18/96 Graffiti

Symposium). Penalties include community service in graffiti removal (ranging

from 100-300 hours) for first time offenders and jail sentences for repeat



McCaffrey has also promised "a virtual army of convicted criminals that will

be doing community cleanup" of graffiti (Inquirer 5/3/95).


McCaffrey bemoans the fact that although the maximum on the books is now 5

years, legislated sentencing guidelines make the maximum he is actually

allowed to give 2 1/2 years. They are hoping to change that soon.


Law Enforcement


Currently, the Philadelphia Police have 11 Anti-Graffiti Squads of two police

each, which they hope to expand soon with new Federal money. They are on an

aggressive campaign to arrest as many graffiti artists as possible. There is

coordination between SEPTA police, School police, and University police around

the war on graffiti.


The tactics of the Philadelphia Police Anti-Graffiti Squads include:


1. Surveillance All graffiti is recorded with photo or video records and



2. Computers Long-term computerized tracking of tags, which are indexed to

real names and photos of graffiti artists.


3. Stings Paint a wall clean and either stake it out or set up a hidden video

camera to catch graffiti artists.


4. "Bounty Hunter Programs" Offer $250 bribe for people who snitch on graffiti



When graffiti artists are arrested, they are presented with their whole

history of photo evidence of their tags, and an attempt is made to force them

to confess to the whole history of vandalism. Without a confession, the police

cannot prosecute you for more than you are actually caught for (because

someone else could have painted the same tag).


Police monitor the entire graffiti sub-culture, all of the magazines and

underground videos, as well as all graffiti discussion on the Internet. They

also employ sociologists to study the culture (see "Colleges and



Police also monitor the political content of graffiti very carefully.

Political graffiti is very rare; say police, but they are alarmed by a recent

increase in political graffiti.


Community Organizations


A new organization has been formed: "Philadelphians Against Graffiti" (PAG).

PAG's mission is to organize every neighborhood and community organization in

Philadelphia on an anti-graffiti platform. It is directed by Dan McGowen,

formerly in real estate. They are very well funded and receive support from

all of the other organizations here.


The Paint Industry


M.A.B. Paints has voluntarily removed all spray paint from its city stores.


The paint industry is worried about what they consider "product misuse", and

obviously want to do everything they can to offer solutions to the graffiti

problem other than banning spray-paint. They keep a national database of

solutions that different cities all over the country have tried and assist in

there networking with each other. They have also been involved with campaigns

to stop companies such as MTV and others from advertising with graffiti. The

paint industry and others are toying with the idea of product boycotts of

those companies who advertise with images of graffiti.


Graffiti Clean-up


The city has 8 mobile anti-graffiti squads. In addition, the graffiti court

has promised to provide an "army" of convicted youth to clean up and the

school district has pledged their students in the clean-up efforts. Community

organizations are being equipped with graffiti removal supplies. These will be

supplemented by laws forcing property owners to clean up their properties.

And, the National Guard will join the graffiti clean-up in the Empowerment

Zone this summer.




Zack Stalberg, editor, Philadelphia Daily News says that his paper is "active

in supporting anti-graffiti." Not only editorially- the Daily News is

committed to producing more personal interest stories on the horrible effects

of graffiti, as well as stories on "anti-graffiti heroes". Reporter Kevin

Hanley is very active in what Stalberg calls :covering it in the right way".

This means that graffiti is portrayed in a consistently negative light, and

care is taken not to give graffiti artists any fame or notoriety by showing

their tags in the paper. Stalberg says " I'm an editor who tends to see them

as vandals, not artists" (6/16/96 Graffiti Symposium)


The Philadelphia Inquirer also has ties with the Greater Philadelphia First

Corporation. The Inquirer and Daily News coordinate their anti-graffiti

editorials, stories, features and letters with other war-on-graffiti events in

the city, such as "zero tolerance day". The Daily News heralds zero-tolerance

day with apocalyptic rhetoric: "Graffiti bombs are bursting with increasing

frequency and intensity…The explosion threatens the city's tenuous hold on its

dignity and economic future…It is time for everyone weary of the expanding web

of spray paint to declare war" (4/25/96). In the same period prior to zero-

tolerance day, Philadelphia Inquirer devoted their Feature section to the war

on graffiti: WAKE UP PHILADELPHIA. Your city is getting bombed day and night,

is being mauled and insulted and scarred like never before, and the long-term

damage is enormous…the fate of the city is tied to weather the graffiti

writers can be controlled" (4/14/96).




The goat of the anti-graffiti propaganda is to push through these new police

state measures with as much public support as possible. This means first

convincing people that the interests of the owning class are their interests

as well. Thus, we are told that graffiti is destroying "the city"-as if the

interests of everyone living in the city are the same. Graffiti's danger to

"economic well-being" is often raised. The question is, who's economic well-

being is at stake here?


The second aspect of the anti-graffiti propaganda is to blame the poor for the

problems of the city. Graffiti is the great scapegoat of the day. We are told

that graffiti is the cause of urban decay-that graffiti causes everything

from illegal dumping to prostitution to murder. Is graffiti the cause of urban

decay, or is it a symptom? The implications of the anti-graffiti propaganda

are that the poor have caused urban decay through their apathy and self-

destructive behavior.


This scapegoating propaganda is part of a larger, nation-wide campaign by the

major media to vilify youth-particularly poor youth. Time magazine reports on

the growing teenage population as "A Teenage Time Bomb", and say that

teenagers are "temporary sociopaths" (1/15/96). The LA Times says, "More male

teenagers, more crime. Period" (5/2/96). Newsweek says that adolescents are

"wild in the streets" (8/2/92). Readers Digest says that teens everywhere are

"killer kids" (6/93). A Gallup Poll found that Americans have "a greatly

inflated view of the amount of crime committed by people under the age of 18"

with the single biggest reason being "news coverage of violent crime committed

by juveniles" (Gallup Poll Monthly, 9/94), (See "Wild in Deceit: Why "Teen

Violence" is Poverty Violence in Disguise", Extral, March/April 1996).


What is never mentioned in these stories is poverty. According to a UNICEF

report issued on 6/11/96, among the world's rich industrial nations, American

children have the highest poverty rate: "With more than one in five of it's

children below the (poverty) line. The United States easily heads the child

poverty league", the UNICEF report says. "The United States has failed to help

its poorest children. It has basically turned its back on them, which is

particularly irresponsible when you realize it's a country of such

extraordinary wealth", UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, said in an

interview (LA Times, 6/13/96). Instead of looking at the root causes of the

problems in the city-namely, poverty, the youth are the scapegoated. This

scare campaign to vilify our nation's youth is an attempt to get people

excited to prosecute youth and welcome the increasing police state measures

against them. Some of the ways the anti-graffiti propaganda does this is to

consistently identify graffiti with gangs, drugs, and violence, as well as to

ignore the multi-racial nature of graffiti.


Colleges & Universities


Broken Windows Theory


Harvard Criminologist James Q. Wilson has produced the "Broken Windows

Theory". This theory predicts that if graffiti is tolerated in a community, it

sends a signal that the people living there do not care about their community

(because, of course, everyone should hate graffiti). If allowed, graffiti

inevitably leads to increased illegal dumping, which leads to an increase in

abandoned vehicles, which leads to prostitution which leads to burglary, etc.

etc. Thus, Harvard has legitimated the "war on graffiti" by "proving" that

graffiti is the cause of prostitution and burglary and other crime in the

community. This theory serves to justify the "war on graffiti" as a war on the

root of crime. The roots of crime are conveniently identified as community

apathy, and not grinding poverty.


Police Commissioner Richard Neil: "This kind of blight breeds criminal

activity. It makes it appear that there's apathy in the community, and

criminals feel that they can act in this apathy"(5/3/95).


"Graffiti is the number-one thing, behind crime, that's making people leave

the city", said Police Officer Kevin Hall, sending his partner Gary Gathers

into a litany: "The graffiti, comes the trash, comes the prostitution, comes

the abandoned cars, comes the exodus from the city"(Inquirer 11/18/95).


School District of Philadelphia


Judith Williams, Executive Assistant, Office of the Superintendent, School

District of Philadelphia says that "We have 207,000 students and 99.9% of them

don't do graffiti. We have a responsibility to change the thinking of those

who do. Students should be appalled and offended by graffiti" (6/18/96

Graffiti Symposium).


The School District has a two-year program to fight graffiti. The first year,

which has just ended, was meant to raise awareness of the problem of graffiti

with staff, family and students. The second year will involve changes to the

curriculum to include anti-graffiti propaganda and mandatory active anti-

graffiti student engagement (including anti-graffiti poster drives, and

students doing actual graffiti clean up).


The school has purchased surveillance cameras to catch graffiti artists in the

act. They are instituting permanent changes in the social studies curriculum

to include anti-graffiti propaganda. They are revising the school district

policies to lay out specific penalties for graffiti. They are identifying

school psychologists to work with graffiti artists who have been caught. And,

they are instituting a program whereby the school will provide its own

transportation to take students from school to jail, because the police can no

longer keep up with the demand.


The School District of Philadelphia has begun publishing its own anti-graffiti

newsletter called "Zero Tolerance" in April 1996.




Police employ sociologists to study what they call the "hip hop subculture".

They know everything. They know all the language (we had a sociologist named

Victoria Wilson from the Suffolk County Graffiti Task Force in Long Island

tell us the difference between a tag, a throw-up, and a piece, and the

difference between a toy, a cave-man, a king, and an all-city (6/18/96

Graffiti Symposium), all the forms of organization, the codes of behavior, the

clothing styles. Etc. They study and report on the motivations of graffiti

artists. All of this is reported to police so that graffiti artists may be

more efficiently caught and prosecuted.


Hey, that's it. Thanks for reading this. Please send your comments to

Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philadelphia (Box 50678, Philadelphia PA

19132 USA; kwru@libertynet.org). Please send a copy of your comments to Rock &

Rap Confidential (Box 341305, Los Angeles CA 90034 USA; rockrap@aol.com).

Thanks again. Peace…



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Originally posted by bigpoppa.k

just on the super dl.


on that note...

anyone have a flick of that huge DL5 roller with individual simples under **** bridge?


and my wee comtribution...





^ look! they DO buff!

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I know that it's the right thing to do.

That neighbourhood got really shaken up this summer.


I spent countless hours in front of those pieces playing basketball,

riding the skateboard, making out with girls, getting drunk on beer

we bribed someone of age to buy us...


I KNOW you can post a flick of what used to be there k.!

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take one for the team, and for the little girl who got dismembered and discarded.


yeah i know what ur saying.. thinking of hitting the viaduct, but not crazy about the idea of going over that "r.i.p. holly jones" >>even though its not all that great.


Also, boxcutter i used part of one of your pics on the main page of my site.. check it out, if u want me to take it off, that's cool. u got my email.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest 1stchance

hey does anyone have any SLeke 747 pics? He bombed Toronto hard from '83 to '86. He was the first one to piece a freeway sign out here too. RIP SLeKe 747.


bump for my man SEK!!:eek:

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Originally posted by bigpoppa.k

subways? we don't have subways here...



thats not entirely true you and i both know we gots subways kids just dont bomb em....ya got like the 50 er so feet B4 and after the station...i dont know if that shits a buff or what....i do know its only a matter of time.....

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