Politika // Capitalism Works for Me?


Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City has sought to question capitalism and create debate around its effectiveness in modern day society. We wanted to look at alternatives to a consumerist system and question the ideals presented within it. Works exhibited pose a challenge to capitalism and we were able to take a closer look at the issues surrounding this system in our programme of events.

Steve Lambert Intervention at the Labour Party Conference – 21/09/14

We took Steve Lambert’s interventionist artwork, ‘Capitalism Works For Me’ out on the back of a flat-bed truck and parked as near to the Labour Party Conference as we could. We asked passers-by to vote for whether the statement was true or false in their lives.  There was a mixed batch of replies and some excellent reasoning from voting individuals.

We’re led to believe that we’re alone in our opinions so it was great to see how switched-on and articulate the population of Manchester are when faced with capitalist issues. We found an interesting internal debate taking place in some individuals when they questioned capitalism on a personal, societal and global level. Thanks to everyone who entered into the discussion and we can’t wait to get the piece back out into the public realm.

Robin Hood Minor Asset Management – 21/09/14

At the Engine Room, a group gathered to talk to Jan Ritsema from Robin Hood Minor Asset Management.  As a Finnish cooperative who play the capitalist system to the advantage of art and charity organisations, their work offers an interesting perspective into the duality of the question.

We were really excited to have Jan here as part of Politika, representing the cooperative in the UK for the first time.  Thanks to everyone who came down to speak to him and if you missed your chance, check them out on their website.

Paths Through Utopias // Screening – 21/09/14

‘Paths Through Utopias’ examines alternative ways of living across Europe and was made by good friends of Upper Space. The communities and groups examined within the documentary present alternatives to capitalism and ways in which people can take control of their own lives and rights. It’s important when questioning capitalism to look at alternative systems and weigh up the pros and cons. It was interesting to look at various options for a different way of life.

Anna Minton Talks About the Privatisation of Public Space – 22/09/14

On Monday 22nd we were joined by the acclaimed author of ‘Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st Century City’ for a presentation as part of Politika: Art & the Affairs of the City.  Anna Minton explained the problems associated with privatisation of public space and how communities are affected.

We were joined by various members of the Ancoats community who fully understand the effects of Compulsory Purchase Orders and plans for regeneration. The failed redevelopment has left many parts of the area vacant and relocated families who have lived in Ancoats for generations. It was great to give the community a chance to engage with an authority on the presented issues and figure out what options and rights they have to create or combat changes in their community. The discussion gave a real insight into both ground level effects and the legislation that allows for them.

‘To Hell With Culture’ Screening and Q&A with Director Huw Wahl – 22/09/14

After Anna Minton’s presentation we watched ‘To Hell With Culture’, a documentary film examining the life and works of writer and anarchist, Herbert Read.


Director Huw Wahl was on hand to answer questions about Herbert Read and his own motivations for making the film. There were a number of interesting debates around Herbert Read’s life and whether he lived by the ideals he promoted and could honestly call himself an anarchist.

We’d like to thank all our contributors and everyone who came down to join.