“Political Activist Stickers of the German Football Club St. Pauli” conference proposal

My paper was accepted for the German Studies Association of Australia International Conference, “Widerstand/Resistance,” at the University of Sydney, Australia, November 29 – December 1, 2023.

Political Activist Stickers of the German Football Club St. Pauli

Hamburg, the German port city home to the Football Club St. Pauli (FCSP), hosts a sports team well known for its outspoken anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-sexist, and anti-homophobic politics and its staunchly progressive social activism. Founded in 1910, the club is located in the working-class district along the docks near the Reeperbahn red-light district, and for the past forty years has maintained a cult following across Europe, initially attracting radicals, squatters, dockers, and prostitutes in the 1980s, and later, anarchists, punks, bikers, anti-fascists, and other politicized groups. St. Pauli was the first team in Germany to ban right-wing activities and displays at its stadium, in response to hooligan fascists and neo-Nazis in the 1980s and ’90s that were infiltrating matches across the country, fighting rival teams and police, and causing a great deal of violence and damage.

Known as the “pirates of the league,” the club uses stickers to communicate its activist politics unlike any other sports team. The sticker “St. Pauli-fans gegen Rechts!” or “St. Pauli fans against the Right!” has been widely produced and is said to have sold over two million copies. FCSP stickers also comment upon German nationalism, “white pride,” and immigration. Many FCSP stickers portray the revolutionary guerrilla leader, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Others incorporate ad-busting and culture-jamming techniques as a form of resistance, as seen in the appropriation of popular cartoon characters such as Bart Simpson and Hello Kitty. The illustrated paper presentation draws from my collection of over 15,000 political stickers from around the world.