Meaning of acronym A.C.A.B. and 1312

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A.C.A.B. is an anti-police acronym. It’s an abbreviation for “All Cop[per]s Are Bastards”. Today, the A.C.A.B. we can find on many walls and slogans in graffiti, tattoo’s and another graphic which has the main goal to show antipathy against law enforcement and police. The first appearing of this acronym in public is in 1977 when a journalist from Newcastle spent the night in prison. He documented A.C.A.B. acronym written on prison walls. He published book “The Dictionary of Catchphrases” where it is written that A.C.A.B. acronym is from early 1970th and can’t be older until full meaning of words coming from 1920. British punk band, the 4.Skins populated acronym A.C.A.B. through their song with the same name during 1980-es.

Using of acronym A.C.A.B.

The acronym is often integrated into prison tattoos in the United Kingdom apropos Great Britain. It’s often written on fist, finger by finger, and sometimes like small dots on every finger. In modern politics, all sides using acronym “ACAB” like “All Cops Are Bastards”. It’s most used in the world of football fans worldwide.

all cops are bastards grafitti
ACAB graffiti in Athens, Greece

Using of ACAB, as we mentioned is most popular in the world of sports fans, especially football ones and their ULTRAS culture. It’s not weird to see graffiti, t-shirts, transparent and other equipment of football hooligan “decorated” with these symbols and acronyms. It’s their way to show their anger against police and law enforcement.

In past years, publishing of ACAB in public, in many countries was forbidden by law, so the football fans created an alternative. The new synonym 1312 means same as ACAB and that was a way to override laws in some countries. 1312 means that every number is one letter (1312=A.C.A.B., where 1 stands for A, 3 stands for C, 1 stands for A and 2 stands for B what fits the letters from the English alphabet).

Today, in most countries in Europe, publishing of these symbols is forbidden by law and punishable as a minor offense because it’s recognized as inappropriate behavior and abetment on riots.