Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poster of the Week

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is not in our archive, but belongs to the world. It is part of a growing international movement to stop drone attacks which are inflicting huge civilian casualties.  The giant 100-by-70 feet vinyl poster features a child whose parents and two young siblings were killed in a 2009 drone strike in Pakistan.  The installation was also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is called “Not a Bug Splat.” In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing a body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed. To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, a collaboration of artists comprised of Pakistanis, Americans and the French street artist JR., installed this massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit, estimates that in the first 5 years of President Obama’s drone program, in Pakistan alone, between 416-951 civilians have been killed, including 168-200 children.  

Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag #NotABugSplat. "We don't know if it is still there or not," one of the artists wrote in an email. The villagers were encouraged to "use the fabric for roofing and other useful purposes. The art was always meant to be utilized and not discarded after it was photographed."

Photo: Foundation for Fundamental Rights

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Poster of the Week

African American Women in Defense of Ourselves
Amy E. Bartell
Offset, 1992
Latham,  New York

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was produced to support Anita Hill, an African American attorney and law professor, who was being smeared, defamed and threatened for having the courage to accuse Clarence Thomas, an African American judge, of intense and ongoing sexual harassment while he was her boss.  President George H. W. Bush (Bush I) had nominated Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed retiring Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall.  To replace one of the most committed Civil Rights justices with one of the most anti Civil Rights justices truly added insult to injury. 

During the first televised Congressional hearing on the subject in history, October 11, 1991, Hill testified before an all white male Senate judiciary committee, about the sexual harassment she had experienced while working for him at the U.S. Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Her testimony should have disqualified Thomas from being nominated to the highest court in the land, but in the end he was appointed– on a 52-48 vote   and Hill’s motives and character were  viciously attacked.  This poster is based on a ¾ page ad that first appeared in the New York Times  November 17, 1991.

Anita—Speaking Truth to Power is an excellent new film about the hearings and what has happened since.  Whether you lived through the time or are too young, it is eye-opening, frustrating, fascinating, moving and uplifting.  And this poster hangs on her office wall. 

Poster Text - African American Women In Defense of Ourselves 
As women of African descent, we are deeply troubled by the recent nomination, confirmation and seating of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. We know that the presence of Clarence Thomas on the Court will be continually used to divert attention from historic struggles for social justice through suggestions that the presence of a Black man on the Supreme Court constitutes an assurance that the rights of African Americans will be protected. Clarence Thomas public record is ample evidence this will not be true.  Further, the consolidation of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court seriously endangers the rights of all women, poor and working class people and the elderly.  The seating of Clarence Thomas is an affront not only to African American women and men, but to all people concerned with social justice.

We are particularly outraged by the racist and sexist treatment of Professor Anita Hill, an African American woman who was maligned and castigated for daring to speak publicly of her own experience of sexual abuse. The malicious defamation of Professor Hill insulted all women of African descent and sent a dangerous message to any woman who might contemplate a sexual harassment complaint. 
We speak here because we recognize that the media are now portraying the Black community as prepared to tolerate both the dismantling of affirmative action and the evil of sexual harassment in order to have any Black man on the Supreme Court.  We want to make clear that the media have ignored or distorted many African American voices.  We will not be silenced. 

Many have erroneously portrayed the allegations against Clarence Thomas as an issue of either gender or race.  As women of African descent, we understand sexual harassment as both.  We further understand that Clarence Thomas outrageously manipulated the legacy of lynching in order to shelter himself from Anita Hill's allegations.  To deflect attention away from the reality of sexual abuse in African American women's lives, he trivialized and misrepresented this painful part of African American people's history.  This country which has a long legacy of racism and sexism, has never taken the sexual abuse of Black women seriously.  Throughout U.S. history Black women have been sexually stereotyped as immoral, insatiable, perverse; the initiators in all sexual contacts - abusive or otherwise. The common assumption in legal proceedings as well as in the larger society has been that Black women cannot be raped or otherwise sexually abused. As Anita Hill's experience demonstrates, Black women who speak of these matters are not likely to be believed. 

In 1991, we cannot tolerate this type of dismissal of any one Black woman's experience or this attack upon our collective character without protest, outrage, and resistance. 

As women of African descent, we express our vehement opposition to the policies represented by the placement of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. The Bush administration, have obstructed the passage of civil rights legislation, impeded the extension of unemployment compensation, cut student aid and dismantled social welfare programs, has continually demonstrated that it is not operating in our best interests. Nor is this appointee. We pledge ourselves to continue to speak out in defense of one another, in defense of the African American community and against those who are hostile to social injustice no matter what color they are. No one will speak for us but ourselves. 

This ad represents a grassroots initiative on the 1,603 women of African descent whose names appear herein. We also thank the hundreds of people of conscience - women and men of differing racial and ethnic background - who have contributed to make our statement possible. We would like to hear from those interested in establishing a progressive network among women of African descent so that we may more effectively make our voices heard in the future.  Within hours of Anita Hill's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 11, 1991, Elsa Barkley Brown, Barbara Ransby, and Deborah King had launched a nationwide campaign to protest the events surrounding Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court…

This text appears framed in the center of the poster, surrounded by 1603 names.
Additional Resource:
Once Anita Hill’s name was leaked, the smear campaign began - even before the hearings started.  Maureen Dowd describes the situation in Washington, D.C. two days before Hill’s testimony:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Poster of the Week

Cesar Chavez Memorial Poster
Juan Fuentes
La Raza Graphics
Silkscreen, 1993
San Francisco, CA

Cesar E. Chavez Day, March 31, is recognized as a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas, and efforts are ongoing to make it into a national holiday. California was the first state to proclaim the holiday, a result of organizing by Los Angeles volunteers. This marked the first time that a labor leader or Latino has been honored with a public legal holiday.* The holiday is celebrated in California on Cesar E. Chavez’s birthday March 31st. 

When the National Farm Workers Association was co-founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, they accomplished what was thought to be impossible—the organizing of poor and uneducated farm laborers.  Born on March 31, 1927, near Yuma, Arizona, Chavez was no stranger to the struggle of farm labor.  His family lost their small farm during the depression and moved to San Jose, California, where they worked as migrant farmers.  As a child, Chavez also worked in the fields to help out the family.  His father had belonged to farm labor unions, and Chavez himself had belonged to the National Farm Labor Union.  In the 1950s, Chavez became an organizer for the Community Service Organization (CSO), and learned grass root strategies.  In 1958, he became CSO director for California and Arizona.  Chavez became interested in organizing a labor union for farm workers, and tried to convince CSO to develop a farm labor union.  When his ideas were rejected, Chavez resigned from the organization in 1962.  He moved to Delano, where he and other activists including Dolores Huerta, founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), which later became the UFW. 
In September 1965, 1500 Filipino grape pickers in Delano, California, members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) went out on strike to protest years of poor pay and conditions. They asked the NFWA to join the strike. One week later NWFA’s 1200-member families voted to join the strike. In response to Cesar’s condition that strikers take a solemn vow to remain nonviolent, the strikers turned to boycotts. This strike changed the face of agriculture in the United States. In 1966, the Filipino American AWOC and the Mexican and Mexican American NFWA merged to form the United Farm Workers.
Until his death in 1993, Chávez remained the head of the UFW.  He continued to live as he did in the 1960s, sleeping four hours, meditating and attending daily mass.  He continued to use fasts as a way of calling attention to the farm workers’ demands.  He was both a charismatic and controversial leader.  His anti-communism and inability to delegate authority weakened the union at the same time that his dedication and vision strengthened it.  Chávez gave people La Causa (The Cause) to fight for the rights and dignity of everyone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Poster of the Week

Fukushima Mon Amour
Yossi Lemel
Offset, ca  2012
Tel Aviv, Israel

This month marks the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan.
The nuclear fallout from Fukushima is ongoing—in addition to leaking radiation into the air, 1000s of tons of highly radioactive water continue to leak into the ground and into the Pacific Ocean.   The worst leak in the last 6 months took place just last month, in February 2014, when about 100 tons of radioactive water leaked.  This affects us all –the air we breathe, the fish we eat, and things we don’t even consider.  Just days ago, snow falling in Missouri was found to contain double the normal radiation amount.  The FDA stopped testing fish in the Pacific Ocean for radiation not long after the disaster started, but independent research is showing that every Bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has been contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima.  Scientists suspect that all fish in the Pacific Ocean are affected.
Yossi Lemel’s poster connects the 2011 nuclear disaster with the 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. His title is from the 1959 French film "Hiroshima Mon Amour" which, among many other things, is about war, memory, and forgetfulness.  We must not forget.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Poster of the Week

International Women’s Day
New American Movement (NAM)
Salsedo Press
Offset, circa 1977
Chicago, IL


On March 8, l857, women from the garment and textile industry in New York demonstrated to protest low wages, the 12‑hour workday,  and increasing workloads.  They asked for improved working  conditions and equal pay for all working women. Their march was  dispersed by the police. Some of the women were arrested and  some were injured. Three years later, in March of 1860, these women formed their own  union and again called for these demands to be met.  On March 8, 1908, thousands of women from the needles trade  industry demonstrated for the same demands. They also asked for laws against child labor and laws for the right of women to vote.  They declared March 8 to be Women's Day.

In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German labor leader, proposed that March 8  be proclaimed International Women's Day in memory of those women who had fought for better lives.  For almost 80 years, March 8  has been celebrated in many countries, but has only been commemorated widely in the United States since 1970 with the development of the Women's Liberation Movement.

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was produced by the New American Movement (NAM), a socialist-feminist organization established in 1971.  NAM was part of the New Left that formed during the Viet Nam War.  In 1982, NAM merged with Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) to establish Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Poster of the Week

Out of the Closets!
Julio Salgado
In collaboration with Yahaira Carrillo
digital print, 2013
United States: California, Los Angeles

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
-Audre Lorde 
CSPG’s Poster of the Week links two issues that are usually separated:  Immigrant rights and LGBTQ rights.  The joyous and affirmative way these are combined here is in stark contrast to how they have come together in the Arizona legislature.
Last week, Arizona's House of Representatives passed a bill by a 33-27 vote that would allow business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers as long as the denial of service was based on the owner’s religious beliefs. Large corporations and athletic organizations, including Marriott Hotels, Apple, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Yelp, the Super Bowl Host Committee, Major League Baseball, the Arizona Cardinals, and the NFL, have all criticized the legislation. Republican Governor Jan Brewer has expressed the right of business owners to deny service, but facing growing criticism with its potentially devastating economic impact, she vetoed the bill on February 26, 2014, one week after it was passed.

Protests against another abhorrent and discriminatory Arizona law, the anti-immigrant S.B. 1070, are ongoing.  At the time it was signed into law by Gov. Brewer in April 2010, SB 1070 was the broadest and strictest anti-immigrant law in recent U.S. history. Diverse legal challenges, filed by the ACLU, the Department of Justice and others, delayed its enforcement.  In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned three of the four provisions that were challenged, but upheld the most hotly disputed part of S.B. 1070, which required police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in the U.S. legally. The ACLU, along with a coalition of civil rights organizations, will continue to challenge the Arizona law on other constitutional grounds.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Poster of the Week

Gay Olympic Games
Artist Unknown
Silkscreen, 1982
San Francisco, CA

Of the many ongoing controversies surrounding the 22nd Winter Olympic Games taking place in Sochi, Russia’s anti-gay laws criminalizing and marginalizing the LGBTQ communities continue to be one of the most widely protested.  While it’s easy to point the finger at homophobic Russians, the U.S. has a long history of discrimination against people in the LGBTQ communities. The Gay Olympics was launched in San Francisco in 1982.  Less than three weeks before the start of the Gay Olympics, event organizers were sued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) which claimed that the USOC had exclusive rights to the word Olympic in the United States. Defendants in the lawsuit contended that the law was capriciously applied and that if the Nebraska Rat Olympics and the Police Olympics did not face similar lawsuits, neither should the Gay Olympics. Many believed that homophobia was a motivation behind the lawsuit. After the ruling blocked the use of the name "Gay Olympic Games," they became known—and continue to be known—as the Gay Games.  This poster was made before the ruling.

Despite the popular myth that the Olympics celebrate the skill, talent and dedication of the athletes, the Olympics have always been primarily about political and financial wheeling and dealing.  For those who have doubts, please consider the following:

1936 – Hitler intended that the Berlin Olympics would demonstrate the supremacy of Nazi ideology. After African American Jesse Owens won four gold medals and set two world records, Hitler’s propaganda mission suffered a serious blow.  Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller were the only two Jews on the American track and field team who went to the Berlin Olympics. They were scheduled to run in the 4 x 100 meter relay event but their coach, Dean Cromwell, pulled them at the last minute partly because of anti-Semitism and partly because Cromwell and Avery Brundage, president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, didn't want to offend or embarrass their Nazi hosts by having two American Jews on the winning podium.  Earlier, Brundage had opposed a boycott of the Berlin Olympics, arguing that politics had no place in sport. 

1956 The Soviet Union sent more than 200,000 soldiers to put down a nationalist uprising in Hungary. The Hungarian water polo team fled the country during the uprising, and made their way to the Melbourne Olympics. When they faced off against the Soviet water polo team, the match was violent, with both teams trading blows in the pool.

1968 – The Olympic Games were held in Mexico City. Ten days before the opening, the Mexican military fired on student protesters, killing hundreds.  This became known as the Tlatelolco massacre.  After winning the gold and bronze medals in the 200 meters, African Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos received their medals on the podium shoeless but wearing black socks to symbolize black poverty, black scarves to symbolize black pride, and a single black glove on a hand raised in salute.  They had their metals taken away, received death threats and were ostracized by the U.S. sporting establishment.

Pugno Chiuso Contra il Razzismo USA
Translation: Fist Closed Against Racism in the USA 
Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI)
Offset, 1968
Rome, Italy

Fist Closed Against Racism in the USA
Smith and Carlos at the Olympic Games
Bare Feet: the poverty of the black people
Black Glove: the mourning of the black people
Closed Fist: the willingness to fight
The Italian Communists are with them against imperialism and racism

1972 – The Munich Olympics were the first Games held in Germany since Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Games.  The West German government hoped to present to the world the democratic and optimistic West Germany.  Instead, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September who had originally intended to exchange the Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.  After a one-day suspension, the Games continued.  Following the Games, the Israeli government launched Operation Wrath of God and Operation Spring of Youth to track down and kill those responsible for the massacre.

1980 – When the U.S. and Soviets were fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter led a 62 nation boycott of the Soviet Olympics.

1984 – The Soviets retaliated to the 1980 boycott by leading a 14 nation boycott of the Olympics in Los Angeles.

Official Olympics Police State
Fireworks Graphics
Silkscreen, 1984
Los Angeles, California

This poster decries the militarization of Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics, when officials invoked heightened security measures in response to later discredited reports that the city faced a threat of terrorist action that would be comparable to the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.