Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poster of the Week

End The Occupation
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Offset, 2002
Washington DC

The CSPG poster of the week shows a Palestinian child detained by Israeli forces. The poster was created in 2002 by American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), but is being featured because of the recent kidnappings and killings of both Israeli and Palestinian individuals, many of which have been teenage children.

On June 12th, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank as they hitchhiked to their homes. This act was followed by a ‘retaliation’ kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager. Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces have now been in an open fire conflict that has left hundreds in Gaza killed and thousands injured.  The latest report released on July 15th from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that 197 Palestinians have been killed and 1,390 have been wounded.  Most recent statistics have increased the number of those killed to 210, with the first Israeli civilian death since the initial June kidnapping occurring July 15th.  Of those that have been killed or wounded, alarming amounts have been women and children.  According to Gaza health ministry figures, of 1,140 wounded, 296 are children and 233 are women.

Along with the current events that are unfolding in the Israeli-Palestinian region, what this poster attempts to call attention to is the criminalization of Palestinian children. Children and underage youths make up 47% of Palestine’s population. According to a report issued by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to exposing human rights violations, some 2,500 Palestinian children and youth have been detained from January 2010 and June 2014, 400 of whom are between the ages of 12-15. For more information on detained Palestinian children, see this accompanying infographic:

Link to UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Link to report:

Other sources:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Poster of the Week

Freedom From Choice
Robbie Conal
Offset, 1992
Los Angeles

Roe v Wade was the landmark 1974 7-to-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. Conservative legislators around the country immediately responded by pushing through laws and regulations that attempted to chip away Roe v Wade.  While these efforts have not succeeded in making abortion illegal, they have increasingly restricted women’s access to abortion.

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was made in response to the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which, on a 5-to-4 vote, significantly weakened Roe v Wade and reversed its previous ruling that limited state restrictions on abortion. It is frighteningly relevant this week, when the Court, again on a 5-to-4 vote, in Burwell v Hobby Lobby, ruled that corporations controlled by religious families cannot be required to pay for contraception coverage for their female workers.

Poster Background
Planned Parenthood commissioned Robbie Conal to design this poster and they printed 25,000 copies which were then posted in 75 cities throughout the U.S.—but not in NY.  All went up the same week.  Planned Parenthood even paid for a billboard in Los Angeles which 3M took down after receiving a complaint, without notifying anyone. After being threatened with a lawsuit for breach of contract, 3M put it back up 15 hours after taking it down, and left it up for 3 months—the term of the contract.

The NY branch of Planned Parenthood didn’t participate in the postering as they were having their own issues with the city and didn’t want to add illegal postering to their problems.  New York was the only major city that didn’t participate.   

It is important to note that although Justice David Souter is included in the poster—second from the left—he dissented and did not vote with the majority.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Poster of the Week

25 years ago this week, untold hundreds of unarmed civilians were massacred in Beijing’s Tienanmen Square, by the People's Liberation Army. Since then, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has attempted to erase the event from memory and from history.

The Tiananmen Square protests were a series of demonstrations beginning April 15, 1989 in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Led mainly by students and intellectuals, the movement was generally against the government's authoritarianism, and voiced calls for economic change and democratic reform.

During the demonstrations, the students of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing built a 33 ft. statue in just four days, using foam and papier-mâché over a metal armature.  Although inspired by and resembling the Statue of Liberty, to have more closely modeled their statue on the U.S. icon would have been seen as "too openly pro-American."

The Tiananmen Square movement used mainly non-violent methods, but on June 4, 1989, PRC government troops and tanks fired into the square, killing between 400 and 3,000 civilians. The Goddess of Democracy was destroyed.

Louisa Lim, China based correspondent for NPR and the BBC, just published a book about this repression of memory, titled: The People’s Republic of Amnesia—Tienanmen Revisited. While researching the book, Ms. Lim showed many young people the iconic photograph of the still unidentified man stopping a line of tanks.  The photo, taken by Newsweek photographer Charlie Cole, won the 1989 World Press photo of the Year, and was featured in countless posters such as the one featured above.  Almost no one Ms. Kim interviewed recognized the image.  Some even asked if it were taken in North Korea or Kosovo!

But before we begin to applaud the U.S. for its freedom of speech and freedom of expression– after all, many photographs of atrocities committed in our name and with our tax dollars are available on the internet—we need to remember that 10 years before Ms. Lim wrote The People’s Republic of Amnesia, Gore Vidal wrote Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia.  Years of underfunding the U.S. educational system is finally paying off.    While few Chinese under the age of 30 may know the events of Tiananmen Square, an event that happened 25 years ago, few U.S. college students will recognize the iconic image of the hooded man from Abu Ghraib prison—and that was just 10 years ago.  Historical amnesia knows no national boundaries, but hurts us all.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Poster of the Week

This Is Apartheid, Don't Buy It
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
Offset, circa 1980s
London, United Kingdoms

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is one of more than 60 posters featured in BOYCOTT! – The Art of Economic Activism, an exhibition produced by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in collaboration with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

BOYCOTT! – The Art of Economic Activism
highlights diverse historical and contemporary boycott movements from the 1950s to the present, and features more than twenty domestic and international boycotts from grapes to sweatshops, from Montgomery, Alabama to the Middle East.

Activists and solidarity groups have often responded to injustices by implementing boycott and divestment campaigns targeting companies and governments that support and sustain these injustices—and posters have been a primary tool for educating about the issues and inspiring people to action. This exhibition uses powerful posters to demonstrate the effectiveness of boycotts as a non-violent tactic to end injustice and oppression.

BOYCOTT! has been traveling around the U.S. since September 2013, and is currently in Los Angeles at Mercado La Paloma through June 29, 2014.

Mercado La Paloma
3655 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007

On Friday, May 30, there will be a reception and panel from 7-10 pm.  On Saturday, May 31,there will be an exhibition tour and political poster making workshop from 2 – 6 pm.  All events are free and open to the public.

“Nonviolent protest is the most effective weapon of an oppressed people.”
                                                                                                —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Poster of the Week

Bring Back Our Girls
Artist unknown
Digital, 2014
Stone Mountain, GA
CSPG’s Poster of the Week focuses on the April 14, 2014 kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from a boarding school in Northern Nigeria. 53 escaped and two have died.  Of the 234 remaining in captivity, some have been sold, others forced to marry their captors.  Boko Haram, Islamic militants opposed to western education claimed responsibility. They kidnapped eight more girls, aged 12-15 May 5.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has done little other than spread false stories that the girls were rescued.  Nigerian  President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to win the girls’ release, but hours later, police arrested two women who helped organize protests over the government’s seeming inaction. The two had just met with first lady Patience Jonathan, who accused them of fabricating the story of the abduction in order to embarrass her husband’s government.  International embarrassment may be the only thing motivating President Jonathan, as Nigeria will host the The World Economic Forum on Africa, on May 13, 2014. 

Demonstrations have been held throughout the world, including Georgia, Los Angeles, New York, London and Ottawa.  CSPG’s featured poster promoted a rally in Georgia.  Another powerful poster is designed simply as words printed on a lined yellow sheet of paper, as one might find in any elementary school:

Clippers owner makes racist
comment and everyone protests.
Miley Cyrus twerks and we all talk.
Justin Bieber is arrested and it is on
all the news stations.  Kim and Kanye
have a baby and social media blow up.
234 GIRLS are KIDNAPPED from school in
And no one cares.

CSPG is looking for posters about this and other issues.  Please contact us.  


Monday, April 21, 2014

Poster of the Week

Earth Day Is Everyday
Earl Newman
Silkscreen, 1969/1970
Venice, California

Earl Newman describes the origins of the poster:
It was the beginning of more consciousness about recycling, and people trying to build more awareness…Israel Feuer, activist with the Peace and Freedom Party, came up with the slogan, “Earth Day is Everyday” before I came up with the design. 
The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was marked by environmental teach-ins held throughout the U.S. Approximately 20 million Americans participated and this date marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. 
Now, more than 40 years later, the situation is worse and the climate is changing rapidly and very noticeably. The polar ice caps are melting faster than scientists had predicted, extreme weather is becoming the norm, and expanding swaths of oceans and lakes are becoming dead zones where no marine life can survive due to depleted oxygen levels caused by pesticide runoff. In 2004, 146 dead zones in the world's oceans were reported.  A 2008 study counted 405 dead zones worldwide.  Meanwhile, new ways of polluting our air, soil and water are increasingly profitable therefore actively supported by industry and government alike:  from deep sea oil drilling, to fracking, to transporting tar sands across some of the most fertile and fragile agricultural land in the country. 
Adding insult to injury, the Koch Brothers and their cohorts in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), continue to try to destroy support for renewable energy, state by state.  In 2013, ALEC tried to repeal clean energy targets in 13 states and failed on all fronts.  They are trying again in 2014. When will they ever learn?


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