Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poster(s) of the Week

Primero de Mayo de 1947
[May Day 1947 Only a conscious, united, and honest labor movement can successfully defend the interests of the workers, and help Mexico prosper.]
Pablo O'Higgins; Alberto Beltrán; Taller de Gráfica Popular
Linocut, 1947
Mexico City, Mexico

The celebration of May Day as a labor holiday marked by parades and red flags began on May 1, 1886. Behind the campaign was the universal adoption of the 8-hour working day, an improvement on the recent fight for a ten-hour day. In Chicago, the center of the movement, workers had been agitating for an 8-hour day for months, and on the eve of May 1, 50,000 were already on strike. 30,000 more swelled their ranks the next day, bringing most of Chicago manufacturing to a standstill. In a notorious riot that followed (the Haymarket massacre) the 8-hour movement failed, but the Chicago events figured prominently in the founding congress of the Second International (Paris, 1889) to make May 1, 1890 a demonstration of the solidarity and power of the international working class movement. Ever since, May Day has been celebrated globally as the international workers’ holiday.

May Day 2006
Ami Motevelli
Self-Help Graphics and Art
Silkscreen, 2006
Los Angeles, California

On December 16, 2005, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act by a vote of 239 to 182—92% of Republicans supporting, 82% of Democrats opposing. This bill would not only have made it harder for legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens, but have made it a felony for anyone—including clergy, teachers or healthcare workers, to assist the undocumented in any way. It also called for the construction of a wall across up to 400 miles of the US-Mexico border.

The passage of HR 4437 was the catalyst for some of the largest protest demonstrations in US history, including the March 25, 2006 demonstration in Los Angeles where more than 1 million people took to the streets, and the May 1, 2006 “A Day Without Immigrants” when millions protested in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. There were school walkouts, street demonstrations, and a one-day boycott of all businesses to demonstrate the buying power of immigrants. The above poster was produced for the Los Angeles march. Following the unprecedented street demonstrations, the Senate passed a much more moderate bill, S. 2611.

In April 2010, the most repressive anti-immigrant legislation in the country was passed in Arizona. Boycotts of the state have started. On May 1, 2010, an immigrant rights march will be held in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poster of the Week

Ecology Now

Earth First

Offset, ca. 1970

United States

Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (Democrat, Wisconsin) as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970. 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.

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. The organizers had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Earth Day 2010 coincides with the World People’s Conference on Climate Change held in Cochabamba, Bolivia and with the International Year of Biodiversity.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poster of the Week

Warsaw 1943 Never Again!

Claude Moller

Silkscreen, 2002

San Francisco, California

Produced in response to the escalation of anti-immigrant sentiments and actions following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, this poster unfortunately remains relevant as anti-immigrant sentiments continue to be loudly and too often violently expressed. It uses one of the most famous photographs taken during the Holocaust to focus on the inhumanity of forced relocation, deportation and separation of families. The photo was taken after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was suppressed, May 1943, and shows Jewish families arrested by Nazi troops before being sent to Treblinka extermination camp to be gassed. The insurgency was launched in January, 1943, and the most significant portion of the rebellion took place from April 19 until May 16, 1943 when it was crushed by German troops.

April 19 is now commemorated as the beginning of the largest single revolt by the Jews during the Holocaust. “Never Again” was a cry following the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps. It is attributed to the Soviet officer in command of the troops that liberated Auschwitz. In this poster, “Never Again” expresses the hope that humanity and justice will prevail.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poster(s) of the Week

Support the Pittston Strikers!

Carlos Cortez

Linocut, 1989

Chicago, Illinois

In 1989, the United Mine Workers (UMW) in Virginia launched a strike against the Pittston Coal Group, Inc. The ten-month long strike, marred by violence, was ended by the UMW when the contract was ratified in February 1990. The struggle continued to be fought in the courts for several years.

As President Obama tries to convince people that “clean coal” is possible, two coal mining disasters just took place.

· Last week, an explosion in China trapped 153 in a flooded mine. It was announced yesterday (April 7, 2010), that 115 have been pulled out alive.

· At least 29 coal miners died this week in Virginia, in the worst US mining disaster in the last 40 years.

The West Virginia coal mine disaster turns a harsh spotlight on the safety record of the mine's owner, which has paid record fines for safety and environmental violations. Virginia-based Massey Energy Co. has racked up millions of dollars in penalties in recent years. The Montcoal, West Virginia, mine where Monday's fatal explosion took place received 458 citations from federal inspectors in 2009, and more than 50 of those were for problems that the operators knew about but had not corrected, according to federal mine safety records. (source: CNN)

I Pledge Allegiance

Louis “Lou” Dorfsman

Offset, 1970

New York, New York

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968 and the featured poster commemorates this American tragedy in an ironic and provocative way. It was originally designed as a full-page newspaper ad for CBS’ “Of Black America,” the first network series on black history. The six episodes were broadcast July 2-September 2, 1968. Designed soon after King’s assassination, the mustached model has a strong resemblance to the martyred civil rights activist. Two years later, the image was made into a now iconic poster featuring words of the Pledge of Allegiance. Where the 1968 design evoked King’s assassination, the 1970 version evoked the Viet Nam War, and the disproportionate number of African American soldiers who both served in and died in this war.