Monday, December 19, 2011

Poster of the Week

Blowing the Whistle on a War Crime is Not a Crime

Bradley Manning Support Network


Private Bradley Manning in 1st Court Appearance

Alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning is scheduled to make his first court appearance December 16, 2011, after being held for more than a year and a half by the U.S. military. Manning was first held in Kuwait, then at Quantico, then at Leavenworth, and was brought to Fort Meade in Maryland for the pre-trial hearing that could last an entire week.

The 23-year-old Manning has been held by the US military since May 2010, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in the biggest leak of classified U.S. documents in history.

Manning has not been seen or heard by the public since his arrest. He was initially held on a charge of leaking a classified video to WikiLeaks that showed a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters employees—a journalist and his driver. Military prosecutors are aiming to show there is sufficient evidence to bring Manning to trial at a general court-martial on 22 criminal charges. If convicted, Manning could face life in prison.

For nearly a year, he was kept in solitary confinement at Quantico for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock. He was moved to Leavenworth after months of public outcry that his treatment was torture.

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars signed a letter protesting against Manning’s treatment in military prison, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture. The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

The pre-trial hearing began Friday, December 16, 2011, at Fort Meade in Maryland. the The Bradley Manning Support Network organized a protest outside the gates of Fort Meade in solidarity with the accused soldier. Manning’s court appearance coincides with the completion of the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq after an eight-year occupation.

Kevin Zeese, an attorney for the Bradley Manning Support Network, said, “The people who should be prosecuted are not Bradley Manning. He’s accused of letting the truth out. He’s not accused of doing any criminal activity. He’s accused of letting the truth out, and he should be given an award for that, not prosecuted. He’s facing the death penalty, potentially. He’s facing the death penalty for exposing war crimes.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Poster of the Week

CSPG’s Poster of the Week comes from Adbusters, the culture-jamming magazine that sparked the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Thanks to Mark Epstein who sent posters from Occupy Seattle which included this perfect graphic to mark “Buy Nothing Day.”

Escape Capitalism
2011, Adbusters
Vancouver, B.C.

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. It was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave, and subsequently promoted by Adbusters Magazine, based in Vancouver, Canada. The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Mexico in September 1992 "as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption." In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called "Black Friday,” which is one of the 10 busiest shopping days in the U.S. Most other countries observe it on the following Saturday. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.

Here’s how Adbusters relates Buy Nothing Day to Occupy Wall Street.

“You’ve been sleeping on the streets for two months pleading peacefully for a new spirit in economics. And just as your camps are raided, your eyes pepper sprayed and your head’s knocked in, another group of people are preparing to camp-out. Only these people aren’t here to support occupy Wall Street, they’re here to secure their spot in line for a Black Friday bargain at Super Target and Macy’s.
Occupy gave the world a new way of thinking about the fat cats and financial pirates on Wall Street. Now let’s give them a new way of thinking about the holidays, about our own consumption habits. Let’s use the coming 20th annual Buy Nothing Day to launch an all-out offensive to unseat the corporate kings on the holiday throne.

This year’s Black Friday will be the first campaign of the holiday season where we set the tone for a new type of holiday culminating with #OCCUPYXMAS. As the global protests of the 99% against corporate greed and casino capitalism continues, lets take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts…the wallet.

On Nov 25/26th we escape the mayhem and unease of the biggest shopping day in North America and put the breaks on rabid consumerism for 24 hours. Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams! We don’t camp on the sidewalk for a reduced price tag on a flat screen TV or psycho-killer video game. Instead, we occupy the very paradigm that is fueling our eco, social and political decline.

Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. On this 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, we take it to the next level, marrying it with the message of #occupy…


Shenanigans begin November 25!”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poster of the Week

Stop!! Wells Fargo Bank Loans to Chile
Malaquías Montoya
Silkscreen, 1979
Oakland, California

The Occupy Wall Street Movement has called November 5, 2011 BANK TRANSFER DAY. It calls for everyone to take their money out of the big banks and put it into credit unions. CSPG’s Poster-of-the Week shows a similar action that took place more than 30 years ago.

On September 11, 1973, the U.S. government initiated a military coup to overthrow the democratically elected socialist government of Chile. Henry Kissinger was a key architect of this coup. The brutal military dictatorship led by General Pinochet lasted for decades, and tens of thousands were killed or disappeared. International boycotts were invoked against products from Chile and U.S. business institutions that continued to negotiate and trade with Chile. In Stop Wells Fargo Bank Loans to Chile (1979), Malaquías Montoya used the bank’s trademark stagecoach, symbol of a romanticized and heroicized U.S. past, to call attention to their unheroic financial support of the Chilean military junta. In addition to listing the atrocities committed in Chile, this poster promoted direct sanctions against the bank by announcing a “withdrawal day” when people would transfer their accounts.

In the mid 1980s, the movement against apartheid in South African used a similar “withdrawal day” tactic, but then it was to withdraw funds from banks that did business with South Africa. It is important to note that Wells Fargo was one of the few U.S. banks to refuse to do business with South Africa in the 1980s. One can but speculate that the unfavorable public attention directed towards Wells Fargo in the 1970s alerted them to the dangers of continuing to support governments whose abuses attracted wide international attention.

Poster Text:
Stop!! Wells Fargo Bank Loans to Chile
"They Have A Legend To Live Up To"
$155 million to the Chilean Military Junta to finance repression in Chile: 40,000 killed 2500 Disappeared 1 Million Exiled 1 out of 10 Chileans Forced Into Exile
Outlawed All Human & Democratic Rights
Join Us - Withdrawal Day April 17, 1979 Leaflet Wells Fargo Banks
Tranfer Your Accounts
Info: Free Chile Center, bay area 415/ 433-6698-6055. san jose 408/ 295 7349. san diego 714/ 453-9164. los angeles
1979 Malaquías Montoya


Friday, October 14, 2011

Poster of the Week

CSPG's Poster of the Week pays tribute to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street Movement. This silkscreen was made in Anchorage, Alaska! Thanks to Craig Updegrove for sending it. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics would very much like to have more posters made in response to this exciting and spreading grass roots expression of protest and celebration.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poster of the Week

Hold On To Your Wallets! Cross Your Legs!
Guerrilla Girls
Offset, 1994
New York, NY

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is almost 20 years old, but it shows that artists and activists have long criticized Wall Street. It’s also a perfect poster to focus on the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” campaign which began September 17, 2011. The footnotes for the poster are below.

Inspired by the massive public protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square, hundreds of people are currently camping out in a square near Wall Street. The encampment began after a protest that attracted thousands of people and spawned several marches, including one near Union Square that resulted in 80 arrests. Video posted online from the protest shows a police officer pepper-spraying a group of young women while they were surrounded by police netting. Videos and eyewitness accounts show violent clashing between protesters and the police.

On Monday night, September 26—the tenth day of the protest—filmmaker Michael Moore visited the protest encampment. Police have barred the protesters from using any form of public address system at the encampment so the crowd repeated Michael Moore’s comments.

Michael Moore, filmmaker: "Whatever you do, don’t despair, because this is the hard part. You’re in the hard part right now. But everyone will remember three months from now, six months from now, a hundred years from now, that you came down to this plaza and you started this movement."

Poster Footnotes:

1. President; plundered U.S. economy to fund the Gulf War.

2. Board member of failed Silverado Savings & Loan, whose debts are being paid by Taxpayers.

3. Jailed director of failed Lincoln Savings & Loan; masterminded debacle that cost taxpayers $5 billion.

4. Vice-president, whose current missions are: opening wetlands to developers; destroying the northwest timberlands, along with endangered species; and deregulating the 1990 Clean Air Act.

5. Representative from Pennsylvania; indicted on charges of conspiracy, racketeering, and accepting bribes.

6. Former Bush White House Chief of Staff; financed his personal travels with taxpayers' money.

7. Televangelist; defrauded pensioners to finance his network.

8. Former head of Department of Housing and Urban Development; investigated for misappropriation of funds.

9. High Priest of Wall Street during the 1980s; currently incarcerated.

10. Head of the American Family Association; dedicated to dismembering the N.E.A. and N.E.H. [National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities]

11. Known sexual harasser and Supreme Court Justice; currently ruling on legality of Pennsylvania's restrictive abortion rights law.

12. Police chief who fiddled while L.A. burned.

13. Leader of Operation Rescue, whose efforts to rob women of abortion rights have cost Buffalo and Wichita millions.

14. Former President; slashed urban spending by more than 60%, increased U.S. military budget to fight The Evil Empire, and accrued the largest national debt in history.

A Public Service Message From Guerrilla Girls 532 La Guardia Pl. #237, NY 10012


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Poster of the Week, Pt. 2

Killing Him Would Not be Right
Amnesty International; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Clearinghouse on Criminal Justice; National Coalition Against the Death Penalty; Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons
Offset, circa 1984
United States

CSPG’s Poster of the Week* calls our attention to the pending execution of Troy Davis on Wednesday, September 21 in Georgia. Davis has been on Georgia’s death row for close to 20 years after being convicted of killing off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah. Since his conviction, seven of the nine non police witnesses have recanted their testimony, alleging police coercion and intimidation in obtaining the testimony. There is no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder.

Last March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Davis should receive an evidentiary hearing, to make his case for innocence. Several witnesses have identified one of the remaining witnesses who has not recanted, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, as the shooter. People throughout the world are asking for clemency or a new trial for Davis, including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressmen Hank Johnson and John Lewis, former FBI Director and Judge William Sessions.

One of the jurors, Brenda Forrest, told CNN in 2009, “All of the witnesses — they were able to ID him as the person who actually did it.” Since the seven witnesses recanted, she says: “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row. The verdict would be not guilty.”

Troy Davis has three major strikes against him. First, he is an African-American man. Second, he was charged with killing a white police officer. And third, he is in Georgia.

On Tuesday, September 20, Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles announced it rejected clemency for Troy Anthony Davis. Time is running out. There are only 24 hours left to stop the execution and we must act now. Please urge them to reconsider.

Please e-mail the Georgia parole board and Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm and ask them to reconsider their decision. Go to:

*This poster was originally produced to stop the execution of James Dupree Henry, for the 1974 murder of 81-year-old Orlando civil rights leader Zellie L. Riley. The poster uses a quote from Riley's son arguing for clemency. Henry, whose final words were "I am innocent," was evaluated as mentally retarded before his execution on September 20, 1984. In 2002, the Supreme Court decision in Atkins v. Virginia declared that "executions of mentally retarded criminals are 'cruel and unusual punishments'."


Monday, September 19, 2011

Poster of the Week

Flowers of Life for Central America
John Baldessari; Norm Gollin
Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America
Offset, 1984
Los Angeles, California

Poster Text (partial):
Flowers Of Life For Central America/Flores De Vida Para Centro America
Artists Call is a national coalition of visual, literary, and performing artists who have concern for the life, culture, and traditions of Central American and Caribbean peoples. Artists Call is opposed to the ways in which these are threatened by foreign intervention. As North Americans we recognize our responsibility to speak out against injustice and the threat of regional war, promoted by our administration, and its domestic consequences. All events planned for October 1984 are an expression of these concerns.

Shifra M. Goldman

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is dedicated to Professor Shifra Goldman, a visionary pioneer in the study of Latin American and Chicana/o Art, and a social art historian. She died in Los Angeles on September 11, 2011, from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85. This poster was produced by the Los Angeles Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, an organization co-founded by Shifra Goldman in 1983.

"I was never in the mainstream, never in all my life. I was born on the margins, lived on the margins, and have always sympathized with the margins. They make a lot more sense to me than the mainstream."

Shifra M. Goldman, September 1992

Shifra Goldman taught art history in the Los Angeles area for over 20 years. She was a prolific writer and an activist for Chicano and Latino Art. In Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States, one of her award winning publications, she stated that part of her life’s work was to “deflect and correct the stereotypes, distortions, and Eurocentric misunderstandings that have plagued all serious approaches to Latino Art history since the 50s.”

Born and raised in New York by Russian/Polish immigrant parents, art and politics were central to her entire life. Shifra’s mother was a trade unionist and her father, a political activist. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York, and entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as a studio art major when her family moved to Los Angeles in the 1940's. As an undergraduate, she was active in the student boycott against the barbers in Westwood who refused to cut the hair of the Black Veterans entering UCLA on the GI bill following the Second World War.

After leaving UCLA, she went to work with Bert Corona and the Civil Rights Congress, a national organization working to stop police brutality against African and Mexican Americans, and the deportations of Mexicans and foreign born political activists. Living in East Los Angeles, Shifra learned Spanish and became immersed in Mexican and Chicano culture. In the 1950’s, during the repression of the Cold War, she was subpoenaed before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC). Two decades later, she lost her first college teaching job because a background check revealed that she had been called before HUAC

In the 1960's, after supporting herself and her son, Eric, as a bookkeeper for fifteen years, Shifra returned to UCLA to complete her B.A. in art. After receiving her M.A. in art history from California State University, Los Angeles (CSLA), she entered the Ph.D program at UCLA where she ran headlong into Eurocentrism when she was unable to find a chair for her doctoral committee because her topic of choice was modern Mexican art. Shifra refused to choose a more mainstream topic, and waited several years until a new faculty member finally agreed to work with her. Her dissertation was published as Contemporary Mexican Painting in a Time of Change by University of Texas Press in 1981, and republished in Mexico in 1989. She also initiated and co-authored the bibliography and theoretical essay, Arte Chicano: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of Chicano Art, 1965-1981 (1985) with Dr.Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.

Shifra taught her first class in Mexican Art in 1966, possibly the only one given at that time in all of California. She later went on to a full time teaching position in art history at Santa Ana College where she taught courses in Mexican Pre-Colombian, Modern and Chicano Art for 21 years. She was one of the organizers for the Vietnam Peace Tower in 1966. Shifra also co founded the Los Angeles chapter of Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, in 1983, and was instrumental in bringing solidarity with the Central American struggle to the Los Angeles community.

In 1968, she began the campaign to preserve the 1932 Siqueiros mural America Tropical in Olvera Street, and in 1971 approached Siqueiros for a new mural derived from the original. According to the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), he agreed but the plan was thwarted by the artist’s death in 1974. His last mural in Los Angeles, Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932, was restored and moved to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California with Shifra’s advice and assistance.

Shifra published and lectured in Europe, Latin America and the United States and led several delegations to Cuba to attend their Art Biennials. In 1994 she became a Research Associate with the Latin American Center at UCLA and taught art history there. Goldman is also Professor Emeritus from Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA.

In February 1992, she received the College Art Association's (CAA) Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism and, in February 1993, an award from the Women's Caucus for Art for outstanding achievement in the visual arts. She was elected to the board of the CAA, 1995-1999. In 1996 she received the “Historian of the Lions” award from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. The title comes from an African proverb, “Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.” Shifra told the stories of the lions.

The Shifra Goldman Papers, including her slides, books, and videos are part of the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her extensive Chicano poster and print collection is at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. She will be remembered for her important contributions to Latin American Art scholarship and for her seminal work in Chicano/a Art History and support of the Chicano/a art community.

Professor Goldman is survived by her son Eric Garcia, daughter-in-law Trisha Dexter, and grandson Ian of Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Avenue 50 Studio, Center for the Study of Political Graphics and/or Tropico de Nopal.

A memorial for Shifra Goldman will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2-5 pm at the Professional Musicians Local 47, 817 Vine Street,Hollywood, CA 90038

¡Shifra Goldman PRESENTE!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Poster(s) of the Week

We Will Never Forget
Zero Crossing
Offset, 2001
Los Angeles, California

Joshua Bienko
Digital Print, 2007
Athens, Georgia

CSPG’s Posters of the Week commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The initial shock and outpouring of grief were soon channeled into jingoistic calls for revenge by the members of the Bush administration. Literally overnight, U.S. flags appeared everywhere as a sign of collective mourning and solidarity; but they soon took on an aggressive, militaristic stance. “These colors don’t run” became a common slogan on many posters and placards displaying the U.S. flag.

By draping the destroyed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the flag, the first poster strongly evokes two coffins. Of the many posters produced immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., this is one of the most poignant and least jingoistic.

The second poster, made six years into the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, focuses on how the Bush administration manipulated one criminal tragedy into another, ongoing criminal tragedy. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Bush administration claimed that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. With the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center on the left, and the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein on the right, the artist used the Gap logo to refer to the factual gap. There is no direct connection with the Gap company. This poster is part of CSPG’s traveling exhibition, Subvertisements—Using Ads & Logos for Protest available online at

If you are in Los Angeles between September 9-11, please visit LA vs War. This 3-day anti-war event–from noon to midnight–commemorates the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. There will be artists, displays, music, performances, workshops, educational presentations, and an exhibition of CSPG posters. For more information, visit:

On Sunday, September 11, 2011:
• 12:30 pm: Mary Sutton, CSPG’s program director will speak at 12:30 p.m. at a workshop titled, No Prisons, No Jails, on the history of California prison expansion.
• 1:30 pm: Carol A. Wells, CSPG’s founder and executive director, will present Can Art Stop a War? The Power of Graphics to Educate, Agitate & Inspire Action

All this and more will take place at the
2341 E. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90021
9/9/2011 - 9/11/2011
12:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Poster of the Week

They Plan for Profits…Let Us Plan For People
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
Offset, no date [pre-1994]
United States

CSPG’s Poster of the Week honors Labor Day. In the U.S., Labor Day was started in September of 1882, and quickly became an official holiday at the same time May Day spread throughout the world.

The first May Day, in 1886, was a call for eight-hour workdays by the workers in many American cities; it is now mostly associated with the Haymarket Martyrs.

Labor Day is a time to celebrate the contributions American workers had given their country, unlike May Day events, which focused on the international class struggle.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Poster of the Week

Spoils of War, 2011
Mr. Fish
Edition of 50
22 x 17 inches

August 6, 2011 - August 27, 2011

At Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite D5/C2
Santa Monica, CA 90404

“Behold the cartoons in Go Fish: there is no more savage yet brilliant wit than that possessed by Mr. Fish, who will never compromise on his deep artistic insight or the outrageous honesty of his social commentary. In a sellout culture he is that rare witness for unfettered truth.”
- Robert Scheer, Editor in Chief, truthdig and author of The Great American Stickup.

ROBERT BERMAN GALLERY is pleased to present the original drawings and unique multiples of Dwayne Booth aka Mr. Fish - political cartoonist and author of GO FISH (how to win contempt and influence people.)

In the appendix of his book, Mr. Fish dissects the journalistic responsibility he faces as a cartoonist to make it make sense. It being his raw emotional output in res
ponse to a given stimuli (government, society, et al) manifesting itself via pen on paper without regard to the cleverly pointed punchline that will accompany and ultimately define it. In his inaugural gallery show, he eschews that responsibility; the political cartoons hanging vulnerably on the walls in their original illustrated state, stripped of any captioning and absolute clarity. If the objective of a political cartoonist is to speak clearly than the goal of this exhibition is to express freely. The drawings are a celebration of the technical mastery and unbridled emotional truth of Dwayne Booth – the Clark Kent to Superman’s Mr. Fish.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poster of the Week

Community Based Solutions Not Jail Expansion
Mary Sutton
Californians United for a Responsible Budget
Los Angeles, CA 2011

CURB* poster, made prominent at the July 27, 2011 Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, meeting is featured in a photo, by Nick Ut on the Washington Post.

Community Organizations and L.A. Activists Protest Jail Overcrowding, Call for Probation Reform, Sentencing Reform, and Money for Programs and Services

Californians United for a Responsible Budget, CURB, is a broad-based, state-wide alliance of over 40 organizations seeking to CURB prison spending by reducing the number of people in prison and the number of prisons in the state.

(beware you will have to view a short second commercial before you can access the list of photos. Link on #15)

Members of several CURB organizations, All of Us or None, A New Way of Life, Youth Justice Coalition, and Critical Resistance and supporters held up placards demanding that the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors put more money allocated through AB109 into community based solutions rather than continued oversight by the sheriff’s department or the dysfunctional probation department.

The recent landmark US Supreme Court ruling condemned California prison overcrowding and called for the immediate reduction of the prison population by at least 33,000 prisoners. The Los Angeles County Jail currently holds around 20,000 prisoners on any given day, with a total capacity for 22,000. Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Department of Corrections’ response to the Supreme Court’s ruling would shift at least 11,000 prisoners to the LA County Jail over two years.

Mary Sutton, of Critical Resistance and an active member of CURB, says “We can bring people home safely, more humanely and more efficiently by making sentencing, probation and parole reforms. 35 years ago people were not locked up for the kind of infractions we are talking about in regards to the individuals that will be sent home to LA County. The prison population grew from 20,000 to as high as 180,000 because of harsh sentencing laws and tough on crime measures implemented in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If we free up the resources that are wasted on ineffective policies that are proven not to increase public safety, we could fund programs in L.A. that would reintegrate people into their communities, and keep them there."

Sutton submitted, to the Board of Supervisors, copies of CURB’s Budget for Humanity and their long standing document “50 Ways to Reduce the Prison Population” , for the record.

The Youth Justice Coalition, a youth empowerment program based in Inglewood, presented its Welcome Home LA plan, which outlines ways Los Angeles County can concretely support re-entry for people on parole and probation. The plan calls for resources for community organizations that could help people get off of parole and probation and stay out of jail and prison. Welcome Home LA also calls for banning the box on employment applications that force people to disclose their conviction histories. Henry Sandoval of the Youth Justice Coalition says, “LA needs to prioritize a way for people returning home to be able to get good jobs, education, healthcare, making sure they know about services and are followed up with. There are organizations that can do this. Beefing up the jails, parole, probation, these are just black holes. The real issue is keeping people out of the system altogether. “'s+meeting&hl=en&

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Poster of the Week

Bobby Sands 1954 - 1981
Republican Movement
Offset, circa 1981

Solidarity With All Prisoners
Digital, 2011
Oakland, California

Prison Strike
Los Angeles, California

Support the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
Red Onion State Prison
2011, Homewood, Illinois

CSPG’s Poster of the Week focuses on Hunger Strikes to protest prison conditions.

In 1981, ten men starved themselves to death inside the walls of Long Kesh prison in Belfast, North Ireland, while attempting to make Margaret Thatcher's government recognize them as political prisoners rather than common criminals. Bobby Sands, member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), was the leader of the hunger strike. He was 27 when he died.

On July 1, 2011, another prisoner hunger strike began in California. Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) initiated a hunger strike to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment—including one of the most tortuous isolation regimes in the world. Pelican Bay is a super max facility dedicated to holding prisoners in long-term solitary confinement and extreme sensory deprivation.

Despite the fact that federal courts, mental health professionals, and international human rights monitors repeatedly have pointed out the devastating impact of isolation on human beings, the State of California continues to consign hundreds of prisoners, sometimes for decades, to torturous conditions that federal judge Thelton E. Henderson concluded “may well hover on the edge of what is humanly tolerable.” Tragically, because they feel their efforts to challenge these conditions through administrative and legal channels have failed, hundreds of prisoners have put their bodies and their lives on the line.

At one point there were 6,600 prisoners in 13 prisons participating in the strike. “This massive and inspiring act of solidarity and people power across prison-manufactured & exacerbated racial and geographic lines has dumb-founded the CDCR. While the daily numbers of hunger strikers fluctuates, the CDCR is certainly under-estimating how many people inside prison are participating in and supporting this strike.”
June 20, 2011 -

In order to keep prisoners even further divided, guards pursue an infamous policy of race-baiting to encourage self-segregation in gangs. Despite these challenges, the inmates there have overcome their differences to struggle for dignity and improved conditions. Inmates participating in this movement to resist abhorrent conditions have demonstrated unity across prison-manufactured racial and geographical lines.

The hunger strikers have five core demands:

1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse – This is in response to PBSP’s application of “group punishment” as a means to address individual inmates rule violations. This includes the administration’s abusive, pretextual use of “safety and concern” to justify what are unnecessary punitive acts. This policy has been applied in the context of justifying indefinite SHU status, and progressively restricting our programming and privileges.

2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria -
Perceived gang membership is one of the leading reasons for placement in solitary confinement.

The practice of “debriefing,” or offering up information about fellow prisoners particularly regarding gang status, is often demanded in return for better food or release from the SHU. Debriefing puts the safety of prisoners and their families at risk, because they are then viewed as “snitches.”

The validation procedure used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) employs such criteria as tattoos, readings materials, and associations with other prisoners (which can amount to as little as greeting) to identify gang members.

Many prisoners report that they are validated as gang members with evidence that is clearly false or using procedures that do not follow the Castillo v. Alameida settlement which restricted the use of photographs to prove association.

3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement – CDCR shall implement the findings and recommendations of the US commission on safety and abuse in America’s prisons final 2006 report regarding CDCR SHU facilities as follows:

End Conditions of Isolation (p. 14) Ensure that prisoners in SHU and Ad-Seg (Administrative Segregation) have regular meaningful contact and freedom from extreme physical deprivations that are known to cause lasting harm. (pp. 52-57)

Make Segregation a Last Resort (p. 14). Create a more productive form of confinement in the areas of allowing inmates in SHU and Ad-Seg [Administrative Segregation] the opportunity to engage in meaningful self-help treatment, work, education, religious, and other productive activities relating to having a sense of being a part of the community.

End Long-Term Solitary Confinement. Release inmates to general prison population who have been warehoused indefinitely in SHU for the last 10 to 40 years (and counting).
Provide SHU Inmates Immediate Meaningful Access to: i) adequate natural sunlight ii) quality health care and treatment, including the mandate of transferring all PBSP- SHU inmates with chronic health care problems to the New Folsom Medical SHU facility.

4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food – cease the practice of denying adequate food, and provide a wholesome nutritional meals including special diet meals, and allow inmates to purchase additional vitamin supplements.

PBSP staff must cease their use of food as a tool to punish SHU inmates.

Provide a sergeant/lieutenant to independently observe the serving of each meal, and ensure each tray has the complete issue of food on it.

Feed the inmates whose job it is to serve SHU meals with meals that are separate from the pans of food sent from kitchen for SHU meals.

5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Poster of the Week

100 Many Mandelas
Juan Fuentes
Silkscreen, 1986
San Francisco, California
CSPG’s Poster of the Week honors Nelson Mandela Day, July 18, established in 2009 by the United Nations General Assembly, to mark his contribution to world freedom. Celebrated around the world, this July 18 also marks Mandela’s 93nd birthday.
The featured poster by Juan Fuentes was made while Mandela was still in prison. Under multiple images of Mandela, a large red ribbon noting AIDS awareness dominates the poster. The following quote come from a 2002 speech by Mandela.
The enormity of the threat posed by HIV/AIDS cannot be overstated.
HIV/AIDS is a danger to all of our people - young and old, rich and poor, men and women, those in the cities and those in the countryside.
HIV/AIDS is the greatest danger we have faced for many, many centuries.
HIV/AIDS is worse than a war. It is like a world war. Millions of people are dying from it. As we speak now, there are thousands of people dying from it this moment.
But this war can be won. This is one war where each and every one of us can make a difference. It is through the combined efforts of all of us that we stand the best chance of victory in this war against HIV/AIDS.
In January 2005, Mandela’s 54 year old son Makgatho, a lawyer and father of four, died of AIDS. Mandela asked all South Africans to treat AIDS as an "ordinary" disease rather than a curse for which "people will go to hell and not to heaven." His only other son died in a car accident in 1969.
More than 5 million South Africans are infected with the AIDS virus, HIV -- the largest number of cases in a single country -- and at least 1,000 a day die from complications of AIDS, according to the United Nations. Like Mandela, other African leaders have also become increasingly forthright about the need to combat AIDS despite cultural resistance to public discussions of the disease.
Mandela (born 1918) was an anti-apartheid activist and the leader of the African National Congress’ (ANC) armed wing. In 1962, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. He served 27 years, many on Robben Island with other political prisoners, opponents of the apartheid regime of South Africa. Apartheid was legalized racial segregation that was enforced by the National Party government between 1948 and 1994. Following Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990, he supported reconciliation and negotiation, and helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994-1999, the first South-African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. In 1993 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Not until 1990, the same year he was released from prison, did a retired Central Intelligence Agency official admit that the CIA was responsible for Mandela’s capture.
South Africa's apartheid government had designated the ANC a terrorist organization during the group's decades-long struggle against whites-only rule, and ANC members were barred from receiving U.S. visas without special permission. Despite being one of the most respected and revered people in the world, Mandela remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list until July 2008, when it took an act of Congress to remove him from this list.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Poster of the Week

I Am No Longer Afraid of Mirrors
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville; Peace Press
Photograph by Hella Hammid
Los Angeles, California

To commemorate the death of Betty Ford (1918-2011), an outspoken and gutsy Republican first lady who dared to break many national taboos—including talking about her breast cancer and her addiction to alcohol and pills. She also strongly supported a woman’s right to an abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment—both anathema’s to many Republicans.

In today’s cultural climate, where discussing addictions on talk shows is commonplace, and many wear pink ribbons to promote breast cancer awareness, it is hard to imagine that this openness has only developed over the last three decades. When Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978, it was an unmentionable topic. It was not only kept secret from employers, but also from close friends and many family members. Breast cancer was considered a stigma, and following a mastectomy, many women felt ashamed and “no longer a complete woman.”

CSPG’s Poster of the Week shows feminist writer, poet, and teacher Deena Metzger triumphant and free, with the strength to reveal her mastectomy scar that has been camouflaged by a tattoo in the image of a tree branch in bloom. Describing the actual moment when the photo was taken, Metzger stated, “I just stood out there and opened my arms and said, yes to life.” This poster inspired many women—and their families—that life after cancer could be and should be celebrated and embraced without shame and without limits. Deena’s poem, inscribed on the poster, reads:

I am no longer afraid of mirrors where I see the sign of the amazon, the one who shoots arrows.
There was a fine red line across my chest where a knife entered,
but now a branch winds about the scar and travels from arm to heart.

Green leaves cover the branch, grapes hang there and a bird appears.
What grows in me now is vital and does not cause me harm. I think the bird is singing.
I have relinquished some of the scars.
I have designed my chest with the care given to an illuminated manuscript.
I am no longer ashamed to make love. Love is a battle I can win.
I have the body of a warrior who does not kill or wound.

On the book of my body, I have permanently inscribed a tree.

This poster and more than 100 others will be featured in “PEACE PRESS GRAPHICS 1967-1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change” at the University Art Museum (UAM), California State University, Long Beach, September 10 – December 11, 2011. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Center for the Study of Political Graphics and the UAM, and is part of the Getty’s regional initiative: Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, the largest collaborative art project ever undertaken in Southern California.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Poster of the Week

I Want You For U.S. Army

James Montgomery Flagg

U.S. Government Printing Office

Offset, First Printed 1917


Uncle George Wants You

Stephen Kroninger

Offset, 1991

Madison, Wisconsin


Originally published by the artist and offered free to peace groups, the poster was then reprinted and distributed by the Progressive Magazine.

I Want Out

Larry Dunst and Steve Horn

Committee to Help Unsell the War

Offset, 1971

New York, New York


I Want You To Drive An SUV

Donald Farnsworth

Digital Print, 2002

San Francisco, California


To commemorate July 4th and the U.S. war of independence, CSPG’s Poster of the Week focuses on the image of Uncle Sam, one of this country’s most recognized symbols. During the Revolutionary War, before there was an Uncle Sam, there was an earlier fictional character named Brother Jonathan, who was created to personify the entire United States. From 1776 to 1783, "Brother Jonathan" was a mildly derisive term used by Loyalists (who remained loyal to British King George III) to describe the Patriots (who supported independence from Britain).

In editorial cartoons and patriotic posters, Brother Jonathan was generally clean shaven, and either depicted as an American revolutionary with a tri-cornered hat and long military jacket, or with a top hat, tailed coat and stripped pants. The latter dress style later became identified with Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam has been personifying the U.S. government since the War of 1812, but both Brother John and Uncle Sam remained in use until after the Civil War. Brother Jonathan was a representative of the revolutionary age, when all the states were considered brothers. The United States was a plural term in those ancient days - "the United States, they..." But after the Civil War, the federal government became more dominant than the states, and the United States became a singular term -"the United States, it..."

Federalist Brother Jonathan would no longer do, and Washingtonian Uncle Sam became the preferred image. Cartoonist Thomas Nast helped establish the image of Uncle Sam in the latter 1800s. Nast also provided us with our popular image of Santa Claus, and first represented the Republican Party as an elephant and the Democrats as a donkey.

The depiction of Uncle Sam as a stern elderly man with white hair and a goatee, dressed in clothing that uses the design elements of the American flag, became common during the Civil War. The best-known and now iconic recruitment poster of Uncle Sam by James Montgomery Flagg, first appeared on the cover of a magazine in 1916. Flagg was an illustrator and portrait artist best known for commercial art. Although Flagg used a modified version of his own face for his Uncle Sam, he based the pose with its dramatic pointing finger, on a 1914 British recruitment poster featuring Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War. More than four million copies of Flagg’s I Want You poster were printed between 1917 and 1918. This poster was also used extensively during World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and is still used to recruit today.

CSPG’s Poster of the Week shows how the same image can be used to support war, oppose war or parody popular assumptions about war. In addition to the 1917 poster, the 3 variations are shown were produced during the Viet Nam War [I Want Out], during the first Gulf War [Uncle George Wants You], and soon after the war against Afghanistan began [I Want You To Drive An SUV]

All of these posters were part of American Icons—Graphics of Patriotism & Dissent,

which premiered at the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, in April 2011. The exhibition is now available to travel and will soon be on our website:

Additional Reading:

fictional dialogue between Brother Jonathan and Uncle Sam by Daniel De Leon

Originally published in _The People_, April 18, 1897
As reprinted in _The People_, April 6, 1991