Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poster of the Week

Tolerance is Holy
Daniel Young and Mirko Ilic
offset, 2006
New York, NY

CSPG’s Poster-of-the-Week is featured in two exhibitions produced by UCLA students this month. Although each exhibition has a different theme—one promotes peace in the Middle East, the other explores issues around queer identity—both exhibitions promote dialogue, diversity, and acceptance. It is especially ironic that the poster used in both exhibitions to celebrate diversity, commemorates an event sparked by intolerance. In 2006, major leaders of Christianity, Judaism and Islam made a rare show of unity to try to stop a 10-day Gay Pride festival and parade in Jerusalem. The religious leaders said that the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.

In researching this event, other contradictions emerged. The most glaring was about a stabbing that occurred during the 2005 Pride Parade in Jerusalem. All references but one, said the stabbing was done by an Orthodox Israeli Jew, including Haaretz[1] and the Israel News.[2] In referring to the same event, Wikipedia, claims the stabbing was done by a “young Muslim man.”[3] More detailed background of these events is below.


Kerckhoff Gallery, UCLA
308 Westwood Plaza – Kerckhoff Hall – 2nd floor
Los Angeles, CA 90024

May 13-20, 2011

ART PEACE is a student group art exhibition featuring Palestinian, Israeli and American artists dealing with the Middle East conflict from a non-violent, coexistence perspective; dealing with People, not Politics. The exhibition aims to bridge the divided political atmosphere on campus and in current media discourse by presenting works together, and creating a collaborative environment to lead by example. ART PEACE is presented by the UCLA Middle East Peace Coalition.

Because We Give a Queer

Broad Arts Café, UCLA
240 Charles E. Young Drive North
Broad Arts Center – North Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90024

May 17-19, 2011 [opens May 17, 6-9 pm]

Because We Give a Queer is a student-run LGBT art exhibition dealing with the past, present and future of the struggle of queer men and women in society. It explores various topics such as identity, forbidden love, and intolerance. The exhibition features works from student artists at UCLA.

Poster Background:

Since the 1990s, an annual gay pride parade has taken place in Tel Aviv, the first city in Israel to have a gay pride parade and venue for the only yearly gay pride parade in the Middle East. In 2005, 100,000 people participated in the Tel Aviv gay pride parade after it had originally been prohibited by a municipal ban, later rescinded by the district court. During the parade, a young Ultra-Orthodox man wounded three parade participants with a kitchen knife.

WorldPride is an event that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. When it was announced that the 2006 event would be held in Jerusalem with a parade scheduled for the 6th of August, harsh objection from Israeli religious circles immediately began. The parade was eventually cancelled due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, but a week of events did take place as scheduled and included five conferences, a film festival, exhibitions, and literary and political events. When the Jerusalem Open House announced that it would hold a parade on November 10, virulent opposition came from throughout the Orthodox Jewish community, the Sephardic community, as well as from the Israeli Arab sector. Rabbis from across the Orthodox spectrum called for the parade to be forbidden. Palestinian militant organization Hamas announced that for the occasion, it would be willing to cooperate with Jews to defeat the parade, since a gay pride parade would be considered worse than Zionism.

On the night of 2 November 2, 2006, the planned gay parade in Jerusalem set off days of violence in the city's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. Thousands of protesters blocked roads with burning garbage cans and hurled stones at police, demanding the parade be canceled or moved to secular Tel Aviv. Police responded in force, sending hundreds of Israeli riot police and Border Police armed with batons, water cannons and horses. Seven policemen and an unknown number of protestors were wounded.

A demonstration in an Orthodox community in Jerusalem led to rioting. Thousands of protesters blocked roads with burning garbage cans, and police responded in force, sending hundreds of Israeli riot police and Border Police armed with batons, water cannons and horses. Seven policemen and an unknown number of protestors were wounded. Ultra Orthodox spokesmen strongly spoke out against the police for using an "excessive level of violence".

In the end, Jerusalem's gay community moved the event to a stadium on a university campus in Jerusalem, quelling the threats of violence and allowing 4,000 people to celebrate peacefully.

Additional Sources:

Laurie Goodstein and Greg Myre, “Clerics Fighting a Gay Festival for Jerusalem”, New York Times, March 31, 2005; []

Efrat Weiss, “Court rejects rightists' petition against Jerusalem gay parade”, Israel News, 6-23-2008 [,7340,L-3559360,00.html] [refers to Orthodox Israeli]

Poster of the Week

Dan Berrigan, Catonsville 9
Photo by Bob Fitch
Offset, 1968
Oakland, California

CSPG’s Poster-of-the-Week honors Father Daniel Berrigan who celebrated his 90th birthday May 9th. A poet, peace activist and Jesuit priest, Fr. Berrigan, along with his brother Fr. Philip Berrigan, were repeatedly arrested for protesting the Viet Nam War, and other causes. Philip, a Josephite priest, was the first priest in the U.S. to be arrested for an act of civil disobedience. In his lifetime, Philip he had spent about 11 years in jails and prisons for civil disobedience. Both brothers were for a time on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for committing acts of vandalism, including destroying government property, and in 1970 Daniel spent four months living underground as a fugitive from the FBI.

In 1968, Daniel Berrigan traveled to North Viet Nam with Howard Zinn to bring home three U.S. prisoners of war. On May 17, 1968, Daniel again made national headlines when he manufactured home-made napalm and, with his brother and seven other Catholic protesters, used it to destroy 378 draft files in the presence of reporters and onlookers in the parking lot of the Catonsville, Maryland draft board. This group came to be known as the Catonsville Nine, and is commemorated in the Poster-of-the-Week.

After their arrest, convictions and sentencing to prison, Daniel wrote in a "meditation":

Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning Of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the frontparlour of the charnel house...The time is past when good men can remain silent, when obedience can segregate men from public risk, when the poor can die without defense.

On September 9, 1980, Daniel Berrigan, his brother Philip, and six others began the Plowshares Movement. They illegally trespassed onto the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where they hammered on nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. Known as the "Plowshares Eight," they were arrested and charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts.

Daniel Berrigan has maintained a high level of social activism around a number of causes, including protests against American intervention in Central America, the 1991 Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He speaks out against capital punishment, supports LGBT rights, and is a contributing editor of Sojourners Magazine. On April 2, 2010, Good Friday, Daniel Berrigan and 11 others were arrested attempting to dissuade tourists from going on board the Intrepid, an aircraft carried moored in the Hudson River. The Intrepid is now a floating museum, but for peace activists, it exists as a symbol of war’s destructiveness.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Poster of the Week

Build A Wall Of Resistance
Fireworks Graphics Collective

Last September, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics featured a 30 year old poster, Build a Wall of Resistance: Don’t Talk to the FBI , as our Poster-of-the-Week. We are re-posting it now as it is being used by the right wing in an orchestrated smear campaign against Muslims, political activists, and free speech. The poster started making the rounds last year on the right wing web sites and even Bill O’Reilly was ragging on it. The San Francisco Register wrote about the controversy, and mentions CSPG. Check out this web site:

History of Build a Wall of Resistance: Don’t Talk to the FBI.

CSPG originally featured this work as a Poster-of-the-Week last year because on September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of well-known anti-war and international solidarity activists, serving 14 subpoenas. These anti-war leaders helped organize the huge protests against the Republican National Convention in 2008. This past December, the FBI served additional subpoenas to nine more Palestine solidarity and Arab-American activists in Chicago. All 23 have taken a principled stand to not answer questions at U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury in Chicago, a secret court where there is no judge and you cannot have a lawyer. The 23 could face months of imprisonment for their principled refusal to testify and may be charged with “material support for terrorism” for solidarity with Palestine and other liberation struggles.

In response to this Grand Jury, activists around the country organized solidarity rallies and workshops about Grand Juries. Several Know Your Rights workshops were held in the SF Bay Area, organized by the National Lawyers Guild, and co-sponsored by several civil rights groups, including the local Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which was already concerned about civil rights issues in Islamic communities. Some of the materials for one of the workshops included the Build a Wall of Resistance graphic. The poster was used by Fox News and various right-wing groups to attack CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights group in the US. A xenophobic and McCarthyite Federal Congressional hearing was organized by Congressman Peter King (R-NY), who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. While pointing to the Build a Wall of Resistance poster, King has claimed that “80% of mosques are controlled by ‘radical Imams’, that Muslims are not cooperating with the FBI,” and that “There is a real threat to the country from the Muslim community and the only way to get to the bottom of it is to investigate what is happening.”

Build a Wall of Resistance was designed by Fireworks Graphics Collective, part of Prairie Fire Organizing Committee in San Francisco, in the spring of 1984. Its purpose was to inform people that they legally do not have to talk to the FBI, and that refusing to talk to the FBI or testify to Grand Juries are important ways of supporting movements for social justice. It was one in a series of posters supporting members of the Puerto Rican independence movement in Chicago, New York, and Puerto Rico, who were being attacked by the FBI and being subpoenaed to testify at Grand Juries. Several people went to jail for refusing to appear at Grand Juries, but no one testified, and the Grand Jury was unable to break the solidarity of the movement.

It was used several more times, including later in the 1980’s to support members of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (JBAKC) in SF, who had been subpoenaed to a Grand Jury in Chicago under the ruse that a threatening letter to a Federal Attorney had been sent with the JBAKC mailbox in San Francisco as the return address. After a few months of refusal to testify, the Federal Attorney dropped what was one of their more blatant fishing expeditions.

In 2004 new Grand Juries occasioned more reprints of the Build a Wall of Resistance poster.

There were several environmental and animal rights Grand Juries in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado and California in what was called by activists, the “Green Scare”. Some activists were able to withstand draconian pressure by the government, and refused to testify. Others did not refuse, and several activists were sent to prison for many years by extremely dubious “evidence” in what the FBI called “Operation Backfire”.

In 2005, Josh Wolfe, a San Francisco activist and videographer, was subpoenaed to a Federal Grand Jury for video he took at a demonstration at which a policeman was injured. After the San Francisco prosecutor refused to bring charges based on vague evidence, the police lied and said that the policeman’s car had been burned, and got a Federal Grand Jury to subpoena Wolf based on the spurious “fact” that since the Federal Government gave money to the SF police, the Feds had a part interest in the car, and a right to call a Grand Jury. (Not a joke. That was the story). Wolfe was held for several months in the Federal prison in Dublin, CA for refusing to hand over video. Eventually a Federal judge viewed the video in question, told the prosecutor there was no footage of the injuring of the policeman, or of the burning car, (which never happened) and Wolfe was released.

In a resurrected conspiracy case in 2005, a San Francisco State Grand Jury subpoenaed five former members or supporters of the Black Panther Party. All of the men refused to testify, and were jailed for several weeks until the Grand Jury ended. In January 2006, the five men plus four others, were charged by the California Attorney General with the killing of a San Francisco policeman in 1971. (Another case where local authorities were not willing to bring charges; in this case Jerry Brown, who was then the state Attorney General, brought charges). After being charged, they became known as the San Francisco 8. Evidence against the 8 was based on statements made by two of the men, and one other man who were severely tortured by New Orleans police in 1973. Because of the torture, the case had been thrown out of court in 1975. Courtrooms were packed with supporters for the next five years. By 2010 one defendant had died, two had pled to substantially lowered charges in exchange for probation, and the prosecution was forced to drop all charges against four of the others. The last member of the SF8, Francisco Torres, still had one charge that the prosecution has not dropped.

Build a Wall of Resistance is now in its third decade of use.

A short political explanation of the dangers of speaking to the FBI is available at

If you or a friend is visited by the FBI or subpoenaed to a Grand Jury, remember that whatever they tell you, whether you are a US citizen or not, you are not legally required to talk to the FBI or any other police. It is illegal to lie to the FBI, Grand Juries, or other police, and everything you say will be bent to enable the prosecution of someone. Just say: ”I do not want to talk to you”, ask for a business card, say “I will talk to my lawyer and she will get back to you”. Do not say anything more, and call your nearest Grand Jury support organization and the National Lawyers Guild immediately. In most cases, the FBI will not return after they realize you will not talk to them.

National Lawyers Guild: In October of 2010 the Guild set up a hotline at 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265).