Saturday, April 30, 2011

Poster of the Week

In light of the escalating attacks against immigrants and workers, from Arizona to Wisconsin, CSPG’s Poster-of-the-Week shows how these issues were combined over 35 years ago. After years of keeping their demands and demonstrations separate, May 1, 2011 will see the joining of immigrant rights and labor rights groups in demonstrations from Los Angeles to New York.

International Workers Day
Peace Press
Offset, 1975
Los Angeles, California

By demanding Jobs For All, End Deportations, U.S. Out Of Indochina & Puerto Rico this 36 year old poster links the same issues facing us today: lack of jobs, scapegoating immigrants and foreign wars. And Puerto Rico continues to be the last remaining U.S. colony.

The poster was printed at Peace Press, an anti-war Los Angeles print collective which will be the subject of an exhibition premiering September 2011 at the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach. Peace Press Graphics 1967 – 1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change is part of the Getty Foundation’s initiative, Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. The exhibition and catalogue are a collaboration between the Center for the Study of Political Graphics and the University Art Museum at CSULB.

History of May Day as Worker’s Labor Day
May Day as a worker’s labor day, began in 1886, in Chicago, as a movement for the universal adoption of the eight-hour working day. (Workers had secured a limit of ten hours to the working day only a few decades earlier.) In Chicago, the center of the movement, workers had been agitating for an eight-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. May Day has been marked ever since by parades, red flags, and an affirmation of union power and pride. Ironically, this Chicago-born holiday is celebrated more internationally than in the United States.