Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Poster of the Week

Save Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security
Xavier Viramontes
San Francisco, 2012

Our country isn't broke - It's being robbed.
The so-called fiscal cliff is actually a fiscal bluff — a made-up crisis to make us think our government is out of money and time. Congress continues to drag its feet over raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, despite the top 1% earning 23% of the nation's income, and insists on calling for cuts to vital programs instead of reining in massive subsidies ($100 billion in 2011 alone) to major corporations that already make billions in profits. America isn't broke — it's being robbed. 
Dec. 19, 2012 is ARTSTRIKE — a day of action to share powerful art and music that can convince our friends that more cuts and tax breaks aren’t the answer. Artists from across the country have come together to make their voices heard. It couldn't come at a more urgent time, as Washington, D.C. nears a deal that would slash Social Security and raises taxes on the poor and middle class. Stand up against cuts to vital programs and demand the wealthy pay their fair share. Corrupt billionaires, tax-dodging corporations, and those who serve them have manufactured this crisis and are refusing to pay their fair share.

As a creative community we can provide the tools people need to speak out and protect our most precious public programs from further deterioration.
To see more posters or submit your own art, go to


Friday, December 14, 2012

Poster of the Week

One Child a Day
James B. Wood
National Coalition to Ban Handguns*
Offset, 1987
United States

On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them children between the ages of 5 and 10, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City. When will we make it harder to obtain guns?
Poster text:
One Child A Day...Every Day  Each year, nearly 400 children under the age of 15 are killed with handguns in the United States. More than 100 children are murdered and over 300 are killed unintentionally. This figure does not even include youth suicide, the tenth leading cause of death among children.  Help us save young lives.  Support the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

*In 1989, the National Coalition to Ban Handguns changed its name to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, in part because the group felt that "assault rifles" as well as handguns, should be outlawed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Poster of the Week

NYPD Drones
Essam Attia
New York, 2012

CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorates the United Nations Human Rights Day, December 10, by focusing on the erosion of human rights in the United States and throughout the world. 
The UN marked Human Rights Day 2012 by declaring that everyone has the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their lives and communities. "International law is clear: No matter who you are, or where you live, your voice counts," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the day.

But last week, not far from where these idealistic words were spoken, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested an artist for making his voice heard.

Essam Attia, had designed and surreptitiously placed satirical posters dealing with the NYPD’s potential use of pilotless drone aircraft. Attia and a team posed as maintenance workers who routinely replace advertisements in plastic cases at bus stops and other public locations. The posters simulated NYPD public service announcements and depict drones firing missiles at fleeing civilians. One of the posters says, “NYPD drones: Protection when you least expect it.” An NYPD logo appears at the bottom of the image.

In what amounts to a political vendetta against Attia for daring to criticize the police, the artist has been charged on 56 criminal counts, including grand larceny, possession of stolen property and a weapons charge for possession of an antique, unloaded .22 caliber handgun. The NYPD appears to have put some effort into hunting the artist down. Officers were seen dusting the poster-boxes for fingerprints in September, shortly after the posters began to appear.

In a video interview posted on in September, Attia—his voice disguised and face hidden—said that he posted the images “to create a conversation about the deployment of drones in American airspace. We have to remember that right now, internationally, they are being used to kill people. They’re armed: they shoot missiles. We’re fighting an illegal war in Pakistan and no one seems to want to talk about it.”

A US Army veteran who served as a geo-spatial analyst in Iraq, Attia added, “We know some [police] departments in Texas have them. It’s only a matter of time before New York has them. … Weaponized drones used to kill American citizens coming to New York City? I’m not sure I’m cool with that.”

In February, Congress approved legislation that would allow 30,000 drones in American airspace by 2020. Predator drones, the same aircraft that the US military uses in Pakistan and Yemen, already patrol the US-Mexican border and were used last year by police in North Dakota. The environmental Protection Agency has reportedly been using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska.

The sheriff’s office in Alameda County, California, was recently forced to suspend the purchase of a surveillance drone after a public outcry.

In New York City, a memo released under the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year revealed discussions between the NYPD and the Federal Aviation Administration in which the NYPD stated it was “investigating the possible use of UAV's [unmanned aerial vehicles] as a law enforcement tool.”
The most notorious use of drones has been that of the Bush and Obama administrations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere where they have been used not only for surveillance but to kill over 2,500 civilians as part of an effort to assassinate a smaller number of individuals that the president deems to be terrorist. Several American citizens have been killed in these operations, including Anwar al-Awalki, targeted by a CIA drone in Yemen by presidential order in September last year.

History of Human Rights Day

The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.  December 10, 1896 is the death date of Alfred Nobel, whose Nobel Peace Prize is also awarded on this date.  Sunday (December 9) in Oslo, Norway, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union drew at least 1000 protesters, who claimed that awarding the prize to the EU contradicts Alfred Nobel’s vision of a demilitarized global peace order. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poster of the Week

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 1911/2011
Laura Tolkow
Offset, 2011
New York
CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorating the 100th anniversary of the tragic 1911Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, horrifically evokes this week’s tragic headlines about the deadly fire in Bangladesh. On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City and 146 workers died, mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant women.  On Saturday, November 24, 2012, a fire in a Bangladesh garment factory killed 112, and more bodies may be found.
In 1911 New York and 2012 Bangladesh, many workers died because the factory bosses ordered the exit doors to be locked and ignored safety issues. In Bangladesh there were also dummy fire extinguishers, and bosses who ordered the employees back to work after fire alarms went off. There were no emergency exits.

The Poster of the Week includes the statement, “This fire changed America." This is partially true.  The outrage resulting from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire let to stronger health and safety conditions in many U.S. workplaces. Unfortunately, it did not prevent corporations from producing their items overseas, where sweatshop conditions are rampant.
Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of ready-to-wear clothing after China, exporting about $18 billion worth of garments a year. Employees in the country’s factories are among the world’s lowest-paid, with entry-level workers making the government-mandated minimum wage of about $37 a month or slightly above. Tensions have been running high between workers, who have been demanding an increase in minimum wages, and the factory owners and government. A union organizer, Aminul Islam, who campaigned for better working conditions and higher wages, was found tortured and killed outside Dhaka this year.

Bangladesh has about 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for stores including Tesco, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl's and Carrefour. Although photos of charred Wal-Mart “Faded Glory” labels have been shown on television and the net, Wal-Mart is denying that they still used that clothing factory, saying that it was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for the company. However, the International Labor Rights Forum, which tracks fires in the Bangladesh garment industry, said documents and logos found in the debris indicated that the factory produced clothes for Walmart’s Faded Glory line as well as for other American and foreign companies.

When will we ever learn!

Poster available from Syracuse Cultural Workers:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Posters of the Week

Two Posters of the Week – One with an international focus, the other domestic, but both involve human rights and human dignity, people’s right to a living wage, and people’s right to live in peace.

David Gentleman
Stop the War Coalition
Offset, 2003
London, UK

Produced to oppose the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Gentleman uses his signature blood spatter, to create a primal graphic scream:
No Bombs
No Occupation
No Killing
No Blockade
No Drones

Wal-Mart Hurts 99%
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Offset, 2012
Los Angeles, California
The day after Thanksgiving, the largest shopping day of the year, is called “Black Friday” by retailers, and “Buy Nothing Day” by activists against consumerism.*  This Friday, artists and activists are transforming the biggest day of mass consumption into a day of mass-resistance by supporting thousands of protesting Walmart workers as they demonstrate at Walmart stores and warehouses across the country, challenging the greed of one of America’s wealthiest corporations.  To see more graphics, or send in some of your own designs, go to
For More information:

*to see the history of Buy Nothing Day, go to:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Poster of the Week

From Katrina to Sandy…and the Politicians Still Aren’t Talking About Climate Change!

Patriot Inaction
Robbie Conal
Offset, 2005
Los Angeles, California

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poster of the Week

"What is right has always been called radical by those with a stake in things that are wrong."
—Senator George McGovern 
(July 19, 1922 – October 21, 2012)

Come Home America
Corita Kent
Offset, 1972
Boston, MA

South Dakota Senator George McGovern died this week.  He was considered by many to have been one of the most honest and principled men to have run for president on either Democratic or Republican Party ticket. 

McGovern was an American historian, author and U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator.  A decorated World War II bomber pilot, McGovern said he learned to hate war by waging it. In 1970 he attached to a military procurement bill the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment, which would have required, through a cutoff of funding, a withdrawal of all American forces from Indochina. The amendment did not pass, although the majority of Americans supported it. McGovern denounced on the Senate floor the politicians who, by refusing to support the amendment, prolonged the war.

“Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave,” he said. “This chamber reeks of blood. Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval [hospitals] and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes. There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.”
McGovern’s moral condemnation was greeted in the chamber with stunned silence. When one senator told McGovern he was personally offended by his remarks, McGovern answered: “That’s what I meant to do.”
McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election.   He was the only anti-Viet Nam War candidate running, and was strongly supported by the anti-war movement. The Republican party, however, successfully colored McGovern as a radical leftist, crippling his reputation with many voters.

With Nixon garnering almost 61% of the popular vote, the election was the most one-sided in American history. In his disastrous race against Nixon, McGovern had promised to end the conflict in Viet Nam and cut defense spending by billions of dollars. He helped create the Food for Peace program and spent much of his career believing the United States should be more accommodating to the former Soviet Union. And McGovern never shied from the word “liberal,” even as other Democrats blanched at the label and Republicans used it as an epithet.  “I am a liberal and always have been,” McGovern said in 2001. “Just not the wild-eyed character the Republicans made me out to be.”

The Watergate scandal
In June 1972, the Richard M. Nixon Administration was behind a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. to learn about the Democratic Party strategies for the November 1972 election. The Watergate scandal was a result of both the break-in and the subsequent attempt by the Nixon administration to cover-up their involvement. The scandal eventually led to the resignation of President Nixon, on August 9, 1974, the only resignation of a U.S. President. The scandal also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 people, including dozens of Nixon's top administration officials.

Americans voting for president in 1972 were aware of the Watergate break-in, and McGovern tried to make a campaign issue out of the bungled attempt to wiretap the offices of the Democratic National Committee.  He called Nixon the most corrupt president in history, but the most damaging details of Nixon's involvement wouldn't emerge until after Election Day. Many considered this to be part of the cover-up to ensure Nixon’s election.

In a moving obituary about McGovern, Chris Hedges writes, “Here was a politician who cared more for his country and for human decency than he did for his political ambitions or his career.”  Hedges concludes with excerpts from McGovern’s acceptance speech.  Would that someone would say these words today:

“From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America.
From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.
From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick—come home, America.
Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.
Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for “this is your land, this land is my land—from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters—this land was made for you and me.”
So let us close on this note: May God grant each one of us the wisdom to cherish this good land and to meet the great challenge that beckons us home.
And now is the time to meet that challenge.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Poster of the Week

Andy Zermeño
United Farm Workers Organizing Committee
Offset, 1966
Los Angeles, California
CSPG’s Poster of the Week is by Andy Zermeño, who volunteered for the farm workers movement for 14 years, helping to create their powerful graphic identity.  Andy, along with Tom Morello and Joan Sekler will be honored by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics on Sunday, October 21st. For ticket information, please visit
Andy was the first artist recruited by Cesar Chavez to design posters and other graphics for organizing farm workers—years before Chavez and Dolores Huerta formed the United Farm Workers Union.  Andy’s longer bio is below, and a ten minute interview with him can be seen on youtube:
Andy describes this Huelga! poster:
I was just trying to show the spirit of the guys (who) were attacking the status quo…They were eager to get in there, eager to do something for themselves.  That’s what impressed me, that’s what I wanted to show. 
This powerful poster is both important and fascinating, not only for what it openly says, but for what it historically reveals.  Every archive and library with a copy of this poster, from the UFW website to university collections, consistently dates it from 1965.  CSPG research, however, raises a question. The sign on the farm worker’s chest says UFWOC, for the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, a precursor of the United Farm Workers (UFW). The problem with the 1965 date, is that UFWOC wasn’t created until 1966.
UFWOC formed from the merging of two groups, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) led by Filipino organizer Larry Itliong, and the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) co-founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. This union changed from a workers' rights organization that helped workers get unemployment insurance to that of a union of farm workers almost overnight, when the NFWA went out on strike in support of the mostly Filipino farmworkers of the AWOC in Delano, California, who had previously initiated a grape strike on September 8, 1965. The NFWA and the AWOC, recognizing their common goals and methods, and realizing the strengths of coalition formation, jointly formed the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee on August 22, 1966. This organization was accepted into the AFL-CIO in 1972 and changed its name to the United Farm Workers union (UFW).

Andy Zermeño Biography
Born in Salinas, California in 1935, Andy grew up in the mostly poor working class agricultural town of Soledad.  He is the oldest of 5 brothers and sisters.  His father was born in Mexico, and his mother is from Boyle Heights.  In 1954, following high school graduation, Andy attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland on a scholarship.  He worked as a set designer and production artist for KSBW-TV and worked summers as a state fruit inspector to finance college.
Andy credits his brother Alex for introducing him to the civil rights struggle for Mexican Americans.  In Salinas, Alex was active in the Community Service Organization (CSO) founded by Saul Alinsky and Fred Ross.  The CSO organized voter registration, participated in civic and political affairs, and fought discrimination against minorities. Cesar Chavez was in CSO at the time, and when Andy designed a logo for the organization, Chavez recognized his talent. 
In 1958, Andy transferred to the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles to study painting and drawing, graduating in 1961 with a Bachelor of Professional Arts degree.  When Cesar Chavez left the CSO in 1962 to organize farmworkers in Delano, he asked Andy to volunteer his artistic skills.  Andy put the finishing touches on the design of the iconic UFW eagle, and created posters and graphics for the farmworkers for fourteen years. He created the look and the majority of the illustrations for UFW newspaper, El Malcriado, creating cartoon characters to educate often illiterate farmworkers about their rights and the need to join the union: Don Sotaco, the exploited farm worker; El Patron, the greedy landowner; and El Coyote, the brutal labor contractor.  In 1965, the Mexican farm workers led by Chavez, Huerta and their National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), joined with striking Filipino farm workers who had started what became an historic grape strike and boycott. A year later, the Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) merged with the NFWA to create the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC), precursor to the UFW.  Andy created the powerful Huelga!/Strike poster to promote this historic collaboration, support the strike, and show the determination of the union members to achieve justice.
In 1970, Andy moved with his wife Anita, and their children, Claire, Greg, and Andrea, to Keene, California to work for the United Farm Workers for one year. In addition to continuing making art for El Malcriado, he created posters promoting strikes and boycotts—notably of Gallo Wine—benefit concert posters, as well as stamps and a calendar to be used as fundraisers to support union activities against nonunion produce. At the end of the year the family returned to Los Angeles to recover financially, but he continued to volunteer for the UFW.  Andy worked as a freelance commercial illustrator, as a technical illustrator and writer of assembly instruction for Hughes Aerospace Company, and was the owner of a solar power design firm.  He retired in 1998 to dedicate more time to painting, sculpture, and other personal projects.
CSPG is honoring Andy Zermeño, along with activist/documentary filmmaker Joan Sekler and musician/activist Tom Morello, on Sunday, October 21, 2012, from 3-7 in Hollywood. Following the awards program, Morello will perform a 30-40 minute set. For more information about the event, please go to

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poster of the Week

Vote Commoner for President
Peace Press
Offset, 1980
Los Angeles, CA
CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorates Barry Commoner, a founder of the modern ecology movement.  Commoner was one of the movement’s most provocative thinkers and mobilizers in making environmentalism a people’s political cause.  He died on Sunday in Manhattan; he was 95.
In the late 1950s, Dr. Commoner became well known for his opposition to nuclear weapons testing, becoming part of the team which demonstrated the presence of Strontium 90 in children’s teeth as a direct result of nuclear fallout.  His work contributed materially to the adoption of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
In his bestselling 1971 book The Closing Circle, Dr. Commoner suggested that the American economy should be restructured to conform to the unbending laws of ecology. For example, he argued that polluting products (like detergents or synthetic textiles) should be replaced with natural products (like soap or cotton and wool). This book was one of the first to bring the idea of sustainability to a mass audience. Dr. Commoner suggested a left-wing, eco-socialist response to the limits to growth thesis, postulating that capitalist technologies were chiefly responsible for environmental degradation, as opposed to population pressures.
Dr. Commoner’s overarching concern was not ecology as such but rather a radical ideal of social justice in which everything was indeed connected to everything else. Like some other left-leaning dissenters of his time, he believed that environmental pollution, war, and racial and sexual inequality needed to be addressed as related issues of a central problem.
In 1980, Commoner founded the Citizens Party to serve as a vehicle for his ecological message, and he ran for President of the United States the same year. His official running mate was La Donna Harris. It is especially fitting to pay tribute to him during the season of presidential debates, when both the Democrats and Republicans strongly agree on at least one thing:  Not to allow Third Party Candidates  from participating in the debates!
One of Commoner's lasting legacies is his four laws of ecology, as written in The Closing Circle (1971). The four laws are:
  1. Everything is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
  2. Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no "waste" in nature and there is no "away" to which things can be thrown.
  3. Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, says Commoner, "likely to be detrimental to that system."
  4. There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.
Commoner wrote this over 40 years ago.  When will we ever learn.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Poster of the Week

CSPG’s Poster of the Week celebrates the first year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street Movement

What Is Our One Demand?
Adbusters Media Foundation
Offset, 2011
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This poster is credited for starting the Occupy Wall Street [OWS] movement in the U.S.

Early in June 2011, Canadian-based Adbusters Media Foundation sent its subscribers an email saying that “America needs its own Tahrir,” referring to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupied by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians from January 25 to February 11, 2011, when President Mubarak resigned.

In July 2011, Adbusters proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, the lack of legal consequences for those who brought about the global crisis of monetary insolvency, and an increasing disparity in wealth. The protest was promoted with this poster featuring a dancer atop Wall Street's iconic Charging Bull statue, and was the centerfold in the September/October 2011 issue #97.* The internet group, Anonymous, encouraged its readers to participate, and other groups also helped to organize and promote the protest. The action itself began on September 17, but it exploded a week later, after the NYPD pepper sprayed peaceful protesters, and videotapes of their action went viral on the Internet.

Immediate prototypes for OWS include the British student protests of 2010, Greece's and Spain's anti-austerity protests of the "indignados" (indignants), as well as the Arab Spring protests. These antecedents have in common with OWS a reliance on social media and electronic messaging to circumvent the authorities, as well as frustration and anger towards financial institutions, corporations and the political elite. Occupy Wall Street, in turn, gave rise to the Occupy movement in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world.

In November and December 2011, police launched violent raids against the Occupy Movement, and camps in many cities, including New York and Los Angeles, were dismantled, injuring and arresting many people in the process. Evicted protesters vowed to continue the struggle, either by setting up new camps or exploring new ways to engage communities.

On September 17, 2012, to celebrate the first year anniversary of OWS , protests took place in dozens of cities throughout the U.S.

*The November/December issue of Adbusters #98, included an apology to Rachel Cossar, the dancer featured in this poster, whose image was used without her permission.  She is a professional ballerina with the Boston Ballet, is in no way associated with, nor does she endorse the #occupywallstreet campaign.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Poster of the Week

Ricardo Flores-Magón
Carlos Cortéz
Linocut, 1978
Chicago, Illinois

CSPG’s Poster of the Week by artist, activist and poet Carlos Cortéz (1923-2005), commemorates Ricardo Flores-Magón (1873-1922), writer, anarchist, and an organizer in Mexico prior to the 1910 Revolution.  It also brings attention to the 4th annual Anarchist Bookfair taking place in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Carlos Cortéz (August 13, 1923 – January 19, 2005) was a poet, graphic artist, photographer, muralist and political activist.  For six decades he was active with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the “Wobblies”. In 1998, he received CSPG’s “Art is a Hammer” Award.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1923, the son of a Mexican-Indian Wobbly union organizer father and a German socialist pacifist mother, Cortéz spent 18 months in a U.S. prison as a conscientious objector during the World War II, refusing to "shoot at fellow draftees." Cortéz joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1947, identifying himself as an anarcho-syndicalist, writing articles and drawing cartoons for the union newspaper the Industrial Worker for several decades.

Ricardo Flores-Magón founded a newspaper entitled, "Regeneración" (Rebirth) which aroused the workers against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz in Mexico. As a result of his activism, Flores-Magón was expelled from Mexico in 1903. Because the paper was also too controversial in Mexico, he began publishing it in the United States.  It was then smuggled back into Mexico and read by the forces of Emiliano Zapata, among others. Zapata took Flores-Magón's slogan "tierra y libertad" (land and liberty) and made it his own battle cry. Flores-Magón lived and organized in Texas, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Because of collusion between the Mexican government and the U.S. government, the U.S. eventually arrested him in 1918 for seditious activity and jailed him in Leavenworth penitentiary where he died under mysterious circumstances.

The paper in Flores-Magón's hand symbolizes his theory on art.  While in prison, he wrote a treatise in which he clearly opposes the idea of art for art's sake.  Because he felt such a reverent admiration and love for art, Flores-Magón lamented what he interpreted as the "prostitution of art" by those who were unable to communicate.

This "art for art's sake" is absurd and its defenders have always burned my nerves. I feel a reverent admiration and love for art that it hurts me see it prostituted by those who do not have the power of making others feel like they do or think what they think, they hide their impotence under the motto of "art for art's sake.”
                    —Ricardo Flores-Magon

Please visit CSPG’s table at the Anarchist Bookfair, Saturday, September 8, 2012

10 am – 6 pm

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
PRESENTATIONS, WORKSHOPS and PANELS ALL DAY, including a performance about Ricardo Flores-Magón at 12:30 pm.

CSPG will be on site selling posters, catalogues and t-shirts!

Please join us!
For more information:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Poster of the Week

El Pueblo, Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido
The Workers, United, Will Never Be Defeated
Dan Jones
Labour May Day Committee 
Offset, 1980
London, UK

CSPG’s Poster of the Week celebrates worker solidarity, perfect for Labor Day.  The title comes from one of the most internationally renowned songs of the Nueva Cancion Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement, composed and recorded in June 1973.  Just a few months later, on September 11, 1973, a U.S. engineered military coup overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.  After the Chilean coup, the song became the anthem of the Chilean resistance against the brutal U.S. supported Pinochet regime. El Pueblo, Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido continues to be used in various protests around the world, most of which have no direct connection to the Chilean coup or Latin America. The lyrics have been adapted or translated into many languages.

The poster shows workers from diverse trades and countries holding signs with a variety of demands and slogans including:
  • El Pueblo, Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido  The Workers, United, Will Never Be Defeated
  • Work Not Dole
  • We Require 8 Hours For Work  8 Hours For Our Instruction  And 8 Hours For Our Repose
  •  8 Hour Day 
  • The People's Flag Is Deepest Red, It Shrouded Oft Our Martyred Dead 
  •  Debut D'Une Lutte Prolongee 
  • Pan Trabajo Y Libertad 
History of Labor Day
Labor Day may be over 100 years old, but its history continues to be politically charged and open to interpretation. The observation of Labor Day on the first Monday in September is usually attributed to the Knights of Labor who held their first parade in New York on September 5, 1882. By 1887, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Oregon all celebrated Labor Day on the first Monday of September, and in 1894, the first Monday was established as a Federal holiday in the U.S.

But eight years earlier, in 1889, May 1 was selected as a day to celebrate workers by the Second Socialist International. That date was selected to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre, an important but rarely taught event in U.S. history.  [Haymarket Massacre discussed below]
So the question can be raised, Why does the American worker celebrate Labor Day in September when internationally, workers celebrate it on May 1st  in commemoration of American Martyrs to the labor movement? This question is clarified by the fact that May first is observed unilaterally by workers (not by management), while the September holiday is enjoyed by all, perpetuating the myth that Labor and Management are both working together. The proclamation of Labor Day in September in the United States has been interpreted as an effort to isolate U.S. workers from colleagues around the world, and obscure the history of what Management did to Labor in Chicago in 1886. That said, it is important to know the history of both holidays.  It is also important to note that U.S. workers get far fewer holidays than workers in other industrialized nations.  Whether or not Labor Day was established to deflect attention—and awareness—from the history of May Day, it is still a great time to celebrate workers accomplishments and express labor solidarity.

Haymarket Massacre
On May 1, 1886 demonstrations in support of the 8-hour day took place all across the country.  Chicago's was the biggest with an estimated 80,000 marching on Michigan Avenue, much to the alarm of Chicago's business leaders and newspapers who saw it as foreshadowing "revolution," and demanded a police crackdown.  Over the next several days, police attacked demonstrators and broke up mass meetings.  On May 4, a bomb was thrown by a still unidentified person, and both police and demonstrators were killed by the bomb and subsequent police shootings.  In the aftermath of the event, unions were raided all across the country. Eight labor organizers were prosecuted in a show trial. None were linked to the unknown bomb thrower, and some were not even present at the time. They were held to be responsible for the bomb thrower's act, because their public criticism of corporate America, the political structure, and the use of police power against the working people, was alleged to have inspired the bomber. They were found guilty in a trial, which Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld subsequently held to be grossly unfair. On June 26, 1894, Altgeld pardoned three who were still alive and in prison; but four had been hanged, and one had committed suicide.