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: