Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poster of the Week

Amerika Is Devouring Its Children
Jay Belloli
Silkscreen, 1970
Berkeley, CA

CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorates the tragic death of Aaron Swartz.  It epitomizes the complicity of the state in destroying one of the most creative and productive of our youth.  Aaron’s commitment to democracy and open access to information was threatening to an increasingly authoritarian state. On January 11, 2013, 26 year old Aaron committed suicide, unable to face the prison sentence he was threatened with by overzealous prosecutors.  Aaron was being charged with allegedly illegally hacking into a network at MIT to download scholarly articles only accessible through an expensive subscription service. He had previously said the knowledge belonged to the world.

Although Congressional criticism is mounting against the Federal prosecutors, and both Democrats and Republicans are questioning whether he had been inappropriately targeted, it’s too late for Aaron. 

The title, Amerika is Devouring Its Children, speaks directly to the U.S. Justice Department treating the best of its youth as enemies to be destroyed.

Aaron Swartz

Background to Poster:
In April 1970, when the U.S. invaded Cambodia, a neutral country during the Viet Nam War, college campuses throughout the US erupted in protest, and one-third of them shut down.  At Kent State University in Ohio, four students were killed by national guardsmen deployed to repress the protests. Two days later, two students were killed at Jackson State College in Mississippi.

Outraged by the escalating violence abroad and at home, students at the University of California, Berkeley walked out of their classes.  They silkscreened over 100 designs such as this onto reams of used computer paper, transforming the Goya into an anti-Viet Nam War statement.


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