Monday, April 21, 2014

Poster of the Week

Earth Day Is Everyday
Earl Newman
Silkscreen, 1969/1970
Venice, California

Earl Newman describes the origins of the poster:
It was the beginning of more consciousness about recycling, and people trying to build more awareness…Israel Feuer, activist with the Peace and Freedom Party, came up with the slogan, “Earth Day is Everyday” before I came up with the design. 
The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 was marked by environmental teach-ins held throughout the U.S. Approximately 20 million Americans participated and this date marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. 
Now, more than 40 years later, the situation is worse and the climate is changing rapidly and very noticeably. The polar ice caps are melting faster than scientists had predicted, extreme weather is becoming the norm, and expanding swaths of oceans and lakes are becoming dead zones where no marine life can survive due to depleted oxygen levels caused by pesticide runoff. In 2004, 146 dead zones in the world's oceans were reported.  A 2008 study counted 405 dead zones worldwide.  Meanwhile, new ways of polluting our air, soil and water are increasingly profitable therefore actively supported by industry and government alike:  from deep sea oil drilling, to fracking, to transporting tar sands across some of the most fertile and fragile agricultural land in the country. 
Adding insult to injury, the Koch Brothers and their cohorts in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), continue to try to destroy support for renewable energy, state by state.  In 2013, ALEC tried to repeal clean energy targets in 13 states and failed on all fronts.  They are trying again in 2014. When will they ever learn?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poster of the Week

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is not in our archive, but belongs to the world. It is part of a growing international movement to stop drone attacks which are inflicting huge civilian casualties.  The giant 100-by-70 feet vinyl poster features a child whose parents and two young siblings were killed in a 2009 drone strike in Pakistan.  The installation was also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is called “Not a Bug Splat.” In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing a body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed. To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, a collaboration of artists comprised of Pakistanis, Americans and the French street artist JR., installed this massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit, estimates that in the first 5 years of President Obama’s drone program, in Pakistan alone, between 416-951 civilians have been killed, including 168-200 children.  

Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag #NotABugSplat. "We don't know if it is still there or not," one of the artists wrote in an email. The villagers were encouraged to "use the fabric for roofing and other useful purposes. The art was always meant to be utilized and not discarded after it was photographed."

Photo: Foundation for Fundamental Rights

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Poster of the Week

African American Women in Defense of Ourselves
Amy E. Bartell
Offset, 1992
Latham,  New York

CSPG’s Poster of the Week was produced to support Anita Hill, an African American attorney and law professor, who was being smeared, defamed and threatened for having the courage to accuse Clarence Thomas, an African American judge, of intense and ongoing sexual harassment while he was her boss.  President George H. W. Bush (Bush I) had nominated Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed retiring Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall.  To replace one of the most committed Civil Rights justices with one of the most anti Civil Rights justices truly added insult to injury. 

During the first televised Congressional hearing on the subject in history, October 11, 1991, Hill testified before an all white male Senate judiciary committee, about the sexual harassment she had experienced while working for him at the U.S. Department of Education and at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Her testimony should have disqualified Thomas from being nominated to the highest court in the land, but in the end he was appointed– on a 52-48 vote   and Hill’s motives and character were  viciously attacked.  This poster is based on a ¾ page ad that first appeared in the New York Times  November 17, 1991.

Anita—Speaking Truth to Power is an excellent new film about the hearings and what has happened since.  Whether you lived through the time or are too young, it is eye-opening, frustrating, fascinating, moving and uplifting.  And this poster hangs on her office wall. 

Poster Text - African American Women In Defense of Ourselves 
As women of African descent, we are deeply troubled by the recent nomination, confirmation and seating of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. We know that the presence of Clarence Thomas on the Court will be continually used to divert attention from historic struggles for social justice through suggestions that the presence of a Black man on the Supreme Court constitutes an assurance that the rights of African Americans will be protected. Clarence Thomas public record is ample evidence this will not be true.  Further, the consolidation of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court seriously endangers the rights of all women, poor and working class people and the elderly.  The seating of Clarence Thomas is an affront not only to African American women and men, but to all people concerned with social justice.

We are particularly outraged by the racist and sexist treatment of Professor Anita Hill, an African American woman who was maligned and castigated for daring to speak publicly of her own experience of sexual abuse. The malicious defamation of Professor Hill insulted all women of African descent and sent a dangerous message to any woman who might contemplate a sexual harassment complaint. 
We speak here because we recognize that the media are now portraying the Black community as prepared to tolerate both the dismantling of affirmative action and the evil of sexual harassment in order to have any Black man on the Supreme Court.  We want to make clear that the media have ignored or distorted many African American voices.  We will not be silenced. 

Many have erroneously portrayed the allegations against Clarence Thomas as an issue of either gender or race.  As women of African descent, we understand sexual harassment as both.  We further understand that Clarence Thomas outrageously manipulated the legacy of lynching in order to shelter himself from Anita Hill's allegations.  To deflect attention away from the reality of sexual abuse in African American women's lives, he trivialized and misrepresented this painful part of African American people's history.  This country which has a long legacy of racism and sexism, has never taken the sexual abuse of Black women seriously.  Throughout U.S. history Black women have been sexually stereotyped as immoral, insatiable, perverse; the initiators in all sexual contacts - abusive or otherwise. The common assumption in legal proceedings as well as in the larger society has been that Black women cannot be raped or otherwise sexually abused. As Anita Hill's experience demonstrates, Black women who speak of these matters are not likely to be believed. 

In 1991, we cannot tolerate this type of dismissal of any one Black woman's experience or this attack upon our collective character without protest, outrage, and resistance. 

As women of African descent, we express our vehement opposition to the policies represented by the placement of Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. The Bush administration, have obstructed the passage of civil rights legislation, impeded the extension of unemployment compensation, cut student aid and dismantled social welfare programs, has continually demonstrated that it is not operating in our best interests. Nor is this appointee. We pledge ourselves to continue to speak out in defense of one another, in defense of the African American community and against those who are hostile to social injustice no matter what color they are. No one will speak for us but ourselves. 

This ad represents a grassroots initiative on the 1,603 women of African descent whose names appear herein. We also thank the hundreds of people of conscience - women and men of differing racial and ethnic background - who have contributed to make our statement possible. We would like to hear from those interested in establishing a progressive network among women of African descent so that we may more effectively make our voices heard in the future.  Within hours of Anita Hill's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 11, 1991, Elsa Barkley Brown, Barbara Ransby, and Deborah King had launched a nationwide campaign to protest the events surrounding Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court…

This text appears framed in the center of the poster, surrounded by 1603 names.
Additional Resource:
Once Anita Hill’s name was leaked, the smear campaign began - even before the hearings started.  Maureen Dowd describes the situation in Washington, D.C. two days before Hill’s testimony: