“ANTI-WAR.US is dedicated to the free distribution of anti-war graphic material.
As creative individuals trained in methods of mass-communication, we can make a real difference by providing clear anti-war messages.
All materials on this site are created voluntarily and distributed free to activists around the world.”
A nice idea. I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it. Will send one of my own poster ideas shortly.
I do hope they will excercise some curatorial judgement, though. I’m a long-time admirer of Charles Wilkin’s design work. I’ve even used one of his fonts, but painting President Bush in the same league as Stalin and Hitler does not help the credibility of your cause.
via American Samizdat. Image above by M. Musri, Fabrica.
Anti-War Group Revives “Daisy” Ad Campaign, January 15, 2003
“Revisiting one of the most effective television commercials in the annals of U.S. politics, a grassroots anti-war group has produced a remake of the ‘Daisy’ ad, warning that a war against Iraq could spark nuclear Armageddon.
The provocative 30-second commercial - released to the media Wednesday and appearing in 12 major U.S. cities on Thursday at a cost of $400,000, was prepared with the help of thousands of donations to the Internet-based group MoveOn.org.
The original Daisy ad aired only once, during the 1964 presidential race. Produced by the campaign of incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson, it depicted a 6-year-old girl plucking petals from a daisy - along with a missile launch countdown and then a nuclear mushroom cloud. The suggestion was that if elected president, Republican Barry Goldwater might lead the United States to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Goldwater lost by a wide margin.
The 2003 version follows the same format, with an added montage of scenes of military escalation: burning oil wells, tanks in the battlefield, wounded soldiers, chaotic protests in a foreign city and an ambulance racing through U.S. streets. Then, a similar mushroom cloud, and the screen goes to black, with a dire warning: ‘War with Iraq. Maybe it will end quickly. Maybe not. Maybe it will spread. Maybe extremists will take over countries with nuclear weapons. Maybe the unthinkable.’
Then, another ‘10... 9... 8...,’ countdown, and a final message: ‘Maybe that’s why the overwhelming majority of Americans say to President Bush: let the inspections work.’
MoveOn.org’s leaders hope the ad will enliven the debate on the specter of war - and persuade Americans to oppose a military solution in Iraq.
‘We’re playing with matches in a tinderbox,’ Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org’s international campaign director said. ‘We wanted to run an ad that would highlight that very real possibility and help encourage a national discussion about the consequences of war.’”
MoveOn was started in 1998 by a couple of guys in Silicon Valley as an online petition encouraging Congress to resolve the long running investigation and impeachement proceedings of President Clinton. Their email list has since grown to 600,000 users, and the org now solicits contributions for its Political Action Committee, MoveOnPAC, whose campaign contributions “provide financial support to congressional candidates who embrace moderate to progressive principles of national government. Our intention is to encourage and facilitate smaller donations to offset the influence of wealthy and corporate donors.”
On the ad:
“In December, we asked members to contribute $27,000 for a print ad in the New York Times. Within days, we had more than $400,000 committed to our ad campaign. This allowed us to do several print ads, including an ad in USA Today. To follow up, we ran a radio ad created by Betsey Binet, one of our members. But once we saw the avalanche of support, we knew it was time to go to TV. Over the holidays, we worked on the spot you’ll see today. Our goal is to underline the risk of war and we’ve created a piece intended to provoke discussion and controversy....
The ad is airing on TV stations in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Cleveland, Portland and Seattle. The ad buy is largely on cable networks, and will show heavily on public interest shows on channels such as CNN and MSNBC for the next week. At 10am today in each of these media markets, MoveOn volunteers will be running press conferences for the local media.”
A RealVideo version of the ad is up on their Web site.
It’s great to see the anti-war message breaking through the virtual ban on dissent in the mainstream media. I hope this will help create a space for the media to cover this weekend’s protests in D.C. and around the world.
The ad is also a good effort to try to show some of the consequences of the war on TV, but images of mushroom clouds don’t quite evoke the human cost for me. Cinematic explosions are pretty cheap these days. I suppose the zoom on the little white girl tries to do this by implication.
The message of the ad also seems a bit muddled. The ad urges Bush to “let the inspections work.” But then is it OK to go to war if the inspectons do in fact show Iraq in violation of UN resolutions? Wouldn’t the same costs apply if the U.S. attacked Iraq with the approval of the UN?
New breed of politician taps the country’s love affair with high tech
“The winning candidate in last week’s South Korean presidential election had little need for mass rallies or traditional campaign tactics.
When Roh Moo-hyun’s organizers wanted supporters to vote on election day, they simply pressed a few computer keys. Text messages flashed to the cellphones of almost 800,000 people, urging them to go to the polls.
During his campaign, millions of voters absorbed Mr. Roh’s message from Internet sites that featured video clips of the candidate and audio broadcasts by disc jockeys and rock stars. Half a million visitors logged on to his main Web site every day to donate money or obtain campaign updates. More than 7,000 voters a day sent him e-mails with policy ideas. Internet chat groups buzzed with debate on the election....
Almost half of South Korean voters are below the age of 40 — a prime demographic for users of the Internet and cellphones. Until this year, many were apathetic politically, put off by the country’s traditional political machinery. But Mr. Roh reached out to voters with one of the world’s most sophisticated Internet campaigns, and the vast majority of the younger population voted for him.
Until a year ago, Mr. Roh was best known for his repeated failures to be elected to parliament. Self-educated, he came from a poor family and had been jailed for helping dissidents fight the military regimes of the past. But young voters admired the lawyer for his integrity and his image as an independent outsider, and they formed an Internet fan club to promote his future.
The Internet allowed Mr. Roh to liberate himself from ‘black money’ — corporate donations that are South Korea’s traditional form of campaign financing. Largely through Internet-based campaign groups, Mr. Roh raised the equivalent of about $1-billion from more than 180,000 individual donors.”
I’m impressed by the apparent influence of the grassroots fan club site. And 7,000 users a day sent the guy policy ideas? It will be interesting to see how President Roh fulfills his promise “to use the Internet to make the government more open and transparent.”
Otherwise, though tech angle is interesting, the article totally takes it out of context. Who else was running? What issues were being discussed? Mr. Roh’s popularity is not just due to his “repeated failures to be elected to parliament” but to the fact that he repeatedly chose to run in districts where he knew he would lose in order to make a statement about the regional election machine. Many Koreans vote for candidates based primarily on what district they are from. Mr. Roh’s campaign runs were a principled stand against this.
Cartoon from the ultra-conservative newspaper Chosun Ilbo criticizing online participation in Government as a generational conflict. The title says “Netizen Government.” The sign above the kiosk says “Participaing in Government Affairs.” On screen President-elect Roh says: “Please type in ID and password.” The old people are grumbling because they are computer illiterate.
Mr. Roh’s popularity is also due to the fact that he was a leader in the pro-democracy movement against the dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan, was imprisoned for his political activism, and has a solid record as an advocate of human rights. As a lawyer he could have chosen a much more lucrative career instead of defending labor unions, students, and the poor. And, unlike his political rivals, wants to engage more with North Korea. (See the BBC’s profile.)
The real shock of the election is that a liberal candidate was elected after decades of conservative rule. In the past, the three powerful conservative newspapers have pushed hard against liberal candidates, for instance playing up skirmishes in the DMZ around election time to scare voters away from liberal candidates who might not be as tough on the North. In Korea, the “liberal” label has even more sting than in the U.S. Being associated with Communism in the press could end your political career.
But the younger generation does it have the same relationship to the War or the military dictatorship as the older generation. And the under-30 crowd seems to have less aversion to leftist ideas or engagement with the North. The relevance of the Internet is part of the generational and ideological shift of the voting population in Korea.
In addition to a few facts about the Internet in Korea, the Globe article is a lot like typical U.S. election reporting. All tactics, no substance. Who displayed the most charisma? How much did they spend? Who endorsed them? Meanwhile, the chat rooms in Korea are buzzing with debate. I look forward to the day when the decentralized, online discussion is as influential as our mainstream election coverage.
While browsing the DefenseLINK site looking for some good public domain photos, I found a bunch the Pentagon had recently released of the new U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Five miles down the road, Camp Delta is now open for business. Photos of a detention block and spotless cells make it seem like an improvement. (Even the name “Camp Delta” reads like a hokey PR move.) Camp Delta has indoor plumbing, each unit its own flush toilet, metal bed-frame and a sink with running water. None of this was available at Camp X-Ray where buckets and portable toilets were used. No detainees in any of the new photos, though.
The $9.7 million dollar contract for the construction of the camps went to Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. The contract could eventually total as much as $300 million if additional options are exercised. Vice President Dick Cheney is the former chief executive officer of Halliburton.
In addition to the new cells, Camp Delta has its own recreation and exercise area, library, outdoor shower, hospital and ward. “Comfort items” distributed to detainees including a prayer mat, cap, flip flops and two-piece suit.
And, dental care is provided at the detainee hospital.
Free dental care? It’s more then most Americans get.
But then another look at that chair and the skin starts to crawl. One suspects the U.S. isn’t terribly concerned with the beautiful smiles of its “enemy combatants.”
Indeed, this morning’s Washington Post describes secret overseas CIA interrogation facilities where detainees are being tortured. The same torture techniques are of course denounced by the U.S. State Department in its annual survey of human rights violations in other countries. In fact its in some of those very countries where the CIA is setting up shop. Says one U.S. official, “If you don’t violate someone’s human rights some of the time, you probably aren’t doing your job.”
Says Human Rights Watch:
“Direct involvement or complicity in torture, as well as the failure to prevent torture by subordinates, may subject U.S. officials to prosecution under international law. Such acts are ‘grave breaches,’ or war crimes, under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. In addition, the Convention against Torture [which the U.S. has ratified] obligates all countries to prosecute persons within their jurisdiction who are implicated or complicit in acts of torture. Any competent court anywhere in the world is required to prosecute violations of the prohibition against torture.”
According to U.S. officials, nearly 3,000 suspected al Qaeda members and their supporters have been detained worldwide since September 11, 2001.
“A documentary with 3,000 pictures, music, interviews and narration presented on two screens for audiences of up to 2,000... A lecture on racism, oppression, poverty and social injustice with more than 5,000 presentations in American and European Higher Education.”
See also 30 photos from 1937-1943 of signage enforcing racial discrimination. From the Library of Congress:
“Photographers working for the Farm Security Administration Historical Section (later transferred to the Office of War Information) were encouraged to document continuity and change in many aspects of life in America during the years the unit was in operation. They were particularly encouraged to photograph billboards and signs as one indicator of such developments. Although no documentation has been found to indicate that photographers were explicitly encouraged to photograph racial discrimination signs, the collection includes a significant number of this type of image, which is rarely found in other Prints and Photographs Division collections.”
The people in the black and white photo behind the bars of the boxcar in the 1940’s German train station are not Jews off to the camps to be killed. They are indeed German Jews off to a camp, but the photo was taken after the end of war, the soldiers on the platform are British, and the passengers are survivors of Nazi concentration camps, denied entry into Palestine. Here, they are being transported from Hamburg docks to the Poppendorf detention camp.
The photo and its story are reproduced in Underexposed. From Vision On Publishing:
“Underexposed tells the stories behind the photographs which determine our view of history, providing a reality check on alleged events from the last hundred years and documenting the struggle of the powerful to contend with rival cultural forces of media and information. Reclaimed from the trash cans of the Second World War. From the cruelty of Stalin’s Russia and fundamentalist chaos in Iran to the horrors of the Gulf war and perspectives on September 11th — even Hitler’s preening speech rehearsals come back to argue with his self-made myth. Via disgruntled starlets, ecological destruction and US nuclear tests, Underexposed gathers together some of the most ideologically dangerous photographs ever taken and releases them to haunt the increasingly manipulated, re-touched present.”
I found the book on the front table at St. Mark’s Books, mixed with the latest compilations on cyber-typography, club flyers, erotica, and graphic novels. The juxtaposition is continued on the publisher’s Web site. Among the publisher’s list of glossy photo books of rock stars, fashion, erotica, and a celebration of the Manchester City Football Club (and its fans), Underexposed seems a bit like war porn. The design of the book is certainly less than sober, full of dramatic, oversized, full-bleed spreads and a hip sans serif typeface. Each photo is provided with some background, but the captions only allow so much space.
The bottom line: photographs can lie. Particularly those that purport to be objective. Taken out of context, they are cropped, altered, and framed by the context at hand and by cultural assumptions. And page after page, the flouting of taboo and power starts to flatten out. Like all the speakers in the corner of Hyde Park, all ideologies become equivalent.
That said, the book does rouse a healthy dose of skepticism. It also crosses into the terrain of Barthes’s Mythologies, an examination of connections between language, imagery, ideology, and power and a wandering interrogation of “the obvious.”
From a review in The Guardian:
“In one of the most shocking images, taken from the Sudanese famine of 1984, Wendy Wallace photographed the photographers at work snapping an emaciated child who had been brought out to sit in the dirt precisely for that image.
It is a theme that recurs in Alex Webb’s pictures of the American invasion of Haiti. A line of US troops lies dramatically - heroically - on the Tarmac at Port au Prince airport aiming their weapons at an unseen enemy. Most media organisations showed this image. Webb’s version shows the reality: the only figures are half a dozen and more photographers and cameramen crouched in front of the soldiers, puncturing the dramatic image in a campaign that was to see virtually no opposition to US troops.”
See an excerpt from the forward to the book, some photos from the book, or listen to an audio interview with Colin Jacobson, former photo editor for a number of British news magazines and editor of Underexposed.
Also of note, The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs in Stalin’s Russia, an small online exhibit of doctored photos and propaganda posted by the Newseum. Shown here, Stalin with Nikolai Yezhov, commissar of water transport, before and after he was purged.
From The Telegraph, UK:
Arabic love poem puts US Gulf base on red alert
By Jack Fairweather in Kuwait (Filed: 05/12/2002)
US marines in Kuwait were put on full alert yesterday after an unidentified person wrote a love poem in Arabic on a military vehicle.
The marines, unable to translate the simple phrase which begins many Arabic love songs, called the alert when they thought the message contained a terrorist threat. A translator was summoned and confirmed it was merely a poem, the words reading: “I love you forever. Your beauty is incomparable.”
“We’re not used to such things,” said one American soldier serving at Camp Doha, the American military base in Kuwait where troops are preparing for a possible war against Iraq.
It transpired that the message was not meant for the marines but for a lovesick teenager by the name of Fatima.
“Leaflets, posters, newsletters, pamphlets and other printed matter are important to any revolution. A printing workshop is a definite need in all communities, regardless of size. It can vary from a garage with a mimeograph machine to a mammoth operation complete with printing presses and fancy photo equipment. With less than a hundred dollars and some space, you can begin this vital service. It’ll take a while before you get into printing greenbacks, phony identification papers and credit cards like the big boys, but to walk a mile you must start with one step as Gutenberg once said.”
“Food conspiracies, bust trusts, people’s clinics and demonstrations are all part of the new Nation, but if asked to name the most important institution in our lives, one would have to say the underground newspaper. It keeps tuned in on what’s going on in the community and around the world. Values, myths, symbols, and all the trappings of our culture are determined to a large extent by the underground press. Each office serves as a welcome mat for strangers, a meeting place for community organizers and a rallying force to fight pig repression. There are probably over 500 regularly publishing with readerships running from a few hundred to over 500,000. Most were started in the last three years. If your scene doesn’t have a paper, you probably don’t have a scene together.”
“A heavier scene than even the high schools exists in No-No Land of the military. None-the-less, against incredible odds, courageous G.I.’s both here and overseas have managed to put out a number of underground newspapers. If you are a G.I. interested in starting a paper, the first thing to do is seek out a few buddies who share your views on the military and arrange a meeting, preferably off the base. Once you have your group together, getting the paper published will be no problem. Keeping your staff secret, you can have one member contact with someone from a G.I. coffee house, anti-war organization or nearby underground newspaper. This civilian contact person will be in a position to raise the bread and arrange the printing and distribution of the paper. You can write one of the national G.I. newspaper organizations listed at the end of this section if you are unable to find help locally. The paper should be printed off the base. Government equipment should be avoided.”
“Under FCC Low Power Transmission Regulations, it is legal to broadcast on the AM band without even obtaining a license, if you transmit with 100 milliwatts of power or less on a free band space that doesn’t interfere with a licensed station. You are further allowed up to a 12-foot antenna or the use of carrier-current transmission (regular electric wall outlets). Using this legal set-up, you can broadcast from a 2 to 20 block radius depending on how high up you can locate your antenna and the density of tall buildings in the area.”
The title joke still makes me laugh. Steal this book about destroying capitalism. But, while some items in the book are still relevant to movement building and perhaps real social change, others seem more like cheap thrills than liberation. 30 years later, Hoffman’s catalogue of techniques of resistence reads as a vision of a life of struggle. The introduction breezes through a snapshot of the ills of America, but get your nuanced political and economic analysis elsewhere — this is just a practical guidebook. Perhaps for those without a nuanced political or economic analysis? “The purpose of part two is not to fuck the system, but destroy it.” By fighting violence and theft with violence and theft? And then what?
Found via Boing Boing.
Blamed for an attack on America, non-white Americans and residents of foreign descent had become so hated that in February 1942 the President ordered their arrest and detention at “relocation centers” around the country. 110,000 men, women, and children were removed from their homes, rounded up at gun point, and locked up for the next three years.
From a Web site on Owens Valley History, the site of the Manzanar detention center:
“Two-thirds were first-generation American citizens. They lived in American cities, attended American schools, and thought of themselves as Americans... They were removed from their homes, schools, and businesses, and brought to Manzanar and nine other camps like it.... A few were second-generation Americans.... Neither they nor their parents had ever known any other life than their life in the United States.
Almost a third of the prisoners were Japanese citizens, resident aliens by definition of the U.S. immigration law.... All of this group had lived in the United States at least eighteen years, since American borders were closed to Japanese immigrants in 1924. All had been specifically barred from applying for American citizenship. The right to become an American citizen was not allowed to the Japanese until 1952, when quotas were introduced.”
The Library of Congress Web site features a collection of 244 photographs of Japanese-American internment at Manzanar taken by reknown landscape photographer Ansel Adams. Depicted are scenes of daily life, agricultural scenes, sports and leisure activities, and portraits of the detainees. Browse via the subject index or the thumbnail view.
From the Library page about the collection:
“In 1943, Ansel Adams photographed the Manzanar War Relocation Center at the suggestion of its director, his good friend and fellow Sierra Club member, Ralph Merritt. Adams wanted to contribute to the war effort while at the same time show the loyalty of the Japanese-Americans interned at Manzanar... In 1944, some of these images were published in Adams’ book Born Free and Equal. The book had a limited circulation, perhaps due to the political climate of war-time America. When offering the collection to the Library, Adams said in a letter, ‘All in all, I think this Manzanar Collection is an important historical document, and I trust it can be put to good use...The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment.’”
The internment camps were small planned communities built with volunteer, contract, and forced labor on the site of a ghost town.
“The center was located at the former farm and orchard community of Manzanar. Founded in 1910, the town was abandoned when the city of Los Angeles purchased the land in the late 1920s for its water rights. The Los Angeles aqueduct, which carries Owens Valley water to Los Angeles, is a mile east of Manzanar.”
In addition to vital necessities of food and shelter, the camp had its own school, church, factories, hospital, and even a local paper. See this essay for details on the design and operations of the camp.
40 years after the closing of the camps, the United States government conceded that the relocation was based on racial bias rather than on any true threat to national security. 50 years later in 1992, President Bush offered reperations and an apology.
Congress established the Manzanar National Historic Site, containing 550 acres, on March 3, 1992. It is currently administered by the National Park Service, under the U.S. Department of Interior. See the Park Service Web site.
Nearly 60 years after the war, Yoshie Hagiya, age 77, Oxnard High class of 1942, received her school’s valedictorian honors.
“There has never been a movement for social change without the arts — theatre poetry, music posters — being central to that movement. Political posters in particular are powerful living reminders of struggles worldwide for peace and justice. Communication, exhortation, persuasion, instruction, celebration warning: graphic art broadcasts its humanity through bold messages and striking iconography.
The Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational archive that collects, preserves, documents, and exhibits domestic and international posters relating to historical and contemporary movements for peace and social justice....
The archive includes more than 35,000 posters produced in a staggering array of visual styles and printing media, dating from the Russian Revolution to the present. University, museum, and public collections of this material are rare, and because those that do exist are seldom accessible to the public, CSPG’s commitment to continually exhibiting this rich visual and social history is so critical....
The Center was recently awarded a major grant from the Getty Grant Program to implenient a state-of-the-art electronic cataloging system designed to make the collection even more accessible.”
I do hope “more accessible” includes publishing more of their collection online. On the CPSG site, the exhibit Presidential Rogues Gallery: Satrical Posters 1960 - Present features a mere 11 images. The Sixties Project has published another of the CPSG’s exhibits online. Decade of Protest: Political Posters from the United States, Cuba and Viet Nam 1965-1975 features 67 posters that were shown at the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica in 1996.
Though the center limits its collection to posters from peace and justice movements, a thorough study of propaganda technique would also include material from a right-wing point of view. Movements for peace and justice would also do well not to ignore grassroots conservative movements, their history and political graphics.
The image above is copyright 1971 by the Committee to Help Unsell the War, “a coalition of over 30 advertising agencies.”