Lapiztola

Activist and journalist Leah Borromeo interviews two members of Lapiztola, a street art collective from Oaxaca about the roots of the 2006 uprising and their visual response:

You can see more of their work up at http://lapiztola.blogspot.com

>  15 March 2015 | LINK | Filed in ,

State of the Union

>  7 March 2015 | LINK | Filed in
https://actionswitchboard.net has a nice approach to crowdsourcing creative activist interventions: calling for skills & supplies, as well as cash.
Twitter  4 February 2015 | LINK | Filed in ,
@lifewinning: The weird thing about power is it's really bad at recognizing itself and will invent endless villains to invent its own powerlessness
Twitter  29 January 2015 | LINK
Be My Eyes: an iPhone app connecting blind people with volunteers to read live video and answer questions.

Twitter  15 January 2015 | LINK | Filed in

In a World...

In September 2014, the National Book Foundation awarded Ursula LeGuin its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement.

In her acceptance speech LeGuin had this to say about the power of art, change, and envisioning alternatives:

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.…

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

(HT Caterina)

>  15 January 2015 | LINK
@tinysubversions: Startup idea: forsake money to the best of your ability and focus on being empathetic, kind, and creative
Twitter  13 January 2015 | LINK | Filed in

Protests in 2014

A week ago I tweeted a link to a stunning collection of dramatic photos from protests around the world in 2014. It was an amazing year: Ayotzinapa, Bangkok, Catalonia, Euromaidan, Ferguson, Hong Kong, Taksim…

But it bugged me that such a list omits the many protests in 2014 that were less spectacular or photogenic, but just as vital to the participants.

So for your consideration, a heatmap of protests across the world in 2014:

Protest in 2014

I drew the data from the GDELT project, which monitors media around the world and logs people, places, organizations, and events into an open database. Doubtless, many actions did not receive the media hit necessary to make it into the dataset, but the map gives a better sense of the breadth of activity this year.

2015 should be interesting.

Happy new year!

>  31 December 2014 | LINK | Filed in ,
RT @astroehlein: “If you only care about human rights abuses when your enemies commit them, then you probably don’t really care about human rights abuses.”
Twitter  26 December 2014 | LINK
Euromaidan, Taksim, Catalonya, Ferguson, Ayotzinapa, Kenya… 2014 protest in pictures: http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/12/the-remarkable-year-in-protests/384012/

coup
Twitter  24 December 2014 | LINK | Filed in
How prosecutors persuade and mislead with PowerPoint — and PowerPoint so awful it backfires: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/12/23/powerpoint-justice

powerpoint-justice
Twitter  23 December 2014 | LINK | Filed in
“Thank you young people for shouting what your parents and I silence out of fear.”

gracias-jovenes
Twitter  4 December 2014 | LINK | Filed in

A Brief History of the Umbrella Movement

There have been some fantastic graphics coming out of Occupy Central in Hong Kong, but this brief chronology of the Umbrella Movement in comics is one of my favorites thus far. It was drawn by Dolly for Passion Teens Weekly.


Occupy Central Timeline
Occupy Central Timeline
Occupy Central Timeline

>  7 November 2014 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Protests in Popular Culture enter the Culture of Popular Protests

It’s fascinating seeing elements of pop cultural representations of protests feed back into the visual vocabulary of real political protests in the streets:


Do you hear the people sing?

“Do u hear the people sing,” a banner at the protest in Hong Kong right now comes from the title of a song in Les Misérables, that hugely successful Broadway musical set during French Revolution.


This past June, Thailand’s Junta warned protesters: “[T]hey are monitoring a new form of silent resistance to the coup — a three-fingered salute borrowed from “The Hunger Games” — and will arrest those in large groups who ignore warnings to lower their arms.”

Three-finger salute in Thailand


And of course, the Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore's comic book V for Vendetta, later adapted into a Hollywood movie, was adopted by various Occupy protestors.

Anonymous from the Internet


Related, the Pink Bloque (2001-2005) was a Chicago-based radical feminist dance troupe challenging the white supremacist capitalist patriarchal empire one street dance party at a time.

The group used matching pink outfits, choreographed dance routines, and humor as tactics to draw attention. For instance, performing Janet Jackson’s Nasty in front of Chicago Police Department, and Outkast’s Hey Ya! at a pro-coice rally, and in the face of anti-abortion protestors.

>  2 October 2014 | LINK | Filed in
South China Morning Post:‘Umbrella Movement’ spreads: a new offering from artist Tania Willis.
umbrellaillustration
Twitter  29 September 2014 | LINK | Filed in
191,369 killed in Syria. How the Human Rights Data Analysis Group counted them all.
Twitter  25 August 2014 | LINK | Filed in

Other Things to Know I Learned from Kindergarten

Perhaps you’re familiar with the poem All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It’s a classic of American infantilism, that innocence, heart, and “values” are more important than thinking. I’m all for the sharing and wonder celebrated in the original, but it’s notable the teachers are conspicuously absent. They are an invisible benevolent force, a manifestation of good-natured fairness guiding the core values of the room — not inappropriate for poem written by a minister. When power and authority are invisible, it makes sense that it all seems normal and natural.

I found this not to be the case. Having just put my daughter through Kindergarten, her first engagements with teachers and classroom discipline were hardly invisible. In fact, navigating power and order was a hallmark of the year. As such, it was interesting to draw out other lessons from the experiences of these little people engaged with a bureaucracy for the very first time. So here are other things to know I learned from Kindergarten:

  • You can only speak when called on. But no one really hears you unless you speak out of turn.

  • The ones who get the most attention are those who demand it.

  • The authorities like best when you stay within the lines. It’s more fun when you don’t.

  • Authorities will ruthlessly deny, redirect, defend, and cover up their mistakes.

  • Rules are other people telling you what to do. The rules are arbitrary and subject to change without notice.

  • Some people are not nice to play with. But your best friend may be the person you just happen to be sitting next to. You just don’t know it yet.

  • Everyone is an artist.
>  9 July 2014 | LINK | Filed in ,
Twitter  2 July 2014 | LINK | Filed in ,
Russians use street art, humor, & social media to embarrass city officials into fixing potholes:

Twitter  2 July 2014 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
As the Detroit water crisis escalates, the United Nations declares a violation of human rights.
Twitter  26 June 2014 | LINK | Filed in , ,


More? See June’s archives.
Or May’s.