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Why political posters are crucial to OCCUPY & the demands of the 99%

By Favianna Rodriguez/ Reposted from Favianna.com The imagery and posters of the Occupy movement are gaining more and more visibility in magazines, blogs, and design journals. I recently ran across an article in ImprintMagazine.com that highlighted the Occupy Wall Street Journal posters issue, a project that was facilitated by my artist friends Jessy Goldstein, Josh MacPhee and Molly Fair of JustSeeds.org. Political posters are what most has defined my art making career. I was in my teens in the late 90's when I was started perusing through the political posters that had helped define the 60's and 70's. The demands on many of these posters still spoke to me as a young woman of color, even though they were almost 30 years old. I saw posters about labor rights, about corporate greed, about housing, about women and revolution, and about the right for everyone to participate in a democracy. I was a young, student activist - daughter of immigrants - who had much to say about the world around me. And political posters became my medium of choice because they contained strong imagery, bold messages, and they could exist at many places in one time (street corners, bus stops, community centers). Now, we are witnessing a renewed interest in political posters and that's thanks to Occupy and the identity of the 99%. The wave of graphics, imagery, and signage emerging from this movement are demonstrating the powerful role that culture plays in political change, political posters in particular. History shows us that when social movements grow to national and international levels, they also are accompanied by a culture of resistance. In the case of Occupy, we are seeing the same concepts of collaboration and decentralization in the way that art is being produced. For example, free downloads of posters, and the use of Creative Commons. This is precisely the space in which political posters thrive, and that's why I love to make them! Carol Wells, one of the most impactful mentors in my art-making, explains, "Protest posters flaunt their politics to generate controversy. Raw and aggressive or polished and sophisticated...Produced in multiples, often with urgency and any means available—offset, lithograph, silkscreen, linocut, stencil, woodcut, photocopy, or laser—few copies survive. Slapped on walls surreptitiously, often at great risk, by collectives and anonymous individuals or carefully fashioned by recognized artists in well-equipped studios, protest posters communicate instantly and directly."  I've put together A list of reasons why political posters are vital tools in social movements. Many of these bullets apply to culture overall, including music, the written word, comics, public theater, and more. It's my hope that this will inspire you to make your own poster.  Posters create a compelling vision of the society that we desire to live in: They challenge the status quo, and are often able to draw comparisons between the society we DO and DON'T want.   Posters are Fast: Posters should be read in about 5 seconds. They are designed for someone walking down the street, or for a teacher who wants to put it up in her classroom, or for a quick share online. Text on posters is common and perfectly acceptable, and therefore posters can share a demand, or a call to action. Posters are usually done pretty fast. There's not the same attachment one has to a painting, for example. They key is to get out there!   Posters are Simple: Posters are meant to be bold, clear and to the point. That's how we can measure their effectiveness. Posters need to be framed in simple terms - less is more. I usually shoot for 10 words or less. Posters can explain complex ideas and policies and make them clear and accessible to everyday people.   Posters are Versatile: Posters can inspire a person to action, or make someone cry, or make someone laugh. They can encourage a viewer to mobilize, or to take an action, or to contemplate an idea, or even to get angry.   Posters Encourage Participation: Posters are meant for mass audiences. Their messages often are a a call for a collective identity, whether its around a shared worker identity, a shared Black identity, or in this case, a shared identity around the stories, demands and desires of the 99%.   Posters can exist in many places at once: This is true whether its printed, or only exists onlne, or both. A poster is something meant to be shared, pasted on a wall, used as a picket sign, or even a Facebook profile. For many other works of art, the mass distribution of the piece in its original form would likely lessen its value, but not for posters. You want that image to "go viral." If this is inspiring, you can click here to download out this step-by-step guide that Josh MacPhee and I wrote called Design for Social Change, originally published in the book Reproduce & Revolt. You can also visit Occupy Design to browse some Design Guidelines by clicking here. - - - Credits for Images in this Blog World Vs. 1% is by Favianna Rodriguez (me), and can be downloaded here. Foreclose on the 1% is by Melanie Cervantes & Jesus Barraza of Dignidad Rebelde, and can be downloaded here. We Are Many is by Ruben Ochoa in Mexico, and can be downloaded here.  

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Reel Grrls Releases Media Justice Films: Inspired by Victory Over Censorship:

By Mandy Hubbard of Reel Grrls / November 16, 2011 Comcast Hosts Generation of Consolidation On Demand SEATTLE, WA - Reel Grrls, a nonprofit organization that teaches filmmaking and media literacy to young women ages 9-21, announces the release of a DVD compilation of youth-made media justice videos entitled “Generation of Consolidation.” The videos are a direct response to the organization’s clash with media giant Comcast, who pulled funding from the Reel Grrls summer program following a tweet about Comcast’s hire of then-FCC Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker on the heels of the company’s merger with NBC-Universal.

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The Federal Communications Commission Chairman comes out against AT&T’s attempted takeover of T-Mobile

On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski released a draft order recommending AT&T and T-Mobile appear at a hearing in front of an administrative judge before the $39 billion deal between the two corporate giants goes through.  An FCC agency analysis has lead the Commission to the same conclusion the Department of Justice reached this past August - the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile "merger" does not serve the public's interest. 

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Senator Promises To Filibuster Internet Blacklisting Bill

By David Kravets / Reposted from Wired.com Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) promised Monday to filibuster a controversial Senate proposal that greatly expands the government’s ability to shutter and disrupt websites “dedicated to infringing activities.”

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Journalism Community Condemns Press Arrests

Josh Stearns, November 18, 2011 This was a bad week for press freedom in America. Thirteen journalists covering Occupy Wall Street have been arrested in New York City and numerous others were roughed up, blocked from accessing the protests or threatened by police. Reports suggest that police have used strobe lights to blind cameras, and demanded to have local TV news helicopters grounded during raids on Occupy Wall Street.

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No Robots on My Phone

By Josh Levy / Reposted from SavetheInternet.com If a new bill gets through Congress, marketing robots will invade your cellphone.  The bill, called the “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011” (H.R. 3035), would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to allow marketers and bill collectors to make endless calls to your mobile phone — just like they currently can on your landline, but this time using minutes that you are paying for.

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Net Neutrality Survives Senate, But Advocates Push for Stronger Reforms

By Jamilah King / Reposted from Colorlines.com On Thursday, the Senate voted against a resolution to do away with federal net neutrality rules that work to maintain openness on the Internet. The vote was just the latest episode in a long saga in which lawmakers, consumer advocates, and telecommunications companies position themselves to influence how communication will happen in the 21st century. And it’s a battle with particular relevance to communities of color, many of which are simultaneously helping to drive broadband use despite often being among those most effected by its slow expansion. 

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Across the Country, Media Justice Advocates Applaud Senate’s Vote in Favor of Net Neutrality

Official Press Release – The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) is pleased the Senate voted (46-52) to reject a resolution (S.J. Res. 6) to repeal the net neutrality rules put in place earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   DeAnne Cuellar, Executive Director of the Media Justice League calls the partisan resolution “a sneak attack on Internet freedoms sponsored by Sen. Kay Hutchison , and spearheaded by industry-funded members of Congress.”  If passed, the resolution, would’ve handed corporations like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon unrestricted power and control over the Internet.

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Fixing Radio: A Community Summit Report

There’s a lot of work to be done to make sure radio serves the people. Want to learn more? Check out this report from the Fixing Radio Summit.