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Street art for the Democratic Party (?) 2008 is off to a rough start

February 12, 2008

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Critical thinking and dissent in street art is becoming as rare as politicians who reject corporate America, free trade, prisons, and the two-party system.
Recently, a Chicago art show, Go Tell Mama! has put up stencil work and posters endorsing Obama and Shepard Fairey has created yet another poster to waste more paper, enhance his name and enlighten us with his critique of propaganda images by creating propaganda images.
I am not sure what is more discouraging: the public acceptance of politicians, the massive costs that goes into election campaigns (for a detailed account, see: The Center for Responsive Politics), the culture of politicians as celebrities, street art marketed as hip, Shepard Fairey, or the sneaking suspicion that for the next 9 months, much of the nation will consume their energy on the election, get behind a candidate, and forget that change comes from the bottom up and building opposition movements that confront power.
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9 comments on “Street art for the Democratic Party (?) 2008 is off to a rough start”

I couldn’t agree with you more!

I am not sure what is more discouraging: the public acceptance of politicians, the massive costs that goes into election campaigns…
…or the sneaking suspicion that for the next 9 months, much of the nation will consume their energy on the election, get behind a candidate, and forget that change comes from the bottom up and building opposition movements that confront power.

It should be obvious that any conservative candidate should be opposed. Yet find the above image incredibly problematic.
What is the progress that Fairey si alluding to?
A black president? A president other than Bush? Not Clinton?
These are really just options.
A President of color can be seen as “progress” from an institutional perspective, yet how does it really change the relationship of millions of people of color that continue to live in prisons or economic prisons known as ghettos? I don’t think neighborhood’s like Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, are going to be thinking “wow, progress!”
The reality is that there is an incredibly powerful and destructive administration in office in the USA right now. Their power needs to be taken away. Just because its taken out of those “bad guys” hands doesn’t mean we still have to deal with a 5 (16really) year old war, a military industrial complex, a prison industrial complex, and a slew of other systems that perpetuate life as “we” in the USA know it.
Candidates are something to waste 2 seconds thinking about, so we can get back to the nuts and bolts of how to drastically alter Capitalism and power!
I’d rather see him design an ad for Gore’s would-be next film “The Obvious Truth That the Last Two Elections Were Rigged so Why Did We Bother Going to Ohio a Second Time?”

Are guts really the issue?
Obey. Obama.
Am I glad I wandered by…
If I don’t see that sticker up in my daily routine, it will just break my heart.

I agree with this article for the most part.
And YES, I hate Shepard Fairey – Manufacturing Quality Dissent- in sweatshops in China.
BUT I CAN understand getting excited about getting rid of Bush…and getting someone who might actually kill less people.
Real change comes from the bottom up, but it’s the guys on the top who killed 200,000 Iraqis- and us grassroots folks did a real shitty job of stopping them. But BOY did we have fun going to demos!
If Obama is less likely to invade Iran than Clinton or McCain, that’s nothing to turn your nose up at, at least for the sake of the Iranians.

Let’s not forget Obama has called Iran “one of the greatest threats to the United States, Israel and world peace.”

“If Obama is less likely to invade Iran than Clinton or McCain, that’s nothing to turn your nose up at, at least for the sake of the Iranians.”
I feel like I hear this kind of quote and logic every 2-4years. I agree that there are nuances between candidates, and their foreign policy. Can we face a fact, every president in the history of the US has invaded, or been involved in agression towards another nation and its people. Its the nature of holding on to that position.
There will be aggression towards other people by our military during the next presidency. And there will be lack of action on behalf of others.

Here is Fairey’s statement, courtesy of the Obama camp:
“I wanted to make an art piece of Barack Obama because I thought an iconic portrait of him could symbolize and amplify the importance of his mission. I believe Obama will guide this country to a future where everyone can thrive and I should support him vigorously for the sake of my two young daughters. I have made art opposing the Iraq war for several years, and making art of Obama, who opposed the war from the start, is like making art for peace. I know I have an audience of young art fans and I’m delighted I can encourage them to see the merits of Barack Obama.”

While I am hoping for a world without Bush/Cheney’s and all Neo-Conservative agenda’s alike, I cant get super stoked on anyone person for president. I hope Obama wins. I hope he wont be as frightening on foreign policy as every previous administration. I hope he isn’t strongly influenced by all his wealthy campaign contributors and lobby groups. And I hope all the energy that goes into creating campaign posters continues, after the election, and builds movements that will execise real power and not just obtain it.
For now we can check out the new installation of designs at
https://www.stonehousedigital.com/stores/upperplayground/category/Posters+%26+Prints/
http://www.juxtapoz.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3133&Itemid=1

But with the point every society is at today, what is your suggestion? There is no instant cure to our woes, and as cheesy and weak as it may sound “change” is exactly where it starts. One small turn in the correct direction. History starts today and there is always a way to fix our mistakes.