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Helping Critical Mass

April 2, 2005

I went to critical mass last Friday night and after a lot of initial nervousness, ended up having a great ride with 5… then 10… then 30+ people. Our group was more or less undisturbed by the police until the very end of our ride. By the end of the weekend, NYC Indymedia was reporting 37 arrests, plus 60+ bike seizures — this on top of last week’s lawsuit by the city trying to stop Time’s Up from advertising Critical Mass.
Anyone who’s been to a Mass since the Republican National Convention knows the brute, stupid force the NYPD uses against each ride (check out reports from February, January, November, August…). Simply put, Bloomberg and the NYPD are trying to end Critical Mass in New York.
I for one don’t plan to watch that happen. Critical Mass is important for this city not just as a form of advocacy for environmentally sound transportation, but also as proof that protest can be fun, inclusive, and empowering.
Polls have shown that the public is behind Critical Mass and not the cops. This winter the rides have been pretty small, and haven’t gotten a lot of press or public attention. As spring heats up, that’ll change, and a smart visual campaign — in addition to the great legal work being done by Time’s Up and the National Lawyers Guild — could help leverage public opinion and make the police back off.
That’s where you all come in. Visual Resistance would like to facilitate a street art campaign in support of Critical Mass, and to do that we need some of the great artists and designers that visit this site to put pen to paper — or fire up Photoshop, or whatever you do best — to contibute designs. We can print up stickers and posters, and make sticker, poster, or stencil designs available for download on the site. Some possible themes would be: supporting/promoting Critical Mass; defending the right to free assembly; and promoting bicycling as a form of transportation.
For background info on Critical Mass and the city’s harrassment, check the Time’s Up press room and legal newswire, or look around on NYC Indymedia.
Poster designs should be 8.5×11 or 11×17, sticker and stencil designs can be any logical size. You can e-mail designs to us at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com in JPG, PDF, or Photoshop formats, 300 dpi or greater. If you prefer to send hard copies, drop us a line and we’ll give you a mailing address.
We’ll set up a downloads page as soon as we get some designs. I don’t have a firm deadline in mind, since we can print as we get stuff in, but I would like to have some materials ready for the April 29th ride.
Photo at top by Fred Askew. Original at: http://www.stratecomm.net/~fritz/gallery/cm0305
UPDATE 4/10/05: Check out the Critical Mass art we have received so far, and email us at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com to send your own!

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3 comments on “Helping Critical Mass”

it would be great to get some bike related imagery in general, and we/others could modify it
to suit a city, or campaigns needs!!
It would be really great to have stuff by mid April!

It has been a long, kinda where on earth is everybody, winter.
The mass surely deserves everybody’s help.
I have seen your work, I am confident you all can pull this project through. Thank you for stepping up!
GB, a fervent masser still riding every last Friday of the month at 7pm at Union Square North.

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