Here are a few new banners and signs from recent protest and picket activity in Portland, OR. My partner Erica Thomas designed and painted the “On Strike” and “Solidarity” ones, and I did the others. There are a lot of union campaigns going on in Portland right now, and these images are from the City Workers LIA local 483 strike (parks, roads and wastewater workers- the people who have to literally deal with our shit- they won their contract!), the News Seasons Labor union picket (this was the first picket for this nascent independent union, and it was a real honor to get to make props for them!), the ongoing Starbucks Workers United campaign, and an Oregon Nurses United rally.
Why focus on labor? I’ve come to feel that the most important place I can put my political energy these days is among the organizers of the resurgent labor movement in the US, specifically because this is where people can actually get closest, in their struggles, to engaging with the forces of power and money that dissipate and destroy our lives and our world. Helping ordinary people make demands based on improving the conditions of their everyday lives seems like a good way to get them to the top of some sort of radical ramp- and that focus on issues of money (and the lack of it) is one of the most powerful sources of actual social solidarity available to us. We need structures within which we can both defend our communities and fight the despicable shitheads that rule our world, and unions are the ones that make the most sense right now.