It’s a simple idea — all people should be able to meet their basic needs. At the very least, we need a living wage.
Here’s another poster on the private control of seeds. Such a heavy cost on farmers, and consequently on us all. If you’d like to see a short video on this topic, check out Seed: The Untold Story. It’s a quick, eloquent overview of our situation with a particularly important moment as a woman describes the impact forced dependence on corporate seeds has on her ability to provide for her family.
This is not a cliché. Unfortunately. We are caught in an endless war. Our government has a waiting list of wars as if the ones they have going now are not enough. On and on we (?) bomb, shoot, sabotage, rape, poison, and torture to serve the few. So, as an artist, I must do this poster that will be considered by some to be a cliché, but is not.
A society bent on war cannot take care of its own. When we destroy the lives, homes, and possibilities of people around the world we cannot fund, protect or nurture own lives, homes and possibilities. We destroy ourselves. With a collective fist, which should hold righteousness and generosity, we hand over our own lifeblood to forge a relentless attack on the human relations we have never bothered to know. We acquiesce in a terrible decision. Or do we?
It is easy when doing political posters to focus on our troubles. There are many, after all. Sometimes, however, I nudge myself to concentrate on our vision of a better life, to remind myself why I got involved in movements in the first place. The power and joy of deep connection with earth, the natural world, with other human beings. The importance of creating economic systems and social institutions that honor and support those connections. Doing this poster brought me back to those first exciting, very connected days way back when.… Sigh.
Butterflies grace us with their presence as they alight quickly, tentatively on blades of grass, a quick kiss on their long distance journeys. We watch, transfixed and delighted. They make our days a little more special, beautiful. And, yet, they are dying in staggering numbers, victim to an economy which digs up, paves over, pollutes and just generally messes up the fragile paths our winged friends travel. Do we really need this kind of economy, represented here by our mechanical, more destructive long haulers?
Water. Fundamental. Lavished on large-scale, costly, inefficient, mono-cultural, corporate agribusinesses. Squandered on, denigrated by fossil fuel extractions. Poisoned by careless industrial practices. Sent into hiding, disappeared by the rough treatment of fragile ecologies. Siphoned off for preferential living arrangements. Hoarded by private businesses for profit. Water. Clean water. 1.7 billion without access to clean water. 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne illnesses each year. How we handle water is a democratic, human rights issue.
There has been a staggering increase in the numbers of women in prison in the last few decades, largely due to the “War on Drugs” Many of these women began their journey as battered women seeking solace in an environment devoid of support services. They turned to drugs or alcohol to numb pain and then to petty crimes to pay for the numbing. Do they really need prison? Or do we need stronger economies, communities and supportive social institutions?
For thousands of years farmers/peasants have worked the soil with nature’s gift. Seeds. Every harvest people of the land gathered the seed of previous crops to continue this vital cycle. Now, corporations, with a mind-boggling bundle of tricks, claim to hold a more fundamental right —the patent! This forces struggling farmers/peasants to buy expensive and troublesome terminator seeds — seeds which cannot bring on the next generation of crop. Massive farmer suicides around the world attest to the damage done by this private, selfish ownership of seed. To see work aiming to put seeds back into people’s hands, check out NAVDANYA, a project of Vandana Shiva and others in India.
A few decades ago, one of my favorite posters was “Sisterhood is Blooming Springtime Will Never Be The Same” by the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union. It captured the excitement and optimism of the women’s movement at that time. I still smile when I think of it. Yet, I am distressed to see so many women who call themselves feminist ignore, support — and in cases of women in power, wage — war against other women all over the world. So I decided to borrow from this earlier poster to make a new statement on sisterhood.
Every 30 minutes a farmer in India commits suicide. That means in the 2 decades since large seed corporations have planted themselves in India, almost a quarter million farmers have killed themselves, leaving behind families in impossible debt, loss and despair. Export focused, non-food mono-cultural crops, forced use of terminator seeds, pesticides and fertilizers requiring recurring loans create staggering financial burdens, rob people of their capacity to provide for their families. But don’t think this is India’s problem alone. The rate of farmer suicide in the U.S. is more than double that of any other occupation.
Here’s another image I borrowed from the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union’s great poster “Women Are Not Chicks.” Their original message still needs shouting out as the objectification of women is still around (although “babe” is the more contemporary word). Again, though, I am bringing up the anti-war message. The massacre of women and girls by our weaponry has got to be opposed. I really believe that a “feminist” agenda that is not anti-war is not truly a feminist agenda at all.
It seems I feel moved to come out with different ways of saying the same thing. Women! We must be anti-war. That means being very suspicious of those women in power, who call themselves feminists, yet sugar coat their unjust wars with claims of being the moral leader of the universe. It ain’t so.