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Hail to the Thieves!

By mike flugennockThursday - December 7th, 2000Categories: Bushit, Clintontime, elections, media

Throughout the campaign, the Repuglicans slang mud, made up outrageous claims based on words pulled from random context (Al Gore saying “I invented the Internet”), and made the most absurd threats they could think of to suppress minority turnout. The Donkeycrats, meanwhile, were busy bullying, belittling and threatening Nader/Green supporters and the rest of the Left for not supporting their craven, gutless asses, and threatening them with guilt for bringing down the bloody boot heel of GOP tyranny on all of us for voting Green (”a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush”).

hailtothethieves550w

Finally, as we all know, it came down to the good and saintly Donkeycrats against the mean old nasty Repuglicans in a close one in Florida — as some wags like to say, “close enough to steal”. The mean old nasty Repuglicans were doing things like busing in gangs of college brownshirts — these Brownshirts wore crisp white shirts and nice ties and khaki pants, though — to harass election-office workers and disrupt the recount; the good and saintly Donkeycrats, meanwhile, not wanting to reveal their years of complicity in profiling and other racist Drug War policies that created thousands of young black felons — and, subsequently, thousands of young black non-voters — were reduced to mealy-mouthed lawyerly tap-dancing about hanging chads, pregnant chads, the intent of the voter, and all sorts of other banal “meaning of is” bullshit.

In the middle of all the pissing contests in the media and in the streets in front of the Supreme Court building, there was still the Counter-Inaugural mobilizations to be planned and organized and, of course, the poster to be designed and made street-ready by the middle of December. Considering the behavior of the two major parties throughout the campaign, and especially during the Florida recount circus, the whole theater playing out in front of me started to look less like a political dispute between two election campaigns and more like a gang war, like in a Quentin Tarantino film, like Reservoir Dogs or something. The suspicion, jealousy and paranoia had gotten to be too much, and the two hoods who pulled off the caper were turning on each other.

Medium-res jpg image, 774k

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Let the People Into the Debates

By mike flugennockFriday - September 1st, 2000Categories: Bushit, Clintontime, elections, media

Ah, Y2K… a simpler, happier time. Nothing important having to do with computers or networks crashed, failed, collapsed, imploded or fell over. We still didn’t have our flying cars yet, but we were still wired to the teeth on the solidarity high from A16. Of course, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to bitch about not having our flying cars yet, as it was fast approaching time to decide how we were going to organize around the Presidential “Election” circus, and the attendant party conventions. This being DC, we spent a lot of time spotlighting Statehood organizing and the “debates”.

whazzup_debate550w

Every Presidential “election” year, the Commission On Presidential Debates, a totally bipartisan outfit, convenes to decide, in an entirely bipartisan fashion, how to prevent anybody other than Republicans and Democrats from appearing in the nationally televised “debates”. This, of course, was also the first year in many that the Democrats were facing any kind of serious challenge from the Left — and by “the Left”, I don’t mean “candy-assed phony ‘Pwogwessives’ who vote Democratic, mail checks to NPR and read Mother Jones while they’re taking a dump”; by that, I mean the goddamned Left, from the outside, in the form of Ralph Nader and the Green Party USA, who actually were close to polling numbers high enough to qualify for Federal matching funds and automatic ballot access in the next “election” year. Needless to say, most of the Democratic Party’s most vigorous campaigning wasn’t against the GOP, but against the Left — basically, against its own base — for daring to decide they had a choice, and that they didn’t need the Democrats’ permission to take action, and to call the Democratic leadership to account for their abandonment of core values, its failure to defend working people and, basically, being such a worthless, no-account, dive-artist outfit while still attempting to put up a shabby, weak, Liberal/Progressive facade. It was the year the Democratic Party finally revealed what it was really all about by doing everything it could to keep off the ballot and out of the “debates” a party whose platform would’ve been raised proudly by the Democratic Party themselves in, say, the early ’70s.

This poster advertised a series of protests held in downtown DC, at the headquarters of the Commission on Presidential Debates, calling out the Democrats for their hypocrisy and cowardice, and calling out the CPD for rigging the rules in favor of rich, well-connected establishment politicians, and for allowing corporate influence in the form of Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the telecasts. This was also the year where you couldn’t turn on your TV set without at least once seeing that goddamn’ “Whazzuuuuuuup!” commercial at least ten times. Still, it was silly enough to hold my attention for more than ten seconds, and my friends and I were already using it as a form of ironic, absurdist greeting, so when I let my mind wander a bit and started riffing on the whole Presidential Debate/Whazzuuuuuup idea, it didn’t take long to start asking myself what influence Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship will take. Would they be allowed to hang their logo onstage, like those old quiz shows from the ’50s? Would A-B be allowed final say on the questions…and have us reduced to an hour a night for three nights of Gush and Bore standing there going “Whazzuuuuuuuup?” This, while not the most likely, proved to be the more entertaining vision.

11×17 medium-res grayscale .jpeg image, 660kb

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“A16″ Series

By mike flugennockThursday - January 27th, 2000Categories: Clintontime, Economy, Globalization, liberty

Oh, that old Spirit Of Seattle. Turtles’n'Teamsters everywhere.

But, seriously, folks… the mood and solidarity between different parts of The Movement — folks like old-line unionists and environmentalists discovering common goals and realizing they were fighting the same fight against the same enemy — were palpably electric and invigorating in the months following Seattle, and none quite like the personally charged feeling I got when, just a couple of weeks afterwards, I saw the mobilization action call posted in alt.activism for the April IMF/World Bank Meetings in Washington, DC, for April 16, 2000 — the now-legendary “A16″. At last, no more watching for little shreds of TV coverage, of scouring another city’s IMC postings — the revolution circus was coming to my town, and I was going to actually be in it, and photographing and taping it, and telling the story of that week for everybody else out there… and, the wheatpasting. Oh, yeah, the wheatpasting was going to go big-time (during the run-up to A16, the posse and I were followed around the streets awhile by an NBC crew one night after giving a class in wheatpaste-mixing and postering to a bunch of student activists at George Washington University).

moreworldA16series650wSeeing as how the newly-named Lamppost Liberation Front (our regular flypasting posse) were going to go big-time for a big-time event, the event and the mood called not just for a single poster, but a series, a complete iconography that signified concerned groups from all backgrounds uniting for social/economic justice, and all that other good stuff. Once again, I went for an image that everybody knows, usually used to symbolize humanity in some noble, artistic fashion or other. Also once again, I’m far from the first to rip off DaVinci’s famous Vitruvian drawing for analogy or satire, but everybody here thought the context was quite “fresh”.

This series also appeared on t-shirts sold to benefit the Mobilization for Global Justice. The t-shirts had their own special heroic history; maybe a couple of weeks before A16, the convergence space was raided and shut down by the cops and the fire marshal on trumped-up fire hazard (coleman stove brewing coffee) and explosives (coleman stove tank) charges and, in the process, a large number of the shirts were siezed. We managed to sell the rest, but it several months or so before we got our shirts back, meaning that there are a couple of small surviving batches of brand-new, unwashed, unworn A16 shirts out there at last report.

Blue-Collar Labor, medium-res jpg image 323k
Hippie, medium-res jpg image 323k
Office Worker no.1, medium-res jpg image 323k
Student, medium-res jpg image 323k
Office Worker no.2, medium-res jpg image 323k
Anarchist, medium-res jpg image 323k
Fast-Food Slave, medium-res jpg image 323k
Janitor, medium-res jpg image 323k
Environmentalist, medium-res jpg image 323k
Sushi Chef, medium-res jpg image 323k
Help! I’m a Cop! medium-res jpg image 323k

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