‘President of the 1%’

As long as there is a government, there will be plenty of opportunities for protest. And nothing gives more reason for protest right now than the 2012 presidential election, where government, people and policy all come into play.

My latest piece of protest art comes from Thursday, March 1, where over a hundred protesters gathered outside a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Bellevue, Washington.

Carrying signs and posters protesting the wealthiest candidate in the presidential election (if elected, Romney would be the wealthiest president in terms of raw dollars), members of Working Washington, a labor union in Washington, made clear their concern over whether Romney could relate to poor and working class Americans.

The largest protest sign at the rally was a spinoff of the U.S. Constitution reading “We the Corporations” with a “Rmoney” (a clear mix of the name ‘Romney’ and the word ‘money’) cutout pasted over it.

The largest sign carried by protesters at a Romney fundraiser was a spin-off of the U.S. Constitution reading "We the Corporations."

Another large sign read “of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,” an out-of-context version of the popular closing line from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Another sign at the protest took a line out-of-context from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Romney has had a difficult time convincing the poor and working class that he could relate to them if elected.

Romney’s overwhelming personal wealth has had the effect of isolating him from a large majority of the American population. Despite repeated claims that his own social status would not obstruct his thinking when enacting policies affecting the poor and middle class, he has already gained the nickname “The President of the 1%.”

Slews Of Protest Art At Parliament Square Peace Campaign

This image is only one in a slew to be found at the Parliament Square Peace Campaign in London, England.

An image of protest at the Parliament Square Peace Campaign in London, England.

Showing what are either U.S. or U.K. soldiers painting over a peace symbol, the image stands among the hundreds that protest the United States’ and United Kingdom’s actions toward Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Parliament Square Peace Campaign, which has for the last ten years been a 24/7, 365-day event, is one of the most famous symbols of the anti-war movement over the foreign policies of both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Begun on June 2, 2001 by English protester and peace campaigner Brian Haw, it has continued for 3913 days despite attempts by the British Parliament to shut down the operation. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PASRA) of 2011 includes provisions intended to stop the loopholes in the earlier Serious Organized Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) of 2005, which was supposed to end Brian Haw’s campaign, but failed to do so.

PASRA went into effect on December 19, 2011. Letters of notice were sent to the Parliament Square Peace Campaign, but the group is contesting the legality of the act and its enforcement. Despite the increased pressure from U.K. police and rising political action from Parliament, the Peace Campaign is protected by an injunction preventing their eviction until March.

For ten years, Haw led the group of protestors, living for the entire period in a tent in a camp on Parliament Square. He passed away on June 18, 2011 following a surgery to remove cancer, and the protest movement has since been led by Barbara Tucker.

On Thursday, police seized tents at the camp and arrested Tucker for police obstruction. In spite of the setbacks, the campaign continued yesterday and continues today.

For the most up-to-date information on the Parliament Square Peace Campaign, or to view more images of protest on the square, view these recent news articles:

http://www.demotix.com/news/1007304/parliament-square-protests-continue-after-police-raid-london

http://www.demotix.com/news/1042660/london-parliament-square-peace-protests-no-war-iran

More information on Brian Haw can be found in these articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/world/europe/21haw.html

http://www.economist.com/node/18895032

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/20/brian-haw-protesting-to-end

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/8585399/Brian-Haw.html

‘Make Love, Not War’

‘Make Love, Not War’ –it’s a popular phrase, and easily recognizable. I’d say most people with any sense of history or pop culture could trace its beginnings to the Vietnam War, the 60’s, a protest movement, or at least reference hippies. Oddly, though, nobody could say with one hundred percent certainty who first coined the phrase, because nobody knows.

The famous anti-war quip, ‘Make Love, Not War’ seems to have arisen on the slogan scene in the 1960’s as suddenly and without notice as the “Keep Calm and Carry On” phrase today.

The slogan 'Make Love, Not War' originated in 1965 during the midst of Vietnam War protest rallies and remains a popular and well-known anti-war phrase today. First printed on buttons, it has been reproduced on all forms of memorabilia.

Primarily used by those in protest of the Vietnam War, there are two alleged stories that detail the phrase’s beginnings, although all can agree that it first appeared in 1965.

A substantial claim to the phrase has been made by Diane Newell Meyer, who was in 1965 a student at the University of Oregon. Meyer claims to have written “Let’s make love, not war” on an envelope and pinned it to her sweater before attending a protest rally in 1965. In an August 2010 article in Oregon’s Mail Tribune newspaper, Meyer spoke of coining the term:

“It just popped into my head – I remember I started giggling when I wrote it,” Meyer said. “I know I hadn’t read it anywhere before. There is no way to prove it but I think I’m the person  who invented the phrase.”

Photographed at the rally wearing the phrase, the picture was distributed by the Associated Press and even made it into the New York Times, and presumably, the phrase gained momentum from a widespread readership.

The other claim of ownership is made by Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, an activist couple who founded the Chicago Surrealist Group and who were largely involved in Vietnam War protests. In 1965, the Rosemont’s owned a shop called the Solidarity Bookshop in Chicago, Illinois. In the United Kingdom’s Creative Review, a monthly publication covering communication arts worldwide, Penelope Rosemont tells her side of the story:

“In March 1965,” Rosemont says, “we wanted to do a button. The slogan we thought of first was the old…’Make Peace, Not War’ but it seemed too tame for the 60’s. Several of us together at Solidarity Bookshop – myself, Franklin, Bernard Marszalek and Tor Faegre – thought about this and what we came up with finally was ‘Make Love, Not War.’” http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2012/january/make-love-not-war

The famous 'Make Love, Not War' slogan first appeared in print on buttons like this one, allegedly an original made at the Solidarity Bookshop in Chicago, Illinois.

Whether or not the Rosemont’s actually coined the phrase, they are credited with being the first people to print the slogan on memorabilia. Thousands of ‘Make Love, Not War’ buttons printed at the Solidarity Bookshop were distributed at the Mother’s Day Peace March in 1965 and were instrumental in popularizing the phrase.

The 'Make Love, Not War' phrase continues to be reproduced in new ways and incorporated into modern graphics.

A few other popular Vietnam anti-war chants and phrases:

  • “Draft beer, not boys.”
  • “Hell no, we won’t go.”
  • “Eighteen today, dead tomorrow.”
  • “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

Listen to John Lennon’s song, “Make Love, Not War,” inspired by the anti-war slogan.