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Author Archives: KC

  1. Everybody’s Got A Right To Live: The Poor People’s Campaign 1968 & Now

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    April 18 – June 23, 2019

    Opening reception: Thursday, April 18, 6-9pm
    Join Interference Archive, and local leaders and organizers from the NYC Poor People’s Campaign for the opening of Everybody’s Got a Right to Live: The Poor People’s Campaign 1968 & Now. The exhibition will launch with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a special teach-in at 7 p.m. on the history of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and current efforts to re-ignite the unfinished business through the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Engaging visual materials from the campaign (banners, flyers, books, buttons, photographs) and featuring posters created in solidarity with the Justseeds Collective, we will explore how we continue to move art into action.

    Described as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “last great dream,” the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was an ambitious movement to make poverty in the world’s richest nation visible and to demand justice for poor Americans. King, taking note of how economic disenfranchisement had persisted in the U.S. despite the American civil rights movement’s legal victories, envisioned a “nonviolent army of the poor” marching to Washington to demand good jobs, guaranteed income, and affordable housing. He worked with organizers from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to  foster a movement by and for poor people of all races, shifting his focus from civil rights to identify poverty in the U.S. as fundamentally a human rights issue. Despite considerable challenges and King’s assassination in April 1968, others carried on his efforts, presenting an ‘Economic Bill of Rights’ to Congress that May, and setting up a 3,000 person protest camp on the Washington Mall that was dubbed ‘Resurrection City.’

    The Poor People’s Campaign struggled to define itself as a multi-axis movement while it faced political suppression from the state, ultimately derailing its reform goals and leading some to consider it a failure; however,  its spirit and intention has carried on into the present day within a growing resurgence campaign seeking to call attention to the unmet demands of ‘68. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, led by Reverend William Barber II and Reverend Liz Theoharis, now responds to an ever-worsening poverty crisis. At the forefront of the new grassroots campaign’s concerns is the    acceleration of economic inequality, but they also seek to address many of the more insidious structural inequalities that arise out of conditions of poverty: new unjust policies like voter suppression laws, mass incarceration rates that further entrench the U.S.’s systemic racism, a growing imbalance in federal discretionary spending on the military relative to social programs, and the intensification of racial and income disparities in access to clean air and water.

    This exhibition provides a look at some of the visual culture of the original PPC, including photographs of marches and rallies, press coverage, and a contemporary public response to a mural in Resurrection City called the ‘hunger wall’ created with the DC Public Library, in addition to showcasing the efforts of the new PPC and a portfolio of Justseeds posters created in solidarity with their actions.

    Thursday, May 9: 7PM-9PM Documentary film screening of EMPIRE RUMBLINGS & Report-back from the NY STATE FREEDOM SCHOOL BUS TOUR

    The first film to document the launch of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, EMPIRE STATE RUMBLINGS tells the story of a new type of organizing seen through the eyes of four incredible women who participated in the intensity of the campaign’s beginnings. Filmed by a team of activist videographers over Forty Days of Action in the spring of 2018, as week after week, poor people from around the state gathered in Albany to confront their government and make their voices heard, EMPIRE STATE RUMBLINGS is produced by award-winning filmmaker Peter Kinoy with an original score by Brooklyn based musician/composer Dan Loomis. (30 min)

    Following the film, local organizers, artists and educators from the NYC Poor People’s Campaign will join us to report back on the recent National Emergency Freedom School Bus Tour, and their journey through the state to shine a light on the REAL national emergencies facing our communities today. 

    Friday, May 17: 7PM–10PM- The Poor People’s Campaign Concert & Jam

    “…….the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign was grounded in a spirit of solidarity, of reconciling a troubled past, and of finding the dignity in all people. Nowhere did that emerge more poignantly than in the movement’s songs.” Angelica Aboulhosn

    An evening of music and song in celebration of the history and spirit of the Poor People’s Campaign featuring an incredible line-up of contemporary musicians and movement leaders! After the concert we will lift our voices in a song circle and open jam, please bring your musical instruments and join in!


    June 1st Propaganda Party
    June 23 Closing event

    Artwork by Sarah Farahat, design by Kevin Caplicki

  2. Everybody’s Got a Right to Live Propaganda Party

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    Saturday, June 1, 1-5pm

    Join Interference Archive and the NYC Poor People’s Campaign for the Everybody’s Got A Right To Live Propaganda Party. We’ll gather at Interference Archive to screenprint posters, t-shirts, fabric, make buttons, banners and more with messages promoting

    What is a propaganda party? It’s where we invite organizations, activists, designers, and folks like you to come together, share and learn new skills, and produce graphic materials in support of a cause. At this event we will gather to print posters, t-shirts & patches, make buttons and stencils, and paint banners for the upcoming Poor People’s Congress – which will bring poor people, advocates, and local grassroots leaders from over 40 states to Washington D.C. to strategize, impact policy, and continue to build power among the 140 poor people living in the USA today.

    During the Congress, the Campaign will launch the Poor People’s Moral Budget which shows practically and concretely how to enact the demands (now on exhibition at the Interference Archive – come check it out!) to alleviate poverty and address the root causes — systemic racism, ecological devastation, the military economy, and a distorted narrative which blames poverty on the poor. A Hearing with the people most impacted by these injustices will be held as well as a Forum in which poor people from across the nation will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of 2020 Presidential Candidates and to lift up the issues that are urgent in our communities.

    Why do we use the word “propaganda”? “Propaganda,” from the same root as “propagate,” refers to information that is shared in support of a cause. In modern times, the word propaganda has been weighted with negative connotations; we aim to reclaim the word. Our daily lives are saturated with supposedly “neutral” material that implicitly supports existing power structures. We use the word propaganda because we have no desire to feign neutrality.


  3. The Poor People’s Campaign Concert & Jam

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    Friday, May 17th, 7-10pm. Free admission.

    “…….the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign was grounded in a spirit of solidarity, of reconciling a troubled past, and of finding the dignity in all people. Nowhere did that emerge more poignantly than in the movement’s songs.” Angelica Aboulhosn

    An evening of music and song in celebration of the history and spirit of the Poor People’s Campaign featuring an incredible line-up of contemporary musicians and movement leaders!  After the concert we will lift our voices in a song circle and open jam, please bring your musical instruments and join in!

    Image credit Bev Grant/Getty Images

  4. Documentary film screening of EMPIRE STATE RUMBLINGS & Report-back from the Freedom Bus Tour

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    Thursday, May 9th, 7pm-9pm. Free admission.

    The first film to document the launch of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, EMPIRE STATE RUMBLINGS tells the story of a new type of organizing seen through the eyes of four incredible women who participated in the intensity of the campaign’s beginnings. Filmed by a team of activist videographers over Forty Days of Action in the spring of 2018, as week after week, poor people from around the state gathered in Albany to confront their government and make their voices heard, EMPIRE STATE RUMBLINGS is produced by award-winning filmmaker Peter Kinoy with an original score by Brooklyn based musician/composer Dan Loomis. (30 min, in English with Spanish subtitles)

    Following the film, local organizers, artists and educators from the NYC Poor People’s Campaign will join us to report back on the recent National Emergency Freedom School Bus Tour, and their journey through the state to shine a light on the REAL national emergencies facing our communities today. 

  5. if a song could be freedom mixtape 017 – Military Dissent

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    Military Dissent – Mixtape 017 was put together and produced by Kevin Basl, a writer and musician living near Ithaca, NY. He is a member of About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War) and Veterans for Peace.

    “The music on this mixtape was inspired by those antiwar dissenters who know the inner-workings of the U.S. military best. Most of the songs were written and/or performed by veterans or service members. Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Iraq Veterans Against the War (now “About Face”) and the G.I. resistance movements of the past half-century produced the countercultures from which this music emerged. Not surprisingly, most can be categorized as punk, folk, blues or rap–the music of the People–with lyrical content ranging from remorseful warnings to potential enlistees, to revolutionary convictions, to gallows humor. This mixtape also includes clips from interviews, public testimonies, street actions and other media, providing context for the songs. This is just a sampling of a well-stocked, but under-appreciated, subgenre of antiwar music.” -Kevin Basl

    Track list:
    1. “Stupid’s Pledge” by Utah Phillips
    2. “7.62mm” by Article 15
    3. Excerpt from Radio First-Termer by Dave Rabbit
    4. Excerpt from IVAW testimony by Kelly Dougherty
    5. Excerpt from Winter Soldier (1971)
    6. “Draft Board Blues” by Watermelon Slim (Bill Homans)
    7. Excerpt from Interview with Camilo Mejia
    8. “188th” by Jacob George
    9. Excerpt from Radio First-Termer by Dave Rabbit
    10. Excerpt from 3/27/18 Democracy NOW!: Lady Gaga/Chelsea Manning
    11. “Hill Billy Armor” excerpt: Thomas Wilson confronts Donald Rumsfeld, 2004
    12. “Foreign Policy Folk Songs” by Emily Yates
    13. “Foreign Policy Blues” by Country Joe McDonald
    14. “Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire” by Chumbawamba
    15. “Letter from Iraq” by Bouncing Souls
    16. Excerpt from “Cadence” by Antiwar Comedy Skits
    17. Excerpt from FTA (1972)
    18. Okinawan musicians performance at FTA show
    19. “General, Your Tank” by Utah Phillips
    20. “Yellow Ribbon” by Utah Phillips
    21. “Monk Time” by the Monks
    22. “We Say No to Your War” by Covered Wagon Musicians
    23. “Desert Blues” by Kevin Basl
    24. “Criminal Anarchy” by Forty Theives (Eddie Falcon)
    25. Excerpt from FTA (1972)
    26. “Soldier, We Love You” by Rita Martinson
    27. Tomas Young and Eddie Vedder conversation from Body of War (2007)
    28. “No More” by Eddie Vedder
    29. David Solnit interview at IVAW & Rage Against the Machine direct action at DNC 2008, Denver, CO
    30. “Resistance Hymn” by Barbara Dane (with active duty soldiers)

  6. Hidden Heritage Collections blog on Support GI Resistance poster

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    Serena Troshynski a Library and Information Science student at St. John’s University recently produced this blog post for Hidden Heritage Collections.
    . She interviewed Interference Archive co-founder, and producer of the poster, Kevin Caplicki.

    “Interference Archive: Support GI Resistance”

    The bright red, white, and blue of the protest poster would be eye catching anywhere, and one can imagine the statement it must have made as it was plastered all over the streets of Chicago. Created as part of a collaboration between Justseeds art collective and the protest organization Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), this piece was used as part of a demonstration staged in Chicago in November 2010. The demonstration included three art exhibitions in Chicago in November and December, as well as a street postering action.[1]

    Created by artist Kevin Caplicki, the design intended to evoke “very American sports teams, pennants, baseball jerseys, etc.” The allusion to American sports culture is meant to comment on the appeals to patriotism routinely invoked to support wars.[2]

    The demonstration, “Operation Exposure — Trauma is War” was a protest against the redeployment of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, military sexual trauma, or other injuries. The art prints explore the impact of war on civilians and soldiers, and intend to increase awareness of GI resistance and GI rights.[3]

    The protest also hoped to reshape the narrative of the Iraq War by giving a voice to veterans who experienced serious trauma and injury. This action reclaims marginalized or misrepresented voices in the historical moment, subverting war culture and reclaiming the humanity of the soldiers involved.

    Operation Exposure was part of a larger movement, “Chicago in War,” organized by Aaron Hughes of IVAW. The purpose of this series of events, art exhibitions, and shows was to “explore the continued rupturing of the traumas of war in everyday America.”[4]

    The design itself began as a pencil drawing, and the artist created layers to create a screen-printed version using Rubylith, similar to a hand-cut stencil. The original edition was then hand-screened for Operation Exposure. After the demonstration, the design was made into posters of various sizes, stickers, and embroidered patches.[5]

    A reproduction of the print, “Support G.I. Resistance,” is now part of the Interference Archive’s collection of art prints and posters used in social movements. The print is representative of the Archive’s mission, dedicated to “preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.”[6]The artist, Kevin Caplicki, is also a co-founder of the Archive.

    References can be found at Hidden Heritage Collections

  7. PRINT Magazine-The Activist’s History by Steven Heller

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    The Activist’s History
    By: Steven Heller | May 23, 2017

    The Interference Archive in Brooklyn, New York, contains over 10,000 items that are accessible to the public. The Archive explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements through exhibitions, a study and social center, talks, screenings, publications, workshops and an extensive website. It features numerous objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images and audio. On June 1 the new exhibition “Take Back the Fight: Resisting Sexual Violence From the Ground Up” will open. In this current political climate, design has a major role to play in maintaining a loyal opposition and a heartfelt resistance to injustice. This Archive is one of the methods. I asked a few of its major contributors—Bonnie Gordon, Jen Hoyer, Louise Barry and Kevin Caplicki—to discuss its role and goals.

    I’m amazed that the Archive is new to me, since much of what you collect derives from my own early years in the late ’60s. Tell me how and why you started this important collection?
    Interference Archive originally formed to address the need for activists to document and tell their own histories. The perspective of those working to affect social change has often been marginalized in the mainstream telling of history and by institutions vested with the responsibility of preserving these histories. Traditional institutions—including libraries, universities and museums—sometimes enact restrictions around access to historical materials which should be made accessible to all. Interference Archive sought to combat this problem by creating a public archive and social center where activists, students, educators and those who played a role in producing cultural materials used in movement work would be able to access and share this information freely.

    Initially, the archive grew out of the personal collections of its four founders. While conducting research for the Signs of Change exhibition that they collaborated on, Josh MacPhee and Dara Greenwald increasingly understood the importance of making their own collections of social movement culture more accessible to the public, and yet they weren’t comfortable giving these to any of the institutions they were visiting. They hadn’t found an institutional archive that made everyone—especially the people this activist material is about—feel welcome. They collaborated with their friends Molly Fair and Kevin Caplicki in 2011 to open up Interference Archive as an all-volunteer, collectively run activist archive that continues to grow through continued growth of its volunteer community, as well as continued donations of material which expand the collection.

    Interference Archive focuses on collecting the social movement cultural ephemera, and much of this comes from the radical left and grassroots organizing. Our collection contains a significant amount of materials from the 1960s and ’70s due to the explosion of the counterculture of that time. The founders of the archive are also members of the Justseeds Artist Cooperative and draw inspiration from the graphic output of OSPAAAL of Cuba, Emory Douglas from the Black Panther Party, Liberation Support Movement pamphlets, Rufus Seger’s cover designs of Anarchy magazine, anarchist artist Clifford Harper, and countless others. Justseeds members and Interference Archive are not only collecting but continuing these legacies.

    What are your parameters? Is it entirely protest from New York City?
    The materials we collect and preserve represent the history and the cultural production of social movements around the world and across time. We focus on collecting material that was produced in multiples for widespread distribution, including everything from posters and prints, buttons, T-shirts, periodicals, pamphlets, zines, books, moving images, audio recordings and other ephemera.

    How do you acquire and store your materials?
    Our entire collection is acquired by donation. Many activists have held on to remnants of their organizing activities because they want it to be preserved somewhere, but they aren’t comfortable with the option of giving it to a big institution that might require credentials or would make other activists (or even just non-academics) uncomfortable. They are very excited to bring it to Interference Archive, to sit down and talk with us about it, and to see that it’s in a place where others can readily access it.

    Our collection is stored in our open stacks archive in Brooklyn. “Open stacks” means that any visitor can walk in the door during our open hours, without appointment, and take boxes off the shelves to look through the material themselves. We prioritize access, because we believe that this material is best preserved through use—we aim to preserve the original intent of widespread distribution and continual circulation of these items. In light of this focus on access, we organize everything in our archive by format—posters with posters, books with books—and not grouped by donation, and then within each format we organize material either by subject or alphabetically by title.

    Given your location on street level, I presume you are community accessible. What do you foresee as your audience and how do you see the materials being used?
    The main audience of Interference Archive is a diverse group of artists, educators, students, activists and community organizers who come from across NYC and around the world. We aim to build community among artists and organizers across political movements, foster a better understanding of historical and contemporary struggles, and inspire a new generation of creative political agents.

    Rather than viewing our archive as a static collection of material, we see it as a resource that can influence the way people understand themselves and the world they live in, and that can inspire people and communities who are acting for change in the world today. This means that we organize a lot of events, to help people feel really comfortable interacting with our collection: workshops, talks, reading groups, accessioning and cataloging parties, and more. We also put on regular exhibitions, which get this archival material up on the walls for people to talk about, and with each exhibition we try to publish some kind of printed document that, more than a catalog, will act as a resource for anyone who is interested in the movements or issues depicted in the exhibition.

    As an archive we have to think long term, and imagine a future audience as well as a contemporary audience. So as well as trying to disseminate information widely right now, we think about our internal structure and sustainability to ensure we are here as a support system and resource for activists and movements for a long time to come.

    What also surprises me is that the era of print and street communication during the ’60s (The East Village Other, The Rat, Other Scenes—all pubs I worked for or with) show a continuation in the materials you collect. Internet notwithstanding, how has media changed since then to now?
    Some of the aesthetics have evolved, but exploring our collection demonstrates that the media has not changed. Organizers still print newspapers, posters, flyers, handbills, stickers, buttons, pamphlets, etc, to disseminate their politics and struggles.

    There is still the need for physical production of media, possibly now more than ever. What has evolved is the ability to spread graphics digitally. Supporters display their solidarity with contemporary struggles by changing their social media avatars with symbols. They share images, historically printed as posters, on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds. These graphics are the 21st-century version of the protest button.

    What are some of the most important documents, in your opinion, in the archive?
    There is no singular item that stands out as most important; as an archive that attempts to organize itself non-hierarchically, imitating the structure of many of the groups and movements representing in our archive, we also have to transfer this to our collection—we don’t see any item as more valuable than others, but rather we seek to create organizational systems that give equal access and visibility to everything in the archive. At the same time, each object has the opportunity to be “most important,” as each object has the opportunity to be found by visitors and researchers and then help them discover personally resonant connections to the history of struggle for social and eco-justice, which can then inspire them to continue the resistance of oppression. Our whole collection is a reminder of the issues people have battled against, and a reminder that these struggles must continue if we are to improve the lives of everyone.

    What, most of all, do you want my readers to know about Interference Archive?
    Jen Hoyer: I think the most important thing for people to understand is that we are an actual archive, and then, following that, we’re so much more than an archive.

    We live in a world today where the word archive gets spun into a lot of different uses. As the realm of social media reflects more of our public programming work—exhibitions, talks, film screenings, etc—we find that the public often loses sight of the fact that the word archive in our name means that we have a real, growing archive that we spend a lot of time working with and caring for. It’s a resource that we really want people to explore and use.

    At the same time, we’re also an example of the way an archive can and should function as more than just a room of stuff. As an institution that plays a role in shaping historic narrative just through the fact of what is and is not on our shelves, we’re consciously examining the work we do to build present and future narratives—through intentional decisions about our operational organizing structure, our relationships with each other and the world around us, the work we do to care for and give access to an archival collection, and our work to engage the public with these resources in order to inform current social activism.

    Louise Barry: I want people to know that our funding structure reflects our values. Most of our money comes from individual donors who give $10–25 per month. We rely on grant funding as little as possible. We don’t have big donors. We are accountable to the community that funds us, and many of these are the same people who donate materials, attend events, volunteer, and participated in the movements that shaped the archive.

    Kevin Caplicki: I want people to know that we are a political project and counter institution exemplified by our horizontal structure and community support. We are structured similar to the many anti-authoritarian and anarchist movements whose materials we collect. A rotating group of dedicated people perform all the functions of the archive. We are a project produced from, by and for social movements. Organizers with passion and ability get involved to sustain us, and anyone can get involved as a volunteer according to their own capacity.

  8. Interference Archive on Frieze

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    We recently hosted a small documentary crew from Frieze Magazine. They produced this good looking video of the Interference Archive!

    from Frieze

  9. We’ll Be Closed Friday J20

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    Interference Archive will be closed this Friday, January 20, 2016. There are the rare times a year that we close our doors during open hours. As in this case, its generally so we can get out in the streets.
    We hope this doesn’t create an inconvenience for you. We will still be open this Saturday and Sunday.

  10. Inaugurating Resistance Propaganda Party a Success!

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    Thanks to everyone that came out to this past weekends Inaugurating Resistance Propaganda Party.

    The exhibition space and our collection room was packed with people the whole weekend. Visitors stayed to volunteer and help with the live screen printing, others to document, and everyone to discuss the enduring struggles we’re involved in. The event was so popular that journalists from the New Yorker, CNN and Democracy Now attended. See the mention in DN!’s headlines today!

    The 1000 posters we printed specifically for the Inaugurating Resistance Propaganda Party were gone in 7 hours. In the two days total, we estimate that 3000 posters and 5000 stickers were distributed. At least 600 shirts and patches were screen printed and 500 buttons were made by participants. All of the designs were donated as, per usual, was the labor of all the Interference Archive staff.

    We want to specifically thank: Kyle Goen & Pete Railand, for the use of their designs for posters, Wyatt Hesemeyer, Koak, Janina Larenas, Dave Lowenstein, Kyle McKinley, Ariana Mygatt, Amanda Preiebe, Nicole Rodrigues, Luke Thomas, and P.O.P. – Print Organize Protest, for sticker, screen print, and button designs.  As well as everyone else that submitted graphics to the downloadable archive at http://www.justseeds.org/project/inaugurating-resistance/

    We also want to thank everyone who came out, brought additional materials, and showed support.