About this issue's cover

Issue: 
Spring 2012
Author(s): 

This issue’s cover, ‘Money Talks Too Much‘, was created by anarchist print artist Josh MacPhee of the Justseeds artists’ collective and handed out at the first mass demonstration held by the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly. MacPhee writes:

The posters were printed at the behest and with the help of a group of cultural workers calling themselves Artists and Writers Exhausted by Capitalism and Inspired by the Occupation, and we thought 300-400 posters would make an impact for the contingent, but instead, the posters were distributed within seconds, and disappeared into a crowd of over 10,000 … But it didn’t take long for the image to appear again. It was reproduced as the back cover of the first n+1 Occupy! Gazette, and was posted as a free, high-res downloadable pdf on both the Justseeds.org website and Occuprint.org, and has been downloaded thou- sands of times from these sites. In addition, it turns out many people who sucked up the printed posters on Oct. 5th kept them, and they have been showing up to related OWS events, such as anti-foreclosure demonstrations and student actions, with the posters tacked to pickets, or even laminated.

The design of the poster itself was inspired by the proliferation of hand-painted cardboard signs in Zuccotti Park. Each of these signs was unique and created from an individual perspective, and while I knew I couldn’t recreate that in a mass-produced poster, I could attempt to capture the spirit of it. The movement consciously developed in the shadow of Wall Street, and the bull sculpture that sits there as a monument to capitalism was a popular target of derision in the early days of OWS. So I had my object, what the poster was against. The more complicated part was who the ‘we’ is, how to represent our attack on the bull and capitalism? By using scrappy hand-drawn letters, and literally writing on top of the image of the bull graffiti-ing on it I tried to harness the power of self-expres- sion and the intersection of individual voices and mass articulations in the Park. The hand-writing and harness strapping the bull’s mouth shut are my creation, but I also wanted the image to be a stand in for all the voices in the park, all the hand-writing on the signs. The poster is an attempt to graphically capture the struggle between ‘our’ voice and the voice of capital.

The Occupy movement is an example of how the politics of radicalism are shifting away from old forms and becoming more meaningful in the process. Anarchism is at the crux of this development, which is drawing a clear line between those who seek power over others and those who seek to empower themselves.