Confused about the so-called fiscal cliff? Worried that politicians are sharpening their knives on Capitol Hill as they prepare to rob you blind? Wondering whether you’ll make it to retirement, or have enough money to make next month’s rent? A legion of artists from across the country is working to educate and mobilize people to understand the roots of our economic crisis, and what people can do about it.
Artstrike is a project jointly coordinated by CultureStrike, Rebuild the Dream, and 5D Stories–three organizations that aim to empower grassroots social justice movements and foster a new generation of activists.
Spearheaded by Oakland-based artist Favianna Rodriguez, Artstrike has been recruiting artists of various media to raise critical questions about the real fiscal crisis–the deep social disinvestment and inequality that stifle opportunity, disenfranchise poor communities, and deepen divides of race and gender. Below are just a few examples of the works that artists have produced so far, along with statements from the artists about how cuts to social programs are affecting their communities and shaping their creative perspective. As the political establishment seeks to take the budget axe to our public trust, artists are striking back with a far more powerful weapon: free expression.
Check out the tumblr for a constantly updated gallery of all the submissions. Follow the campaign at #nomorecuts, #fiscalcliff and #artstrike. And go to Rebuild the Dream’s campaign page to spread the love.
Here’s the #NoMoreCuts manifesto:
Our country isn’t broke – It’s being robbed. Stand up against cuts to vital programs and demand the wealthy pay their fair share.
You’ve probably heard about the political game called “The Fiscal Cliff.” But, it’s actually a Fiscal Bluff — a self inflicted crisis designed to create urgency to make us believe our nation is broke and that we must cut vital programs. This is false and we won’t stand for it.
Billionaires, Corporations and those who serve them have manufactured this crisis and are refusing to pay their fair share.
Join us in telling them:#NOMORECUTS.
SHARE this work with your friends and family and MAKE your own!
As a creative community we can provide the tools people need to speak out and protect our most precious public programs from further deterioration.
Melanie Cervantes reflects on the the idea behind this image and how the fiscal crisis affects her as an artist and a community activist:
I began to ask myself: “What is a fiscal cliff?” And as I read and talked with people I really began to understand it is a fiction created by Congress as an excuse to rob our communities of even more resources. Once again the lack of will to make corporations and the rich pay their fair share means that low-income and middle-class families will have to foot the bill. I think there is a simple solution- make deadbeat corporations pay taxes!…
As a woman of color, who is an artist as well as a worker in a non-profit, I feel that the most pressing issues are about supporting the most marginalized in our society and to help shift our collective culture to put people and the planet before profit.
Raymundo M. Hernández-López on the iconography of his satirical government seals:
For the past decades politicians have strategically found ways to cut services that were established to serve people in need. Cutting social security, health care, education and limiting the work force (jobs) services will negatively impact our current and future generations by depriving our communities from services and/or programs which are essential to our well being as humans. It is crucial that these programs are not cut or defunded because those are imperative services that we have the right to be provide with as human-beings and as tax payers. Cutting or defunding these programs is also a great example how politicians make these political acts to disempower our communities and empower their special interest and the 1%.
Maribel Gomez talks about the power of simplicity in political art:
I wanted to keep my image simple. I used a woman with a sign and a fist up to demonstrate how women and communities are impacted by budget cuts to social services. We live in difficult times and it is important to raise awareness about these issues in simple ways so that everyone can understand what is happening.
This Time live at Java Money by Mike Molina
Live performance of spoken word piece about economic struggle: “every two weeks my feet dangle off the fiscal cliff… politicians get theirs and then scare us with a budget crisis. The middle class is liquidating assets while the money masters shelter their taxes from the masses…”
“I am from foodstamps. I know hunched shoulders and shame. I know dry mouthed dullness walking up to and facing a cashier… but those stamps helped feed me. Four jobs can’t cover it all.”
“Rebuilding the Dream” by Jennifer Cedana Armas #nomorecuts #fiscalcliff