Art For International Workers Day

In celebration of International Workers Day on May 1st, Red Wedge asked some of our artist-contributors to submit images of their work. Below are paintings, drawings, photographs and other documentation from Ian Matchett, Craig Ross, Van Thanh Rudd, Anna Maria Tucker, Adam Turl, Sarah Levy and Mike Alewitz.

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Mike Alewitz is a well-known mural painter and socialist working in the U.S. and internationally. He has painted in South-Central LA, New York, Baghdad, Chernobyl, Mexico, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Israel, the Occupied Territories and numerous other locations. 

Sarah Levy is an artist and revolutionary from Portland, Oregon, currently living in the West Bank.

Ian Matchett is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design. His paintings explore the connections between radical movements and individuals of the past and present. He is also a member of the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Visual and Studio Artists.

Craig Ross is a printmaker and cartoonist currently living in Southern Illinois. They received a BFA in Printmaking from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Craig has published various comics and zines, is an editor at Red Wedge and "Red Wedge Comix" blog. They are also member of the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Visual and Studio Artists.

Van Thanh Rudd is an artist, socialist and anti-capitalist activist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is a member of Socialist Alternative (Australia) and ran for office in the 2010 federal election against Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He studied art at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Anna Maria Tucker is an artist whose work includes painting, installation and performance; confronting stereotypes and trauma. She received her BFA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois and is an MFA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St Louis. She is a member of the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Visual and Studio Artists.

Adam Turl is an artist, writer and socialist currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. He is an editor at Red Wedge and is presently pre-occupied with exploring past and present Marxist strategies in studio art. Turl is an MFA candidate at the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis. He writes the "Evicted Art Blog" and is a member of the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Visual and Studio Artists.

Via Bolshe: Italian Murals of Struggle

Ramshackle villages made out of corrugated metal sheets, plastic tarps, and cardboard boxes line the tracks on our way into the Eternal City. The streets are littered with garbage, the air is heavy with pollution, and the buildings that lie outside the tourist zones are in dire need of repair. Rome's immortality in question, the youth we talk to all tell us that they have no hope for the future of their country. Many of them have already left Italy in search of work.

Graffiti is a candid way to understand resistance against the political and economic structure in a new country, especially a country where we have almost no grasp of the language. As we explored Rome on foot we found a particular neighborhood full of leftist and anarchist street art. One street in particular, Via Bolshe, is lined with fading murals that depict a culture of struggle and resistance.

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Lady Mule Skinner

Lady Mule Skinner is a performance documented by photographs. Performed without an audience, a camera is set to take photographs every four seconds with a timer. “Failure” is expressed with the sensual tension that builds between my body (wrapped in canvas and paint) and the carrot (dripping with honey) that dangles above my mouth. The carrot represents all of the things I aspire to — love, success, and recognition of my work. “Mule Skinner Blues” is an American Folk song. The music brings in a ritualistic theme to Lady Mule Skinner; and the duality of both labor and gender.

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Yvonne Osei’s Insidious is a series of semi-staged, semi-candid, photographs taken in Ghana addressing the presence of colonialism in post-colonial Sub-Saharan cultures. The “real and authentic” and the “unreal and unauthentic” intersect. By presenting fake “traditional” textiles, designer knock-offs and plastic-bags, these photographs present a global wealth, localized poverty and half-made liberation. Osei’s work is a critique of the way a culture moves from handmade materials to mass produced knock-offs that pollute and cripple the wealth of a vulnerable society.

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Inside Agitators

2014 was a turbulent year in the United States. From fast food and retail strikes to the Ferguson Insurrection and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests, the oppressed in America are once again on the move. Of course, wherever there is resistance there are those waiting to slander and discredit that resistance. The past year has seen the return of the infamous “outside agitators,” socialists and anarchists slinking out of whatever holes they have been hiding in since the sixties. It is taken for granted in America that there are no communists toiling alongside the workers, no communists born in occupied and immiserated communities of color. There are no “inside agitators” in this country because communism, meaning racial and economic justice, is un-American.

This is a lie. Communism is as old as the first workers putting down their tools to strike, as old as the first slaves strangling their owners with their chains, as old as the first women trading the address of an illegal doctor. Communism is resistance and there has always been resistance inside America, as there is resistance in any prison.

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By Existing

This series is intended to be a representation to how much of our resistance today is rooted in our ancestors. So often I hear that we have allowed ourselves to put on reservations or in the conditions that we are in now, but that us not the truth. We are alive today, to take back what is rightfully ours, thanks to the action and dedication of our elders and past generations. This art series is not just intended to counter the ahistorical lie that we have silently and passively accepted our fate — a lie that our government and our schools feed us — but is also to show immense gratitude to the guidance and wisdom and strength of the past seven generations, to give hope to the future seven generations.

Indigenous resistance is not “in an upswing,” it has been constant for seven generations. Our ancestors guide us, our elders give us wisdom, and our youth walk us forward. We the hope to our next seven generations, for them to see a whole new world emerge from this one, to see a revolution. This task though is not solely for our decedents, we must and shall do everything to give our descendants this path. We are on this journey with them, walking with all our people past, present, and future.

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An Uprising In Pictures

About two weeks ago, a group of six of us from Syracuse joined other Black organizers, cultural workers, healers, etc. from all across the country for a weekend of national action in Ferguson.  According to the organizers, “the Black Life Matters Ride was organized in the spirit of the early 1960s interstate Freedom Rides to end racial segregation.” Prior to going to Ferguson that weekend, like many other people, I could not take my eyes off of what was happening there. When my friend and colleague Sherri Williams, a PhD candidate and journalist asked if I wanted to, I gave a resounding “yes!”

We arrived in Ferguson on the Saturday of the nation-wide march. Even though I had seen the footage, the photos, read the reports, I still wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived. We parked our van in a shopping center and then we walked down West Florissant, a main street in the city. As we walked to place where everyone was gathering to meet for the march, we passed by a number of boarded up storefronts with messages thanking The gray skies and clouds that hung low above our heads seemed to capture our collective state of grieving and mourning not just for Mike Brown, but for so many black folks that have been so violently killed and brutalized at the hands of the state.

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