Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mommies for Peace

I'd love a "Mommies for Peace" in a fun, funky font??????

Based on that "Design your Prize" request I came up with a couple of new graphics this past week. Peace Mommie and Mommies for Peace. These are themselves reworkings of the intermittently popular Peace Mom, which I designed early in 2007.

The fonts are a combination of 'blomster', 'heartland regular' and 'peace' which are themselves a variation on 'floraless'. Most of the design time was spent paint-bucketing the colours into flowers, hearts and peace signs.

I'm tickled by these designs. They're fun and the fonts make for a kiddish, whimsical image that takes the edge off the message without undermining it. And if you don't take mothers seriously, just consider the effectiveness of Cindy Sheehan and the Four Mothers movement.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan gives the peace sign in front of the White House in 2006.
Born July 10, 1957 (1957-07-10) (age 50)
Flag of the United States California
Occupation Activist

Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan (born July 10, 1957) is an American anti-war activist, whose son, Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War on April 4, 2004, aged 24. She attracted international attention in August 2005 for her extended demonstration at a peace camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch garnering her both support and criticism. In May 2007, Sheehan officially ended her involvement as an anti-war activist, saying "I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."[1] On July 8, 2007, in the wake of President Bush's reduction of the sentence of Scooter Libby, Sheehan announced that she plans to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi should Pelosi fail to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

Anti-war campaign

Sheehan states she initially questioned the urgency of the invasion of Iraq, but did not become active in the anti-war effort until after her son's death.[2]

Sheehan and other military families met with President George W. Bush in June 2004 at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington, nearly three months after her son's death. In a June 24, 2004 interview with the Vacaville Reporter published soon after the meeting, she stated, "We haven't been happy with the way the war has been handled. The President has changed his reasons for being over there every time a reason is proven false or an objective reached." She also stated that President Bush was "... sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis… I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith."[3]

Sheehan gave another interview on October 4, 2004, stating that she did not understand the reasons for the Iraq invasion and never thought that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. She further stated that her son's death had compelled her to speak out against the war. [2]

Friends and family of Cindy Sheehan hold a photo of Casey Sheehan at an anti-war demonstration in Arlington, Virginia on October 2, 2004.
Friends and family of Cindy Sheehan hold a photo of Casey Sheehan at an anti-war demonstration in Arlington, Virginia on October 2, 2004.

During the Presidential Inauguration in January 2005, Sheehan traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak at the opening of "Eyes Wide Open: the Human Cost of War", a traveling exhibition created by the American Friends Service Committee that displays pairs of combat boots to represent every U.S. military casualty. There she met others who lost family members in Iraq, and together they planned to create an organization for similar families. Sheehan wrote about the experience in a commentary article.[4] She was also a featured speaker when the exhibition opened in San Diego in March 2005[5] and traveled with the exhibition to other locations. "Behind these boots is one broken-hearted family," she stated as she donated her son Casey's boots to travel with Eyes Wide Open when it stopped in San Francisco later that month.[6]

Sheehan is one of the nine founding members of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization created in January 2005 that seeks to end the U.S. presence in Iraq and provide support for families of fallen soldiers. As of August 2005, at least 63 other relatives of fallen soldiers are listed as members.

Although she had spoken publicly against the Iraq war and occupation since 2004, and even pledged not to pay her 2004 taxes,[7] Sheehan attracted international attention only in early August 2005. At that time, she traveled to Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch just outside Crawford, Texas. Demanding a second meeting with the President and an explanation of the cause for which her son died[8][9], she created a peace camp called Camp Casey by pitching a tent by the side of the road and announced her intention to stay for the full five weeks or until such a meeting was granted. She also promised that, were she not granted a second meeting, she would return to Crawford each time Bush visits there in the future.[10] Several cabinet members went out to talk to Sheehan, but she refused stating that she would only talk to the President himself. Toward the end of her vigil, she said she was "very, very, very grateful" Bush did not grant her that meeting because it would have ended the momentum the peace movement gained from the popularity of her demonstrations.[11]

Sheehan's actions have led supporters such as Rev. Lennox Yearwood, CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, to describe her as "the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement."[12] Later during the demonstration, Sheehan also gained the label of "Peace Mom" from the mainstream media.[13][14][15][16]

Some of her statements have caused controversy.[citation needed] One such comment she wrote on her Daily Kos diary on September 24, 2005, accusing the media of excessive media coverage of Hurricane Rita:

[I] am watching [CNN] and it is 100 percent [R]ita... even though it is a little wind and a little rain... it is bad, but there are other things going on in this country today... and in the world!!!![17]

In March 2005, James Morris sent an e-mail to ABC's Nightline allegedly written by Sheehan that included the statements that Casey Sheehan "was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel" and that he had "joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." Sheehan denies the allegations: "I've never said that... Those aren't even words that I would say. I do believe that the Palestinian issue[18] is a hot issue that needs to be solved, and it needs to be more fair and equitable, but I never said my son died for Israel." She claims that Morris modified the email to support his own personal agenda. Morris denies altering the email before sending it along to Nightline[19] on Sheehan's behalf (per her request for him to do so). Two other individuals, Tony Tersch and Skeeter Gallagher, received a copy of Sheehan's email directly from her; both claim that the e-mail they received is consistent with Morris' story, rather than Sheehan's. Tersch posted the email[20] he received to the "bullyard" Google group.

Cindy Sheehan on May 12, 2006 published a letter titled "Oh no, Canada".[21] In the letter, she wrote that the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was "wildly unpopular from coast to coast up north and there is a growing sense of unease about his emulation of a very unpopular person in the USA but even more in Canada: George Bush." However, in March, SES Research released the results of a poll[22] indicating that more Canadians in every part of the country chose Harper as the one who would make the best Prime Minister from among the five major party leaders.

She has plans to build a therapy center across from President Bush's ranch for returning war victims.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cindy Sheehan

Featured Items

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Emphatically Peace

This peace sign was the earliest graphic for Critical Graphics which I designed completely from scratch in Photoshop. I've gotta learn Illustrator, for which something like this would be a relative snap. With Photoshop it was pretty arduous and as late as 2006 I was still finding the occasional flaw.

The original idea began with the Christian Right's moral objectivism, the idea that so-called traditional moral values (read Christian moral values) form the basis of righteous standards for behaviour and belief. Paah. Particularly when these same religious conservatives backed policies of war, terror and murder.

I enjoy turning such hypocrisies upon themselves. If Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, stood for any one moral value above all it was peace itself. And, so was born the synthesis of the mighty peace symbol and the catch-phrase, "Traditional Moral Value." It was quite popular for a while but has since been eclipsed by other peace sign designs. The Emphatic Peace design above, with the "Peace" caption added for emphasis remains one of the most popular images on Critical Graphics.

A little bit about the peace sign from Wikipedia...

The peace symbol

The CND or Peace symbol
The CND or Peace symbol

This forked symbol was adopted as its badge by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain, and originally, its use was confined to supporters of that organization. It was later generalised to become an icon of the 1960s anti-war movement, and was also adopted by the counterculture of the time. It was designed and completed February 21, 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a commercial designer and artist in Britain. He had been commissioned by the CND to design a symbol for use at an Easter march to Canterbury Cathedral in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in England.

The symbol itself is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. These two signals imposed over each other form the shape of the peace symbol. In the original design the lines widened at the edge of the circle.


Semaphore 'N'
Semaphore 'N'
Semaphore 'D'
Semaphore 'D'

A conscientious objector who had worked on a farm in Norfolk during the Second World War, Holtom later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater depth: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it."[1]

A U.S. Army PoW discusses his peace symbol necklace with his North Vietnamese Army captors during the Vietnam War
A U.S. Army PoW discusses his peace symbol necklace with his North Vietnamese Army captors during the Vietnam War

The peace symbol flag first became known in the United States in 1958 when Albert Bigelow, a pacifist protester, sailed his small boat outfitted with the CND banner into the vicinity of a nuclear test. The peace symbol button was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago, who traveled to England to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union (SPU). Altbach purchased a bag of the "chickentrack" buttons while he was in England, and brought them back to Chicago, where he convinced SPU to reprint the button and adopt it as its symbol. Over the next four years, SPU reproduced and sold thousands of the buttons on college campuses.

In Unicode, the peace symbol is U+262E: , and can thus be generated in HTML by typing ☮ or ☮. However, many browsers will not have a font that can display it.


The fact that the symbol resembles a bird foot in a circle gave rise to spurious alternative interpretations, ranging from plain mockery of "crow's foot" or "The footprint of the American Chicken" (suggesting that peace activists were cowards) to a number of occult meanings, such as an upside down crucifix with the arms broken downward, suggesting the way that St. Peter was martyred. Others have claimed that the symbol resembles a medieval sign known as "Nero's Cross" that represents Satanism. Alternatively, some have suggested that the symbol is an inverted Elhaz rune, which would reverse the rune's meaning, according to the critics, from 'life' to 'death' (although the Elhaz rune is thought to mean elk[2]). As well, a commonly repeated conjecture during the 1960s was that it was an antichrist symbol: a representation Jesus on the cross upside-down. Gerald Holtom's explanation of the genesis of the symbol and his first drawings of it, however, do not support those interpretations.:) [3][4][5][6]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article Peace Symbol

Featured Items

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Raised Fist

As way of introduction I'm presenting the first design created for the Critical Graphics site banner. Eventually we added it to our catalogue of t-shirts, stickers, buttons and more and over time it has proven to be among the most popular designs we offer. And well it should, as a symbol of resistance and solidarity we chose it as an elemental theme for our site and we're quite happy to see our visitors agree.

A little about the raised fist from Wikipedia.

Raised fist

Nelson Mandela walks free from prison in 1990 with a raised fist
Nelson Mandela walks free from prison in 1990 with a raised fist

The raised fist is a symbol and salute most often used by communists, anarchists, socialists, leftists, pacifists, trade unionists and others in the left. Generally the fist is used as an expression of solidarity or defiance.

Other names

The salute has also been known as the clenched fist or closed fist. Additionally, different movements sometimes use different terms to describe the raised fist salute: amongst communists and socialists it is sometimes called the red salute, whereas amongst black rights activists, especially in the United States of America it has been called the black power salute. During the Spanish Civil War, it was sometimes known as the anti-fascist salute.


The fist may represent union, as "many weak fingers can come together to create a strong fist", and is also used to express solidarity, generally with oppressed peoples. This symbolism may have sprung from usage by trade unions.

Stencilled symbol of the autonomist movement Autonome
Stencilled symbol of the autonomist movement Autonome

Groups that have used the symbol

Groups that have used some form of the raised fist as a symbol:

Additionally, the fist with a red rose (e.g., as used by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) is a symbol of social democracy.

  • Further note should be made to the use of the symbol in heavy metal, also used to symbolize solidarity and defiance of mainstream culture


The salute consists of raising the arm with a clenched fist, at an angle greater than 90 degrees. There is no formal agreement as to which arm should be raised; usually, anarchists use the right arm while Marxists use the left arm,[citation needed] but this rule is not adhered to very strictly. It contrasts with the Roman Salute, used by fascists in the 20th century, in which the arm is held at a similar angle but the palm is flat.

The clenched fist gesture is sometimes thought to have originated in the Spanish Civil War. A letter from the Spanish Civil War explained,

...the raised fist which greets you in Salud is not just a gesture—it means life and liberty being fought for and a greeting of solidarity with the democratic peoples of the world."[1]

The raised fist was used as the salute of the Black Panther Party. At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, medal winners John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the raised fist salute during the American national anthem as a sign of black power and protest on behalf of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. For this, they were barred from further Olympic activities.

Loyalists in Northern Ireland often use a clenched fist on murals depicting the Red Hand of Ulster.

See also

1968 Olympics Black Power Salute



  1. ^ Rolfe, Mary. Letter to Leo Hurwitz and Janey Dudley, 25 November 1938. Reprinted in Cary Nelson and Jefferson Hendricks, eds. "Madrid 1937: Letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the Spanish Civil War," Routledge: 1996. Reprinted online [1]

Selected Gear

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article Raised Fist