Celebrate People's History: ILWU and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle
Medium:2 Color Offset Printed Poster
This is a blue, white, orange, and teal poster. There are people in a crowd protesting and carrying signs. At the top of the image there is a sign that reads in orange text, "Injury to one is an injury to all". At the bottom on a white background there is teal text that reads: “In 1984 members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) refused to unload South African cargo off the Nedlloyd Kimberley in San Francisco. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to South Africa’s apartheid regime. For eleven days, as thousands rallied in support, that cargo remained in the ship’s hold. This action belongs to a militant tradition in the Bay Area’s Local 10 that stretches back from the 1930s into the 21st Century. As the union’s first president, Harry Bridges once declared: “Interfere with foreign policy of the country? Sure as Hell! That’s our job, that’s out privilege, that’s our right, that’s our duty.” In 1990 while visiting Oakland, shortly after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela thanked the members of the ILWU for their support in the fight against apartheid.”
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced political propaganda. These posters embody democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of the past. Unlike most political posters, the posters part of the Celebrate People’s History series tell the stories of the underdogs, those individuals and groups helping to move forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more just world. For 20 years, over 130 different posters have been displayed on the streets of over a dozen cities representing over 150 artists and writers. The Celebrate People’s History Poster Series has been organized and curated by Josh MacPhee since 1998.