Change we can really believe in.

Confronted with the quasi-deification (Guevarafication?) of Barack Obama, I'd like to present some change agents that live by the mantra that others merely utter: Change comes from the bottom-up. Power to the people. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

I'll be adding more running up to the election as my time permits.

Emma Goldman
Emiliano Zapata
Peter Kropotkin

Emma Goldman
1869 - 1940

A prolific anarchist feminist writer and organizer, Emma Goldman published the journal Mother Earth and helped teach at the Modern School in New York. Long before it was socially acceptable (or legal, in some cases) to say so, she was vocally in favor of birth control, abortion rights, and free love.

She was deported back to her native Lithuania after her vocal opposition to World War I and the draft.

"Anarchism is the great liberator of man from the phantoms that have held him captive; it is the arbiter and pacifier of the two forces for individual and social harmony."

Emiliano Zapata
1879 - 1918

A famed leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, Zapata was a crucial player in the defeat of dictator Porfirio Di­az.

When the politician replacing Di­az continued his predecessor's anti-democratic and repressive tradition, Zapata and his army refused to disarm, claiming that if the peasants cannot guarantee their rights while armed, there would be no chance if they were unarmed.

"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!"

"The land belongs to those that work it."

"I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men."

Peter Kropotkin
1842 - 1921

A Russian Prince (who at an early age abandoned the title), philosopher, geologist, naturalist, and anarchist revolutionary, he is best known for his book Mutual Aid. The book challenged the idea that evolution was naught but "survival of the fittest," and catalogued the myriad ways species cooperate to survive.

In his final years, he railed against the Bolskeviks who had taken power in his home country.

"Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history. Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin has none. He is a madman, an immolator, wishful of burning, and slaughter, and sacrificing."

"The masses have never believed in sophisms taught by economists, uttered more to confirm exploiters in their rights than to convert exploited!"

Creative Commons License
These illustrations are under a Creative Commons license - do whatever you like with them,
just make sure others can do the same with your final product, too.


suggestions for round 2: ella baker medgar evers cesar chavez van jones septima clark fannie lou hamer (w/ rifle?) -zack
-- Lucy Parsons/Albert Parsons ( -- Mordechai Anielewicz ( -- Second to Fred Hampton!
voltairine de'cleyre pierre joseph proudhon mikhael bakunin peter tolstoy and maybe some mutualists and non-western anarchists too... but please, leave the marxists off the list. and especially van jones, any bastard that can beat up his girlfriend, get called out on it, and then blame his battering on the pressure of being black in america should have been disowned by the left a long time ago. if he was on fire I wouldn't piss on him to put it out.
Fuck off. There are plenty of decent (non-Leninist) Marxists out there: Anton Pannekoek, Rosa Luxemburg, Murray Bookchin (ok... maybe he doesn't consider himself a Marxist anymore, but stil....)
Bookchin doesn't consider himself much of anything anymore, since he's dead!
good work.
Could you somehow do something ambiguous, faceless? A 'This could be you' thing. I hate when people defer all power and responsibility to elites (Not criticizing these revolutionaries listed of course), and they need to understand that THEY have the power. I'll never know the faces, tales, or even the names of most of my heroes.
I love the posters and I really hope you do more pictures of women. i.e. Simone Weil, Commandanta Ramona, Judi Barri,yeah...
I feel that Krotopkin is somewhat misrepresented here. His point was not to challenge the idea of "survival of the fittest", it was merely to point out that the abilities to co-operate and empathise are in fact a major part of "survival of the fittest", when most people didn't realise (and too many people still don't) that these factors are also variables of evolutionary fitness. It's not a major point, to be sure. But I would personally like that the misconception of "survival of the fittest" and cooperation to be mutually exclusive to be cleared up properly,
please do one of him...he is so wonderful and forgotten...let me know what happens...
How about Edward Abbey in front of that "TeeVee" he shot? Maybe with the word "Monkeywrench" under it?
Definitely Fred Hampton (maybe together with Huey P. Newton), others: E.F. Schumacher Julius Nyerere Malcolm X Jean Jacques Rousseau Assata Shakur Steven Biko Mao Tse-Tung (minus mass executions) Che Guevara (not the romanticized notion) Amilcar Cabral (participao populaire) Kwame Nkrumah (before he became dictatorial) These leaders will need to be covered in a way that does not idolize them, cutting out their radical nature, as they are celebrated today: Mahatma Gandhi Martin Luther King Jr. (poor people's campaign focus)
Dictators, racists, womanizers...great idea! Heck why not make a cool Hitler poster (minus that whole Holocaust thing) and a really sweet George Bush poster (Minus most of his life). Assata Shakur and in some fashions Malcolm X is cool but everyone else has a lot of issues that shouldn't be looked over and they shouldn't be idolized or supported. Make posters about things like the Stonewall Uprisings or the battle of Blair Mountain or the peoples uprisings in Oaxaca. Lame fascists are just as they sound!
You cannot label all of these as dictators, racists, or womanizers. And I can see your point in that certain people should be out of the running for overbearingly brutal aspects of their character. You make a good point, but also many of these people represented incredible ideas and actions before they became tuned more towards power or puppet control. I think your better point is that of making posters of events or even organizations. Placing figureheads or forcing single leaders to become icons quickly become problematic - no one makes a movie about an organization of people.
mao was directly responsible for killing more than 40 million of his own people. he deserves nothing.
Gandhi had some good political strategy insights but he was absolutely in favor of maintaining the status quo, i.e., the strict caste system in India - antithetical to anything almost anyone else listed on this page would accept or support. See this source for more re "Gandhi's endorsement of the status quo and the continuation of caste oppression. He was also charged with marginalizing the lower caste people from the upper caste-dominated nationalist struggle." Nyerere had some vision, but he had some serious drawbacks. He wanted to maintain centralized power and either he or his cronies (depending on which historian you read) undermined all efforts at true autonomy and collectivization even as he gave such efforts lip service (ref). Google "Ruvuma Development Association" for more. Just my two cents.
Agreed, however Ghandhi's ideas for economics (Sarvodayan economics) was a great model for decentralized and localized production and consumption. Nyerere faced intense outside pressures from the IMF and other international bodies to make things happen as his Ujamaa model was developing. Ruvuma is an excellent case of this and you are right to bring power into the equation. Where there was a successful Ujamaa village model working, the central government stepped in and said, "no, we tell you what to do." A successful model I would say, but the outside influences pushing centralization practices cannot be overlooked.
These are beautiful! What program(s) did you use to make these?
Gandhi! Proudhon!
It's saddening that this turned out to be anarcho-idols naming contest. If you have to name something to demonstrate your anarchist knowledge and that you're "init" I really think you should name events and actions that have taken place by the people and for the people. The web is full of wannabe revolutionaries who will shite in their pants as soon as a real proletarian/precarian action would take place. These hard core revolutionaries are hard core only when it's a question of producing loads of hard-to-understand documents no one reads.
I was surprised to see Chavez listed.. ha! Although I couldn't have picked a better three (an anarcho communist, anarcha feminist and an indigenous autonomist), I have a few. Going for a different approach. Abbie Hoffman (anarchist, inner revolutionary)! Edward Paul Abbey (anarchist, environmentalist). Going for a more traditional approach. Lucy Parsons (anarcho communist). Mikhail Bakunin (anarcho collectivist). Ricardo Flores Magón (Zapatista anarchist). Buenaventura Durruti (anarcho collectivist). Pick what you like, we're all loading shit up on you. Remember now, do not idolize these fine people (they wished that you wouldn't), simply keep them as inspirations and remember to think for yourself! Solidarity, Carlos
seriously it'd be awesome.
I actually think might like your graphics better without the (A) pins. Emma and Peter don't ware them when they were around, they let their ideas and organizing stand on their own. And your descriptions of them are great. Plus without it, people seeing these images might look into their amazing work (Emma's work on woman's rights etc and not be dismissive of her right away because of the stigma of the "anarchism" label). If Without the pin, it would not distill their political organizing to a misunderstood and often misrepresented ideology. Perhaps you could have versions without it?
I wrestled with that notion myself, as I was creating them. I eventually came to the conclusion that they were proud to use the word anarchism, at a time when that term was also misunderstood and misrepresented (possibly even more so). And from a design point of view, with the exception of Zapata, these are not familiar faces to most people. So when they are printed and posted, the sole indicator that there's something political going on is the pin. Otherwise it's just a woman and a bearded man. :)
its funny you say that Zapata was the familiar one....i discovered these one by one around town, and couldn't figure out who the image of Zapata was without a little help, while the others seemed obvious to me excellent job, thanks for doing this, although emma is peeling a bit
Martin Luther King !! Nelson Mandela !! Ernesto Che Guevara !! Trotski !! Malcom X !! George Orwell !! Lluis Companys !!
Fantastic website. A great deal of useful info here. I’m sending it to some buddies! Kandi Till