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Citizens of New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle learned on Monday, September 21, that they live in lawless “anarchist jurisdictions,” according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Attorney General William Barr, under President Trump’s instruction, followed the announcement with a threat to withhold federal funding from these cities, which happen to be governed by Democratic mayors.
But instead of panicking, artists and activists on social media responded to Barr’s decision by ridiculing, and sometimes proudly embracing, the new label.
Jason Scott, an archivist who works for the Internet Archive, redesigned an Art Deco poster of New York’s Empire State Building to read: “Greetings from [an] anarchist jurisdiction.”
“I chose this image against the postcard because when you take such lame words and hold them against the triumph and beauty of the Empire State Building, the ridiculousness is laid bare,” Scott told Hyperallergic in an email.
Using a similarly sarcastic greeting, Wendi Dunlap, an artist and musician from Seattle, and Twitter user @melvynhfeist from Portland, created postcards for their “anarchist” cities. In the background, the postcards feature classic views of the two cities — Seattle’s Space Needle and a snowy Mount Hood overlooking Portland.
A few years ago, my hometown was called a “socialist hellhole” by Fox News. Now it’s an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
Keep up the good work, Seattleites!
(I made you a postcard. I think I might have to make it a t-shirt, too.) pic.twitter.com/40Mh2UHrb4
Wendi Dunlap (@litlnemo) September 21, 2020
— HN-Æ B33 (@melvynhfeist) September 22, 2020
“A few years ago, my hometown was called a ‘socialist hellhole’ by Fox News,” Dunlap wrote in her Tweet. “Now it’s an ‘anarchist jurisdiction.’ Keep up the good work, Seattleites!”
Joining in, Twitter user @mattrothenberg posted an image that replaces the heart symbol in I
“NYC has been called a lot worse and done just fine,” said Jason Scott. “People will look out over the beautiful view of this city from the Empire State long after these two fools [Trump and Barr] are dead.”
— matt rothenberg
(@mattrothenberg) September 21, 2020
— Blue_Rob (@BlueRob2) September 21, 2020
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Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
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