All of Us or None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area

The evolution of street art with a message

This long-awaited catalog of political posters pays homage to an influential and populist art movement that has created some of the most enduring imagery of our time. In All of Us or None, author Lincoln Cushing examines key selections from a remarkable archive of over 24,000 posters amassed by free speech movement activist, author, and educator Michael Rossman over the course of thirty years. This inspiring collection of Bay Area posters illuminates the history of this ad-hoc and ephemeral art form, celebrating its unique capacity to infuse contemporary issues with the urgency and energy of the eternal fight for justice.

Featuring posters on topics as diverse as civil rights, war, poverty, the environment, music, women’s liberation, fine art, and gentrification, All of Us or None shows us why the Bay Area was such fertile breeding ground for the genre and why it arguably produced more independent political posters than anywhere else on earth. Here is an exhilarating history of artists, studios, printshops, distributors, activists, icons, and changemakers—among them R. Crumb, Stanley Mouse, Cesar Chavez, Max Scherr, Emory Douglas, Angela Davis, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Bill Graham, and Pete Seeger—together raising their voices in opposition to the status quo.

In spring of 2012, the Oakland Museum of California will present its first comprehensive exhibition of this recently acquired treasure; the show, along with this book, presents an unbroken narrative of passionate social justice printmaking from the mid-1960s to the present.

Reviews

“With fluid, highly accessible prose, Cushing traces the lineage of images that have now become iconic, such as Frank Cieciorka's often quoted clenched fist, or the Black Panther Party's panther symbol as rendered by Emory Douglas and others.”

Publishers Weekly

 

“The poster—public art at its best—is all about advocacy. It is the voice of the voiceless. The clenched upraised fist, Che Guevara, the peace symbol…political posters simultaneously draw from a common iconography and contribute to it.”

—David Lance Goines, artist, printer, and author of The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s

 

“Lincoln Cushing’s All of Us or None perfectly captures Michael Rossman’s legendary social justice poster collection. The scope of Rossman’s archive is breathtaking, and Cushing, the leading analyst of political posters of our time, brilliantly uses the artwork to bring social movements to life.”

—Randy Shaw, author of Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the Twenty-First Century

 

“The paladin of political posters, Lincoln Cushing, has done us a great service. The 60s poster craze allowed the distribution of underground comix and other social justice publications as they piggybacked the early distribution of counterculture thought. Posters screamed our wants, hopes, and fears from our walls. They were a movement’s thought balloons, a visual and moral vaccine against the evils of society.”

—Ron Turner, founder of counterculture publisher Last Gasp

 

All of Us or None is an extremely remarkable and useful book: remarkable because it brings back so many of the memorable images of rebellion—political,  cultural, and both together—from a past now rapidly receding, and useful because in our new era of protest, creative expression in artistic forms is more badly needed than ever. Lincoln Cushing, a distinguished scholar of political art, has given us a small masterpiece.”

—Paul Buhle, publisher of the SDS magazine Radical America and author of more than forty books on radical politics and culture

 

“Lincoln Cushing offers us just the inspiration we need as we struggle against injustice and hope for real change this time around.”

—Lucy R. Lippard, writer and activist

About the Author

Lincoln Cushing
Lincoln Cushing has at various times been a printer, artist, librarian, archivist, and author. His books include Revolución!: Cuban Poster Art and Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Formerly he was the Cataloging and Electronic Outreach Librarian at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library and he is currently an archivist for Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources. He is involved in numerous efforts to document, catalog, and disseminate oppositional political culture of the late twentieth century.