Week #22: Frameline Don’t Pinkwash Us!


, , , , , ,

photo 2A message to Frameline (San Francisco LGBT Film Festival) for opening weekend.  The opening night gala was greeted by a rowdy demonstration protesting the film festival’s ongoing relationship with the Israeli government.Frameline demo glitter banner

photo 1

We thought we would add a visual reinforcement to amplify the protesters’ message.  Apparently someone didn’t like it:

empty space



Weeks #20-21: Films Bring Us Together, But Apartheid Divides Us!


, , , , , , ,

apartheid divides us banner

For six years, Bay Area activists have been pressuring Frameline, the oldest and largest LGBT film festival in the world, to end its partnership with the Israeli government.  Although Frameline publicly claimed that they are “neutral,” last year, a packet of documents was leaked (our very own Wikileak!) documenting Frameline’s close collaboration with the consulate and Zionist organizations to suppress progressive queer voices.

Five years ago, Frameline staff met with activists and queer Palestinians and seemed to distance itself from the consulate.  But three years ago, under new leadership and increased pressure from the consulate, they renewed the relationship.  Since then, they have refused to meet with activists on the issue.

This year writers Angela Davis and Alice Walker and filmmakers Susan Stryker, Barbara Hammer, Roya Rastegar and Kim Klausner joined many others in calling on Frameline to drop Israeli sponsorship.  And for the first time, filmmakers declined to show their work at the festival over the issue.  But Frameline once again chose to ignore our cry for justice and partner with apartheid.

Activists will gather outside the opening night gala for a rousing and rowdy protest.  Frameline:  Stop Pinkwashing Apartheid.

apartheid divides us with other posters

apartheid divides us big

Week #19 – Life, Freedom & Justice in Two Tongues



From Tahrir Square to Berkeley

From Tahrir Square to Berkeley

Our goal with this project is to inspire.  The Arab Spring inspired all of us.  This graphic was inspired by a chant which rang through the streets of Cairo during the first anniversary of the uprising.  The artist brought the chant home to remind everyone that all it takes is a spark, belief and a communal spirit to change our world.

Weeks #16-18: Israel Steals Gardens


, , , , , , , , , ,

Stop JNF installed“Israel Steals Gardens.”

Street Cred artists modified bus ads in San Francisco over the past few weeks to highlight this truth.  “Palestinian farmers face the brunt of Israel’s land confiscations, demolitions and water theft,” explains a recent call issued by Palestinian farming organizations.  “An estimated 10% of the Palestinian GDP ($480 million) and 110,000 jobs are lost annually because of the negative effect of Israeli policies on Palestinian agriculture in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the report continues.

The bus ads which were modified promote the annual “Israel in the Gardens” festival, which celebrates the 1967 annexation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by the Israeli army.  These areas remain under Israeli military occupation today, one of the longest-standing occupations in the world.  Since 1967, Israel has moved half a million Jewish settlers into Palestinian territory, confiscating over 63% of the agricultural land, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws.  Israeli settlements in the West Bank expanded by 1977 acres in 2012, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The artists’ action comes at the same time that a controversy has erupted over a series of ads placed on buses by American Muslims for Palestine.  The AMP ads read “End Apartheid Now: Stop US Aid to Israel” alongside a picture of the Apartheid Wall which runs through over 300 miles of Palestinian land in the West Bank.  Pro-Israel organizations and seven city supervisors have claimed that the AMP ad are “deceptive” and “inflammatory” because of its use of the word “apartheid,”  Supervisor Scott Wiener and six other supervisors sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Agency calling on the agency to fork over the $5,030 from American Muslims for Palestine to the Human Rights Commission to combat “growing intolerance alienating the Jewish community.”  The supervisors demand equates the AMP ads to a previous campaign, by Islamophobe Pamela Geller, which called Muslims “savage.”

As pointed out in a statement by Jewish Voice For Peace, Israeli officials themselves have used the word “apartheid,” which means “separation,” to describe its policies toward Palestinians.  Israel’s calls the Wall pictured in the AMP ad its “Separation Barrier.”

“It’s Israel in the Gardens, not the AMP ads, which is deceptive,” said StreetCred member KD.  “The ad calls it a ‘Jewish community celebration’ but it’s really a celebration of land theft.  We call for the proceeds of these ads be donated to study the harm done to Jews and non-Jews alike by the conflation of the Jewish community with the Israeli state, and/or the harm done to Palestinians by the theft of their land.”

Numerous different modifications to the Israel in the Gardens bus ad have been posted on buses in various San Francisco locales.

Israel in the Gardens originalend apartheid big yellownothing to celebrateIsrael Steals End Apartheid glareisrael steals End Occupation

Week #15 – Pride in Whistleblowing


, , , , , , ,

Installed at Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro & Market

Installed at Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro & Market

Last week, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Committee rescinded the selection of military whistleblower Bradley Manning as an honorary grand marshal of this year’s parade.  According to the flood of articles about the decision-making process, the committee was pressured by LGBT military organizations to withdraw the invitation.  Manning was elected grand marshal by the SF Pride “Electoral College,” which is composed of past community grand marshals, and they are supposed to choose someone from “the community.”  So one part of the debate has centered on who is our “community”.

We in BAAQUP (which includes at least one former grand marshal) say that our community is people who follow their conscience and do not remain silent when they see war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed.  We see Manning as more worthy of being honored than the big banks and other corporations who pay to put their names and banners all over the parade.

Take action!  Tell the Pride Committee to stand up for justice.

Week #14: Congratulations, UC Berkeley!


, , , , , , , ,

HP in BerkeleyStreet Cred and BAAQUP commend the UC Berkeley Student Senate for its vote Wednesday night to divest from companies profiting from Israeli occupation.  The student senators voted 11-9 to divest its funds from Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar and Cement Roadstone Holdings, and recommended that the UC Regents do so as well.

Caterpillar sells armored bulldozers to the Israeli military.  The bulldozers are frequently used to demolish Palestinian homes, in violation of international law.  One such bulldozer killed U.S. solidarity activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003.  A Hewlett Packard subsidiary sells biometric technology to the Israeli government to track the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  Similar technology was supplied to the South African government by Polaroid and IBM, which were key targets of the U.S. divestment movement that helped to topple South African apartheid in the 1980s.  congrats ASUC bottom

Cement Roadstone Holdings owns 25% of Mashav Initiating and Development, parent company of Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises. Nesher provided cement for the construction of the separation wall, checkpoints, West Bank settlements and Israeli construction in the occupied territories.

The Berkeley vote was the fourth at a UC Campus in the last few months.  The UC Riverside senate passed a similar resolution a few weeks ago, but then overturned it under pressure from Zionists on campus.  A resolution at Santa Barbara was narrowly defeated last week.  The UC Irvine senate passed its resolution in November.

Street Cred members installed bus shelter posters in downtown Berkeley and at the Bancroft and Telegraph entrance to campus, congratulating the student senate for its courageous action for justice.

Their Lives at Your Fingertips

Week #13 – Homos Strike Back at Islamophobic Gay-Baiting


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Homos Strike Back 4-13

Professional Islamophobe Pamela Geller’s new campaign was specifically intended to provoke the LGBT community.

Well she ought to know that when we’re provoked, we get active.

Let’s be clear:  we abhor and condemn homophobia and transphobia wherever they exist.  We oppose fundamentalist governments from Arkansas to Saudi Arabia.  But queers will fight our own battles in our own ways in every country where we live and we will NOT be used to promote hatred, ignorance and violence.

The silence in the media and social networks about this latest outrage by Geller and her ilk make us very frightened.  She cannot be allowed to succeed in normalizing anti-Islamic hate speech on our streets and wearing down the opposition to her attacks.

Resistance is hard but it is not futile.  We will continue to act with joy and love against hate and we will triumph.

homos strike close

Week #12 – “Marriage Equality” in Twizzlers


, , , , , , ,

Text Reads: Marriage Rights = Perks for Couples. Rights should be for everyone. Graphic uses twizzlers to express.

Installed at Telegraph and Grand in Oakland, for “First Friday”

We’re queer.  We’re here.  And we don’t want “marriage equality.”

It’s not that we have anything against people getting married, if that’s what they want.  But for us, as for many many of the queer (and straight) people we know, the issue is marginalizing in a million ways.

The people who are fighting so hard for marriage rights represent it as “the new civil rights movement.”  But the Civil Rights Movement of the 1940s-1960s was about securing equal rights for everyone.  No, the Public Accommodations Act and the Voting Rights Act did not magically produce racial equality, but they did establish that everyone is equal under the law.  Marriage rights, on the other hand, are about extending unequal benefits under the law to more people.

Every benefit that is used as an argument for same-sex marriage could be and should be achieved by extending civil rights to every person living here.  Everyone should have guaranteed health care, not just people who happen to be married to people who happen to have employer-paid health insurance.  Every person should be able to live where they want, not just people who happen to be married to U.S. citizens.  Everyone should be able to have the visitors they want if they have to be in a hospital, and even if we were married, there are a lot more people we would want to be able to visit us than our spouses.  We’ve all been part of loving support communities for people who were critically ill, and we expect to do it again.  We didn’t need and don’t want any state interference in the creation of those supportive communities.

For many queers, the fight for same-sex marriage feels marginalizing in a host of ways

For many queers, the fight for same-sex marriage feels marginalizing in a host of ways

“Marriage equality” institutionalizes an ideal of social conformity that we want no part of.  We want to acknowledge and love and recognize and validate the range of relationships that most people have, whether we define them as “family” or “friends” or “armies of lovers.”  It’s a way of devaluing and marginalizing relationships, and people, who are seen as countercultural or based on unsanctioned forms of love.  But we don’t want the state or the church sanctioning our loves.  We want to expand the ways people can love, not further entrench archaic values that don’t work for most people (married couples, with and without kids, have been a minority of U.S. households since 2005).

Marriage rights are largely property rights – who gets your stuff when you die and how much tax do they have to pay on it?  We don’t want equality in a society that is built on such rampant inequality.  We want to tear it down.  Not so long ago, being queer meant transgressing in a host of wonderful and creative ways, built of necessity but transformed into a liberatory vision of a better way to live.

When we gain marriage rights, what will we have lost?

twizzling in castro

At Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market

Press Release: Why we are changing Pamela Geller’s hate-filled bus ads


, , , , ,

Happy MondayBay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power and Street Cred are a loose collective of artist activists with a long history of liberating public spaces and creating images that challenge attempts to control of our lives by corporations, government and the assumptions promoted by mass media.  Our work addresses an evolving series of campaigns aimed at disrupting the status quo by awakening people’s consciousness.  We are Advertising for the People.

We believe that all public spaces including public transit and should be welcoming and safe for all members of our community.  The hate-filled messages purchased by Pamela Geller’s AFDI defame and vilify Muslims and are harmful and offensive to residents and visitors in San Francisco, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Since the City will not take action against these ads on City buses, we have.

Our goals are:

(1) To reconfigure texts and images that are harmful, inciting, misleading and dangerous.  Hate speech leads to hate actions. Anti-Muslim violence is prevalent in the United States and on the rise.

(2) To interrupt the normalization of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions. Our art is designed to help people understand that Islamophobia and other hate speech should not go unchecked and that we have the power to disrupt these racist and hateful discourses.

(3) In the case of this most recent campaign, to identify the person who is intentionally fueling and inciting hatred in our communities.

There are plenty of quotes from the Bible that could be used to paint Jews and Christians as violent and dangerous.  There are plenty of individuals whose actions could be used to further that impression.  It’s hard to believe that pictures of Bernie Madoff or Timothy McVeigh, with words suggesting that all Jews are corporate criminals or all Christians are mass murderers, would be allowed to be displayed on City buses.  Geller’s anti-Islamic venom is no more acceptable than those misrepresentations would be.

BAAQUP was able to remix  all ten of AFDI's previous round of bus ads in August 2012

BAAQUP was able to remix all ten of AFDI’s previous round of bus ads in August 2012

We support the first amendment and also look to The European Court of Human Rights which has recently broadened its definition of hate speech to include speech “that might be offensive to individuals or groups”.  We also appreciate the cultural shift in this country that recognizes language such as the “N” word and imagery that promotes negative stereotypes as something that is extremely sensitive and not to be paraded in public space for sensation’s sake.

As long as these advertising outrages continue to appear on our streets, we will continue to reconstitute them to reflect something more truthful, just, and ideally fabulous.

Week 11: Unmaking Hate Speech (Pamela Geller)


, , , , , , , , , ,

2nd Remake Before & After med

This work was featured in a Huffington Post article about the hate speech ads.

We have also learned that Geller is bring a new campaign in April specifically targeting the queer community.  We will respond in kind!