The Beehive’s Plan Colombia poster and presentation is the product of many discussions around the issue of colonialism in the Andean Region of South America that took place between our collective and organizers over the spring of 2002 in Ecuador, Colombia and the U.S. These exchanges of information and inspiration were collaboratively sewn together into a quilt of images, and organized in a circuit of progressions and contrasts that inform and engage the viewer throughout their journey of this elaborate graphic. This circuit, with its pathways geared towards fostering a narrative discussion, aids in the functionality of the graphic to be used as a political organizing tool… a powerful tool in which to discuss an overwhelmingly complex situation in a format that breaks the information down into more digestible, and therefore memorable, chunks. This communication strategy allows for addressing specific elements of the issue, still in context of the larger forces at hand, while transcending the boundaries of language and learning.
The long history of colonialism in the Americas, currently manifested in the Andean Region as “Plan Colombia,” is a strong metaphor of the multi-faceted destructive influences of U.S. foreign policy and corporate monoculture on a global scale. This graphic attempts to expose the lie of the drug war as a smokescreen for multinational corporation’s interests in extraction of the rich biodiversity and natural resources of the Amazon and her peoples. It is an anti-war poster that speaks in the mythology of our times, the cancerous mono myth of corporate globalization, and its antibodies of grassroots resistance. In the attempt to overcome the tendency of political imagery to simply portray “what we are against” and horror stories, this overwhelming situation is illustrated in three “layers” to help the viewer experience the different aspects of an extremely complex, and brutal situation. The image’s mission is to portray the story of not just the nightmare, but to give weight to the inspiring stories of hope, courage, and struggle of the people and critters that are living through it.
As North American youth that have endured the destructive and racist brainwashing of television, video games, cultural appropriation and advertising imagery, our collective felt it was essential to produce this representation directly in collaboration with organizers in the Andean Region, to get the story straight…. The result as you will see, is thick with many voices.
The tools produced from this collaboration are being distributed, as anti- copyright material, for use in campaigns in both the South and North of the Americas. This U.S. tour is being conducted simultaneously with fellow bees in South America, busy with presentations in Ecuador, and Colombia, as organizers throughout the region prepare for protests against the meetings of the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quito, in early November.