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New painting: “Defy: Speak Out”

People who defy exploitation and oppression are heroes. Especially when there’s a power imbalance, and they’re risking a lot. Sure, it’s good to pick our battles intelligently, and to amplify our power (like by rounding up support) to lessen the chance of getting hurt. At the same time, those rare souls who stand up and just go for it with raw courage and damn the consequences, are so inspiring.

16″x20″. Acrylic on reused (upcycled) gallery-wrapped canvas. $200.

Click to purchase.

"Defy: Speak Out", a colorful new painting with a cute yet fierce heart character.
“Defy: Speak Out”, a colorful new painting with a cute yet fierce heart character.
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Painting: “Fort Lauderdale Development”

“Fort Lauderdale Development,” 16″x20″ acrylic on canvas. We’re supposed to be “super excited” when greedy fkers fatten their wallets to artificially Disneyfy our city and then price us out. And we all get to try to make our living by playing our parts like puppets on strings.

This composition includes people and animals currently affected by real estate development, plus “ghosts” of animals that used to be here.

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Painting: “The interplay between base and superstructure”

Acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″

I started this without having an idea of where it would go. Some thoughts that arose in my mind while painting it:

Structure (economic activity) determines superstructure (culture & politics), but not absolutely. Ideas escape the confines that have been set up by economic imperative. Along with its designed parameters, the economy has also pushed for overflow to happen, inevitably and integrally. That’s evolution, which is always a process of active contradiction. The structure is still there underlying everything, but it begins to blur and go off-kilter as the superstructure pulls out of it and drags it along, pulling it out of shape even while it’s being shaped in turn.

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Thinking about what art is.

Art is emotion made concrete. Art hurts and art heals. Art makes us think, know, and believe. Art is sharing from within. Art reveals and conceals. It alienates and connects. Through art we may discover truths. Art is our consolation. Art is our weapon. Art is more than painting, drawing, singing and dancing; it is also cooking, customizing a motorcycle, raising a child, cultivating a garden, relating history, making an argument. Art is the creative spirit expressing itself through us all. Art is life. Art is for everybody.

Art is not a spectator sport. Art is a process. It’s a vehicle for self-discovery and for contemplation of the world’s phenomena. Art is transformative. We don’t just look at it; we do it. The point is not only “what it means” but “what I thought about while creating it.” Art is a doorway. It invites us to relax into an idea. It unravels structured thought into intuition. Observation becomes insight.

This is by no means the entire picture.

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Painting: Stop Pretending You’re Not a Murderer

Acrylic paint on stretched canvas, 16″x20″.

With this one, I had in mind the profit-scrounging soulless wretches who run the companies that put synthetic chemicals in our food or deform it with genetic engineering, or otherwise poison us at the table. Especially the company making “Sweet-N-Low” — a substance that my dad ingested in a Weight Watcher’s diet bar every day at lunch for 20 years before he died of pancreatic cancer. His genetically identical twin brother, who ate salads instead, lived 30 years longer. So while you may refer me to more recent research that claims to have debunked the original “saccharine causes cancer” studies, I remain convinced that it killed him.

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Painting: Hope in a simple idea

Full title: “Wading through our rivers of tears, we somehow find hope in a simple idea, even when bloodsucker capitalists keep winning day after day after fucking day.”

Acrylic paint on canvas, 16″x20″.

I’m looking out the back door of the studio and seeing a backdrop of sparkling new apartment buildings and cranes, while desperate prostitutes and drug dealers approach every car that slows at the stop sign. I’m noticing the major real estate developers pulling the strings on our culture, down to the granular level of which murals are permitted to appear on which abandoned warehouses lining the shadowy streets that they have their predator eyes on. They push a vapid, pleasure-oriented, bright-side mentality on us while they murder the world.

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Portrait of Henry Flagler

Portrait of Henry Flagler as a Vampire

Acrylic paint and paint marker on canvas, 16″x20″.

I painted this in defiance of all the blind worshiping in South Florida of this oil and railroad tycoon/land developer. He’s a very big deal around here, considered a great man. My studio is actually located on a street — one of many — named after him, in a whole neighborhood called Flagler Village. I think it should be renamed to “Flagler Was an Evil Motherfucker Village”.

So what did he do wrong?

He was a co-founder (and partner with Rockefeller) of Standard Oil, which captured a monopoly on oil refining in the US, ushered in the age of fossil fuels, accelerated the ubiquity of their use and thereby global warming. He then used his Standard Oil fortune to break South Florida open like a ripe fruit, building a tourist resort empire with hotels and railroads, leading to the natural ecosystem being largely wiped out.

One may argue that it was all inevitable because of larger economic forces in an era of capitalist expansion, and if he didn’t do all that, then others would have. Nevertheless he is the one who actually did it…which is why contemporary developers and other predators who follow in his footsteps have engineered a culture of reverence around him. Thus the need to insist that he deserves contempt and disgust from the rest of us.

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“I See What You’re Doing”

Here’s one of the pieces I’m going to show at “Art Mama Moves”, a group show opening next week in Fort Lauderdale. The details are here:

I painted this during the period when actors and others began speaking up against sexual abuse in the workplace. It started out being about that, but is really about so much more. I wrote a little statement to go along with it…

I appreciate so much anyone who speaks out against any kind of abuse, and right now, all the women currently speaking out against sexualized abuse in the workplace. Just naming it for what it is, is a huge accomplishment. We were silenced for far too long.

When I was in my teens and twenties, 30+ years ago, workplace sexual harassment (as well as “date rape”) weren’t even socially recognized concepts. So when they happened, the only way to deal with it was on an individual basis, with little or no support. At work, choices were limited: do we confront the creep, which might put us in a perpetual state of war with him and maybe also everyone else in the place, get us labeled as a troublemaker, and risk losing the job? Or we could try to avoid being alone around him, but stay in a constant state of anxiety and silent rage, and leave if it got worse. Or we could normalize it, convince ourselves that nothing’s wrong, and start drinking too much.


When I was 19, at one job interview I was told straight out that the job included sex with the owner, and if I had a problem with that I shouldn’t even bother applying. Back then, the only option I saw was to leave in disgust. Hell, even as recently as a couple years ago, one of my clients decided to parade around in only a towel during a work meeting. I dropped him as a client, but never confronted him about it. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to seem intolerant. Like many women, I was so conditioned in codependency that I dreaded making him feel uncomfortable more than I cared about my own discomfort — how twisted is that???

But there is courage and strength in numbers. With back up, we can do so much more. We can crush those creepy fuckers. I hope this new spirit of defiance spreads to every workplace in the whole damn world.

The fact that these accusations are spreading like wildfire, forces society to name this abuse for what it is, and acknowledge its pervasiveness. There’s no longer any excuse for saying it’s no big deal. There’s no longer any excuse for not backing up your coworker who makes a complaint.

The only way to stop abusers is to make them face extremely unpleasant consequences. They only stop when they’re forced to. Until now, being a workplace predator usually didn’t entail consequences for him; only for his victims. But today we have the chance to say: you’re done. Your career is over. Everyone fucking hates you. This time it’s not MY life being ruined – it’s YOURS.

The spotlight on this issue may seem sudden, but it’s the culmination of many years of patient organizing and speaking out with little result. Now a tipping point has finally been reached. Organizers around many issues – homophobia, civil rights, police brutality, ecocide – toil for decades before crimes finally become widely seen as such, and can no longer be ignored. This doesn’t mean they’re resolved – far from it – but it’s a necessary step toward that possibility.

The “me too” movement makes me think about what other kinds of normalized systemic abuse might come to be seen for the crimes they are, might reach that tipping point and suddenly become unaccepted. If we’ll one day say to some corporate polluter: you really fucked up, your career is ruined, you’re never going to work again. That we’ll say: you put a cancer-causing chemical in people’s food, you cut down trees to build a mall for your own profit, you crafted a law against distributing food to homeless people, you denied someone health care, you threatened humanity with nuclear annihilation – you’re going DOWN!

How far could this go? Let’s dream big. Why not go for taking down the entire fucking capitalist system, the root of so much misery and oppression?

To make that possible, another normalized workplace violation needs to be exposed for the crime that it is, so that, too, it can no longer be ignored, excused, or tolerated. That crime is profiting off the labor of others. That crime is exploitation.

Imagine if we heard people on TV saying: “I was denied the means to obtain food or shelter unless I agreed to do whatever business owners asked of me for eight or ten or sixteen hours a day, and when I complied, I was only paid a small fraction of the value that I produced, and they stole all the rest for themselves.” And then imagine that instead of everyone going, “Eh, that’s just how it is, deal with it,” that mass outrage spread like wildfire. And then imagine that everyone subjected to these criminal acts began refusing to accept it, and that a majority of the population supported their resistance. Imagine the exploiters disgraced, isolated, driven from our midst. The way that everything humanity produces would have to change. Think about what else could melt away once that happened: wealth inequality, imperialism, ecocide. The control that capitalists currently have over the world would be broken.

Today, workers who speak out against exploitation are not generally listened to. They’re labeled complainers and troublemakers. They’re told that their abuse is not a problem, but a normal and necessary function of human society. They are told to suck it up and take their heartache to the bar on the weekend.

Sound familiar?

But we should consider it a badge of honor to be a troublemaker against abuse and exploitation. Let’s all be troublemakers. Let’s stop protecting or being loyal to our oppressors, our exploiters, our enemies. Call out their crimes for what they are, name the abusers and their violations against us, and stand up for each other in increasing numbers until justice can no longer be denied – until we can deprive predators of every systemic structure that has allowed them to exist.

Continue reading “I See What You’re Doing”

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“FtL PoP” — a new tropical pop art collection

I’ve been working on some new prints and line art to sell at the studio, online, and on the beach (I just got a license for the latter). These are in a similar visual style as many of my comics and the Affirmations calendar — colorful and with a lot of cute animals.

They’re inspired by the beautiful tropical plants and amazing creatures of South Florida. I was born here, and so was my dad. My great-grandparents are buried in a graveyard withing walking distance of where I live. I love this place, and it kills me to see it being systematically destroyed by overdevelopment, pollution, and sea level rise.

Maybe if more people appreciate how unique and gorgeous this area is, more will be motivated to protect it. I hope I can make some small difference in helping people see it that way.

Instagram & Facebook: @FtLPoP

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Calendar funding starts today — your help would be much appreciated!

Today is the launch of my Kickstarter campaign to fund 365-day perpetual calendars featuring “Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants!” Here’s the link:

I would appreciate it very much if you would share this link with your friends and networks. And of course, if you’d like to help fund it by pre-ordering your own calendar, that would be great too! The first 50 backers can get the calendar at $5 off the retail price.

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding service that offers independent creators an avenue to receive funding pledges in exchange for pre-orders and other rewards. Backers decide how much to pledge, with funds only going through if a target threshold is met.

Kickstarter is all or nothing: if I don’t secure $11,000 in pledges and pre-orders by June 12, printing will not go ahead and you will not be charged. So it will only be produced if enough people really want it to be.


The “Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants” perpetual calendar will be spiral bound with a stand so you can display it on your desk (or wherever). It will feature 365 full-color drawings with inspirational messages for those who define success as overthrowing the capitalist system. Each day you can flip to a new page for guidance and encouragement on the revolutionary path. You’ll be able to re-use it year after year.

Thousands have enjoyed these Affirmations online, and many have written to me to ask for a printed calendar. The print run will be 1,500 copies. A photo mock-up is below (along with today’s Affirmation).

Thanks so much for your help and support!

P.S.: Here’s a shortened url to help spread the word on Twitter, Facebook etc:

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Profits First

“John and I had an idea for a cartoon to note that no criminal code charges were made against First Nickel and Taurus Drilling for the deaths of Norm Bisaillon and Marc Methe, and we asked Stephanie McMillan to draw it – and she did. Thank you Stephanie!”

–Rachael Charbonneau



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Auction — original art about Occupy, ends today

I have an eBay auction for my original drawing of an Occupy protest. The drawing is black and white (ink on Bristol board), and comes with a color print and a copy of the book it appears in, “The Beginning of the American Fall.”

It ends tonight 9:30 EST. It’s only $32 so far!



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Cartoon Death Match

“There’s poor people who need aid and what do we send? A cartoonist. Wonderful.”
—Turner on McMillan

San Francisco Magazine, on the 13 funniest things said at the Cartoon Death Match:

The fierce final battle.
The fierce final battle. Photo by JP Trostle.
The spectators scream for blood. Photo by JP Trostle.
The spectators scream for blood. Photo by JP Trostle.
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New poster available!

18″x24″ Poster: Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants

Stay motivated to keep on fighting to change the world, with the help of this poster with 20 inspirational messages!




1. Contentment is for people in denial. I do not accept social injustice, exploitation, or ecocide.
2. My purpose is not for petty gains, but for radical social transformation.
3. I’m committed to the struggle for the long haul. It isn’t a game or hobby; it’s my life.
4. When I face a choice, I decide what to do based on the interests of the revolution.
5. I take every opportunity to help people understand the nature of the system and to join the struggle.
6. I don’t engage in self-destructive habits. I remain strong and alert for the struggle.
7. I am willing to listen to constructive criticism, so I can rectify my errors.
8. I avoid distractions and focus on my fundamental goal.
9. The problem is not me; it is the global capitalist/imperialist system.
10. I don’t blame individuals for social problems. Yet it is our responsibility for ending the system that causes them.
11. Everyone has a skill, talent, experience or insight that can contribute to the struggle.
12. I surround myself with sincere people who share common goals of ending exploitation and domination.
13. We will never be satisfied with reforms to the existing system. Our goal is nothing less than a classless and sustainable society.
14. Even when I’m alone, I stand up for what I understand to be true.
15. I do not avoid struggle; it is how people and history advance.
16. I don’t argue for argument’s sake. Instead I engage in political struggle so as to better understand reality.
17. Our nature is cooperative. If we work collectively, we can overcome the system that is crushing us.
18. I don’t jump to premature conclusions. Before making a judgment I investigate a matter fully.
19. I realize my loved ones are ideologically dominated, and have compassion for them as I struggle with them.
20. As I face each day, I determine my priorities, based on my long-term goal of proletarian revolution.

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Collective Art Project

At “Art is a Weapon” last night, we each drew representations of different aspects of imperialism, and then talked about them. I put them together on a big piece of paper, to hang at the upcoming event on Anti-Imperialism Day, July 28, at Veye Yo, Miami.


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Tonight in Fort Lauderdale: Art is a Weapon!

Please join me tonight for “Art is a Weapon in the Battle of Ideas,” an event presented by One Struggle.

I’ll show slides of a broad range of political art, and talk about art’s political role and impact, historically and today. The presentation will be followed by open discussion.

We’ll do an art project together, too! (Hint: start thinking about a specific aspect or incident of imperialism that especially angers you). Also, if you’re an artist, please bring work to share.

The presentation addresses several questions: How does culture advance political aims? How do we use our art as part of the
anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist struggle? Why does the bourgeoisie love abstract expressionism?

8 p.m. tonight!
Sunshine Cathedral
1480 SW 9th Ave, (just south of Davie Blvd).
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33315

We will be in room 8, upstairs in the courtyard.
Free; donations welcome.


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Review of "Capitalism Must Die!" Coloring Book

Original post (with images):


by Paxus Calta-Star

Some years back political cartoonist Stephanie McMillian did a visitor period at Twin Oaks and I had fantasies of one of the communities new industries being radical humor. She is a clever, quirky, cartoonist with an impossible message to deliver and just the right tool to do it. Her latest salvo in this on-going public education and activation campaign is on target and at exactly the right price.

Your kids deserve this book

I discovered Stephanie’s work while I was staying at an amazing squat in Barcelona called Can Masdeu. The squats library had a copy of the book she illustrated, As the Word Burns: 50 simple things you can do to stay in denial. Which is a quick read, if it does not cause your brain to explode.
Continue reading Review of "Capitalism Must Die!" Coloring Book

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International Women's Day

Red Wedge magazine posted an excerpt from an essay by Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight), Haiti, illustrated by my comics:

“This is an excerpt of a text from a pamphlet issued by the workers’ organization Batay Ouvriye (Workers’ Fight, Haiti) issued on International Women’s Day, 2006. It eloquently asserts that women’s emancipation is part of class struggle, and ultimately only achievable in the context of working class struggle….”


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Triple play

Yesterday I drew an editorial cartoon. My plan is to draw one once a week, and focus on the environmental crisis. It’s called “Code Green.”

Here’s another drawing for the Polyamory book by Paxus:

There’s another one, about safe sex (warning: naked people! NSFW!) in my LiveJournal.

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Below the fold

I have a comic on the front page of the Sun-Sentinel “Outlook” section today. If you’re in South Florida, please tell the paper you love it so they’ll ask me to keep doing it!

The assignment was to illustrate a new weekly column about social networking. The first column focused on finding jobs. Here’s the cartoon:

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After the obit panel I moderated at the AAEC convention, I guess I have obit cartoons on my mind. Anyway, I could not help myself — as soon as I thought of this I had to draw it. And isn’t it swell how the whole country is setting off fireworks tonight in celebration of him being reunited with his Lord?