Here’s a half-hour audio interview I did with Bob Connors of the Peace & Justice Report, for WSLR (Sarasota, FL), talking about “Affirmations for Revolutionary Militants,” what is capitalism, the role of art in a revolutionary movement, how to organize, why the working class needs to lead our way out of this nightmare, what got me started personally, and more!
Here are 3 recent interviews:
November 22: I talked with Derrick Jensen on Resistance Radio (prn.fm) about the “Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants” —
November 20: I talked with Richard Estes on “Speaking in Tongues” (kdvs 90.3 fm in Davis, CA) about why NGOs suck —
November 19: Sarah Cruz (One Struggle/Miami) and I talked with Devon Bowers of the Hampton Institute. Sarah talked about elections, and I talked about surplus value —
Originally published at rabble.ca: http://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2015/09/capitalism-must-die-your-economic-guidebook-to-revolution
Capitalism is so, so terrible. Here are the tools you need to crush it.
September 10, 2015
Capitalism Must Die! A basic introduction to capitalism: what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it 2nd edition
What is capitalism, how does it work, and why, oh why, is it so terrible? All of these questions, and more, are answered by author Stephanie McMillan in her recent book, Capitalism Must Die! A basic introduction to capitalism: what it is, why it sucks, and how to crush it. McMillan uses her 30 years of experience in organizing against capitalism and her clever cartoons to debunk and deconstruct this destructive practice and create a useful tool readers can put into practice.Aaron Leonard recently corresponded with McMillan about her book, capitalism, cartoons and other matters. This interview has been edited.
Some of your images are so playful, yet your message is so serious — how did you arrive at a place of undertaking radical politics through comics?
I loved drawing, and reading comics, ever since I was a kid.
By age 10 I had learned to draw Snoopy by tracing Peanuts, and decided I wanted to be a cartoonist someday. I was in high school during the Reagan years, as the U.S./USSR inter-imperialist struggle was heating up [in the form of the Cold War] to what seemed a very dangerous pitch. I wrote my first article for the school paper, with an accompanying illustration, about the dangers of and need to oppose nuclear weapons.
Then I went to college in New York, studying animation while organizing with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade (RCP) [the youth group of the U.S. Revolutionary Communist Party]. I quickly realized that it was more important to focus on revolutionary change rather than pursue a career for myself, but my father, dying of cancer, asked me to finish school and graduate. After fulfilling my parents’ wishes, I spent the next period of my life organizing, while supporting myself with a succession of temp/clerical, factory and retail jobs.
In the late 1990s, for various reasons, I left the RCP. I still wanted to contribute to the cause of revolution, but now had no organizational framework in which to do that. I thought about how an individual could reach people with ideas and make a social impact. I decided that comics could be an effective vehicle because they are appealing, fast and easy to produce, and can carry a message to a wide audience.
My cartoons evolved through several stages, including traditionally formatted editorial cartoons, gag cartoons, and a sequential narrative comic strip. Recently I was challenged by a comrade to develop a “proletarian conception of cartoons,” and that’s led to a new series of comics that go beyond a critique of capitalism to also assert a working-class alternative. They’re often paired with theoretical and political texts.
I did a video interview on Act Out with Eleanor Goldfield — it starts at minute 21.16:
And here’s a plug by Craig Ross on Red Wedge magazine:
Kickstarter of the Day: Stephanie McMillan affirms your anti-capitalism (plus: goats!)
By Michael Cavna
June 9 at 2:00 PM
IN HER BATTLE against capitalism, cartoonist-activist Stephanie McMillan does need funds to raise awareness of global plights through her art. And one of the reliable ways so far has been turning to the power of the crowd.
“I love the crowdfunding model, because it requires developing a strong relationship with readers, who decide what work they want to help succeed,” the Florida-based illustrator says as she seeks backing for her “365 Affirmations for Revolutionary Militants” desk calendar. “It’s a way to find out quickly if a project is a good idea or not.”
Comic Riffs caught up with McMillan, who has won an RFK Award for her comics journalism on the Occupy movement, to talk about financial models, the modes of profit and production — and which furry animals best embody her cause:
MICHAEL CAVNA: I know you’ve had success with crowdfunding in the past, Stephanie (i.e., “Mischief in the Forest”). What spurred you to turn to Kickstarter for your new project?
Continue reading Washington Post's ComicRiffs article: "Kickstarter of the Day: Stephanie McMillan affirms your anti-capitalism (plus: goats!)"
Speaking Truth to Power Through Affirmations?
by Victor M. Feraru
Posted: 06/08/2015 3:12 pm EDT Updated: 06/08/2015 3:59 pm EDT
Stephanie McMillan has devoted most of her adult life to speaking truth to those in power through multiple books that illustrate the destructive effects of capitalism.
On Facebook and her own website McMillan shares The “Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Militants” which are popular enough that she decided to create a desk calendar that will bring these animated encouragements to life.
McMillan has started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that is more than 50 percent to its goal. It ends Friday, June 12. It goes without saying that McMillan’s message does not resonate with those in corporate America. I asked McMillan a few questions about the affirmations and the campaign.
Question: What are daily affirmations? What is their purpose?
McMillan: The “Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants”
are simple and colorful drawings with inspirational messages (basically like memes) that encourage revolutionaries who want to end global capitalism.
There are already plenty of Affirmations for people who want financial success, romance, spiritual uplift, weight loss and other things. But until now, none have existed for people who want to fight exploitation, oppression, and the destruction of the planet; none for those who are struggling to change society based on the needs of humanity and nature rather than on the pursuit of profit. This is the most important thing that people can be doing, but so often people try to discourage us — they argue that it’s impossible or crazy — instead of offering positive support.
Fighting for social change can be difficult, and revolutionaries sometimes feel isolated, overwhelmed or discouraged. We need encouragement, and reminders that we are strong and not alone. So I created these affirmations to fill that need.
Continue reading Interview on HuffPo: "Speaking Truth to Power Through Affirmations?"
Feeling Trapped in a Dead-End System?
Cartoonist Stephanie McMillan’s Affirmations Encourage Resistance
by MARK HAND
Activists and organizers for social change undoubtedly experience periods of burnout. Working long hours — typically without pay and little appreciation — on campaigns, issues and causes where victories are few and far between can be demoralizing. Some activists get so frustrated with the perceived lack of results from their hard work, the divisions within the Left, and the rampant apathy among the general public that they give up entirely and retreat from activism.
Cartoonist, writer and organizer Stephanie McMillan saw the depression, feelings of hopelessness and other difficulties faced by her fellow activists. And she wanted to do something to help people overcome these. So she started writing uplifting messages to empower individuals to continue working for a better world. She calls her inspirational messages “Daily Affirmations for the Revolutionary Proletarian Militant.” Similar to the memorable characters in her popular comic strips Minimum Security and Code Green, McMillan’s affirmations are accompanied by cute and colorful animals, plants and insects.
McMillan is almost finished writing 365 affirmations, and when she puts the final touches on the last one, she hopes to gather them all up and offer the entire collection as a 365-day perpetual desk calendar. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native is holding a campaign that ends June 12 to raise enough money to get the calendars printed.
In mid-May, a few days after McMillan launched her fundraising campaign, I asked her why she decided to write these affirmations. The conversation then moved on to broader questions about living in a world filled with barriers to positive change.
Mark Hand: When did you start writing and drawing the Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants?
Stephanie McMillan: I started on January 1, 2014, to provide an alternative for revolutionaries to the same old New Year’s resolutions. I intended to post them every day for a year, but some of them straggled into 2015. I’m finishing up the final 34 this month, daily through June 12, to wind up with 365 on the final day of the Kickstarter campaign.
MH: What inspired you to write them?
SM: Capitalists constantly push us to want things that keep us trapped in the system and obsessed with trivialities that distract us from resistance. All kinds of support is available if we strive to make money, worship a god, lose weight, find romance.
But there is a huge lack of inspirational literature to encourage and uplift people whose lives are dedicated to social transformation. Most writing on the Left is theoretical and political — these are obviously crucial, but there isn’t much that addresses us on the ideological level, on helping us change our ways of thinking so we stay strong, on track, and motivated, that helps us establish standards of behavior that serve our goals. All we hear is the constant barrage of capitalist ideology telling us that we’re wrong, our aspirations are impossible, we’re crazy to try, and “we can’t beat ‘em, might as well join ‘em. No wonder many people feel so hopeless, depressed and overwhelmed.
I started writing the Affirmations to bolster my own resolve and strategic optimism, and when I started sharing them, I saw that they filled a strong need for many others as well. So I decided to draw them regularly.
Continue reading Interview in Counterpunch
Is Capitalism All That Bad?
Stephanie McMillan, an award winning writer and political cartoonist attempts to answer that question and explain what capitalism means to those who don’t have a lifetime to study its concepts, in her book Capitalism Must Die.
Conspiracy theories, false solutions and misconceptions of human nature are common diversions that keep us from understanding the connection between capitalism’s structure and its many harmful effects,” McMillan says. She did not just start thinking about this kind of stuff.
McMillan, who graduated from New York University, says that she has been working against capitalism since high school.
During the three decades she has been trying to expose the insidious nature of capitalism, she realized that most people do not know what it is. In fact, she says, even those who are against capitalism are not always clear of the components that make it so toxic for the future of the world.
“The most immediate example of capitalism ruining the world is pollution,” says McMillan.
The second and equally as important is the way that we are literally sucking the world’s natural resources dry.
Contrary to popular belief, our forests, oil and clean water, to name a few, are finite, and when they are gone, they’re gone. And not acknowledging global warming will not make it go away.
A capitalist is “a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with the principles of capitalism,” according to Merriam Webster and capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”
Simple enough, right? It is more complicated than that.
McMillan is not alone in her assessment. Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs wrote on CNN.com:
The idea of sustainable development is that raw capitalism is far too powerful for its own good. Global capitalism is a juggernaut, with the world economy now doubling in size every generation. Yet on a finite Earth, with a billion new people being added every 15 years, that juggernaut is now laying siege to the physical bases of life and the social support systems that make life pleasant and decent. Sustainable development offers a path out of this growing crisis.
Having a curious mind (and some questions about the validity of all of this), I reached out to my correspondent friend Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and unapologetic political dissonant, who still manages to travel the world and answer emails regularly at the young age of 86. I asked him why capitalists who want to own the world are so hell bent on destroying it.
“They don’t want to. But ruining the world is an externality, which doesn’t enter into business transactions,” Chomsky says.
He thinks that above the socioeconomic toxicity that rises from capitalism, its effects on the environment are the most discernable.
“The most obvious, and ominous, example is destruction of the environment, a virtually automatic consequence of the institutional structure of capitalism,” explains Chomsky.
Although most of the business in the world revolves around capitalism, making it as Chomsky and McMillan call “unavoidable,” such as using computers or banking and investing our money, it is best to know that in our not-so-distant future, the choices corporations are making today are not only exploiting people, but also putting the whole planet we live on at risk.
Don’t take my word for it. Pick up a copy of McMillan’s book. It is a good place to start. It is important to understand just how serious the implications are if we continue on the route we are allowing these companies to go.
Follow Victor M. Feraru on Twitter: www.twitter.com/victorhuffpost
[Appears in The Socialist: http://www.thesocialist.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/TS-RADICALART-2014.pdf]
by Jen McClellan
CSUN did a week of lectures in October, titled “Comics v. Capitalism v. Climate.” The first presentation I caught was given by Professor David Klein and Stephanie McMillan, who spoke fearlessly about the incompatibility of capitalism and
…. well … life.
Stephanie McMillan, you critiqued capitalism for needing exponential expansion in order to survive. You offer, in response to this destructive system, inspiration via cartoons, and suggest that transformation away from capitalism will be economic, political, and ideological. You also emphasize that the working class are the only ones that are able to offer a solution. My first question then is – if we live in a system that sucks every last ounce of energy out of its workers, (giving them less than enough to live decently as human beings) then where are they going to find the time or strength to study economics, become politicized, or develop an ideology?
Continue reading Brief interview: Revolutionary Comics
Stephanie McMillan on Anti-Capitalist Activism – The Soapbox – Episode: 140507
In which Stephanie McMillan — artist, blogger, and anti-capitalist activist — discusses the failings of capitalism, her hopes for moving beyond it, and how art intersects with activism.
The Revolution Will Be Animated
Today we sit down and talk with illustrator and activist Stephanie McMillan to discuss art, revolution, and the role that illustrations and other forms of art can be used to encourage and inspire revolutionary activity.
Interviewed by Derrick Jensen on Resistance Radio.
Audio is on the Progressive Radio Network: http://prn.fm/resistance-radio-stephanie-mcmillan-111713/
Stephanie McMillan is an important voice. She is doing her part to make this a better world through her activism and her comics. And, fortunately for us, those two passions turn into some very compelling work. Her latest collection of comics, “The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance to Ecocide,” is published by Seven Stories Press. This book is a 160-page trade paperback priced at $12.71 and is set for release on October 8, 2013. Be sure to visit our friends at Seven Stories Press here and visit Stephanie McMillan here.
The following is an extensive email interview that I hope you’ll enjoy and be inspired by. What really motivates our actions? What sort of world do we accept and what sort of world could we aspire to? These are some of the ideas up for discussion in this interview.
Continue reading Interview on Comics Grinder
1. Can you briefly describe The Minimum Security Chronicles? (Also is that
your most recent published work, or did Graphic Canon come out after?)
“The Minimum Security Chronicles: Resistance to Ecocide” is a graphic novel about a group of friends who struggle to find ways to stop the destruction of the planet, and specifically a geo-engineering project. It’s not only a story, but is also a thought experiment, in that the characters attempt various tactics and strategies and then have to face the (usually unsuccessful) results. This is my latest book, and it comes out officially on October 8.
Continue reading Interview for Erica Landau at Salty Eggs (raw text)
99% contro il potere
Interview in Italian about my book “American Fall”
by Mattia Gallo
1) What is the current situation of the Occupy movement in America? What were the developments after the first months of its birth until now?
Only a couple of months after Occupy began, federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, worked with the mayors of major cities to coordinate police repression and shut down the camps. So Occupy didn’t dissolve willingly; it was crushed by a greater force, a hostile force. Because Occupy was mainly spontaneous and not organized, when most people were dispersed, they did not return.
Continue reading Interview: Radio Ciroma
Here’s an interview I did for the largest Athens (Greece) daily paper, about “The Beginning of the American Fall.”
What I sent them, answering their questions, is below (I’m not sure what, from this, was actually used)…
1) How does it feel to be one of the few women in the cartoon world?
It’s hard to make a living as a cartoonist, no matter the gender. In the last decade or so, being female has become much less of a novelty in the cartoon/comics world. I actually don’t think about that very much. In some instances it has probably been one factor (secondary, among others) when I’ve been passed over for jobs or received lower pay, but I can’t control that, so I move on, and keep trying a lot of different things to get my work seen and to find ways of making an income from it. My (far left) political views are actually much more of an obstacle to achieving the traditional view of “success” than anything else. Not to mention the collapse of print media. These have been much more significant factors for me.
2) Politics and cartoons. An uneasy bond?
Continue reading Interview in "Eleftherotypia"
The Revolution Will Be Illustrated: Stephanie McMillan’s Occupy Cartoons
by Michael Arria
History decays into images, said Walter Benjamin, but what about comics? Stephanie McMillan has been covering politics through her comics since 1992, but where does the medium fit into the era of Twitter and the 24/7 news crawl? Her new book, The Beginning of the American Fall, tackles that question head-on. It might just be the best account yet of Occupy’s birth, refusing to downplay the divisions or underscore the successes of the movement. The work wraps memoir, political philosophy, and reporting into one succinct illustrated package. The book, and her cartoon “Code Green,” the only consistant comic about the environmental crisis, recently earned her a journalism award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. McMillan was kind enough to answer some questions for Motherboard regarding Occupy, how her approach has changed, and what’s coming next.
Motherboard: Did you know you wanted to cover Occupy through comics, or did the process kind of happen organically after you became involved?
Continue reading Vice: The Revolution will be Illustrated
I drew a logo for Deep Green Philly.
Here’s an interview I did with them back in August:
Stephanie McMillan Is Occupying The Comic Book
The Huffington Post | By Arin Greenwood
WASHINGTON — There’s no superhero in cartoonist Stephanie McMillan’s two-part comic detailing the early days of the Occupy movement in the nation’s capital. But there are plenty of idealistic and persnickety revolutionaries in them.
“The Beginning of the American Fall” came out in November. The second part came out on Monday. Both comics are put out by Cartoon Movement, a site that’s been putting out a lot of comics and cartoons about the Occupy movement.
McMillan is from South Florida — she came to D.C. to participate in the protests, not just chronicle them. And her role as an insider comes through. The comics are affectionate if sometimes pointed looks at the people occupying D.C.’s two protest encampments — Occupy DC in McPherson Square and Occupy Washington DC, formerly called “Stop the Machine,” in Freedom Plaza.
McMillan gets into everything from the demonstrators’ hopefulness and radical idealism to the groups’ internal struggles over how to deal with the police and illustrates how annoying the consensus process and camping can be even for radical idealists.
Continue reading HuffPo: Occupying The Comic Book
Here’s an audio interview with Ron Whyte of Deep Green Philly. We discussed the role of art in resistance movements, the evils of Monsanto, and more.
Here’s an interview I did with SPJ’s “Quill” magazine.
* * *
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Ten with Stephanie McMillan
By Scott Leadingham
To call Stephanie McMillan a cartoonist is like calling Paul McCartney a musician. It’s accurate in all meanings of the word. But leaving it at just cartoonist (even adding “editorial” as a descriptor) comes up short. She might rightly be described as a social activist and agitator, one whose pointed commentary and analysis are conveyed most visibly through pictures and their associated dialogue bubbles. Her incisive work caught the attention of the Sigma Delta Chi Awards judges, who recognized her excellence for the recurring syndicated cartoon “Code Green,” about environmental issues. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native studied film animation at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Next year will mark her 20th drawing regular cartoons for newspapers.
What was your first reaction to winning a Sigma Delta Chi Award?
Continue reading Interview with "Quill" magazine
Here’s an interview I did on Terra Verde, KPFA: kpfa.org/archive/id/66270
Topics: cartoons, revolutionary politics, thought experiments through storytelling, the nature of capitalism, the need for a diversity of approaches to defeating it.
This appeared on Discovery’s website Planet Green: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/cartoonist-stephanie-mcmillan-defend-our-planet-interview.html
and Pacific Free Press: http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/6740-time-to-declare-code-green.html
Cartoons vs. Ecocide: Stephanie McMillan’s One-Eyed Bunnies Teach Us How to Defend Our Planet (Interview)
It’s time to declare: Code Green
By Mickey Z. | Wed Jul 28, 2010 13:20
Action painter Mark Rothko once said: “There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.” That goes quadruple for political cartoonists. Stephanie McMillan has been plying her craft since 1992. She creates the comic strip Minimum Security five days a week for United Media’s comics.com, and self-syndicates the weekly editorial cartoon about the environmental emergency, Code Green. Stephanie’s cartoons have appeared on hundreds of websites and in print publications worldwide including the Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Yes! Magazine, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Continue reading Interview on Planet Green
1) I did an interview with Susan Marie on ThinkTwice radio. We had a great, hour-long conversation about ecocide, resistance and cartoons: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/sue-marie/sue-marie.html
2) I’m participating in an eBay auction of webcomics originals to benefit Gulf cleanup efforts. Get a “Code Green” original and print. At this point it’s pretty cheap! Here’s the whole auction:
I have three items of news:
1) Seven Stories Press has begun running a webcomic version of my graphic novel co-created with Derrick Jensen, updated Tuesdays and Thursdays, in full color. You can follow it here:
I added the color for the French version of the printed book, which will be published in March by La Boite à Bulles
“A great read, a groundbreaking volume of graphic literature and a political polemic of the first order.” — Ted Rall
2) I was interviewed for the premier show of “Radio Against Global Ecocide,” here:
There are several other inspiring and informative podcasts there that I highly recommend.
3) “Mischief in the Forest” (the children’s book by Derrick Jensen, illustrated by me) achieved its Kickstarter goal and is fully funded! Thank you to all for your support. The book will be published in May through PM Press.
Stephanie McMillan is the cartoonist behind the thought-provoking, funny
and wonderfully subversive comic strip, MINIMUM SECURITY, which you
can read daily at the comic.com site or on Stephanie’s own site.
Be sure to check out Stephanie’s blog and pick up the
MINIMUM SECURITY books.
1. When you were a kid, did you want to be a cartoonist? Did you draw?
My earliest drawing memory is from age three. I drew a stick figure with
hands that were little circles with many long lines radiating from them. I
proudly showed it to my dad at the breakfast table. He tried his best to
be encouraging, but informed me that hands have only five fingers each. Continue reading A Nickel's Worth: 20 Questions with Stephanie McMillan
Radio interview on “What Now”, by Ken Rose
[EDITED: Interview has disappeared from site].
An Interview with Z Magazine, by Kyle Boggs
[EDITED: Interview has disappeared from site. I’ve learned a valuable lesson: don’t assume links will last forever — copy the text!]
Can’t Make a Decision, Ladies? Call Bill Napoli.
by Mikhaela B. Reid
If anti-abortion politicians are so sure they can tell women what to do with their bodies, why not make them deal with the rest of women’s decisions? That was the premise of political cartoonist Stephanie McMillan’s response to South Dakota State Senator Bill Napoli’s comments that he could see an exception to the state’s near-total abortion ban for a raped and “brutalized” religious virgin, but not for “simple rape.”
In McMillan’s cartoon, a young man asks his sister Kranti which salad dressing she would like, to which she responds that as a woman, she can’t make a decision without calling Bill Napoli at home or at work. The cartoon contains the relevant phone numbers.
According to the Rapid City Journal, Napoli received a “flood” of calls, which he claimed were mostly “intolerable filth.”
Continue reading In These Times interview: Abortion Rights comic
My Dinner with Napoli
by Nancy Goldstein – Raw Story columnist
Published: Wednesday March 29, 2006
I wasn’t sure whether to use chorizo or bacon in my paella last weekend, so I called South Dakota state senator Bill Napoli and asked him to make my decision for me.
Stephanie McMillan inspired me to contact Bill — one of the most vocal supporters of the new state ban on virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. McMillan’s brilliant cartoon, which has been making the rounds of the blogosphere, lampoons Napoli’s conviction that women can’t be trusted to make decisions about our own bodies — and conveniently provides his work and home numbers.
Continue reading Raw Story: article on Bill Napoli cartoon