The Cambell Soup Company controversy this week prompted us to dig into the flatfiles and find this brilliant 1984 poster by the FLOC, featuring a détourned Campbell’s soup can. The poster was created by the FLOC in 1984 for use during Jesse Jackson’s 1984 Democratic Convention speech. At one point in his speech Jackson denounced the labor practices of Campbell’s Soup in Ohio, and farmers – orchestrated by Baldemar Velasquez and the FLOC – raised this poster in support of the boycott.
Cambell’s Soup had been the subject of a many years of action by the FLOC, in the face of opposition from the AFL-CIO. The FLOC had conducted a 560 mile protest march to the company’s Toledo headquarters in the year previous. After two more years of economic pressures Campbell’s would finally accede and agree to the nation’s first three way bargaining agreement.
The Campbell’s Soup can became an even more conspicuous symbol of America after Warhol’s canny economic strategies regarding their reproduction. This poster is striking for it’s completely different approach to a cultural icon, and perhaps a critique of the economics of the art world is present in this protest of worker’s conditions in the fields of Ohio, not far from where Warhola was born.
Keep on boycotting Campbell’s, and please vote on November 6.