Elevate Difference's Reviews > You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive

You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive by Seth Tobocman
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Apr 29, 2010

it was amazing
Read in April, 2010


You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive is a collection of graphic work by comic artist and activist Seth Tobocman. The artwork dates back to 1980, when Tobocman and Peter Kuper founded the political comix magazine War World 3 Illustrated, and critical issues of this era are addressed, including Reaganomics, the AIDS pandemic, gentrification struggles in New York City, the occupation of Palestine, and the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive was originally published in 1989 and then again ten years later. Both times it sold out quickly. This most recent acquisition and printing from AK Press is a sign of Tobocman’s work's longevity, and the continued demand for his politically conscious art.

Tobocman is a fixture of New York City’s downtown punk scene and the Lower East Side squatter’s movement. Chances are local readers have seen him in his Lower East Side neighborhood, maybe reading at Bluestockings or ABC No Rio. Tobocman, like his comics, is accessible, present, and engaged in his community. His comics have never been recognized or celebrated by the mainstream art market, which is not surprising considering his critique of bourgeois conformist politics, and Tobocman produces art for the street, not the gallery.

This latest release of You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive gives longtime fans, as well as first-time readers, a chance to enjoy Tobocman’s art and utilize his images (as activists and community organizers often have) to produce political posters, buttons, patches, and graffiti. The direct and utilitarian nature of Tobocman’s work, and of comic art in general, is so appealing because you get an immediate, straightforward, and high impact method of communication and direct action marketing. You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive is a creative, in-your-face resource and a critical tool for resistance.

Review by Jeanne Vaccaro
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