Museum of International Propaganda

The building that houses the Museum of International Propaganda in downtown San Rafael used to be a children’s store where I would get shoes when I was a little kid. Now it’s eye catching entryway no longer displays the latest in children’s footwear, but rather a modernist banner announcing the museum’s name as well as startling artifacts like a bust of Stalin and a t-shirt of Barak Obama depicted as a Maoist. How times change.

This museum, opened in 2016, is run by Tom and Lilka Areton, who have traveled the world collecting an amazing and diverse assortment of propaganda art, which is now organized and displayed thematically in this small but incredibly compelling space. Tom grew up in communist Czechoslovakia and his wife spent time in the Soviet Union, so they know a thing or two about totalitarian regimes and their use of propaganda.

I had been trying to visit The Museum of International Propaganda since it opened, but because of its irregular hours, it wasn’t until recently that I was successful in actually getting inside. The occasion was a Thursday night lecture on 1970’s Italian leftist poster art, featuring film maker Lou Dematteis and Italian journalist Enrico Deaglio. The event was very well attended by a group of about 40 people, so things were quite crowded, but more than worth the price of admission, which only consists of a suggested donation.

Before the lecture, my friend and I wandered around the museum for a bit, looking at the truly jaw-dropping examples of propaganda art that are part of the permanent collection. In addition to the sorts of things you’d expect to find – like Maoist posters, Nazi statuary, and Soviet art – there are some unexpected and eye-opening artifacts – like a 9/11 themed Islamic prayer rug, a series of posters extolling the superiority of American culture, and politically themed Russian nesting dolls. In the back room, next to a poster depicting a post-revolutionary Chinese utopia, there is a wall-sized reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece Guernica, painted by the museum’s curator. The collection contains a good mixture of old and new propaganda from both the West and the East, reinforcing the message that propaganda is everywhere, and that we in the US are just as subject to its effects as people from other times and places.

The evening’s lecture began at around 7:30 with remarks from Tom, the owner, a really charismatic and funny guy, who shared some of his own memories of hitch-hiking in Italy during the 1970’s. He recalled when he and his wife were picked up by some friendly Italians, and in order to pass the time and entertain their driver, the two of them sang the Italian communist propaganda song Bandiera Rossa (The Scarlet Banner).  The driver thanked them and reciprocated by treating them to his own rendition of another song, which Tom and Lilka did not recognize. When they asked him what the song was, the driver laughingly replied that it was an Italian fascist propaganda song! I guess hitchhiking really does bring different kinds of people together.

After Tom’s remarks, the curator of the exhibition (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) talked about his own experience as a college student in 1970’s Italy. He described a 15 day long communist festival where thousands of people were treated to free food and drink, as well as art, music and dancing. As he put it, it was, “Pasta, music and girls.” All of this was related to an upsurge in the popularity of the Italian communist party, which that year had garnered 37% of the vote in national elections. His vivid description of the festivities was eye opening, as I don’t normally associate communists with fun. I would expect anarchists to be behind something like this.

Lou Dematteis and Enrico Deaglio were up next, describing the radical political change that Italy has undergone in the years since the 1970’s. While the communist party and various socialist groups had tremendous support in the 1970’s, currently it is the far-right, neo-fascists who have risen to power. Much like in the US, authoritarianism is on the upswing, with the government tacitly lending its support to groups promoting xenophobia, nationalism and racism.

It was interesting to hear that Italy has been, until recently, a country with little immigration, but a lot of emigration. It used to be a place people wanted to leave rather than settle in. Most of the “immigration” issues in the past had to do with southern Italians migrating to the north, where they were treated as an unwanted presence. This kind of internal immigration has recently been overtaken by immigration from Africa, and consequently a racist element has developed which sees Africans as criminals and dangerous drug dealers (sound familiar?) Deaglio told of a recent incident in Rome in which a young woman’s body was found dismembered, and it was rumored that she had been murdered by African drug dealers. In retaliation, a flag-draped Italian fascist drove into the town square where her body was found and shot 8 dark skinned people, as well as firing his pistol into black owned businesses. Afterward, the government forbade any protests or anti-fascist demonstrations.

All of this, Deaglio pointed out, currently promotes an atmosphere directly contrary to that which prevailed in Italy during the 1970’s. Referring to the various examples of socialist and communist political posters on display behind him, he talked about an atmosphere of optimism that now seems to have disappeared from Italian politics. In the 1970’s, he claims, it felt as if Italy was moving in the direction of embracing the values of the left, with class consciousness, feminism and anti-racist sentiments being the norm. The posters on display gave illustration to this feeling, with images of women waving hammer and sickle flags, and groups of friendly looking young people embracing one another and smiling. These are not the sorts of posters that I normally associate with communist propaganda. There were no guns, no soldiers, no supreme leaders in sight. Deaglio said that this was, of course, all part of the calculation. There was a concerted attempt to put a friendly face on socialism and communism during the 1970’s, making Italians feel as if they had nothing to fear from it, and that it represented a progressive, young person’s movement. This all changed when in 1978 The Red Brigade kidnapped and then murdered Aldo Moro, Italy’s former Prime Minister and President of the Christian Democratic Party. There was no way to put a friendly face on that.

It was really fascinating to hear these first-hand accounts of a time gone by. I kept feeling, however, that what I was listening to was not mere history, but the description of a political cycle, a changing of the guard, giving insight into what we in the US are currently experiencing.

Propaganda is all around us, and after visiting the Museum of International Propaganda you will become more aware of the methods and techniques that continue to be used in order to manipulate people in the service of all sorts of political ends, both right and left.

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Carsick

I was appropriately shocked when I first saw John Water’s film Pink Flamingos at a midnight screening in Berkeley sometime in the 1980’s. I was with my girlfriend, and I recall wanting to walk out during a scene when Divine gives a blow job to her son, Crackers. Funny how that was that part of the movie that made me so uncomfortable. It wasn’t the part where a chicken was crushed to death between two people having sex. It want’t the famous “singing asshole” scene. I wasn’t even that freaked out when Divine ate a pile of dog shit. It was the blow job. That was just too much.

Since then, John Waters has become something of a hero to me. I’ve seen all of his movies, read most of his books, and have attended his live stage show This Filthy World. He makes me laugh with his sardonic perspective on American culture, and I love how he challenges mainstream moral values and aesthetic sensibilities in his own peculiar, good natured way. I think what I appreciate most about Waters, however, is what I perceive as his weird and charming detachment from the twisted world that he inhabits. While associating with criminals and junkies, strippers and prostitutes, Waters has always seemed to me to stand above and apart from the decadence. I see him as a spectator who, while being lovingly fascinated by filth, perversion and obscenity, does not really take part in it himself. Though he lives, works and plays shoulder-to-shoulder with dangerous outsiders, I never had the impression that Waters himself was at all dangerous or threatening. In this way, perhaps I have tended to see something of myself reflected in him; someone who lives in this freakish world but is not of it.

This feeling was somewhat sabotaged for me when I recently read John Water’s Carsick. I found a remaindered copy at our local anarchist bookshop and eagerly dived into it, expecting to really like the book. While there is a lot of funny material in it, there is also much of Carsick that struck me as slapdash and at points even tediously annoying. With apologies to my hero, let me explain.

Carsick is divided into three sections. Part one, “The Best That Could Happen,” is the author’s fantasy about his imagined, best possible hitchhiking experience. Part two, “The Worst That Could Happen,” imagines the worst possible scenario. These first two sections are fictional while only the last section tells John Waters’ actual, real-life experience hitchhiking across the country.

My favorite episode appears at the end of part one when Waters imagines developing a temporarily magic asshole after being anally raped by aliens. His enchanted farts allow him to levitate, inflate flat tires, and bring Connie Francis out of an Alzheimer’s-like stupor! When Waters himself is magically farted on by his ride, Johnny Davenport, he grows a full head of hair. This all made me laugh out loud.

Perhaps the most touching chapter in part one has John Waters picturing himself being picked up by Edith Massey, who in real life died in 1984. He cries in joy when he discovers that she faked her own death to escape show biz and is now 94 years old “and still kickin'” (p. 48). Now running a second-hand pharmacy outside of St. Louis, Edith leads a quiet, happy life with her cat. Edith and John get a final chance to tell one another “I love you,” before Waters continues on his hitchhiking journey. I found this chapter to be very sweet, giving me the John Waters that I really like; a sensitive guy who loves his weird, freakish friends.

Many other episodes in the first part of the book left me with uncomfortable feelings. Waters writes a lot about his own sexual fantasies, which involve him giving a hand job to an outlaw demolition derby driver and getting all lustful over a bank robber who has a perpetual hard-on. It’s not that this material offended me, but it did violate my image of Waters as the detached, ironic observer. Instead of poking fun at the filthy decadence around him, in these parts Waters reveals a bit too much of his own lustful desires. It’s not that I am so naive as to believe that he doesn’t have lustful feelings, it’s just that by expressing them in the first person, my image of him as a gentle, harmless onlooker was replaced with an uneasy sense that he had become an old man on the prowl for younger men.

The second fictional part of the book chronicles Water’s worst imagined hitchhiking experiences, including psychotic fans, an involuntary tattoo, jail time, a goiter, and his death by decapitation, ending with eternal damnation in Hell. In the abstract, part two works better for me than it does in its concrete execution. Here we get all of the author’s worst possible fears, crammed together one after the other, and when I consider it as a whole, it strikes me at once as more funny and more solemn than it seemed when I was actually reading it. The material is absurd, but the ideas that Waters is working with here are quite serious: his own fears and insecurities about aging, his health, his fans, his sexuality and the vulnerabilities of being an old man.

It is interesting that Water’s desires (as expressed in part one) and his fears (as expressed in part two) often seem to be rooted in the same things. For instance, in part one he imagines being recognized by loving fans who take him on various absurd adventures, while in part two he imagines being threateningly pursued by a crazy fan who won’t stop reciting lines from all of his most infamous films. In part one he lustfully imagines gay encounters with some of the men who give him rides, while in part two, he fearfully imagines being picked up by a psychotically anti-heterosexual gay man named Blossom who forces him to participate in a crime spree. In part one he imagines being picked up by a police officer who sniffs poppers and loves the movie Hairspray, while in part two he imagines being thrown in jail by abusive police. Water’s desires and fears seem intermingled. He desires the very things that he fears, and he fears the very things that he desires.

The last, non-fictional section of the book is a little over 100 pages long, chronicling Water’s actual, real-life hitchhiking journey from Baltimore to San Francisco. A lot of people have commented on the possibility that the first two sections may have been included in order to beef up what would otherwise have been a very short and, honestly, unexciting travelogue. I don’t know if that is true or not. One thing that does come through, and that continues a consistent thread with the earlier sections,  is a focus on Water’s own fears and desires. In this third, real-life section of the book, his fears turn out to be largely empty and his desires are unfulfilled. He is never attacked or abused by anyone he gets a ride with, and although he lusts after some of the people who pick him up, nothing ever comes of it. All of the people that he hitches rides with turn out to be very nice, even though most of them have no idea of who he is. Assuming that he is just an elderly homeless man, all of these people are kind and generous to him. Others, like an indie band on tour, an ex-marine, and a middle-aged couple on vacation with their dog, do recognize him and are thrilled to pick him up. In contrast to the outrageousness of the first two sections of the book, however, nothing all that exciting really happens in this final part. Waters doesn’t even make the effort to explore the towns that he passes through on his adventure. Instead, he stays at chain motels, eats at chain restaurants and goes to the movies once. He is consistently anxious and uncomfortable, more concerned with his lack of expensive hand lotion than he is with meeting American outsiders. During his entire real-life hitchhiking adventure Waters seems more eager to get the journey over with than he is with observing and documenting the underbelly of America. This third section, thus, feels to me like a missed opportunity for the king of filth to explore American culture as it exists along Interstate 70.

The idea of John Waters hitchhiking across America is funnier than what is actually chronicled in this book. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the fictional parts of this story more than the real-life part. In the first two sections, the absurdity that transpires is more Waters-esque than the mundane, real life journey Waters takes in the last section. I also found myself unsettled to read about Water’s own lustful feelings; especially in the final section when he is wondering (in real life) if he is going to hook up with the men that he gets rides from. I know its normal for people to think these things, but in the case of John Waters, I hate to think of him as an old man on the prowl. I prefer to think of him as a detached observer and admirer of this filthy world.

But I suppose that has more to do with me and my own hang-ups than it has to do with John Waters, who, by the way, still remains one of my heros.

Good Price on Cinematic Nihilism

In case anyone is interested, Amazon is selling brand new hardcover editions of Cinematic Nihilism for $34; a huge discount off of the original publisher’s price, which is $110. This is a much better bargain than my own author discount.

Purchase is limited to one book per customer.

Cornell University Punk Flyer Collection

Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections has a digitized assortment of thousands of punk flyers taken from The Johan Kugelberg punk collection and the Aaron Cometbus Punk and Underground Press Collection. Included are a bunch of flyers I’ve never seen before from Marin punk bands, including the Pukes, UXB, Ludovico Teknique and Sacripolitical.

Amusingly, Sacripolitical’s name appears on different flyers with three different spellings: Sacripolitical, Sacri-political, and Sacro-political.

Antifa

A statue of George Washington, leaning on the fasces.

Fascism has never been absent from the US, but today it is enjoying a vogue that especially reminds me of the 1980’s and ’90’s when racist skinheads, white supremacists and militias gobbled up media attention, appearing on national TV shows like The Geraldo Rivera Show (where Rivera had his nose broken in an on-the-air brawl), in mainstream magazines like Rolling Stone and Time, and on the local and national news. Ronald Reagan was president then; a man who engaged in bellicose political rhetoric and who advocated trickle-down economic policies showing a lot of sympathy for the rich while shrugging off the concerns of the poor. At the time, it seemed as if we were in the midst of some sort of right-wing revolution taking place both in the streets and in the halls of government.

Today, it feels like the 1980’s all over again. In place of Reagan, we have Trump. In place of Geraldo Rivera, we now have countless internet websites, blogs, podcasts and cable TV stations that cater to the ready-made prejudices of audiences, promoting hysteria and factionalism. We still have racists and militias. And, just like in the 1980’s, we also have militant anti-fascists.

Antifa is a moniker used today that refers to a loose association of activists currently doing battle in the streets against groups of racists, alt-righters and self-avowed fascists. Antifa stands for “Anti-fascist,” and the one thing that unites this otherwise diverse group is a conviction that violence is a legitimate tool in the resistance against public congregations of militant right-wingers. Rejecting the tradition advocated by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Antifa instead embraces the view that violence must be met with violence, and that in the battle against fascism any means necessary – including extreme brutality – must be used:

You fight them by writing letters and making phone calls so you don’t have to fight them with fists. You fight them with fists so you don’t have to fight them with knives. You fight them with knives so you don’t have to fight them with guns. You fight them with guns so you don’t have to fight them with tanks. (Murry, quote from the back cover of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook)

Political liberals and conservatives alike detest the movement, as it rejects many of the taken for granted assumptions of polite, mainstream, liberal society. Most obviously, Antifa rejects the view that only government agencies have the legitimacy to use violence. Another principle rejected by Antifa is the belief that free speech is a sacred right. Lacking confidence in either the goodness or the competency of government, members advocate an anarchistic approach to justice, seeing it as the duty of individuals to take responsibility for monitoring and policing expressions of bigotry that occur in the streets. As it challenges the very assumptions upon which liberal democracies are founded, it is no wonder that democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives, are united in their denunciations of Antifa.

There is very little reliable information about Antifa in the mainstream media, but I recently read two books that give interesting insider’s views of the anti-fascist movement, its history and its philosophy.

Sean Birchall’s Beating the Fascists is a massive, 400 page history of AFA (Anti-Fascist Action), a British precursor to the current Antifa movement. Spanning the years from 1977 through the 2000’s, the bulk of this book is devoted to accounts of street fights between anti- and pro-fascists.

Birchall’s book reconstructs a mind-bending lineage of organizations that were involved in fighting not only fascists, but one another. I must confess that after reading it, I feel in some ways more confused than ever about the various allegiances and hostilities between the staggering number of leftist, anti-fascist organizations that existed during the 1980’s and 90’s. In addition to AFA, there was ANL (Anti-Nazi League), SWP (Socialist Worker’s Party), Red Action, ARA (Anti-Racist Action), CW (Class War), DAM (Direct Action Movement), and on and on. I still can’t keep them all straight in my head. The one thing that is clear is that AFA emerged due to disagreement among these various groups over the use of violence in the streets. After being condemned and marginalized by more moderate members of the left, AFA was launched in 1985 with the following “Statement of Aims”:

This conference sees the need to build an anti-fascist front of groups willing to combat fascist activity in this country. We need to oppose racism and fascism physically, on the streets, and ideologically. We support the right of ethnic minority groups and groups under threat to organize for their physical defence and see the need for us to organise in their support. This grouping should be organised on nonsectarian and democratic lines with equal representation for all groups involved. (p. 107)

The accounts of street fighting described in Birchall’s book are often thrilling. There is the battle between National Front skinheads and non-racist skinheads in Harrogate during an outdoor concert featuring the Redskins. There is the battle in Hyde Park when AFA decided to take a stand against the presence of Blood and Honor skinheads in the neighborhood. And there is the now famous “Battle of Waterloo” when AFA organized to shut down a concert by the White Power band Screwdriver. The picture that emerges from the first- and second-hand accounts of these street actions is of a surprisingly organized and committed group of militant anti-fascists, operating systematically and in concert with one another efficiently and effectively. This was more than just sporadic, random gang violence. It was part of an organized campaign leveled against the equally organized campaign of right-wing political forces in Britain struggling for control of the streets, neighborhoods and, ultimately, the government policies of the country. It was a ground-up movement, premised on the belief that if you can’t be safe in your own neighborhood, if you can’t control your own immediate environment, then you have no chance of being safe in your own country as a whole. I admire the commitment and the bravery of the individuals that Birchall interviews in his book; people willing, at a moment’s notice, to drop everything in order to physically confront bigotry in the streets so that it would not creep upwards into the halls of political power.

Having said this, Birchall’s book also becomes a bit tedious at points. While I enjoyed reading about the intrigue and various battles, the book often devolves into a mere litany of one fight after another. In an attempt to remain true to actual events, the author has chosen simply to recount the facts as he sees them, avoiding too much philosophizing or theorizing. But this is precisely what the raw material here could benefit from: a bit of authorial interpretation that would help those of us who did not live through all of this to step out of the particular events and better understand the broader issues. The focus is so much on events in the street that as a reader, I felt as if I was missing out on the bigger picture. Additionally, because of the focus on first-hand accounts from leftists, there is also a tendency for the book to make it sound like the anti-fascists always won the confrontations in which they engaged. The book, in fact, left me with the impression that the fascists were not really much of a threat at all, considering how often they seemed to cut and run. Unsurprisingly, if you look at sources that tell some of the same stories from the other side of the political divide (like the website for Blood and Honor), you get a completely different account of the winners and losers. I suspect that the real truth lies somewhere in between the extremes.

Another book, Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-fascist Handbook, goes into great detail putting the movement into its historical and philosophical context. It still unapologetically champions the perspective of Antifa (and so, by the author’s own admission, it is far from an objective history), but Bray is more diligent in trying to define and articulate the purposes and aims of the movement rather than just chronicling street fights. Tracing anti-fascism back to the 1930’s, Bray’s book characterizes the current movement as a continuation of the struggle against European fascism, as well as the struggle against racist movements like the KKK here in the US.

While acknowledging the difficultly of trying to sum up the ideals of a movement including anarchists, socialists and Marxists, Bray defines Antifa as, “an illiberal politics of social revolution applied to fighting the Far Right, not only literal fascists.” (p. xv) So, according to Bray, Antifa is not so much “anti-fascist” as it is anti-right wing. I confess that I found this a bit disappointing, as the simplicity of simply being against fascism, without any further agenda, was what first fascinated me about Antifa. Bray warns, however, that Antifa “should not be understood as a single issue movement. Instead, it is simply one of a number of manifestations of revolutionary socialist politics (broadly construed).” (p. xvi) Bray apparently doesn’t speak for some of the apolitical English soccer hooligans who (according to Birchall) joined anti-fascist street fights just for the thrill of it. The only agenda they seemed to have was punching Nazis in the face.

One of the most interesting parts of Bray’s book is Chapter Five, in which he responds to some of the most common criticisms of Antifa from liberals. Primary among these criticisms is that Antifa does not respect free speech; a charge that Bray claims is a red herring distracting attention from deeper, more substantial issues. He points out that the US Government already puts restrictions on free speech, and in times of crisis it is generally held by both conservatives and liberals that free speech can legitimately be restricted even further. The right to free speech, Bray suggests, is not a right without any constraints whatsoever. There are always exceptions to the rule, whether it be “obscenity, incitement to violence, copyright infringement, press censorship during wartime, or restrictions for the incarcerated.” (p.153) Thus, when liberals criticize Antifa in this way, their criticisms also apply to the very system that they do support. The difference between Antifa and mainstream liberals is that:

…liberals pretend that their limitations are apolitical, while anti-fascists embrace an avowedly political rejection of fascism. Anti-fascists reject the notion that politics can be reduced to the “neutral” management of disparate, atomized interests. They break through the liberal desire to confine the question to the realm of individual rights by foregrounding the ongoing collecyive struggle against fascism. When they say “never again,” they mean it, and they’re willing to use any means necessary to make sure. (pp 153-154)

In truth, the underlying intention behind the right to free speech in the first place is the promotion of diversity and freedom. In confronting those who want to use public speech in order to destroy diversity and freedom, Antifa is in fact fighting for something more fundamental and important than free speech itself. They are fighting to defend the social conditions under which free speech can actually continue to exist. The Nazis, on the other hand, want to use free speech in order to eventually destroy it.

Bray points out that there is, in fact, a wide diversity of opinion within the ranks of Antifa about the issue of freedom of speech. Some members of the movement claim that the right to free speech is one promised by the government. As opponents of the government, members of Antifa are thus not bound to such promises. Others argue that Antifa is not at all restricting fascist freedom of speech, but rather are targeting fascist organizing. Still others argue that they are indeed pro-free speech; but for everyone except fascists. Whatever the particular arguments are in this regard, Bray states it is generally the case that most of Antifa are not “free speech absolutists.” (p. 153) They do not regard free speech as an inalienable, sacred right.

This last point is what inspires some critics to charge that Antifa is itself a totalitarian movement, no better than the Nazis themselves. “Shutting down Nazis makes you no better than a Nazi!” (p. 162) I’m reminded of the lyrics from “Smash the Nazis,” a 1980’s song by Art: The Only Band in the World:

Bray defends Antifa against this charge with a simple and clever response: the worst thing about Nazis is not that they are intolerant to free speech. The worst thing about Nazis is that they promote “white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism, and genocide.” (p. 162) Equating Antifa with the Nazis on the basis of one shared attribute – indeed on one of their least relevant shared attributes – is spurious. It is like equating Buddhism with Nazism on the basis of their shared use of the swastika as a symbol; or equating Catholicism with Nazism on the basis that both promote group solidarity among members. As Bray writes, “If your main objection to Nazism is its suppression of the meetings of the opposition, then that says more about your politics than those you are critiquing.” (p. 162)

I’m still not sure that I fully understand the true nature of Antifa after reading either Birchall’s or Bray’s books. Neither work makes any pretense to being objective, and both rely predominately on accounts from advocates of the left in reconstructing their histories of the movement. As a result, both works, while claiming to tell the “real” story of anti-fascism, nonetheless are quite skewed and partisan. Thrilling as they are in their street-level perspectives, neither book presents anything like a clear-headed or dispassionate account. And while I am not unsympathetic to the claim that we shouldn’t be dispassionate in our attitudes toward fascism, I also am afraid that the more confident any group becomes that it alone is on the side of absolute Truth and Goodness while everyone else is on the side of falsehood and absolute evil, the more likely it is that atrocities might soon follow.

That being said, I do support the right of people to confront fascists (or any other assholes) in the streets. Personally, I think that when people go out in public and start making inflammatory statements – right, left or otherwise –  they should be prepared to face the consequences. The free speech of those who are intent on intimidation is no more important than the free speech rights of those who seek to fight against intimidation. I think that when you start publicly insulting and intimidating others, you should expect that someone potentially might punch you in the nose.

Subversive

Subversive is a book of interviews with fifty-two of the most radical people in the world.”

I’m honored to be one of those fifty-two interviewees; even if my name is misspelled and my academic affiliation is misidentified in the book.

My interview with Brian Whitney originally appeared on the Disinfo website in 2015, where my name and academic affiliation appeared correctly. I’m not sure what happened in the interim.

Great cover! Subversive is published by Headpress.