Mexico City: 1968. Mexico City, 1968. Poster 18 ½ x 27 inches, handbill 8 ½ x 11 inches. Woodcut protest poster together with a handbill for a student protest theatre event sponsored by the Consejo Nacional de Huelga (CNH), or National Strike Council. Near Fine. Item #CAT0167
Protesting for the right to free assembly, free speech, and against police brutality, Consejo Nacional de Huelga (CNH) demonstrations in the summer of 1968 drew as many as 100,000 people (some historians say as many as 250,000) to the street. The CNH was a student movement organized in response to the Mexican government’s campaign of political suppression leading up to the ‘68 Olympics.
Governmental interference with the autonomous universities had united students from more than 70 schools across the country, including the two largest universities in Mexico City, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN). CNH built on the work of earlier radicalized student groups, including CNED, the National Confederation of Democratic Students.
The present poster probably depicts campus violence in July 1968 at UNAM and IPN (which included police with bazookas) or the occupation of the UNAM campus by the army in late September. On October 2nd, the crisis culminated in the Tlatelolco Plaza massacre during which a special forces battalion opened fire on students and other protesters.
It is also possible the poster directly references Tlatelolco. “Nunca Olvidaremos 2 de Octubre,” became a rallying cry following the massacre. With no access to television or radio, street posters, and the groups who risked posting them, were a key method of communication for the student movement. Stylistically the posters referenced the traditional Mexican woodcuts of Posada and the socialist Taller de Grafica Popular, in addition to Cuban revolutionary poster art.
Uncommon institutionally and on the market. Provenance: This copy was purchased by an American art student who was in Mexico at the time. He attended the theatre event advertised in the handbill. Poster in near fine condition with some light toning, handbill very good with folds.