Elections & Protest

Featured Zines

A Catastrophic Success: Republican National Convention protests, New York City, 2004

Using photos, illustrations, and prose, this compilation zine focuses on the experiences of protesters in New York during the 2004 Republican National Convention. They discuss their Mama Collective, a Pro-Choice march, the Critical Mass bicycle ride, police misconduct, direct action, and media coverage of the above. There is also a CD of songs by Lila Cugini and Jesse Wickman.

Dear Mr. Bush 

This political zine consists of letters from the author to George W. Bush. In her letters, Nylander questions the Presidents stance on gay marriage, faith, abortion rights, and the economy.

Destination is not the end of the Journey 

In this personal zine, queer activist KT writes about moving across the country, dealing with her white guilt and her disillusionment with the punk scene. There is also a letter to zinesters and academics of color and an article about race privilege at the protests at the Republican National Convention.

Dont Blame Me, I Worked for Dean 

This personal zine from the author of "Off My Jammy" details her experience campaigning for Howard Dean during the presidential primary elections of 2004. She deals a bit with electoral politics and George W. Bush, as well.

Generically Modified #2: Art Attack

Generically Modified is an art zine that features interviews with artists in New York City and beyond. The Art Attack issue includes and interview with Milano Chow, (Barnard College, 2009), and an interview with You Damn Kid! illustrator Owen Dunne. There is also a pull out review of the film "Still We Ride!" about Critical Mass during the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004.

Little Room

Recent New York City transplant Annie Sollinger, (originally from Petersborough, New Hampshire) writes about what her new life in New York and what she loves about the city in this decorative, artistic, typewritten zine. Articles include pieces on the Republican National Convention in 2004, Bushs second inauguration, Johnny Cashs estate sale, a few pieces contrasting New Hampshire and New York, and a piece on Vancouver, Canada.

Mama Sez No War: writings, photos and experiences by mothers against the war

This compilation mamazine details the experiences of mothers who bring their children to anti-war protests. Included are pictures from protests taken by mothers and children, as well as ways to get children involved in activism.

Radical Cheerbook

This cheerbook is a collection of cheers from radical cheerleader groups from all over the United States. These cheerleading squads combine protest and performance in nonviolent direct street action, and their cheers express feminist and anarchist viewpoints.

Stockholm Syndrome

Jewish activist Caprices political zine talks about being arrested and detained during the protests against the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. After discussing her time being moved from crowded cell to crowded cell with very little food, she shares what she learned about the legal system and the actions taken against nonviolent RNC protesters.

Subliminal Criminal

In this political zine, Jenka talks about anarchism, bicycle activism, and protesting the Republican National Convention that was held in Philadelphia in 2000. She also includes comics, poetry, and eight "radical wimmin trading cards."

About the Exhibit

Zines by nature are political. According to Hillary Clark of the zine culture magazine, broken pencil, Putting out a zine, any zine, is a political act. Whether it's the high school kid who does a zine about Sloan, or the collective's newsletter advocating environmental awareness, both are reclaiming what was essentially theirs to begin with. Simply expressing your voice and opinions through an alternative publication like a zine is a political statement, because, when individuals start recognizing and seizing their place in the discussion, rather than merely consuming whats dropped on their doorstep, its not radical, its a restoration of the printed word as it was meant to operate. And the printed word has always been political.

Some zines take participation -- or refusal to participate -- in politics as a theme or guiding idea, using self-published pages as a means of giving voice to challenges and resistance to the political process. The zines in this collection are only the latest incarnation in a long history of political protest through small-run and alternative publication. According to Fred Wright, a zine scholar, political zines of today, hearken back to other, older self-publishing ventures of independent spirit and vitality such as American broadsides from Revolutionary days, Russian Samizdat material, Dada and other avant garde art and social movements' magazines and manifestoes, and beat poetry chapbooks. Whether calling colonialists to arms in the days of the American Revolution or subverting censorship and challenges to free speech in Soviet Russia, zines and alternative publications are a natural and important tool for preserving free speech on matters of politics and power.

From Thomas Paines incendiary proto-zine, Common Sense, to todays radical zines, self-publication has been a vibrant mode of political protest for since the invention of the printing press. From the Republican National Convention to the presidential election, from deciding to take your child to a political rally to challenging politicians to be responsible to their electorate, the zines from Barnards collection featured here provide a glimpse into the political struggles of our times.

For more information, check out: Clark, Hillary. Photocopied Politics: Zines (re)Produce a New Activist Culture. Broken Pencil #6.

Wright, Fred. The History and Characteristics of Zines. 1997. Available: http://www.zinebook.com/resource/wright1.html

About the Election and Protest-Themed Zines Exhibition

elections and protest exhibit

Inspired by the Barnard Center for Research on Women's thirty third Scholar and Feminist Conference, "The State of Democracy: Gender and Political Participation," Spring 2008 Zine Intern, Julie Turley, created this collection of election and protest-themed zines selected from the Barnard Library Zine Collection. The physical exhibit, which lives in the library's lobby, features copies of selected zines from Barnard's archival collection as well as photocopied selections of relevant pages and extracts. You can read more about the original exhibit by visiting our livejournal.

elections and protest exhibit

For this online exhibition, covers and selections were scanned and digitized for preservation. The work was begun in 2008 by Zine Intern, Melissa L. Jones. Because Melissa is a veteran NYC public school educator, she also worked to write the lesson plans and curriculum support materials.

If you're interested in reading more from these zines, you can use CLIO to check their circulation status. Or come to the Barnard Library and ask for help at the reference desk!

Barnard/Columbia students can come to the library and check out zines any time. Folks from outside the Barnard/Columbia community should email the zine librarian, or check your local distro to find out how to get copies of the zines featured here.

Destination is not the end of the Journey 

Introduction to Teaching with Zines

What are zines?
"...zines are noncommerical, nonprofessional, small-circulation magazines which their creators produce, publish and distribute themselves." - Stephen Duncombe, Notes from the Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture

Why teach with zines?
"Zines...challenge the easily digestible mainstream media. They can open students' eyes to other outlets for information, showing alternate sources and forcing students to see how the accessible information that is often just taken for fact also has origins and agendas." - Amy Wan, "Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom."

Zines and other alternative and underground publications can be used as teaching tools for learners from kindegarten to college. There are zines on just about any topic you can think of, from feminism to sports to politics to cooking. When choosing zines for use in your classroom, think carefully about your student's reading level and the subject matter of the zine. Let students explore zines and their history, and you can teach just about anything, including: English Language Arts, Media Literacy, Art,Social Science and History and even Math and Science!

Essential Questions

This online exhibition was designed to help learners of all ages explore the following Essential Questions:

What is the value of protest?

How can those outside the mainstream get their voices heard?

How do systems of power oppress voices of dissent?

Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans were developed for three different levels of ability, but each lesson plan could be used in any classroom with the appropriate modifcations. Select the lesson plan that best fits your students, or download all three and create your own unit to suit your needs. Each lesson plan was originally developed by Melissa L. Jones, MS Ed, MS LIS, based on her expertise as a public school educator.

Lesson A - What is a zine? What is the value of protest?
Content Areas: English Language Arts, Information Literacy
Level: Intermediate, Grades 7-9

Lesson B - Why zines? How can those outside the mainstream get their voices heard?
Content Areas: Media Literacy, Information Literacy
Level: Secondary, Grades 10-12

Lesson C - How do systems of power repress voices of dissent?
Content Areas: English, History, Political Science, Information Literacy
Level: 12th Grade or Early College

Suggested Resources


Block, Francesca Lia and Hillary Carlip. Zine Scene: the Do it Yourself Guide to Zines. Lost Angeles, CA: Girl Press, 1998.

Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from the Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. Verso, 1997.

Watson, Esther Pearl and Mark Todd. Whatcha Mean What's a Zine? Graphia, 2006.


Bott, Chiristie. "Zines - The Ultimate Creative Writing Project," English Journal, 92, no. 2 (2002): 27-33.

Congdon, Kristin G. and Doug Blandy. "Using Zines to Teach about Postmodernism and the Communication of Ideas." Art Education. (May 2003).

Daly, Brenda O. "Taking whiteness personally: Learning to teach testimonial reading and writing in the college literature classroom." Pedagogy. vol 5 no. 2 (Spring 2005): p 213-246.

Guzzetti, Barbara J. "Zines for social justice: Adolescent girls writing on their own." Reading Research Quarterly. 39, no. 4 (2004): 408-36.

Sellie, Alycia and Kate Vo Thi-Beard. "Using Zines to Encourage Multiple Literacies," Wisconsin English Journal. v. 47, n. 2. (Fall 2005): 27-33.

Wan, Amy J. "Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom." Radical Teacher. April 30th, 1999.

Web Resources

Freedman, Jenna. DIY Publications and Media Literacy: Zines in the Classroom. Symposium on Media Literacy in Education Conference. Bowling Green, OH. June 2005.

Holdaway, Matt. "A Student's Guide on Zines and Tips on How to Make One."

Williamson, Judith. "Engaging Resistant Writers Through Zines in the Classroom." The Zine and E-Zine Resource Guide. 1994.

Wright, Fred. "The History and Characteristics of Zines." The Zine and E-Zine Resource Guide. 1997.

"Zines 101." Zine World Website. June 2007.