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This is Class Warfare: New Cartoons take on the DeVos Family and Amway

October 11, 2012

We recently received the cartoons below by someone who calls themselves a “guerilla artist” and goes by the name Thaddeus Bobo. This artist said he has been inspired by the propaganda work done during WWII and more recently the work of David Rees, who created the fabulously satirical book Get Your War On in 2001.

We asked Thaddeus Bobo a few questions about the work that is critical of the DeVos Family and Amway and have included all five of the cartoons below.

GRIID – What inspired you to create these cartoon messages about the DeVos Family?

I actually work at Amway. I see the struggles of the people on the production floor every day. I hear how their kids are struggling to get into decent colleges, how they worry about sick parents whose retirement funds has been ransacked by Wall St, how they constantly worry about where the money for the next unexpected bill is going to come from.

The fact that Rich Devos spent over $200,000USD supporting Citizens United speaks volumes about his respect for the average worker on his production floors. Supporting the anti-union activities of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker actively hurts working men and women and their families who are just trying to make a fair wage for their honest labor. These are people just like the ones working at Amway every single day. Many of them are too busy worrying about paying the mortgage to spend much time learning about the DeVos family’s efforts to erode the quality of life for the average middle class American. I felt that I had to do something to express my frustration, and hopefully in a creative way that got people to laugh, to think, to question things for themselves.

GRIID – Will there be other work from AARDVARK Press about the local 1%?

Yes, for sure. I think tackling a few local politicians would be on the agenda, as well as local business owners like Tommy Brann espousing extremist views in the media.

GRIID – Do you have any plans on distribution at this point?

Nothing formal at this point. I was hoping to participate in a local diy ‘zine fest this spring that a few local activists have been dreaming up. I have no experience getting published, but would absolutely love to explore that as an option.

GRIID – There are plenty of working class people who also support the DeVos family “philanthropy.” Do you think that what you are doing offers a counter-narrative to the corporate media commentary on the DeVos family and other local robber barons?

I absolutely do feel that I am pointing out some of those unspoken truths, and in a way that uses humor to shed some light on some seriously un-funny situations.

In regards to the DeVos family, there is almost a “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” mentality that I think speaks volumes about the collective insecurity about not being a “real city” that seems to be prevalent in this town. I am glad that the DeVos family built a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, it is undeniably a great thing. Altruism isn’t really a factor in these great contributions to our city. The DeVos family, Meijer family, Steelcase, Wolverine and other benefactors gain an enormous amount of social equity, and influence as a direct result of their actions.

Additionally, that great gesture is also tempered by actions like the $500,000 dollars Doug DeVos donated to fight against gay marriage. Its common knowledge that a certain percentage of the population falls into the LGBT community, so it stands to reason that Amway’s workforce of over 5,000 people has a few hundred people that Mr. DeVos has directly insulted. These types of conflict that the DeVos family “benevolently” inflict upon us should be questioned. People should ask “who really benefits from this action?”


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