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Sassy political buttons from the frontlines of the fight for LGBT rights
12.12.2016
06:10 pm
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“NOT TONIGHT, DEAR ... IT’S A FELONY” pinback, c. 1990
 
One of the most invigorating struggles of our time has been the fight to secure dignity and legal protection from the law for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT). In the modern era, the history of gay awareness can be said to start with Oscar Wilde, and the progressive engagement for human rights has had many ups and downs, the rambunctious disco/bath-house 1970s followed by the harrowing advent of AIDS in the early 1980s.

The last 12 years or so has seen AIDS somewhat corralled by the medical community as well as the institutionalization of gay marriage in the federal legal code. A wide array of figures played key roles over the decades, including Quentin Crisp, Harvey Milk, Rock Hudson, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, Divine, Brad Davis, Martina Navratilova, Andy Warhol, Ron Vawter, Ellen DeGeneres, Ru Paul and Keith Haring.

The LGBT History Archive keeps active accounts on Instagram and Tumblr, and even the briefest perusal of either yields an emotionally resonant wave of memories and associations. Only a small percentage of the images posted there are buttons, but over time it adds up—there are many more where these came from

The struggle continues to this day, as legal rulings are issued addressing the right of trans people to use restrooms of the appropriate gender (unfortunately largely as backlash to the progressive position). As I say, the fight continues.
 

“BATMAN & ROBIN” pinback, design by Randy Wicker, c. 1969
 

“FUCK YOU I’M GAY” pinback, c. 1974
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.12.2016
06:10 pm
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Morbid and grotesque Italian anti-German propaganda postcards from WWI


‘Danza Macabra Europea’ number 23 by Italian artist Alberto Martini.
 
Alberto Martini was a prolific Italian active during the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s who dabbled in many disciplines including painting, illustration, engraving and graphic design. During WWI Martini was enlisted to create a series of postcards called the “Danza Macabra Europea” that were used as propaganda, grotesquely lampooning figures such as German Kaiser and king of Prussia Wilhelm II as well as members of the Austro-Hungarian empire such as the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef. 

Martini’s cards are absolutely horrific, filled with depictions of dismemberment, cannibalism and executions. Sometimes the Germans in Martini’s propaganda cards are pantless or appear to take on feminine forms. Copies of 54 lithographs of the Danza Macabra produced during 1914 and 1916 were widely distributed to Allied forces fighting against the rising Austro-Hungarian empire. According to cultural historians familiar with Martini’s work for “Danza Macabra Europa” the artist’s goal was to show the “horror” of war by using barbaric symbolism such as portraying the neutral country of Belgium as a child whose hands have been severed off at the wrist.

Most of the approximately 450,000 prints of Martini’s exquisitely grim postcards, captioned in both Italian and French, were sent to those fighting on the front lines of the war to help create a clear understanding of the horrific atrocities being committed against soldiers and civilians. Many consider Martini’s work a precursor to the surrealist movement. I’ve included many images of the 54 lithographs done by Martini in this post—all of which are absolutely NSFW.
 

‘Danza Macabra Europa’ number thirteen.
 

 
More ‘Danza Macabra Europa’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.29.2016
01:22 pm
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Grisly vintage North Korean anti-American propaganda art

001norkorprop.jpg
 
North Korea is the ultimate “safe space” where only one opinion matters and no dissent is allowed. Safe spaces stop the dialectic in its tracks—just like North Korea does not permit any serious critique of its Supreme Leader the “Shining Sun” Kim Jong-un. We may not dig what happens in our own western countries, but we are free to question, to protest and to instigate change.

We have the opportunity “[t]o see ourselves as others see us,” as the poet Robert Burns once wrote, which—one hopes—“would from many a blunder free us.”

These propaganda paintings show exactly how North Korea views America and by association the West. Fair dinkum.

The North Koreans and South Koreans suffered terrible atrocities at the hands of the American GIs during the Korean War. At one point during the conflagration the US had a “take no civilians policy” which led to hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

Atrocities were committed by all sides—but while those of North Korea and South Korea have been documented—those committed by the American Army only came to light after an investigation by the Associated Press in 1999. Here’s one example of the US Army handiwork:

Just weeks after the conflict had begun, up to two million refugees were streaming across the battlefield; they clogged the roads and the UN lines.

Under pressure and fearing North Korean infiltration, the US leadership panicked. Soon command saw all civilians as the enemy regardless. On 26 July the US 8th Army, the highest level of command in Korea, issued orders to stop all Korean civilians. ‘No, repeat, no refugees will be permitted to cross battle lines at any time. Movement of all Koreans in group will cease immediately.’ On the very same day the first major disaster involving civilians struck.

The stone bridge near the village of No Gun Ri spans a small stream. It is similar to a great many others that cross the landscape of South Korea, except that the walls of this bridge were, until very recently, pockmarked by hundreds of bullet holes. On the very day that the US 8th Army delivered its stop refugee order in July 1950, up to 400 South Korean civilians gathered by the bridge were killed by US forces from the 7th Cavalry Regiment. Some were shot above the bridge, on the railroad tracks. Others were strafed by US planes. More were killed under the arches in an ordeal that local survivors say lasted for three days.

‘The floor under the bridge was a mixture of gravel and sand. People clawed with their bare hands to make holes to hide in,’ recalls survivor Yang Hae Chan. ‘Other people piled up the dead like a barricade, and hid behind the bodies as a shield against the bullets.’

Corroborating the Korean survivors’ testimony are the accounts of 35 veterans of the 7th Cavalry Regiment who recall events at No Gun Ri. Perspectives differ, but the detailed memories of veterans recalling events burnt into their souls by their first days in combat are as painful as they are shocking.

‘There was a lieutenant screaming like a madman, fire on everything, kill ‘em all,’ recalls 7th Cavalry veteran Joe Jackman. ‘I didn’t know if they were soldiers or what. Kids, there was kids out there, it didn’t matter what it was, eight to 80, blind, crippled or crazy, they shot ‘em all.’

Along with the My Lai atrocity 20 years later in Vietnam, the killings discovered at No Gun Ri mark one of the largest single massacres of civilians by American forces in the 20th century.

The events of the war help turn North Korea into what it is today. Everything flows from the Supreme Leader. Every oppressive dictatorship implements a safe space—which should be a warning to all of us today.

I’m sure the following powerful anti-American paintings were successful in getting their message across, still I can’t help but think there is something very twee (dare I say bourgeoise?) about these paintings—like religious paintings for the already converted faithful or like GI comics or James Bond movies.
 
003norkorprop.jpg
 
004norkorprop.jpg
 
More paintings of evil GI Joes, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.16.2016
02:12 pm
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‘I am a Sunflower’: Amazing Chinese children’s propaganda record
06.09.2016
07:58 am
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On some level, a lot of the music we play for kids—and the music we teach them to sing—is propaganda. Not necessarily overtly so, but beyond learning the alphabet and numbers, the music we offer children is always going to serve as some manner of cultural value metric. And such music originating from a hypernationalist, militaristic culture is sure to seem utterly nuts to cultures that don’t go so completely all in for that kind of thing.

Case in point: China. A friend of mine with the dually cool distinctions of being both a university librarian and a badass sludge/doom bass player turned me on to some Chinese children’s (and other) records, dating I think from the early ‘70s, which had recently arrived in her employer’s collection via a donation. They were all pretty amazing—just the song titles alone sound alien enough to underscore incredible cultural differences:

THE PEOPLE IN TAIWAN LONG FOR LIBERATION

PATROLLING ON THE GRASSLANDS

THE OIL WORKERS ARE FULL OF ENERGY

CHAIRMAN MAO IS THE RED SUN IN THE HEARTS OF ALL NATIONALITIES

The killer item, though, was an 11-song 7” children’s record called I am a Sunflower, with wonderful cover art of smiling children marching with shouldered rifles and songs expressing totally overt themes of youth para-militarism:

LITTLE RED GUARDS GROW STRONGER IN THE FIGHT

GROWING UP AT THE SIDE OF CHAIRMAN MAO

LITTLE RED GUARDS ATTEND A REPUDIATION MEETING

I’LL GO TO THE BORDER REGION, TOO, WHEN I GROW UP

Now, it’s maybe easy to be cast aspersions at all that, but we have our school kids sing “The Star Spangled Banner” which is forthrightly a war song, and the differences between the Young Pioneers/Little Red Guards and the Boy Scouts are surely more a matter of degree of fanaticism than of kind

CRITICIZE LIN PIAO AND DISCREDIT HIM COMPLETELY

OK, holy fuck, WHAT? That’s pretty disturbing: Lin Piao was an officer in the People’s Liberation Army, and was instrumental in the communist victory in China’s civil war. He died in 1971, in an iffy plane crash. After decades of enjoying high rank in the party—I mean HIGH rank, at the time of his death he was Communist Party vice-chair and Mao’s presumptive successor—he or his son led the Project 571 coup against Mao. The family was attempting to flee after the coup failed, and it’s been pretty widely speculated that the plane crash may have been an assassination. He was branded a traitor posthumously; his name was scrubbed from the Little Red Book, and there was a goddamn children’s song about how hard he sucked. Here it is. I will fully cop to having ripped this from the record and uploaded it myself. Ordinarily that’s a HUGE no-no, but I’m making an exception in this instance because I’d quite enjoy the comic irony of a DMCA copyright takedown coming from China.
 

 
That’d be really cute if you had no idea what it was about, right?

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.09.2016
07:58 am
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If you do LSD, your hot dog will turn into a troll doll and speak to you!
09.23.2015
11:22 am
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This is from one of those outrageously bad drug scare films from 1969. It’s called Case Study: LSD and it’s so bad it’s funny. Apparently, if you drop some acid and decide to eat a hot dog, the acid could potentially turn your meal into a troll doll.

Honestly, if I saw this nonsensical propaganda back in 1969, I probably couldn’t wait to get my hands on stuff! I mean, talking troll doll hot dogs?! I’m so there!

The talking hot dog had seven kids and a wife to support. He deserved better.

 
With thanks to Rusty Blazenhoff

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.23.2015
11:22 am
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The pornographic propaganda that was used against Marie Antoinette


 
Recently, the “newsish” website Gawker ran a nasty little expose on the CFO of a major media company, who had allegedly attempted to purchase sex from a porn star. Many readers were livid, citing an invasion of privacy, or even perhaps a whiff of homophobia in the story (the CFO and the porn star were both men). Gawker argued that their mission has always been to dig up dirt on the rich and powerful, and though there was some debate on whether or not the subject of their story was rich and powerful enough to constitute such focus, they argued the story constituted public interest before eventually retracting it with apology.

The scandal sparked a debate, with Jeet Heer over at The New Republic arguing that such nasty tactics aren’t productive praxis for class war:

The Condé Nast executive is seen as a legitimate subject for attack because of his wealth and class privilege. What the adherents to Gawkerism rarely consider is whether tabloid gossip is really the best tool for fighting a class war.

Unfortunately, Heer completely overlooks the fact that historically, gossip, libel and denigration have been an integral aspect of class war, and the tabloids have usually been the medium of dissemination. Just ask Maria Antoinette, for whom the libelle—a smutty little tabloid in the form of a political pamphlet—proved an incredibly effective piece of political propaganda. These were not sophisticated political tracts—they often simply depicted Antoinette in pornographic situations—orgies, incest, lesbianism—everything you could imagine. Sometimes the purpose of these cartoons was to actually accuse Antoinette of such acts, but often they were simply a form of degradation.

The cartoon above features Antoinette with the Marquis de Lafayette, a politician and general who fought alongside against England during the American Revolution. Considered a military hero, he was appointed to the National Assembly by the King, and though he remained a royalist, he sympathized with Revolutionary values and attempted to institute them politically. As a result, he was distrusted by both the revolutionaries and the monarchy. There is no evidence that he had an affair with Antoinette; the cartoon is actually intended to illustrate Lafayette’s allegiance to the crown. His “steed” is a pun, as the French word for “Austrian” is very similar to “ostrich,” and Antoinette was often referred to as “Austrichienne,” or “Austrian Bitch.”.

You may find the tabloids gauche, you may find their targets undeserving, you may even argue that we live in a more civilized time—a time when tabloids should be retired in favor of more dignified debate and politics; but if you’re wondering whether or not tabloids are effective in class war, I’d remind you that the road to the guillotine has always been paved with smut.
 

Marie was often depicted in lesbian trysts, generally assumed to be Yolande de Poligna or Princesse de Lamballe. The text reads, “I now breathe only for you, a kiss my beautiful angel.”
 

In a subtler comic, Marie stepping from Versailles to safety, bearing the King and Prince on her back, giving the French people a view up her dress in the process.
 
More 18th century political smut after the jump…

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Posted by Amber Frost
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07.27.2015
10:19 am
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The communist art of René Mederos, Cuban propagandist for Vietnamese revolution
05.05.2015
08:27 am
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“Como en Viet Nam,” ca. 1970
 
Retrospectives on communist art and design are often dominated by some pretty inaccessible (and sometimes downright godawful) aesthetics. For example, many people find the grey boxes of GDR architecture a bit alienating, and while I personally adore it for kitsch value, most folks don’t dig on Socialist Realism paintings, as all that beatific portraiture of Stalin can get overwhelmingly corny. Dictators and stark buildings are not however, the whole and sum of communist aesthetics. There has been a lot of exoteric art produced in the name of the workers state, and with his unmistakable saturated colors and revolutionary tableaux, René Mederos was one such propagandist of the people.

Born in 1933, self-taught Cuban artist Felix René Mederos Pazos began his career at a Havana print shop when he was only 11 years old. By his mid-twenties he was Chief Designer for the big Cuban television station, and in 1964 he started making propaganda posters as head of a design team. In 1969 Mederos was sent to Vietnam to paint the war alongside the Vietnamese communists that were fighting it. Despite the brutality and violence he witnessed, Mederos often produced alluring, joyful images, a direction that some Cubans felt wasn’t dark and/or anti-American enough.

Mederos actually returned to Vietnam in 1972, and though he also did series on Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, Vietnam remains his most famous subject, and a major touchstone in Cuban graphic design.
 

1969
 

“Como en Viet Nam, Mes de la Mujer Vietnamita” (Month of the Vietnamese Woman), ca. 1970
 

More Mederos after the jump…

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Posted by Amber Frost
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05.05.2015
08:27 am
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‘There’s no medicine for regret’: Incredibly misogynist venereal disease posters from WWII
02.26.2015
11:39 am
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Oh, 1940s anti-VD posters, the only place where a girl’s cooch might be worse than Hitler!

During World War II, propaganda was deployed to spark the purchase of war bonds, to get you to STFU, and to spur the collection of scrap metal. Naturally, the sex lives of “our boys” weren’t exempt from such crusades. The U.S. government enlisted the help of artists, designers, and advertising professionals to create what amounts to the first mass campaign about sex; in so doing they created these eye-popping and surprisingly frank posters.

A researcher named Ryan Mungia has published an excellent collection of VD posters entitled Protect Yourself. Mungia came across the posters entirely by accident while researching a book on wartime Hawaii:
 

My objective was to find photographs, but I came across this file folder peeking out of an open cabinet that said “VD Posters” on it. Inside, I found a stash of 35mm slides of these posters, most of which ended up in the book. I guess you could say the subject chose me, since I didn’t set out to make a book on venereal disease, but became interested in the topic because of the graphic nature of the posters.

 
The images come from the National Archives and the National Library of Medicine. As Mungia points out, the images evoke memories of other beloved graphics: “The designs were really reminiscent of film noir or B-movie posters from the ’40s, those pulpy-style poster designs, and they also reminded me of the Works Progress Administration artwork, which I love.” Mungia also said of the posters: “Women are often portrayed in a negative light,” being associated with Hitler or Hirohito in one attention-getting poster.

Those slogans…. “Worst of the Three,” “A Bag of Trouble” ... methinks they protest too much!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.26.2015
11:39 am
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Suffragette City: Propaganda posters reveal the horrors of women’s rights!
12.11.2014
09:25 am
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A lotta guys would pay good money for that.
 
The panic surrounding women’s suffrage managed to exacerbate masculine anxieties to such a perverse degree that you have to wonder just how terrified of women men actually were. They seemed to believe that all it took to upset the apple cart was access to bourgeois politics, then, we’d wreak havoc! Soon enough, reactionaries predicted, womenkind would be enslaving their husbands, abandoning their children and domestic duties, assaulting men on the street, invading political institutions and… wearing pants! Clearly, this made for amazing propaganda.

More insidious than the fear of masculine ladies and feminized men is a single depiction of a huger-striking suffragette being force-fed. There is a gleeful look in the eyes of the posh man pouring soup down her throat, and a menacing one in the eyes of the cop holding down her legs. Force-feeding is a torture that was administered to suffragettes like Alice Paul, much to the glee of misogynistic sadists. One would hope that such a barbaric practice would be abandoned by now—especially considering how ineffective torture actually is—but it appears the US remains reluctant to give up on the tradition.
 

 

Detail from above image.
 

 

 
More of the horror of women thinking for themselves after the jump…

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Posted by Amber Frost
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12.11.2014
09:25 am
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Creepy anti-communist propaganda from Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation, 1952
07.16.2014
10:30 am
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Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation is most famous in the design crowd for its futuristic advertising campaigns—absolutely gorgeous (and totally campy) illustrations of all the products they dreamed of one day manufacturing. (There’s one of a firetruck that’s so New Wave it should probably be a B-52s album cover.)

Lesser known is that the Detroit-based company was in constant conflict with the quickly radicalizing United Auto Workers membership—the local was actually the first to elect a black president, a surprise to many, despite Bohn’s primarily black labor force.

Sensing danger, Bohn produced an anti-communist campaign, perhaps hoping that a bunch of ominous posters might mold dissent into model employee patriotism. It’s difficult to imagine that any Bohn workers were inspired to fealty by corny sloganeering and a few creepy disembodied (white) hands, but one would hope that the heavy-handed (geddit?) propaganda gave the Detroit proletariat a giggle as they occupied factory floors, organized work stoppages and staged sit-down strikes with over 12,000 workers.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.16.2014
10:30 am
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The gory and grotesque art of Soviet antireligious propaganda
06.17.2014
09:52 am
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The images below are from the Soviet anti-religious magazine, Bezbozhnik, which translates to “Atheist” or “The Godless.” It ran from 1922 to 1941, and its daily edition, “The Godless at the Workplace,” ran from 1923 to 1931. The scathing publication was founded by the League of Militant Atheists, an organization of the Soviet Communist Party members, members of its youth league, workers and veterans, so while it was in many ways a party project, it was not state-sponsored satire.

The Soviet Union adopted a formal position of state-atheism after the revolution but it wasn’t a clean break. The expropriation of church property and the murder or persecution of clergy was certainly the most obvious supplantation of power, but the USSR was a giant mass of land, most of it rural and much of it pious, so the cultural crusade against religion was an ongoing campaign for the hearts and minds of citizens who might resist a sudden massive secularization. The monstrous, violent art you see below depicted religion as the enemy of the worker and footman to capitalism. You’ll notice a wide array of religions depicted, as the USSR was very religiously diverse.
 

Depicting the Muhammad, the Christian god, and a Jewish Kabbalist. Despite the ethnic cartoons, the founder and majority of staff were Jewish.
 

Mocking the “piety” of racist America with the title, “God’s country”
 

The Pope, with Jesus and the Bible astride a cannon, aimed at the 35 million European unemployed
 

Jesus, dumped like so much industrial waste
 

Deities getting smooshed by a Five Year Plan
 

Even Buddha gets his share of hate
 

God is responsible for plagues
 

Luring the people to church with music
 

A soldier literally skewering god. The books under his arm read “Lenin” and “Technology.”
 
Via The Charnel-House

Posted by Amber Frost
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06.17.2014
09:52 am
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The U.S. government tries to convince citizens to stay put after nuclear attack, 1951
05.08.2014
10:12 am
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“You know Fred, actually, staying in a city to help after an atomic attack is not nearly as dangerous as a lot of people think. The danger of, well, lingering radiation is not really very serious. After an atomic air burst, the danger of radiation and falling debris is over within… a minute and a half.”

You don’t say?

The Federal Civil Defense Administration produced a glut of Cold War misinformation and propaganda, but 1951’s Our Cities Must Fight is among the most baffling. An attempt to discourage urbanites from abandoning their fair cities after nuclear attack, the film fictionalizes a conversation between two patriotic newspapermen bemoaning the “take to the hills fraternity.” The men go on to imply that leaving a nuked city would be “pretty close to treason,” and then pile on the insane justifications—you couldn’t get through the traffic anyway! We’ll need you to fight fires and keep going to work! Oh, and my favorite—radiation isn’t really that big a deal!

I’m not sure if there really was a totally unrealistic perception that a post-nuclear city could still function, but I can’t imagine most Americans would stick around to polish the brass on the Titanic after an atomic bomb hit it—assuming of course that there were any survivors. With the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh, it’s difficult to believe the FCDA ever thought anyone would stick around because of a silly government film!
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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05.08.2014
10:12 am
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‘Soviet Toys’: The first Russian cartoon was (you guessed it!) commie propaganda!
03.03.2014
11:23 am
Topics:
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Soviet Toys
Filthy capitalist swine
 
My fascination with political propaganda has no partisan allegiance, but left or right, I can’t help but think they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Those racist Tea party signs, the Shepard Fairey-designed beatification of Barack Obama—even the romantic filigree of Occupy Wall Street didn’t do much for me. My favored political propaganda is that rare combination of ambitious, angry, and optimistic—a trinity often achieved by the very coiners of the term “agitprop,” the Soviets.

Soviet Toys is the very first in a long and rich history of Russian animation, and while only a fraction those cartoons were explicitly political, the great Russian director Dziga Vertov made masterful use of the medium to produce some truly caustic revolutionary art.

Despite its explicit semiotics, the plot of Soviet Toys is a little bit of Russian history “inside baseball,” so I’ll sum up. During Lenin’s New Economic Policy (a period of liberalization where private citizens were allowed small entrepreneurial ventures to boost the economy after the Russian Civil War), a class of businessmen called “NEPmen” rose to prominence, much to the resentment of radicals like Vertov. Obviously, the fat glutton you see represents the NEPmen. Materialistic women and corrupt clergy (the church had experienced a contentious split) defer to him for favors. The industrial worker and the farmer both fail at bringing down the NEPman on their own, but eventually they literally merge (like the ole’ hammer and sickle!) to defeat him.

And as if that weren’t a happy enough ending, the Red Army comes along and forms a tree, from which all capitalists and conspirators are hanged. Though Soviet Toys might feel a little heavy-handed and technically crude by today’s standards, it’s an incredibly sophisticated little film for its time and place. Remember this is four years before Disney’s Steamboat Willie, and I don’t recall even one capitalist being hanged in that!
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Amber Frost
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03.03.2014
11:23 am
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‘Our Lenin’: Soviet propaganda book for kids, 1934
01.17.2014
09:07 am
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Our Lenin
 
While the word “propaganda” has a rather nasty, manipulative connotation, it isn’t necessarily defined as “lies” per se. All that WPA art encouraging people to brush their teeth and get tested for syphilis? Excellent uses of propaganda! And whether you’re trying to organize a community garden or start your own fascist regime, I think the most effective propaganda follows that same model of simple, informative, attractive messaging, easily interpreted by children or the uneducated. Catch ‘em young, and make it pretty, I always say.

Our Lenin, a children’s biography of Vladimir Lenin, does this perfectly. Translated and adapted from a Russian book, the US version of Our Lenin was published in 1934 by the US Communist Party. Although teaching the kiddies to revere Vladimir Lenin uncritically is certainly problematic (to say the least), the book is a beautifully executed piece of messaging, and the illustrations are just exquisite.
 
Our Lenin
 
Our Lenin
World War 1
 
Our Lenin
Would you like a socialist utopia, or capitalist fascism? Pick carefully now, children!
 
Our Lenin
Ohhhh, so that’s how it works. Seems easy enough.
 
Via Just Seeds

Posted by Amber Frost
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01.17.2014
09:07 am
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Socialism is Our Launching Pad: The Soviet Union’s incredible space program propaganda posters
08.29.2013
11:38 am
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spacelenin
“With Lenin’s name”

The Soviet Union was far ahead of the U.S. in the “space race” of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. By 1965 the U.S.S.R. could take credit for the first satellite, Sputnik-1 (1957), first animal in space (1957), first human in space and Earth orbit (1961), first woman in space and Earth orbit (1963), first spacewalk (1965), first Moon impact (1959), and first image of the far side of the Moon (1959).

As a result Soviet space program propaganda posters from this era were colorful and inspiring. The Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations had Wernher von Braun helping NASA but no artists creating bold, bragging promotional posters like these. Even into the 1970s, all I remember from grade school is a faded poster of moon rocks and the usual “big blue marble” image of the Earth from the Moon.

astronauthammersickle
“Glory to the Soviet people, the pioneers of space!”
 
sovietfairytale
“We were born to make the fairy tale come true!”
 
sovietglory
 
“Glory to the conquerors of the universe!”
 

Above, “Flight to the Moon,” a Soviet propaganda cartoon from 1953

Via io9, where you can see a lot more of these vintage Soviet space program posters

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright
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08.29.2013
11:38 am
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