Saturday, September 18, 2010

Anti-American Art: Common Cause

This badge from early 1950s China displays the solidarity of the two young Communist nations the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Flags of the two countries wave behind a Chinese soldier bayonetting a little red blob labelled "America." The inscription (which sadly I can't read all of) also mentions America. The Chinese rescued North Korea in the Korean war, sending hundreds and hundreds of thousands of "volunteers" to push back the U.S. counterattack.

Political badges have long been de-rigueur in both countries: small metal pins with Chairman Mao's face on them first made their appearance in the late 1940s, and culminated with the ubiquitous metallic red Mao buttons of the Cultural Revolution. In North Korea, everybody wears small lapel pins with Kim Il Sung's or Kim Jong Il's portrait. Or else.

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