Friday, October 01, 2010
Anti-American Art: Machine Gun Sing-Along
Today is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; here's a Chinese poster from the bygone era of Chinese Anti-Americanism, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. While it doesn't mention the U.S. by name, this 1971 poster marking the centenary of the Communist anthem "The Internationale" displays the a particularly militant tableau of world revolutionaries united in defiance against imperialism. From the top there's a Vietnamese guerrilla, an armed Albanian peasant, an armed Chinese worker, and a traditionally-clad Korean woman with bayonet-mounted rifle slung over her back. The ranks of singing revolutionaries below them run from a Cambodian guerrilla and headband-wearing student rebel to keffiyah-clad Arab, to blonde European or American to my favorite, a sten-gun-carrying African guy in some sort of sporty striped tunic over a white polo shirt, a leopard-skin cap jauntily set atop his head.
When I was in the organized left, we actually used to sing this song all the time. Everybody sing along:
Arise, you prisoners of starvation!
Arise, you wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world's in birth!
No more tradition's chains shall bind us,
Arise you slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth shall rise on new foundations:
We have been nought, we shall be all!
'Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race