Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anti-Americana: The People's War

"Long Live the Victory of the People's War!" shouts this classic poster from Cultural Revolution-era China. While the concept of "People's War" is a central Maoist tenet formulated during the guerrilla war against the Japanese occupation of China in the Second World War, the slogan itself is vintage Lin Piao, the Cultural Revolution architect and presumptive heir to Mao who was disgraced (and killed) in 1971. You can read his 1967 appreciation of the Maoist theory here. Back in the day that essay titled with this slogan was bound in a little red vinyl booklet just like the more famous Quotations from Chairman Mao, and studied and toted around as a talisman of revolutionary fervor by radical students around the world. I have a copy myself...that I bought second hand. For many Marxists, the theory of people's war was a point of divergence since it suggested a path of ex-urban military confrontation rather than an urban, political class struggle.

Obviously the graphic focus of this poster is updated from the 1940s to the 1960s worldwide struggle against (American) imperialism. The central motif shows Vietnamese, Cuban and African fighters resolutely facing forward while the flames of revolution redden the sky in the background. You know me, I'm against war. But a little more of that righteous revolutionary fervor might do the world some good.

(I'm so proud of myself... I translated this myself by guessing into google translate: 人民战争的胜利万岁! Ah, modern technology. Anyway, I haven't been posting many of these lately, but this is one of many many classic anti-imperialist propaganda art images I've featured here. Click here to see those in the Cahokian's Anti-Americana archive.)


  1. I have a funny story about propaganda art. During one of my trips to Greece early 1980's - I was walking around Athens with a local. I came upon this great poster design, it was a little smaller than letter size, stuck up on a poll and within easy reach.

    I thought what a neat souvenir to take back home - my friend cautioned me "Don't touch that, you don't want it." His tone actually frightened me a bit. He never did tell me what it was about or what it said.

    But it sure was a great graphic. I wonder what would have happened had I snatched it? Maybe nothing and I would have this neat art hanging on my walls...........or I could be rotting in a Greek jail

  2. Interesting Annie. Was there an image on the poster?

  3. Yes, a face...neatly done but I have no idea who it was, but reminiscent of some I have seen on your blog.