Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anti-Americana: Burn, Baby, Burn

Two more stamps from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), from 1971 and apparently produced but withdrawn or not officially issued. These are some kind of rarities; I copped the graphics from ebay. I don't know the theme or circumstances of this issue, but the top value clearly shows the Statue of Liberty and the US Capitol engulfed in flames so it's not hard to guess what these stamps are about. The foreground figure is breaking chains of oppression, and is probably a South Korean revolutionary. The bottom stamp shows a militiaman slamming a US soldier whose helmet has gone flying; in the foreground is an industrial worker. These are all common archetypes in North Korean iconography. World anti-imperialist sentiment was at its height in 1971; the American war against Vietnam having taken a particularly ugly and genocidal turn.

Anti-American art is an irregular feature here at the Cahokian: for more click here.


  1. i love you ish, but surely support of north korea is not implicit in this post... right?

  2. Hey freebones, nice to hear from you.

    Is North Korea my idea of a progressive, egalitarian, cooperative society? Of course not.

    But the derisive animosity of American media toward North Korea (and the resulting attitude among so many Americans) I find deeply problematic. Which country, the US or North Korea, is a greater prison state? Is a greater threat to world peace? Has actually attacked other countries? Has a bigger nuclear arsenal which it uses to strong arm world affairs? The answer to these questions is not North Korea. If you study the history of the two Koreas in the past 60 years, for all the talk of North Korean gulags and atrocity, you'll find at least as much detail on South Korean anticommunist death squads, civil repression and US military massacres of civilians. And if Americans find Korea's personality-cult culture problematic, I think the empty consumerism of part of American culture or the "let them eat cake blame the poor people" teabagger culture of other parts of America not particular improvements. North Korea is a tiny country that has had the most powerful army in the world hostily encamped on one of its borders for sixty years: and the #2 and #3 armies ambivalently watching from the other borders, I think North Korea is entitled to some cultural survival quirks. My complaints against the Kim dynasty pale in comparison with my complaints against the bullying of American policy on the Korean peninsula.