I have to admit it: I was amused when the poster at the right appeared on Drudge, who linked with this article, which likened Obama’s use of the “Forward” theme with its use in socialist/communist contexts.
First: the slogan “Forward” does have strong roots in the history of communism. Whether we will see iconography like that on the right to follow is another matter; what we’ll get will probably be less interesting. What they’ll put out will be more high tech but the old communist propaganda poster is an art form of its own.
Having travelled in both the People’s Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, I saw a lot of propaganda, posters and otherwise. It turned up in many places. The most memorable experience came during my first visit to the Soviet Union. We were staying in a hotel which attempted to exploit our surplus value with its high dry cleaning prices, so our agent decided to strike out in a cab to a local dry cleaner. Sure enough, the walls were festooned with propaganda posters. “Better Dry Cleaning Through Communism!” What a concept!
There are still situations where a good propaganda poster would really do the trick. I suggested that then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good propaganda poster for the People’s Republic of California, which got this reaction from a Virginia reader. I’ve had fun with the slogans too, as was the case at the end of my piece Half a Million Roubles, Is It Enough? (which is more relevant for Mitt Romney than Barack Obama).
But one thing’s for sure: a second Obama term will bring us closer both to the fifty square metre apartment and to the realisation that we have, in reality, been taken to the cleaners. Forward!