Cartooning Capitalism

I have been reading the articles and speeches of Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) – American labor leader, co-founding member of the Socialist Party of the United States, and five-time presidential candidate – for some time.

Reading Debs’ speeches and articles have taught me much about the start and development of America’s labor and Socialist movements of the mid-to-late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They have introduced me to men and women and labor and Socialist events that I had never heard about or known of. And, they have introduced me to the labor and political art of the early 20th Century. -Ryan Walker-  Red Portfolio

The art of people such as Art Young, Ryan Walker, Fred Warren, and Sewell Weidman addressed events, people, and policies that concerned the working men and women of America. They dealt with capitalism, Socialism, plutocrats, Wall Street profits and working man labors. The labor and political art of this era was published in Socialist newspapers and magazines such as the Appeal to Reason, The Masses, and The Rip-Saw.

Like Eugene V. Debs’ articles and speeches, I have found the labor and Socialist art of the early 20th Century to not just be interesting, but relevant and applicable to much of what is happening in today’s labor, economic, and political world.

I have found a very informative paper that addresses the art that I am referring to. It is entitled “Cartooning capitalism: Radical cartooning and the making of American popular radicalism in the early twentieth century” by Michael Cohen.

In the article, Cohen writes that

” … radical cartooning stripped the movements and their enemies to their core ideologies, depicting and epic struggle between ‘plutocrat and democracy’, human solidarity versus unrestrained greed. Radical cartoon humor thus offered instruction, persuasion, and entertainment, providing an excellent medium for what contemporary Cultural Studies describe as ‘cultural resistance’, or what social movement theorists have termed ‘framing social protest’: the creation of cultural practices, ideological models, and aesthetic strategies designed to empower popular intellectuals and ordinary people to understand the social world with the specific intention of transforming it.”

As time passes, I plan to post different pieces of labor and Socialist art on this page. Please return to “scottspeak” to view these pieces of art from an era gone-by.

Please also visit the “Eugene V. Debs” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/DebsEugeneV for quotes from Debs’ articles and speeches as well as information about his labor and political life and times.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Economics, Labor, Politics, Social-Economic Justice, Uncategorized, Unions

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