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Communism as Fashion?

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  • Communism as Fashion?

    This is ludicrous!

    HammerSickleStuff.com Manifesto
    We know that it is ironic to sell a communist symbol for profit. But this is only part of our mission.

    So many facets exist that we will not discuss them at this moment. You will be privy to them as we decide to make them public.

    For now, know that we are not communists. We are not socialists. We may be rabble-rousers, but we are not red. You might be, and that is fine with us. You might not be, and that is fine with us as well.

    As long as you buy our products and support our cause (as vague as it may be), you have our permission to believe in whatever form of government you wish.
    "Part of our mission" :?:

    I don't get this. Is socialist apparel a thing of fashion now? Or is it that kids are reading up on socialism? It seems more of a 'shock your parents thing' or maybe 'get the attention of those "alternative" cute guys with a pink hammer and sickle shirt'. :?

    http://www.merch-bot.com/
    http://www.hammersicklestuff.com/

    Clothing stores seem to be selling more and more "Castro Hats", as they call them, and are making a 'profit' out of them as well. Here in Sweden my brother and I both laugh and frown at this odd venture into socialist militarist clothing styles. Especially when the hammer and sickle logo represented a country that was hardly socialist in the first place (i.e. no democracy which is vital for socialism to survive).

    People dress as they please, but I wonder where this is leading?

    Makes me wonder if the 'Swastika' and 'SS' Buttons are the next thing of fashion *Sneering*.

  • #2
    I have a friend who sometimes wears Nazi paraphenalia to the clubs, as fashion only. It's kind of ironic since he's Jewish.

    At any rate, I wouldn't make too much of it. Just another fashion fad that will probably die out pretty quickly. Unless Hot Topic gets ahold of it...ugh.

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    • #3
      I've often wondered why it is considered acceptable to wear a hammer and sickle but not a swastika. It could be argued that the only way to rob these symbols of their power is to present them in a new and positive way. I'm not sure if slapping them on a tee shirt is the way to go about it though.

      Anyway, this should screw up their plans:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4234335.stm

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tekende
        I have a friend who sometimes wears Nazi paraphenalia to the clubs, as fashion only. It's kind of ironic since he's Jewish.
        8O I'm not sure "ironic" is the word I would have used, but fair enough. I suppose it depends on the club, and how it's worn. As many people pointed out during the Prince Harry debacle, in the context of a show like The Producers, then there is that knowing and ironic use of the insignia... is your friend ever challenged at all?

        Of course, there have always been Guevara tee-shirts around... first in Army Surplus stores, and then in more fashionable retailers such as TopMan and Debenhams. I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, for the same reason I wouldn't wear a football team's shirt in public: I don't know enough about the "team" in question to respond intelligently to being challenged. I couldn't justify it, so I don't wear it.

        Having said that, I'm sat here in a khaki tee with a big white star on the front, which makes me look like a US Army jeep toy I used to have. I'm no big fans of the American military either, but it is just for sleeping in.
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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        • #5
          If you've ever been at any "anti-capitalist-globalization" event, from seattle to rome to porto alegre to G8 etc., you will have seen a good number of people wearing military gear, baggy pants, dreadlocks, and all sorts of "alternative" outfits. So, some of the guys that wear that stuff are not just stylish wannabe rebels. They're actually active. I used to bash people who wear Che Tshirts made in chinese sweatshops but I don't do it anymore...I think the need to identify with a social group, and be identified with it, is not purely a cynical creation of capitalism. I've known fashion designers who really believe they are subversive. And in some way I suppose they are - if only by giving visibility to people who often do have an alternative lifestyle - be it religious/spiritual, sexual, professional, whatever. It's OK if someone buys fancy indian-style clothes if they are a militant vegetarian, no?I guess the clothes act like some sort of protest sign, to some extent.
          I don't know, really.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
            Originally posted by tekende
            I have a friend who sometimes wears Nazi paraphenalia to the clubs, as fashion only. It's kind of ironic since he's Jewish.
            8O I'm not sure "ironic" is the word I would have used, but fair enough. I suppose it depends on the club, and how it's worn. As many people pointed out during the Prince Harry debacle, in the context of a show like The Producers, then there is that knowing and ironic use of the insignia... is your friend ever challenged at all?
            Not to my knowledge.

            I'm not certain, though, whether he ever goes so far as to wear a swastika. I think it's just various military uniform items worn by the Nazis during the war.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tekende
              Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
              Originally posted by tekende
              I have a friend who sometimes wears Nazi paraphenalia to the clubs, as fashion only. It's kind of ironic since he's Jewish.
              8O I'm not sure "ironic" is the word I would have used, but fair enough. I suppose it depends on the club, and how it's worn. As many people pointed out during the Prince Harry debacle, in the context of a show like The Producers, then there is that knowing and ironic use of the insignia... is your friend ever challenged at all?
              Not to my knowledge.

              I'm not certain, though, whether he ever goes so far as to wear a swastika. I think it's just various military uniform items worn by the Nazis during the war.
              I personally think those black SS uniforms have a fashionable appeal.
              Swatikas don't "look cool". I think they look rather nice. It's the connection we today make with these symbols and apparel that make it morally unsound and ludicrous.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah,that hammer and sickle shirt is pretty crazy. They will try to make money on anything and people are more than willing to buy them. Just like the web site that sells Canadian t-shirts to Americans so they can pretent they are Canadian.

                Give it enough time and the swastika might come around in society again,but not for about a hundred years or more. The American Civil War has been over since 1865, but people still complain about the Confederate Flag, so I figure it will be some time for a few generations to let go of the symbol being used by the Nazis.

                The swastika can still be found at Native American pow wows. I have seen Native American blankets that have it on as a pattern.

                Some cultures used the swastika,but it was a backward version of the one everyone sees.

                "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                - Michael Moorcock

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a 'genuine' Che t-shirt from the Cuba Solidarity Campaign. http://www.cubaconnect.co.uk/detail.asp?prod_ID=1468 I say 'genuine' as it is the only one on which the famous photo by Alberto Korda is copyrighted. Looking at the source of the shirt ('Fruit of the Loom'), there may be something dodgy going on - it would have been better to source them from here: http://www.ethicalthreads.co.uk/

                  It is strange that many people who wear Che's image probably know little or nothing of the man and what he stood for. One of my colleagues at work seemed to think it had something to do with smoking dope!

                  Communism, for all its flaws in practice, is a philosophy based around the ideal of human emancipation, whereas Nazism is a death cult through and through. In other words, whilst it is possible to imagine a Communist society without gulags, the gas chambers are inherent in the logic of Nazism. This explains to my mind why Communist symbols, ironic or otherwise, are generally considered acceptable, but Nazi symbols are not. I'm happy with that, personally.

                  Here's something odd, by the way: http://www.odinic-rite.org/clothes.html

                  Presumably a play on this: http://www.philosophyfootball.com/view_item.php?pid=192 (another of my favourite wears).

                  Innocent pagans defending their sacred symbols from misuse by fascists?

                  Maybe, but
                  how can Odinists make alliance with those who would consciously will the 'dissolution of all barriers that hinder the free exchange of nations, races and sexes ', which means the total destruction of all nations, races and sexual differences?
                  http://www.odinic-rite.org/nowicca.html

                  I met some of these guys trying to conduct a cackhanded ritual at Wayland's Smithy on the Ridgeway on the Summer Solstice in 1985. They shared their mead horn with us and seemed like kindred spirits until the elderly gent officiating began to explain how Odinism was "a very racial religion" and nothing to do with those silly hippies at Stonehenge. We slunk off to our own party and later delighted when the heavens opened up and soaked the wretched Odinists who had forgotten to bring tents.

                  One up for Thor!
                  \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mikey_C
                    It is strange that many people who wear Che's image probably know little or nothing of the man and what he stood for. One of my colleagues at work seemed to think it had something to do with smoking dope!
                    I recently wore my Che tee shirt when I picked up my son from school. One of the mums told me that she had a Che poster on her wall when she was at university. "It wasn't anything political," she told me. "I just fancied him." :roll:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I remember genuine soviet badges being very 'chic' in the 80s (when it was a sort of naieve 'screw you' to the Thatcherites - and of course Gorbachev was a bit more of an appealing figure than Stalin, Kruschev . . or Thatcher).

                      There was that whole 'Red Wedge' thing with bands like the Communards, the Redskins, etc, drawing on soviet iconography. (Although notably the early good modernist stuff rather than socialist realism artwork of people toiling happily in fields). Like many younger people today and 'anti-globalism' it provided a nice little identify to match with your feeling about the essential wrongness of the world.

                      Plus we were very sold on the story that Communism didn't kill people, Stalin did.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jules
                        There was that whole 'Red Wedge' thing with bands like the Communards, the Redskins, etc, drawing on soviet iconography.
                        Just think, that was run by the Labour Party!!! I seem to remember that Paul Weller was very involved, and ended up feeling used and abused...

                        I note, by the way, that pictures of Uncle Joe don't seem to be considered particularly 'cool' these days, or, as you've pointed out, the whole 'socialist realist' thing.

                        Soooo kitsch!
                        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Didn't do the Labour Party any good at the time though - most of the kids took the Wham and Michael Jackson option. I think Weller might have been making amends for his ignorant comments about voting Conservative in the 70s and then seeing what Thatcher did to the country, and these days of course he tries to live down The Style Council. I mean when critics praise The Jam and take the piss out of the Style Council why not agree with them.

                          But I didn't mention them as they didn't really play with the Soviet thing like the other bands - was always more Europe than Russia. (Weller did appear on Robert Wyatt's last 2 LPs, although I think Wyatt has finally left the British Communist party).

                          I noticed in Berlin a shop doing a lively trade in Chinese 'Socialist Realist' posters and Taschen have published collections of Soviet Propoganda posters and DDR design. But that was definitely in a kitsch sense.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            From what I've seen over the last few years Communism seems to be the political rebellion of choice for the disaffected middle-class youth of today. I know of at least one "Communist" who lives in a house worth €2 million when built. It's probably worth a bit more now considering the interving time. Either way, it's less offensive to you parents than calling yourself an Anarchist and just avoids that dangerous line of "I've pushed them too far." Apart from that, they don't have to actually find out what anarchism means.

                            It is strange that many people who wear Che's image probably know little or nothing of the man and what he stood for. One of my colleagues at work seemed to think it had something to do with smoking dope!
                            I remember reading an article somewhere by a journalist (possibly in the foreword of The Motorcycle Diaries) who had interviewed one of Che's children at some point. She had this story about being hitchhiking around england somewhere and eventually getting a lift from a guy wearing the t-shirt in question. When she said "I've interviewed his (daughter?) you know" the guy replied with "Who?" and was fascinated to find out that the dude on his t-shirt was actually real.
                            I'll try find the article if I can.

                            EDITED: for typos.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The irony is, of course, that Anarchism may be far more compatible with the right wing politics their parents might espouse (against the state and taxes). Then again, many Americans don't know how 'Communist' some of the things they believe in are, rather than 'anyone who expresses disagreement or criticism of my party or country. Except when I'm doing it and then they'd better agree with me').

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