Thursday, April 11, 2013

Poster of the Week

Gone with the Wind
Bob Light; John Houston
Offset, 1980s
Hampton,  Connecticut

Margaret Thatcher died this week.  She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and the only woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics.  Thatcher’s political philosophy and economic policies emphasized deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), privatization of state owned companies, and union busting.  Sound familiar? 

When two-thirds of the country's miners went on strike in 1984, she called them, “the enemy within…”   In March 1985, after a year out on strike, the union leadership conceded without a deal. The cost to the economy was estimated to be at least £1.5 billion.  Of 174 state-owned mines, most of which were profitable, 97 were closed by 1992, and those that remained were privatized by 1994. This resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and devastated entire communities.  And this is just the result of her attack on one sector of the working class.  Thatcher also presided over the Falklands War with Argentina and provided critical support to the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

As government officials and the corporate press eulogize her strengths and accomplishments, CSPG’s Poster of the Week focuses on her close relationship with President Ronald Reagan.  George Schultz , Reagan’s Secretary of State, called Reagan and Thatcher “ideological soulmates.”  No more need be said.

Poster Text:
The Film To End All Films
The most EXPLOSIVE  love story ever
Milton Friedman  in association with Pentagon Productions presents  "Gone With  The Wind"  Screenplay By  Henry Kissinger  Directed By Cap Weinberger  Music by Jerry Falwell 
Winner of Ten Academy  Awards 
She promised to follow him to the end of the earth.  He promised to organise it!
 "The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God."
- Phyllis Schlafly, Boston Globe, 7/15/80

G All Ages Eliminated  From an Idea Conceived By Phyllis Schlaughly [sic]
An IMF Picture  Now showing world-wide 
Bob Light/ John Houston for Socialist Worker  Published in the U.S. with permission by Donnelly/Colt, Box 1988, Hampton, CT 06247. [union bug] Local One New York  $4 per copy by mail Bulk rates available

Poster History:
Originally designed in 1982 for the Socialist Workers Party (London), it was then remade in the U.S and Germany.  This poster parodies the Reagan-Thatcher alliance as a remake of Gone with the Wind, with Reagan as Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) sweeping British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as Scarlet O'Hara (Vivienne Leigh) off her feet.

The poster was adopted by its opponents and decorated many a young conservative's apartment: It conveyed, more successfully than its designers had intended, a certain romantic quality in the "special relationship" between Reagan and Thatcher.

Others in the "cast" :
Jerry Falwell - fundamentalist right-wing Baptist minister who founded the Moral Majority in 1979.
Milton Friedman - a member of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board.
Henry Kissinger - Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford.  Was Reagan's Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (1983-84).
Phyllis Schlafly - a right wing antifeminist activist, who really did say, "The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God."  [Boston Globe, 7/15/80]
Cap (Caspar) Weinberger - Secretary of Defense under Reagan Administration, 1981 – 1987.



Many British Pop stars wrote songs highly critical of Thatcher.  In 1988, Stephen Patrick Morrisey wrote a song titled 'Margaret on the Guillotine,' even featuring a sound effect of a blade cutting a neck.  In his 1989 song "Tramp The Dirt Down,” Elvis Costello prayed he'd live long enough to stamp on her grave. "I'd savor/ when they finally put you in the ground/I'll stand on your put you in the grave/and tramp the dirt down,” he spat.  Since her death, Costello’s song has risen to #79 on iTunes. But Thatcher’s death is propelling an even older song to the top of iTunes:"Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” from The Wizard of Oz (1939).  A Facebook page established in 2007, encouraged people to download the “Witch” song when Thatcher died, to make it number one.  The BBC plays the top ten songs…the question is, will they play this one? The controversy is escalating amid charges of censorship vs free speech. Stay tuned.


Sources for the musical protests:

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