Laugh with the Koch brothers
“Our vision controls the way we think and, therefore, the way we act … the vision we have of our jobs determines what we do and the opportunities we see or don’t see.”
“The Koch brothers job is to do everything they can to dismember government in general,” Senator Bernie Sanders
here are 10 facts that every American should know about who the Kochs are and what they’re doing to the USA.
1. Koch Industries, which the brothers own, is one of the top ten polluters in the United States — which perhaps explains why the Kochs have given $60 million to climate denial groups between 1997 and 2010.
2. The Kochs are the oil and gas industry’s biggest donors to the congressional committee with oversight of the hazardous Keystone XL oil pipeline. They and their employees gave more than $300,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010 alone.
3. From 1998-2008, Koch-controlled foundations gave more than $196 million to organizations that favor polices that would financially enrich the two brothers. In addition, Koch Industries spent $50 million on lobbying and some $8 million in PAC contributions.
4. The Koch fortune has its origins in engineering contracts with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.
5. The Kochs are suing to take over the Cato Institute, which has accused the Kochs of attempting to destroy the group’s identity as an independent, libertarian think and align it more closely with a partisan agenda.
6. A Huffington Post source who was at a three-day retreat of conservative billionaires said the Koch brothers pledged to donate $60 million to defeat President Obama in 2012 and produce pledges of $40 million more from others at the retreat.
7. Since 2000, the Kochs have collected almost $100 million in government contracts, mostly from the Department of Defense.
8. Koch Industries has an annual production capacity of 2.2 billion pounds of the carcinogen formaldehyde. The company has worked to keep it from being classified as a carcinogen even though David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor.
9. The Koch brothers’ combined fortune of roughly $50 billion is exceeded only by that of Bill Gates in the United States.
10. The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs accused Koch Oil of scheming to steal $31 million of crude oil from Native Americans. Although the company claimed it was accidental, a former executive in this operation said Charles Koch had known about it and had responded to the overages by saying, “I want my fair share, and that’s all of it.”
That last quote — “I want my fair share, and that’s all of it” — encapsulates the unbridled greed driving the Kochs’ political activism and business dealings. Democracy cannot thrive with so much power being in the hands of men like this. If we care about democracy, we have to work to take it back.
Long Live Our Happy Socialist Land!
Gustav Klusis, 1935
Five years later, during the war, Stalin’s face wouldn’t be featured on so many posters. The Russian people couldn’t forget the sinister policies, the sweeping purges, and the brutal coercion he had imposed upon them between 1935 and 1940 – which were hardly masked by images of utopia such as this.
We Will Eradicate the Agents of Fascism
Sergei Igumnov, 1937
We Will Eradicate the Spies and Saboteurs, the Trotskyist-Bukharinist Agents of Fascism.”
This poster was published on behalf of the NKVD – the Soviet Secret Police – during the infamous Show Trials in Moscow. Stalin went on to personally direct what became know as the Great Purge, and later as the Great Terror. According to the propaganda of the time, the purge was a cleansing of the rotten elements in his government. But in reality, he meant to systematically suppress the voices of anybody he perceived as a threat to his own power. It’s a scary thought: propaganda posters such as this one could be used very effectively to keep the tide of opinion in his favour, despite the bloodshed.
Viktor Koretsky, 1941
Just before WWII, the end of the Spanish Civil War had seen a Nazi-backed Fascist government come to power, after the irresponsible western powers, Britain and France, refused to offer military assistance to the Spanish Republicans. Many left-leaning writers and artists from the west, most famously George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, had volunteered to fight for the Republican cause. The collapse of the socialist Spanish Republic, and the suffering endured by its citizens during the war, was an emotional subject for many Russians.
By 1941, not only Spain but also France, Belgium and the Netherlands had fallen under Fascist rule. This double-imaged poster contrasts the tragic fate of these western countries with the strong, stable and prosperous society established in Soviet Russia under Stalin.
For the Motherland!
A. Polyansky, 1941
To the Russians, WWII was known as the Great Patriotic War. Less than six months after the poster above this one was published, Germany had abandoned its former understanding with Russia, and invaded. Much of Germany’s eastern-front fighting over the next three years took place on Soviet soil…
My Son! You See My Plight…
Fyodor Antonov, 1942
Red Army soldiers knew that they had everything to lose in the war with Germany. Behind this old woman are the smoldering remains of the family home; she implores her son to save the country.
Capitalists of the World, Unite!
Victor Deni, 1919
According to the red text at the bottom of this famous anti-Capitalist poster – also by Viktor Deni – “Anyone who tears down this poster or covers it up is performing a counter-revolutionary act.”
Every Woman Should Know How to Raise a Child Properly
Alexei Komarov, 1925
Contrasted here are two different ways of rearing children: the left column follows the life of a child raised in poor conditions, while the column on the right demonstrates the proper way. Although serfdom had been abolished by Tsar Alexander II in 1861, Russia in 1925 still boasted a largely rural – and relatively uneducated – population of “muzhiks”, or peasants. A large part of Soviet propaganda was therefore devoted to educational initiatives, especially in the crucial area of healthcare. The revolutionary babies at the bottom of the right column are testament to the advantages of modern medicine.
Tatar Women! Join the Ranks…
Artist Unknown, 1920s
“… Arm-in-Arm with the Proletarian Women of Russia, You will Finally Break off the Last Shackles.”
The ethnic groups whose home lay on the periphery of Russia, such as the famous Cossacks, had always played a large part in its military defense. Tatarstan actually lies quite close to the cultural heart of Russia, but managed to retain for centuries its own Islamic culture and Turkic language.
This poster, which features Tartar script as well as Russian, encourages Tartar women to abandon the “shackles” of tradition in favour of the factories and furnaces of modernity. Part of the Soviet drive to assimilate the Tartars involved discouraging the traditionally subservient role of women. Gender equality thrived in many aspects of Soviet life (though women were notably absent from high state politics.)
Get a Tractor!
Artist Unknown, c. 1930
“The Machine-tractor Station is the Linchpin of Collectivisation. Get a Tractor! Let’s Double and Triple the MTS.”
Machine-Tractor Stations (MTS) were part of Stalin’s efforts to collectivise farms across Russia. Rich peasants – who by the sweat on their brows had accumulated more land than was acceptable – were attacked by Communist policy and propaganda alike, as friends of the capitalists and enemies of true peasants.
Note the dutiful workers reading a newspaper together during their break: self-taught literacy was often encouraged in this manner, especially among the labouring class. Of course, literacy didn’t necessarily entail freedom for the workers to read whatever they liked.
The image of Stalin is similar for almost everyone. Today we want to show you the leader as a person who also had childhood and youth. This is how he was depicted by Georgian artists on their pictures.
“Childhood of Soso”. (real name of Stalin was Soso Dzugashvili).
“Soso Dzhugashvili – tender years”.
“Expulsion of Stalin from the Seminary”.
“Stalin – juvenile years”.
“Stalin and Hashim”.
“Stalin talking to peasants from Adjara”.
“Stalin’s demostration in Batum in 1902″.
“Worker’s coterie under the leadership of Stalin”.
Stalin is delivering a speech.
“Escaping from Siberia (1904)”.
Part 2 To follow
Examples of Stalinist Posters & Political Art (1930-1953)
S. M. Luppov, Sports Games at a Stadium (1927)
Youth Must Fly (1934)
A. A. Deineka, Defending Sebastopol (1942)
I. A. Laktionov, Letter from the Front (1948)
Examples of Stalinist Posters & Political Art (1930-1953)
N. Kh. Rurkovsky. Stalin at Kirov’s Bier. 1934
I.I. Brodsky, Stalin (1937)
G.M. Shegal’, Leader, Teacher, Friend(1937)
via Propaganda Art.
via Propaganda Art.
Soviet Propaganda Posters Post WW2
Five-Year plan in four years – (we) will complete!
Comrades loggers! Let’s keep promise given to Comrade Stalin!
Develop virgin lands!
Glory to Soviet Country! 1917 1953
(You) will be a master!
If to work good, the bread will grow
New five-year plan – the five year plan of the Great construction
Young builders of Communism!
Let’s raise the generation utterly devoted to the cause of communism!
Glory to the Russian people – the bogatyr people, the creator people!
Nikita Sergeyevich Kruschev
Long live to PEACE!
via Soviet poster.
via Soviet poster.
Soviet collectivization and industrialization
Brave labor of the fishermen is in country’s respect. Have a nice catch, have a nice journey!
Save work minute!
Here we will live, work and study
The sun of the new harvest
Every day – udarny (superproductive).
In the unity of the production and science – the power and future of the country!
Give the Mainline of the century!
Five year plan – earlier than scheduled!
Do not lose!
(We) Will pave the way to the future!
Glory to the mighty aviation of the country of the Socialism! 1939
January 1st, 1939. Happy New Year!
To work, to build and not to whine!
Long live Stalin’s constitution!
The Soviet woman
Under the leadership of the great Stalin – forward to Communism!
Stalin and Klement Voroshilov
“Long live the workers’ and peasants’ Red Army – the true guard of the Soviet borders!” Gustav
Stalin in the Kremlin cares about each one of us!
Life’s Getting Better. Stalin 1934.
The captain of the country of Soviets, leads us from victory to victory! 1933
GPU. counter-revolutionary saboteur.
Do not speak out!
There is a widespread belief that Stalin’s Soviet Union was a country almost completely closed to foreigners. However, advertising of “Intourist” (organization responsible for foreign tourism in the USSR) created in 1930ies, gives somewhat different look at the issue.
The country was in desperate need of foreign currency for industrialization, so all the ways to lure wealthy foreign tourists to the USSR were used. And it was not just about the major cities – Moscow and Leningrad.
You can see the invitations to visit almost all the interesting parts of the USSR, theater festivals, river cruises, the Russian hunting, great construction projects. These posters were made to create an image of pre-war Soviet Union as the “earthly paradise.”
What does the Dalai Lama have in common with Joseph Stalin? A belief that he has the power and the right to make people happy. Yesterday a gaggle of happy-clappy academics, economists and politicians, backed by the Dalai Lama, launched a campaign called Action for Happiness, which will endeavour to make us Brits less gloomy and more perky by encouraging us to follow a cranky, sub-Oprah 10-point plan towards the Good Life. These happiness hawkers seem blissfully unaware of the fact that throughout history it has traditionally been the most authoritarian regimes, including Stalin’s, that promoted the politics of happiness.
Leaving aside the breathtaking banality and obviousness of the happiness gang’s 10-point plan (apparently you will be happier if you “focus on the happy moments of your life rather than the sad” and “have some purpose in your life”, etczzzz), what is most striking is the extent to which they reckon they know what’s best for us. They seriously believe that the entire populace, with our myriad problems and emotions and aspirations, can be led by the hand towards a one-size-fits-all definition of “happiness” as conjured up by them in their cut-off debates in some ivory tower. The message is clear: people are incapable of working out what is in their best interests, or even of managing their own emotions, and thus they need experts to colonise their minds and hearts and show them the way.
In the past, it was normally only tyrants who believed they had the power to “construct happiness”. They were keen on happiness promotion because they recognised that a placid, sedate, “officially happy” populace was less likely to protest, argue back or generally kick up a fuss about their lives and futures than an unhappy populace. So in the 1950s, Stalin plastered the Soviet Union with posters that said “Glory to the Great Stalin, the Constructor of Happiness!” Another, from 1949, said “Our Beloved Stalin is the People’s Happiness!” Stalin’s regime took pseudo-scientific measurements of so-called national well-being – not unlike today’s increasingly influential well-being lobby – in order to “prove” that the toiling, put-upon people of the Soviet Union were happy. Officially, at least.
In the 1930s, the Hitler Youth promoted “security, comradeship and happiness”. As Sebastian Haffner says in his book The Meaning of Hitler, Hitler saw it as his duty to “force the people into happiness”. There was a kind of “enforced happiness”, says Haffner, a term which might also be used to describe Action for Happiness’s belief that it can magically make us all happy by printing out and handing to us a Dalai Lama-approved guide to life. Kim Il-Sung, the founder of modern North Korea who died in 1994 (but who remains “Eternal President”), could probably have signed up to Action for Happiness – he also considered it his duty to “ensure the prosperity of the motherland and the happiness of the people”.
Political tyrants’ penchant for promoting happiness, for pre-empting dissent by constructing some BS notion of perfect social well-being, has not gone unnoticed by authors who have ridiculed or satirised tyranny. So in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, one of the big clashes between the authoritarian State Controllers and the antihero – known as “the Savage” – is over the issue of happiness. “I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin”, the Savage tells the State Controllers. “In fact, you’re claiming the right to be unhappy”, they respond. “All right then”, says the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy”.
And so am I today. Not because I think miserabilism is good, but because I don’t believe the powers-that-be have the right to invade our emotional lives or the ability to make us happy. Happiness is not a script that we conform to; it is something we discover through our own lives and interactions. What’s more, unhappiness, an edgy feeling of dissatisfaction, a nagging belief that there could and should be more to life than this, is frequently the motor of change – both in people’s personal lives and in the social and political worlds. We should not let unhappiness be airbrushed from the social landscape, Stalin-style, by academics who patronisingly promise us that we will be happy if we just “go for a run” or “buy a cup of coffee for a stranger”.