The Obama campaign could have rolled out its new “Forward” slogan at any time during the campaign. They could have rolled it out last week, or next week, or the week of the DNC convention. But the Obama campaign chose the week of May Day or International Workers Day, a date long associated with socialism and communism, to roll out a slogan that is also strongly associated with socialism and communism.
This is far from the first time Obama has resorted to communist imagery. His 2008 Berlin speech poster was a dead ringer for imagery used by Marxist-Leninists in Europe.
The increasingly communistic occupy movement understands well the association between ideology and May Day. That’s why they’re hoping to shut down capitalism for a day. Cities are bracing for May Day “mayhem.”
Labor and communist groups understand May Day’s significance — they marched together last year on May Day, and will do so again today.
“Forward” has been used to festoon socialist publications for decades, all over the world, as Hack Wilson has documented.
The “Forward” slogan isn’t anything new to politics. Wikipedia’s article on the leftist term Forward states:
The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other leftwing newspapers and publications. For example, Vpered (Russian language for ‘Forward’) was the name of the publication that Lenin started after having resigned from the Iskra editorial board in 1905 after a clash with Georgi Plekhanov and the Mensheviks.—
Democrat Socialist Perspective: Socialism- The Way Forward
Communist China: The Great Leap Forward
UK Socialist Party: The Way Forward for Anti-Capitalism
Marxists.org: Can We Go Forward If We Fear to Advance Towards Socialism?
South African Communist Party: Forward to Socialism!
India: Forward Communist Party
Socialistworker.org: Discussing the way forward for Occupy
Marxists.org: Forward to Socialist Revolution
Obama’s campaign and presidency have been built almost entirely on the power of iconography and imagery. Barack Obama was a backbencher in the Illinois state Senate and the US Senate, with no serious legislative achievements, but he was supposed to embody racial healing, as the first president equal parts black and white. Obama symbolized “hope” and “change,” language that was empty in meaning but powerful in imagery. From his logo to the DNC’s 2008 stage to the Greek columns to the way Obama’s circular logo often frames a halo around his head, image has dominated Obama’s political career to the point that it’s an obsession. Barack Obama may be the most image conscious president America has ever had. He even branded the “Office of the President-Elect.” Image is everything to this president and his closest adviser, David Axelrod.
Is it possible that the Obama campaign accidentally introduced a socialist/communist slogan the same week as May Day, the most important day in the socialist/communist calendar? The occupiers, the labor leaders, the hard core communists all obviously understand the association between communism, “Forward” and May Day. Is it possible that the Obama campaign doesn’t?