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KEEP HATE ALIVE

PROVOCATIVE POSTER ART ISN’T JUST FOR HIPPIES AND OCCUPY WALL STREET FOLKS ANYMORE. THE ALTRIGHT IS FINALLY GETTING INTO GRAPHICS IN HOPES OF PERSUADING THE WORLD TO SEE THINGS ITS WAY

YOU’VE SEEN HER—the woman in the red-and-white polka-dot bandana and rumpled blue shirt, flexing her bicep and clenching her fist beneath the slogan “We Can Do It!” Maybe it was Beyoncé posing in that 2014 Instagram photo or Marge Simpson on the cover of Utne Reader in 2011. Or Pink in the music video for “Raise Your Glass,” her 2010 pop anthem. The origins of the “We Can Do It!” poster, however, go back to World War II, when it sold patriotism to American women taking up historically male factory jobs to support the war effort. Since then, the poster has become one of the most iconic feminist images in the world.

“Rosie the Riveter,” as she’s also known (a nod to a 1943 Saturday Evening Post cover by Norman Rockwell of a burly redhead on her lunch break, a rivet gun in her lap and a crumpled copy of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, wedged under her feet), has graced Hillary Clinton campaign T-shirts, Sarah Palin posters and postage stamps. In early February, two weeks after 3 million to 4 million people joined Women’s March events around the country, The New Yorker put a young, black “Rosie” on the cover, wearing a pink pussy hat instead of a bandana. Rosie has her own national park, a celebrity following and so many mugs, magnets and other doodads that a 2000 Washington Post article named her the “most overexposed” souvenir in the Washington, D.C., market.

Rosie’s latest incarnation: alt-right poster girl. In late January, America’s greatest feminist icon was seen pumping her arm alongside a new rallying cry: “Don’t apologize for being white!” The image was part of a “white consciousness campaign” launched by alt-right impresario Jared Taylor on the eve of Black History Month. His mission was to inundate college and university campuses with pro-white propaganda. “The election of Donald Trump is a sign of rising white consciousness,” Taylor wrote on American Renaissance, his online magazine dedicated to white supremacy. “Now is the time to press our advantage in every way possible.”

Along with a 13-step video tutorial on how to hang racist propaganda without getting caught (advice included wearing a hoodie and posting between midnight and 4 a.m.), Taylor linked to 15 downloadable posters that co-opt some of the most powerful images of the 20th century, including James Montgomery Flagg’s “I Want You!” poster from World War I, only here Uncle Sam has a new message: “I want you to love who you are. Don’t apologize for being white.” And there’s Thomas Jefferson in front of a tattered American lag, with the slogan “Men of the West, don’t give in to hate…. Embrace white identity today!”

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About Newsweek International

I WANT YOU TO BE A RACIST Provocative poster art isn't just for hippies and occupy Wall street folks anymore. The Alt-right is finally getting into graphics, in hopes of persuading the world to see things it's way.
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