Sunday, April 21, 2013
We were the children of the revolution...
Remember the seventies?... Denmark was pretty left-wing back then, and that particular world view influenced not only politics, the educational system, the unions and public opinion, but of course also - the arts!
Prominent amongst Danish political artists of the seventies was the artists collective RØDE MOR (meaning "Red Mother ") which worked in many different popular medias, in order to speak directly to The People™
Music and political theatre is what they are mostly remembered for today, their politically charged rock songs were played regularly on Danish Radio throughout the seventies and eighties. But another mass media also explored was: the comic book!
A comic book could communicate cheaply and directly to the masses, in dire need of emancipation and education about how they were being exploited and oppressed by the KKKapitalists (this was before the masses learned that capitalism doesn't do that sort of thing, capitalism is there to help you and be nice to you)
In court, the honest worker meets his enemies:
The unions, the judge, and the association of
Thus, Røde Mor published several comic books through their publishing house DEMOS, and in the volume pictured above we have two stories , the first one dealing with a group of crusty construction workers having to defend their right to strike, and the second telling a tale about a group of happy Copenhagen tenants getting evicted from their lovely (if shabby) houses and relocated to shiny new (but partly dysfunctional) high-rise buildings, erected in some dismal and barren suburbs.
As is the case with much of the political/ underground art of the seventies and later, the craftsmanship of both the stories and art is hardly impressive...but comic books like these were not meant to please the bourgeois aesthetes, but created to work as a weapon for the enlightenment of the people and help bring forth the revolution. Perhaps this also explains why there are no credits anywhere telling us just a little about who did the drawings and who wrote the story. RØDE MOR was seen as a collective effort with no room for petty bourgeois-repressive ideas about individuality and authorship.
A document of its time for sure, but today's citizens face similar challenges related to control of the workforce and housing... and the band RØDE MOR actually went on a come-back tour a few years back, to much acclaim.
So who knows, perhaps young Danish comic book talents will soon start turning out anti-capitalist comic books?
Well, until then:
FIGHT THE OPPRESSOR!
to be continued...