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Forum Post: OWS And Iconography

Posted 2 years ago on April 3, 2012, 6:58 p.m. EST by GypsyKing (9780)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Months back, in October, there was serious debate about what kind of symbols this movement should adopt to further it's message. The Guy Fawlks mask was one of the symbols advanced, and it came to be fairly widely adopted. Some said they saw it it as a quasi-sinister image, and I happen to agree with them.

At that time, I wrote a piece about Thomas Jefferson, and the ways his idea's, to my thinking anyway, fit perfectly with the message of this movement, and that we should adopt him and the flag as a patriotic and unifying image for this movement. That was done to a real degree, and I think it had a very positive effect in rallying others to our cause.

Now I'm going to say something I'm afraid many will find conreoversial, but which I think needs to be said: When did the "hoodie" start to become a symbol for this movement?

I realize that Trayvon Martin was wearing one when he was shot, and that it would be appropriate to honor him this way, by adopting the "hoodie" as a symbol.

The problem is, that wearing a hood has real symbolic power and most of it, unfortunately, is negative. People generally associate hoods with all things clandestine, hidden, and therfore to be feared. Many of the evil archtypes of film and literature have worn hoods, particularly black hoods, because of the reasons above. The uni-bomber was pictured in a hood and sunglasses, and furthermore Whites have come to fear the image of a Black man wearing a hood, as symbolic of gang violence and lawlessness.

I am not going to argue here whether that's justified, or what the truth may be behind this feeling on the part of many Whites; I am just going to say that that is how it is. Therefore, I think that while the hoods were fine for the rally to protest Trayvon's death, they should afterwards be dropped.

I think the movement as a whole has to grapple again with this question of iconography, and Blacks who are in the movement, or who see themselves alligned with it's goals, particularly need to come up with a symbol that is broadly unifying. Since WWII, Blacks have been in the armed forces, and fought in disproportionate numbers compared to Whites, and furthermore their roots often go back farther and deeper in America then those of many whites, so who has a greater right to adopt patriotic symbols than Blacks do?

In any case, we must be careful about the way the symbols we do adopt reflect upon this movement and the way it is perceived.

15 Comments

15 Comments


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[-] 1 points by GreenOurFuture (3) 2 years ago

It might be interesting to explore the issue of OWS icons with Adbusters magazine. They are quite brilliant at visual symbolism. Icons are important - and should be inspiring!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Very good idea! Thanks. Maybe we could just go to amin on this site to get an opinion.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

We need to attract people in the millions to be effective. Jefferson would be a great icon, just reading his words renews a sense of revolution for a just and noble cause.

A tent is negative to many, Fawkes a definite one thumb down, and the hoodie two thumbs down. Why should we give any race or other group within occupy any special right to adopt a symbol? Keep it color blind, that is the basis of democracy, equal voice.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Yes, exactly right! But whether we like it or not smbolism is powerful, and so we must chose symbols and chose them well, or we may have negative symbols thrust upon us.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

During the revolutionary war weren't the various flags the symbols? In occupy the symbol seems to be the protest signs we hold. What would be the most symbolic protest sign?

wall street + democracy = plutocracy

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

1776 revolution then 2012 revolution now

Separation of corporation and state

There are thousands of ideas, maybe someone can come up with something that will resonate with millions of people. Anybody?

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Boy, I sure like "Life, Liberty and the persuit of happiness, or perhaps the REALIZATION of happiness, because "persuit" has changed it's meaning in the context of our times.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Even the trolls will like it!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Life, Liberty and the Realization of Happiness! I love that, I really do!!! And let's roll out the flags and every bit of real American Iconography we can find! We are the true patriots. We really are.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

I wouldn't bet on that, if I were you...............:)

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

It beats "hoodies" as in hoods, as in short for Holligans, as in short for (gangsters) . . . word origins . . . and as in "the hood" slang for gettos, as in those who wear hoods ( lierary and movie images of evil) etc., ect. Better to project a positive image than one the mainstrean associates with evil. I don't understand what you are saying.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Sorry, I did join in a bit late.

I figured they would argue with the "realization" of happiness.

I'm in agreement on the hood thing, and have spoken and suggested several times that OWS needs a marketing/PR expert.

Let's face it, it's all about perception, and that's based on what you project.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

Agreed. At one time I didn't think an actual PR expert was necessary, but you were right. We can't let this "hoodie" thing take over our image. Damn!

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

The comments were deleted here, apparently because the post drew some real rage-filled trolls, or at least one out of the closet. So I'm going to give it another try.

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[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

I didn't think Jesus was in favor of crucifiction. You must be working for the other side. Pretty blalsphemous for Shrove Tuesday.

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[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (26864) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Who are you an incarnation of, and how many times have you been booted for being pro corruption and anti society. I am no ones mask, I am an angry American who is fed-up with Bullshit from the Powers that be and from their Blind Marching as well as bought and paid for supporters such as yourself. This is a new incarnation of an old toxic movement for " justice attacker " as you are familiar with some of the long running dedicated supporters for a healthy country and world.

I do not know who you are trying to kid, but it is not likely to work for very long with those who are truly new to the forum they will see by your input who you are and if the newcomer is here to see about the possibility for a better world you will soon out yourself to them.

So how long is this new incarnation of old toxic hate going to last before getting booted?

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