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Out of This World (A Wrinkle in Time) Literary Cafe: Communism

Propaganda Posters

These are links to several pro and anti communism propaganda posters used by Russia and the U.S. to convince people of the righteousness and truth of their cause. 

Comic Book Covers

These are links to comic book covers from the 1960s showing Captain America as a symbol of America and capitalism and triumphing over communism.

Communism Cafe Station Directions

Directions For This Cafe Station:

Madeleine L'Engle is the author of many science fiction/fantasy youth novels.  In A Wrinkle in Time, the main characters travel to another planet called Camazotz .  On this planet everybody is the same and does the same thing.    L'Engle modeled the society of Camazotz after communism, a political and social system found in several countries in our world where the government controls everything for the people.  Communism and the fight against it is what caused the Cold War  between Russia (U.S.S.R.) and America, as America tried to keep communism from spreading to other countries.  In the 1960s, America feared that communism would destroy all democratic societies.  

Both sides created massive propaganda campaigns to convince people that their society model was the best. America used the comic book hero Captain America as a symbol of America and democratic capitalism and the ability to  triumph over communism.

 

Work in pairs and follow these directions to learn about Communism, Capitalism and the feeling during the 1960s between Russia and America.

Directions:
1. On the iPad mini, open up Safari.  Click the open book icon (Bookmarks).
2. Click the link labeled Communism.
 
3. Read the  What is Communism?  box to learn the definition and characteristics of communism.
4. Read the Definitions box to read definitions of capitalism and propanda.

5. Click the Poster links in the Propaganda Posters box to  view real anti and pro communism posters from the 1950-60s.  Notice the vocabulary and passion of these posters either for or against communism.  NOTE:  Red was the color used to symbolize Communism which is why it was called the Red Menace or the Red Hand in many propaganda posters.


6. Click the Captain America comic book cover links in the  Comic Book Covers box to view comic book covers from the 1960s.  During that time, Captain America was the symbol of anti-communism and the triumph of America over communists everywhere.


ACTIVITY:  (Each student INDIVIDUALLY)

Using all that you have read and viewed in this cafe, create your own mini propaganda poster or comic book cover   on the paper provided. Use the vocabulary you have learned from these resources to make your mini-poster persuasive and authentic.  You may include Captain America, or other symbols you have viewed, in your poster or comic book cover if you wish.

OPTIONAL:  Click the link Communism Scriptographic from 1961 link in the Resources box above.  Read this  anti-communism document, focusing on understanding what communism is, how it affects the people and the differences between communism and capitalism.  Remember: This was created in 1961.

What is Communism?

What is Communism and how does it work?

(from: http://people.howstuffworks.com/communism.htm

 

In a perfect world, everyone would have food and shelter, and a true utopian (or ideal) society would not have sexism, racism and other forms of oppression. But for most of the world's population, this perfect society just isn't possible.  

Communism is one proposed solution to these problems. [Russia or the U.S.S.R. tried a form of Communism beginning in the 1950s/1960s.]

Communism is the idea that everyone in a given society receives equal shares of the benefits achieved from labor.   Communism is designed to allow the poor to rise up and attain financial and social status equal to that of the middle-class. In order for everyone to achieve equality, wealth is redistributed (taken and then given out) so that the members of the upper class are brought down to the same financial and social level as the middle class.  

Communism also requires that all means of production be controlled by the state. In other words, no one can own his or her own business or produce his or her own goods because the state owns and decides everything.

According to the philosopher Frederick Engels'  "Principles of Communism," the plan... is built on the principle that the system should spread around the world until all countries are on board." 

America was and is a democratic/capitalistic society where people have freedoms, own businesses and keep any profits from their work or labor. They don't have to give it to the government to redistribute.  This creates different classes within society - poor, middle class and upper class (wealthy.)  This is a major difference in the philosophies of communism and capitalism.

This goal of making every country communist has caused capitalist nations [like the United States of America] to keep their guard up, fearing that communist economic practices might spread to their countries. [This is what started the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.]

 

Definitions

What is Capitalism?

(from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism)

Capitalism: a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government

 

What is Propaganda?

(from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda)

 Definition: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause.

During the Cold War, both sides, Russia (communism) and  America (democracy, capitalism) used propaganda to convince people all over the world and at home of the truth and value of their way of life. This was often done using propaganda posters, signs,flyers and even comic books!