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E.A. Dobbs

[- Agitprop as tactical media

Author: Joe Rabie

Topic: Supplementary guest host text
Keywords: agitprop, revolution, tactical media

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Agitprop is defined as being "political propaganda promulgated chiefly in literature, drama, music, or art" by the "Merriam-Webster" online dictionary. It is a Russian linguistic construction, combining "agitatsiya" (agitation) and "propaganda". It is sometimes considered (or accused by people with conservative convictions) as being inseparable from communism, due to its Soviet origins: I personally associate its beginnings (possibly incorrectly, from an historical point of view) with Russian Constructivism, an artistic form electrified by the expression of the revolutionary dynamic.

Today, Agitprop refers to any use of artistic techniques to further a progressist or radical message. An example are wall murals, notably those made collaboratively by the artist Mike Alewitz (who this past summer has been working on murals for peace in Israel-Palestine).

Agitprop uses the vocabulary of artistic technique - aesthetic strength, poetic expression, satirical humour, subversive, underground narrative (who can forget Fritz the Cat?) and so forth - to amplify and win support for a political cause. Beauty, in terms of Agitprop, is an artistic weapon of mass education in service of the work's message.

Agitprop is of course very present on the web. Amongst the pioneers is RTMark, with their different satirical projects. During the war against Irak, dozens of web sites came out with imaginative works opposing the war. One amongst many examples was the "bretzelforbush" campaign, in which one euro would be donated to an organisation dealing with child protection for every bretzel sent to George Bush...

The purpose of my week as guest host is to launch a discussion on different examples of Agitprop on the web, and to look at ways that one may use the particular attributes of interactive, online media as a vehicule for Agitprop...

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Submitted by joerabie
Posted on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 12:10 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME

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