Why is communist chic so cool?

September 5, 2006 — 7 Comments

webworkersTechcrunch reports on the latest from the Om Malik empire: Web Worker Daily. As Mike Arrington correctly points out, the logo of the site is a play on the Cyrillic alphabet signage typically used by the Soviet Union.

My question is this though: why is communist chic so cool?

I see kiddies and trendy types wearing CCCP and hammer and sickle t-shirts and track suits and I can’t help but cringe. Indeed, as much as I personally support concepts and ideas such as Open Source and Creative Commons, I sometimes hesitate in supporting them because they also tend to use such symbology.

Sure, I’m not that old (31 yesterday), but I can still remember the Cold War. I can still remember things like the Doomsday Clock, and the threat of Nuclear War. I can remember doing absurd fallout drills in Primary School where you practiced crouching under your desk in the event of a Nuclear explosion (yep, they use to teach that in the NSW Public School system). I can even remember many years ago a Beyond 2000 special on Channel 7 Sydney where they discussed how many people would be killed if a Nuclear Missile hit Sydney, and how fewer people would be killed if the bomb hit Cronulla instead of the city itself… which was of no solace to me given Cronulla was just down the road from where I lived at the time.

You see, for me, communism sucked. It represented all that was wrong in the world as it was then. Indeed, although the Cold War is dead, a footnote in the history books of Generation Y, I still find it an insidious, evil form of government, one that impedes the rights of the individual, individual freedom being the core fundamental of a free and democratic society (although given the actions of Governments in Australia of late, sometimes I wonder.).

And for these reasons, I don’t get communist chic. Something still makes me feel ill when I see the symbols of the Soviet Union used with no regards to the past. The 40 million odd Russians slaughtered by Stalin, the precipice of global extinction experienced by the world thanks to leaders such as Khrushchev, Andropov and Chernenko seem all forgotten by a generation that has either no knowledge of the past, or has no regards for it. It’s not socially acceptable to wear and use swastikas and German symbology circa WW2, but why has it become cool to wear and use Soviet symbology?

Food for thought.