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Glenn Beck's '9-12' logo based on communist and socialist designs

September 13, 2009 | 10:30 am

Taxpayer March Ever since Glenn Beck took to the Fox television airwaves recently to offer a bizarre reading of the art commissioned 70 years ago for New York's Rockefeller Center, I've been puzzled by the graphic design element of his 9-12 Project. The logo (pictured) for his affiliated groups' rally in Washington, D.C., this weekend derives from century-old communist, socialist and other left-wing designs.

Those were the motifs he railed against in his Rockefeller rant.

For the logo, three raised and clenched red fists are superimposed over the U.S. Capitol. Obviously the bloody fist represents the tea-baggers' themes of unity and resistance.

But do Beck; the corporate-sponsored astro-turf group, FreedomWorks, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas); the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights; the private-property group, the National Assn. of Rural Landowners; and the rest of the march sponsors know the symbol's origins?

Unity and resistance are what the fist represented in 1917, when it was first employed by the Industrial Workers of the World, a union organization founded by socialists. And in the 1940s, when it stood  for various nations' communist party organizations.

Fist Progressive Labor Party That's also what it meant when it was revived in the 1960s, appearing as a symbol for the SDS, as well as anti-war and feminist movements. It was the basis for the black-power salute given by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. And today, it's the symbol for the Progressive Labor Party (pictured), a political outfit whose website says it "fights to smash capitalism."

Turnout for the 9-12 Project's Saturday march on Washington was a bust; 30,000 protesters signed up in advance (MSNBC reporter David Shuster tweeted that D.C. park police called that figure "generous"). But even if three times that many actually showed up, the number would fall far short of the hundreds of thousands (and even millions) claimed to be planning to attend. Even in that reduced crowd, however, surely someone recognized how odd the right-wing gathering's left-wing logo was.

Maybe Beck will explain. Sort of.

-- Christopher Knight

Credits: 912dc.org; Progressive Labor Party

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