Capitalist and "bastard in a cap"

Capitalist and

  • The Eternal Cartel.

    CABROL Raoul (1895 - 1956)

  • There he is, the Communist!

    GALLAND André (1886 - 1965)

© ADAGP, Library of Contemporary International Documentation / MHC

There he is, the Communist!

© ADAGP, Library of contemporary international documentation / MHC

Publication date: October 2003

Historical context

The National Union and the Communists in 1927

Since June 1926, France has been ruled by a government of National Union headed by Poincaré. The Communist Party which stood for the legislative elections of 1924 on the lists of the Workers 'and Peasants' Bloc does not recognize itself in the said Union any more than in the defunct Cartel of the lefts sent back to back. On April 22, 1927, the radical Minister of the Interior Albert Sarrault pronounced a violent indictment against this party, summed up in his formula "communism, here is the enemy".

The poster then occupies a prominent place in political propaganda. The opponents of the Communist Party decline here the formula with variation: "There he is, the Communist!" ". They thus mobilize classic methods of propaganda.

Image Analysis

"Communism is the enemy"

The National Republicans Propaganda Center was established in 1927 by Henri de Kérillis to meet the needs of the Democratic Alliance and the Republican Federation in this area. Galland’s poster, intended for the next election campaign, is one of his first achievements. A proletarian identifiable by his bet spits on what the France of the 1920s held most sacred: the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe and the flame which symbolizes all the dead of the Great War. It is this gesture and he alone that specifies him as "communist", designated as such by the text in the foreground, while in the background looms a riot-like demonstration. The black and the red dramatize the scene to excess. It can refer to a recent "desecration" of the Arc de Triomphe following a demonstration following the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti and violently denounced by the mainstream press. But its scope is intended to be more general: communism is disorder, violence; more serious is sacrilege.

The Communist poster is due to Cabrol, who here uses, as usual, a system of representation that is more of a caricature from the press. Its poster is in fact split into four thumbnails, the last of which is the size of the other three. In addition, the use of bubbles and the speeches given defy the speed reading required by the poster genre. In the first three vignettes, the successive coalitions (National Bloc, Cartel des Gauche, Union Nationale) are represented by their programs and by their leaders (Poincaré, Briand, Herriot, Painlevé), or, in the case of the third, by those who should be its adversaries (Blum, Jouhaux). The points of the programs retained by the Communist Party are those which relate to the war, to the anti-worker repression or to the monetary policy of which we know the social effects; while the successful leaders unanimously declare "Communism is the enemy". The fourth vignette is meant to explain these similarities turning to identity: in the final analysis, these policies all benefit the capitalist, figured, like Galland's communist, by a stereotype. This gives meaning to the title “the eternal Cartel (which the poster does not say“ left ”) socialo-radical-nationalo-capitalist”, that is, in another mode, the orientation “class against class” which prevails. in the legislative elections of 1928.



These two posters are one and the other marked by the processes initiated by the press cartoon. They are organized around two class stereotypes which prevailed before the war: the proletarian, signified by his cap, and the capitalist having as attributes his top hat, his cigar, his costume and, of course, his advantageous paunch. [see the study “The application of 8 hours”]. The proletarian, as long as he is portrayed in a more sympathetic fashion and then usually having his shirt sleeves rolled up, can figure perfectly in caricatures or posters of workers' organizations. On the other hand, the capitalist thus conceived is of course the quasi-monopoly of the opposing propaganda. These images, which emerged in the 1880s and 1890s, still circulate, even though the economic and social changes of the 20s invite them to qualify them (increase in the number of employees, development of the second industrialization). We find them almost feature for feature in the cinema of the 30s and even in graphic or sometimes cinematographic propaganda beyond.

  • bourgeoisie
  • caricature
  • Communism
  • radicalism
  • socialism
  • Third Republic
  • Triumphal arch
  • capitalist
  • proletarian
  • Left cartel
  • Communist
  • National union
  • Poincaré (Raymond)
  • propaganda
  • working class


Maurice AGULHON and Pierre BONTE-MARIANNE, The faces of the Republic, Paris, Gallimard, coll. "Découvertes", 1992. Jean-Louis ROBERT, "From war to the congress of Tours, 1914-1920", in Claude WILLARD (ed.), Working-class France, Editions de l'Atelier, tome I, p. 411-455 Posters and trade union struggles of the CGTChêne, 1985.

To cite this article

Danielle TARTAKOWSKY, "Capitalist and" bastard in a cap ""

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