Obama has unveiled his new campaign logo and slogan. I have to admit, I like what Obama has done with both such slogans. In both cases they are but a few words; Hope, Change and now Forward. And more importantly, they are action words, something that we do. However, on the downside, change, like forward, are actions that don’t necessarily mean positive progress is being made. Obama is definitely a change, but I don’t think you’ll find a majority of Americans who think that he has been positive change.
All in all, I think Forward is better than it is worse. At first blush.
But dig a little deeper….
For example if you go back in history and investigate other movements that have embraced “Forward” as their banner, this is what you find:
The Great Leap Forward of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China (CPC), reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China’s vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through the process of rapid industrialization and collectivization. Mao Zedong led the campaign based on the Theory of Productive Forces, and intensified it after being informed of the impending disaster from grain shortages.
Chief changes in the lives of rural Chinese included the introduction of a mandatory process of agricultural collectivization, which was introduced incrementally. Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were labeled as counter revolutionaries and persecuted. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions, and social pressure. Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw “its development … aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward.”
The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, resulting in tens of millions of excess deaths. Estimates of the death toll range from 18 million to 45 million, with estimates by demographic specialists ranging from 18 million to 32.5 million. Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward” and it “motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history.”
Vpered The group retained a strong role for the intellectuals as advocated by Lenin in What is to be done?. However, Lenin had developed a new view which allowed for the working class a greater role in developing their own ideology. Bogdanov sowed the seeds of Vpered at the Conference of the Extended Editorial Board of Proletary which Lenin called in Paris, in June 1909 in Paris. He presented his Statement to the Editorial Board of Proletary. In this text he raised the issue of the “practical work” of “widening and deepening of fully socialist propaganda” amongst the working class. He claimed that the editors of Proletarii had not properly attended to the intellectual development of workers. He said that the lack of any “theoretical and historical” elaboration of the people’s armed struggle against the autocracy meant the absence of “conscious leaders” in workers’ organizations. The intelligentsia were necessary to train workers as conscious leaders. With the departure of many intellectuals from the Party, the few intellectuals remaining in its rank should train workers would form the new party leadership. Bogdanov proposed to meet this challenge by organising “Proletarian Universities” Such as the Capri Party School that autumn. During a period of counter-revolution, the most important “task of the moment” was creating organisations for party intellectuals to “systematize” the socialist education of workers and so “allow” workers to play the leadership role in the Party “they ought to play” but were not now playing.
Vorwärts (“Forward”) was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany published daily in Berlin from 1891 to 1933 by decision of the party’s Halle Congress, as the successor of Berliner Volksblatt, founded in 1884.
Friedrich Engels and Kurt Tucholsky both wrote for Vorwärts. It backed the Russian Marxist economists and then, after the split in the Party, the Mensheviks. It published articles by Leon Trotsky, but would not publish any by Vladimir Lenin.
I’m not sure team Obama knew of these connections. If they did, I’m not sure they would care. Party because Obama buys into the Marxist view of the economy and partly because Obama is sure that none of his constituent will bother to check up on the meaning of the phrase.