Wednesday, April 9, 2014

German Political Posters

"I Can't When Someone is Watching"
A call for more government

Elections for the European Parliament take place on May 25th, and political posters are popping up around town. Like the USA, it's good marketing that helps win elections in Europe. The Europeans have learned from the Americans that catchy slogans and clever advertising are the key to political victory.

Often a successful political slogan has little to do with reality or have a particular meaning. It's all about impressions. Remember President Obama's "Change" message and President George W.'s "Compassionate Conservative"? On the other hand, political messages contained in posters can also educate, clarify, and be an art form. 

"Europe Brings Opportunities
For All"
"Climate Protection Without Borders"

"A Europe of Democracy, Not For Paternalism"

In Germany, the three major political parties have crafted the usual vague and rather meaningless political posters. The Conservative Democrats (CDU) stand for a "Europe that brings opportunity to all," while the Social Democrats (SDU) want a Europe without "paternalism." The Green's are a bit more specific by reiterating their same old message of "protecting the environment." 

"No Tax Money for Gambling Banks"
"Refugees Protect, Not Drown"
"Prohibit Armament Exportation"

The Linke (the far Left Party) have come up with the most straightforward of posters. (When you're number four in the polls, you need something to get voter attention.) Their posters let you know exactly where they stand on immigration, arms selling, and finance reform. And whether you agree with them or not, you have to admire their willingness to actually say something. 

"Between Fear and Courage

Lies only a Heartbeat"
Standing for a united Europe

"Borders are so 1980s"
A call for an undivided Europe.

However, my favorite posters come from the Pirate party. The Pirate's were successful a few years ago by getting into the Berlin Senate. Now, they're looking to representation in the European Parliament. They advocate unencumbered access to the Internet, net neutrality, privacy rights, and government transparency. They tackle issues largely ignored by the other parties.

The Pirate party posters are biting, humorous, and substantive. In one poster, they use the famous peeing boy statute with a caption that reads, "I can't when someone is watching." It's a direct reference to closed door politics. In another Pirate poster, it reads, "Borders are so 80's," an illusion to a pre-Iron Curtain Europe that was poorer and less unified. Whether these posters translate into votes is a good question.

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