Choosing Sides : Right-Wing Icons in the Group Research Records

Picturing Partners > In Celebration

Elect Dick Morgan Captain of Conservatives. Creator unknown, c. 1961-1962.

This inventive item dates from Texas in the early 1960s, but unfortunately no other information regarding its provenance has yet been determined. Nevertheless, both the slogan and its matching hat stand as a testament to the ingenuity of conservative activists attempting to gain attention for their causes. By attracting viewers with a lighthearted gag, campaign items like this could pull in potential listeners for a more serious conservative message.

The Liberator, Volume 1, Number 1. Men's Rights Association, September 1975.

Based in Minnesota, the Men’s Rights Association ("MRA") published the Liberator from 1975 until at least 2004. Founded in 1972 by activist opponent of gender equality Richard F. Doyle, the MRA (it later became the Men’s Defense Association, which remains active) sought to expose through this newsletter what it thought was "anti-male discrimination in divorce, child custody and support, alimony, property settlement, employment, criminal court actions, imprisonment, retirement benefits, etc." Its first issue, pictured here, featured stories about child support for divorced couples, the input of the father in abortion cases, the rationale of no-fault divorce laws, and several updates about the media outreach and legal activism of the MRA. The triumphal fist raising the symbol of Mars appearing here on the masthead emphasized the assertive stand the MRA advocated in defense of men.

A detail of the Liberator's masthead appears here at top; click the image to see the cover of its first issue.

Unified Concerned Citizens of America Bulletin. Unified Concerned Citizens of America, 1971.

Founded in 1970, the Unified Concerned Citizens of America was an umbrella organization for groups--including The Silent Majority and Save Our Schools--opposed to busing public school students as a desegregation measure. Although busing on a limited scale was implemented prior to 1970, the October 1971 rally advertised on this flyer seems likely to have been conceived in response the Supreme Court’s March 1971 decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, which demanded the more immediate enactment of measures such as busing by school districts that were required to desegregate.

Although most of the information in this flyer was typed, the occasional use of handwritten comments suggests a personal touch meant to invoke the idea that the UCCA was a grassroots movement. The combination of handwritten additions and multi-colored paper is evocative of a school child’s art project--a folksy presentation well-pitched to the imagined attendees of an anti-busing rally, and similar to the imagery utilized by groups promoting other school-related conservative causes.

Campaign advertisement for George Macatee. Creator unknown, 1962.

This clever piece of campaign memorabilia announced George Macatee's campaign for the Texas State Legislature in 1962. Note that every detail of this mock federal reserve note has been put to use to advertise Macatee's conservative bona fides, including the signatures ("Kleen House N. Austin" and "A Texan") and the replacement of "dollar" with "scholar" ("of Texas Freedom"). The common conservative themes of fiscal restraint ("this certificate shows tender, legal concern for the public debt") and state sovereignty ("help keep Washington, D.C., out of Texas") also make an appearance.

AIM Speakers Bureau brochure. Accuracy in Media, Inc./Allied Educational Foundation Speakers Bureau, c. 1990.

Reed Irvine (pictured at far left) started Accuracy in Media, Inc. ("AIM"), in 1969 as a volunteer group that wrote letters critical of liberal views to journalists and news organizations. AIM became a more formal institution when it began publishing the AIM Report in 1972, a digest devoted to correcting news stories the organization felt had been inaccurately reported by the "mainstream" media. AIM eventually added the speaker’s bureau advertised in the pictured brochure in order to further expand their reach by providing "an impressive array of speakers who can . . . [show] how the media have misled the public in matters of grave importance." The topics covered by the bureau’s speakers focused especially on "media accuracy, international affairs, national security, [and] media manipulation."

Group Research, Inc. collected the pictured brochure in late 1990 at a conservative conference. Its graffiti-style headline attempted to promote AIM’s speakers as culturally relevant--the brochure describes their talks as "spell-binding" and "lively"--even as the red/blue color scheme conservatively suggested patriotism. The inclusion of biographies for the advertised speakers appealed to the desired rationality of AIM’s audience, while the smiling head shots attempted to make the speakers seem approachable. AIM’s target audience is belied by the fact that only one of the twenty-eight speakers featured in this brochure was a woman, while twenty-four of them were white men.

The Greatest Power on Earth Is An Idea Whose Time Has Come. National Socialist League, 1975.

Of the several neo-Nazi groups Russel Veh organized in the 1960s and 1970s, the National Socialist League was probably the most marginalized. Founded in Los Angeles in 1974, the NSL claimed in the flyer pictured here to be the "first and only Homophile organization for National Socialists!!" In its newsletter, the N.S. Mobilizer (originally the N.S. Kampfruf, or "battle cry") the group espoused the belief "that National Socialism is a unifying creed for all proud, self-aware White men, and this unity must include White sexual noncomformists. . . ."

Compared to the sexually suggestive or explicit images of men adorned with leather and Nazi paraphernalia featured in the NSL’s newsletter, this item is noteworthy for its innocuousness. Apart from the text, its image appears similar to countless other prideful images appearing in the publications of Nazi organizations which proliferated as the most extreme wing of a white supremacist backlash to civil rights activism in the 1960s (see: Vote Right-Vote White-Vote States Rights). In this context, the upright soldier in this flyer can be understood as a visual appeal for acceptance by marginalized people made by still further-marginalized ones that sought in Nazism a way to express their racist outrage.

Building Balanced Children. Key Records; H. Armstrong Roberts (photograph), 1961.

According to the back cover of this offering from W. Cleon Skousen, this record outlined his plan for “molding children into useful adults.” Skousen was a former FBI agent who made a new career as an anti-communist crusader beginning in the 1950s, most famously through his 1958 expose, The Naked Communist. He also gained some renown for his 1960 parenting guide, So You Want to Raise a Boy, and the speech on child rearing recorded for this album was made the following year at an event in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Man Who Beat Hoffa. Des Barry Campaign Committee, 1962.

Texas gained a twenty-third congressional seat as a result of reapportionment based on the 1960 US Census, but because the Texas state legislature failed to reorganize its congressional districts in time for the 1962 election, the twenty-third seat was the subject of an "at-large" statewide election. Houston’s Des Barry ran for this seat as a Republican, losing to Democrat Joe Poole. In one campaign ad, Barry and a fellow Republican candidate were described as "fighters for individual liberty . . . for a balanced budget . . . for a tough foreign policy that proclaims victory over communism."

The pictured comic strip emphasized each of these aspects, but particularly Barry’s take on "individual liberty." It primarily described Barry’s efforts as the owner of a freight shipping company to resist the unionization of his truck drivers as part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. After preventing the unionization of his own drivers, Barry’s ensuing fight with the Teamsters is described in the panels reproduced here (bottom image). The use of a comic strip seems designed to appeal to younger voters, and is representative of the many creative ways that conservatives attempted to win minds, particularly in campaigns for public office. For other examples, see "Elect Dick Morgan Captain of Conservatives" and "Campaign Advertisement for George Macatee," above.

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