Nazi Fetishism

This photo is by Bellboy in Insaneskinarts in Sinapore. The reason I’m posting it is I’d like to raise the following subject for discussion — it’s very common in North America to see communist paraphenalia (the Hammer and Sickle, Stalin and Lenin, and so on) in the backgrounds of photos and no one really bats an eye at it. These days I’m seeing more and more Nazi paraphenalia from South America and Asia, which as far as I can tell is not strongly associated with neo-Nazism.

Each type of image of course represents an ideology that resulted in the needless genocidal deaths of millions of people, yet one tends to generate a knee jerk reaction and the other does not — I’ve gotten many taken-down requests over this photo, but effectively none over pro-Stalinist imagery for example. I assume it all boils down to cultural context?

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

90 thoughts on “Nazi Fetishism

  1. Living in Latin America, I know as a fact that the neo-nazi “movement” does exist in this part of the world in countries as random as Panama.
    To be honest I find it weird, if Hitler would of gotten as far as he wanted and more, the first people to be executed and ill treated outside of europe would indeed be a latin, a black, and even an asian, simply because Hitler wanted what he saw as a perfect race and none of these fit his ideal.

    I met the boys in Panama who where playing at being neo-nazis and boneheads, and to be honest it all seemed to be a game. The boy who led them was 100% latin, and didnt seem to understand the whole idea of the nazi movement.
    All they did pretty much was go out every night get wasted and beat the living crap out of random people.

  2. We (the west) have more of a problem with Nazi imagery than Communist imagery because we are taught about the nazis. I do not remember a single mention of communist crimes-against-humanity (or even communist crimes) when in public school.

  3. The hammer and sickle don’t necessarily represent that type of “communism” because its used for many socialist and true communist standpoints.

  4. I think a main difference is that you can believe in communism without being pro-stalin or pro-lenin. many people are simply marxist. on the other hand you cant believe in the nazi movement without believing in hitler as he is the main component, not someone who just fucked up a good thing.

  5. Having lived in a country that has had both fascist and communist/socialist regimes, Germany, I am very much against any sort of comparing dictatorships whatsoever,even if the crimes might be similar or the same. And not only were we taught in schools about crimes-against- humanity, but there are also enough people who survived the crimes and can tell you all the lovely details. There are enough people who have the “knee jerk” reaction, however, these people believe in freedom of speech. Whilst I am about to vomit whenever I see people wearing hammer and sickle, khomeini t-shirts, or people who think they must have a swastika flag in their living room (the sofa accessoire for the trendy nazi), I believe that they have a right to have it all. They would have been the first ones to take that right from me.

  6. I think quite a lot of it is to do with how you were brought-up to be honest. I mean in the uk we’ve been told about ww2 and nazism since primary school and that continues throught most of our formal education. Where as i learnt about communism (and that was twice in sociology and english rather than in history lessons) latter inlife, then compared to the black and white teaching of ww2 it was taugh as shades of grey. It’ll be interesting to see what other people have to say on this.

  7. Well, communism is at it’s core socialism, while nazism is pure totalitarian fascism.

  8. As some others have suggested: put it down to Western ignorance. People in the West simply aren’t as educated about things that occur(red) in the non-West. Images such as of figures like Mao Zedong (and hammers and sickles and so on) seem to be understood in the West in vague terms of Asian pop art.

    But I would challenge the suggestion that non-Westerners don’t recognize or understand Nazi imagery. Whether they particularly associate it with neo-Nazism or not, they know what it stands for and by whom it was used.

  9. National Socialism is not socialism at it’s core. The term National Socialism is a contradiction. Socialism (and communism) is at core a international movement, ie “everyone or noone”. Perhaps the ideal socialist society (or communist society) is utopian, but that does not mean it’s not worth fighting for. Lenin and Stalin was not the founders of neither communism or socialism. In fact, it’s kind of remarkable that Stalin today isn’t described as a fascist leader, because that was what he was.

    National Socialism was founded by Adolf Hitler and it’s stated quite clearly in his book Mein Kampf (the bible of Nazism) that in order for him (or anyone else in power) to succeed, a number of ethnic groups would have to be eradicated and kicked out of Germany. ie, national socialism teaches us that a certain group of people are better than others. Socialism teaches us that everyone is equally worth (or worthless if you so wish).

    Neither neo-nazis or socialists/communists can deny that their ideology has caused many unnecessary deaths. The difference is that socialists/communists can honestly say that the deaths were meaningless, since what caused those deaths was really Stalinism. Neo-nazis can on the other hand never say that the 6 million dead jews and non-conformists was unnecessary, since it was planned from the get go and necessary for their ideology.

  10. my IMHO, is that you can’t judge any histroical event as something totally black or white. (just don’t throw tomatoes at me, talking about nazi concentrational camps or soviet gulag), judging any event we should take into consideration the evironment that produced it. Hannah Arent in one of her books compared German NAzism and Soviet Communism. Basically making these 2 equal.
    There are a few theories according to which hitler’s appearance on political stage of the Western Europe is the product of political manipulations of UK/France and others who could stop it in the beginning.
    The same with Lenin and communists in Russian Empire
    When revolution began, the west wanted two things: weak and chaotic russia= support anyone who wants to get independence (hello to Estonia/latvia/lithuania and ect)=> country with lots of natural resources at state of chaos can be easily expolited and occupied by others who can use those ( hello to UK/France, since 1917 to 19xx British Expeditonal copus/brigade somehow landed in Baku- city of one oil rich regions of Russian Empire- WTF were they doing on the territory of sovereign state and ally- hell knows, at this time in this region British applied laws which they used in all their colonies) In other parts of Empire different forces of other independent and not states appeared as well
    if you go deep into Siberia, what will you hear? songs about evil Stalin/Lenin? where are 2 lines from one of them

    my father is killed
    and mother is burned
    polaks were here

    (Polish troops)

    Why are you taught since elementary school about Hitler?- beacause your teachers want to tell you “no matter how different your political views are-don’t ever support psychos”

    Because The West thought first- hitler is a barrier to the red diseas, second they thought that two monsters will eat each other.

    P.S. according to statistics of red army somewhere around the time of the beginning of the Soviet Union “95% of new recruits ate meat first time in their life when they joined military”

    PPS Swastica is the symbol of the Sun in for Buddists ( I think) Hitler fucked it up a little :D

  11. American schools teach all about American, western European and middle eastern (holy land) history, but don’t really even touch on anything else at all. Any American high school graduate (and most drop-outs) knows about the Roman Empire, the Crusades, the Civil war, and plenty about WWII. I’d guess that pretty much everyone in the USA is familiar with the Nazi concentration camps and knows about Auschwitz, and that hardly anyone knows about the Soviet Union’s Gulag and forced labor camps. Americans associate the Soviet Union with the Cold war, primarily the space race and the arms race. Americans associate Nazi Germany with with WWII and the Holocaust. So Soviet artifacts are seen primarily as pieces of history, and Nazi stuff is seen as evil. Additionally, there isn’t an issue with neo-Soviets wearing the hammer and sickle wreacking havoc on people.

    So I suppose it is just cultural context based on what history gets taught in schools, at least in the USA. I’m curious if Canadians are taught similar.

  12. We view them differently because they were different. Lenin and Stalin murdered people to ferment fear and thereby stay in power. Hitler murdered people because he hated them. If expedience is a less evil motive than hatred, Lenin and Stalin are less evil than Hitler.

  13. Oh this again.
    First point: there never was a decent Nazi movement anywhere ever, whereas many groups with decent intentions have organised around Socialist beliefs, and have at the very least as much right to appropriate its symbols as the leaders of the USSR.

    Second point: the case of people in Singapore etc. replicating images of Hitler, Nazis etc. has been addressed before on Modblog. I would compare it to someone from the west appropriating a Maori family tattoo. Tattooing certain images may cause great offence to people in the community from which you took them (for various reasons). Taking an image without knowing what it means does not make you a bad person (i.e a Nazi), but it does indicate that you are an ignoramus.

    As an aside (since others brought it up), isn’t it interesting that both Stalin and Hitler had oxymoronic names for their movements (‘national socialism’ and ‘communism in one country’). Anyone would think that these politicians weren’t being entirely honest…I wouldn’t look for coherent political theory in either of them.

  14. i’m going to avoid political debate here. but i think that the national socialist movement produced some stunning imagery.

  15. @13: The Swastica is a buddhist Symbol, but the Swastica on the Picture is a nazi-german one.

    @Topic: Don’t matter if nazismn or communismn, it’s both bad. The difference is that the Hakenkreuz (the nazi-german Swastica) means the death of many souls and the hammer and sickle meens a state of farmers and craftsmen, the poor people. It was used by communists, but the symbol has it’s own meaning. The Swastica has one too, but this special one in the upper picture means hate against everyone that is not like the leader wants them to be.

  16. @16: they sure did. The Soviet regime produced some stunning imagery as well (uniforms, imagery, and so on)

  17. again; i find it amusing that its always the ‘alternative’ kids that seem to become obsessed with nazism or communism, as both focussed on such strict conservatism.

  18. The flag shown is that of the Nazi party.

    The bold black swastica,
    the white circle
    and the red background
    all equal the Nazi party.

    The plain swastica is a religious symbol, or the swasttica with dots in each hollow.

    The one shown here is a sign of hate and death and ignorance.

  19. the tattoo is pretty interesting though….
    i like the screaming face on his left calf.
    i would like to take this opportunity to complain about leni riefenstahl: how in the hell did she get away?

  20. Every living fascist must get killed!!!
    El único facho bueno es el ke esta muerto

  21. I like his tattoos; the nazi flag i can’t even say i’m offended by because if the guy really knew what it stood for he probably wouldn’t have it…unless he does know what it mean which would be confusing to me. that’d be like me having a ku klux klan flag in my living room- i’d offend myself.

  22. This photo is just another example of someone trying to be trendy and cool by displaying controversial imagery, and being contrary to common standards of ‘good taste’. It’s kind of ‘punk’, but without sincerity.
    I’m really sick of people banging on about the differences between the Nazi swastika and the ‘non-nazi’ swastika, and people using it to justify getting it tattooed, branded or whatever. I think it’s just an attention-seeking exercise, so that when provoked to respond about said mod, the person can bang on about how knowledgable, how ‘worldly’, they are of Eastern cultures and how smart, clever and ironic they are.
    If you want a fucking Buddhist symbol on yourself, don’t be a dickhead, get another one. I’m sure there are hundreds out there to choose from that don’t run the really quite serious risk of hurting and offending someone (and not just Jews, but gays, lesbians, blacks, the disabled etc.)
    I know you could say the same thing about many other images possibly offending people (like the crucifix or Mickey Mouse), but that still doesn’t excuse the use of the swastika.
    Unless you actually are Buddhist, leave it alone. Maybe in a hundred years it might be appropriate to ressurect it, but what’s the hurry?

  23. Because I don’t know why he’s posing with a swastika I won’t comment on it. I’ll just say that tattoo work is phenomenal. It looks truly intricate and well laid out. I wonder how many hours he spent under the needle? and if there is more in the works?

  24. #29: I don’t feel that anyone for whom it is an important part of their faith or culture should be discouraged/banned from using it. I think it’s generally fairly obvious whether a swastika is meant as a Nazi symbol (whether it’s for shock purposes or as a reflection of one’s own beliefs) or otherwise.

  25. Hm.. Ok, I guess it’s often not obvious. But if it’s ambiguous, one should *ask*, rather than assuming the worst. And be open to what they have to say, rather than deciding that they’re lying about it.

  26. digger, I don’t know about “communism in one country” but Hitler did not choose the phrase “national socialism.” He wasn’t the founder or even A founder of the NSDAP; he joined it and took it over.

  27. There is nothing wrong with swastikas.
    people should get educated about the history on the swastikas.
    Im not offended by the picture here.
    when I was teen, I bought few red flags with swastikas on it and hung them in my room. I just liked the flags.
    Im not racist or have hatred. I believe in equal rights.
    when you see the flag with swastika in somone’s house or place, It do not mean that the person is racist or nazi.
    someone is wrong to complain to bmezine about the flag.
    if you dont like the pic, Just dont look at it.

  28. #29: I have to partially agree with you, however the Swastika is not just Buddhist its used in MANY different religions over the span of the human life cycle…South America, Africa, Asia the swastika has been found in one appearance or another.

    Often in some cultures it depicted the sun, others associate it with the life cycle, a sign of peace…

    Personally if someone wants to get ONE symbol they should be allowed to get ONE symbol…And without people getting these symbols and EDUCATING the non-informed individuals, ignorance will just been maintained.

    I think right now the human race is VERY ignorant and blind…How are we suppose to get to the next societal evolution, without educating everyone about a wide range of things.

    To Shannon: I agree its strange that people freak out about the Nazi swastika but not the Hammer and Sickle. But the same can be said for waving the American flag, the Iraqi flag, the English flag, the Chinese flag. Heck even the Canadian flag is included here.

    These all are flags that were used by countries that at one point in time killed thousands/millions of people…So these flags are literally symbols of murder.

    However in most North American schools we are taught to respect our flags and be offended by other flags, especially the “Nazy Germany Flag” as we’re taught in school that, that flag, embodies pure evil.

    To me it just points to a dark moment in human history where many died, because we as humans are so prejudice we have to subject ourselves to regional boarders…Because we can’t all get along.

  29. Coming from a completely historical perspective, the Nazi-swastika or the real swastika offend me not in the slightest. Personally, if you cover it up, hide it, keep people from seeing it, it belittles what actually happened. If the symbol is used in a correct manner it brings about education, conversation, etc. If the swastika were to not be used as “Chaq” said, people would eventually forget what happened (and don’t say it wouldn’t/couldn’t happen, a generation or so down the line with no reminder of one of humankind’s darkest hour, all those lives that were lost by both fighting against the terrible evil that Nazi Germany was and those that were murdered by Nazi Germany would have been completely in vain).

    It’s best to have those reminders. Yes, a lot of them are brought about in a negative way and even influence some weak-minded, ignorant people in a negative way, but there would still be positive education to be had, and education is something this world desperately needs.

  30. Really, I think it all boils down to marketing. A recognizable symbol finds its way into our subconcious quickly, and it all comes to the point where a well designed, simple, unique symbol will overpower others. Everyone is shown the swastika in school, and it finds its way through our minds much faster than the others. The swastika was a wise marketing move for hitler, now if only the rest of his buisness ventures weren’t so insane.

  31. #25: (A)(E) You said it, which is why I am getting the phrases “And we’ll never rest again until every nazi dies” as one of my next pieces of ink.

  32. #25 and #37 – But by calling for the deaths of the fascists and Nazi’s, how does it make you any different than them? If you want to make a change, teach love and caring – not death and violence. How do the deaths of fascists and Nazis make up for the deaths that they handed out to others?

    It doesn’t. At all. It dishonors the lives that were lost. The people who were killed by the Nazis, do you honestly believe that they would want their murderers killed in their name? For the most part, I’d say no.

    By killing someone in someone else’s name, it makes you no better than the people who killed that person. In fact, it makes you worse because you couldn’t be better than them, you couldn’t honor life, you would just hand out death like you were one of them – but you think you’re better because you’re killing for a cause you believe in – the same thing they did.

  33. Hm, as a Jew and queer and transperson who, although white, frequently keeps company of color, I find myself very uncomfortable around white Americans with swastika images whether clearly Nazi-related or not. Being as the majority of white Americans flagging a swastika are white supremacists/neo-nazis or hold to related mentalities, when I see a swastika I take that as a sign that me and my own are either a) not welcome there and are possibly in very close physical/mortal danger, or b) welcome as long as we keep our mouths shut and take whatever blind prejudice is spat back at us in the name of free speech and everyone being entitled to their own opinions, reality and other people’s lives and experiences be damned. B is generally where most white Americans with swastikas for non-nazi statements tend to fall in, and it goes with a heaping barrelful of (more problematic than not) cultural appropriation and historical amnesia.

    Which is a longish way of saying that those people saying these symbols are meaningless and for people to get over it need to recognize that ignoring a problem requires also ignoring the people both causing and suffering from the problem, which makes the ignored party act up more and the injured party get hurt that much more.

  34. #29, Chaq, the point is, the swastika was a Buddhist symbol before being a Nazi symbol, and many people believe strongly in re-appropriating the original meaning of the symbol. On this topic, check out, who is a chief proponent of this movement. (The guy also probably holds the world record for the number of swastikas tattooed on his body, for those interesting in the topic from a bodymod POV.)

    If you went to India, you would realize that the swastika is also a Hindu symbol, and it’s also display every-bloody-where. Many people might also want to use the symbol as a tattoo due to its presence there.

    Shannon: Considering that you hang out with Saira, who’s quite politically enlightened, such a simple question coming from you rather baffles the mind. (Unless you just meant to have the conversation to educate others…) Nazi imagery represents a genocidal regime that went after specific ethnic groups (and some other groups that aren’t identified by race, such as homosexuals and mentally challenged people, but that could probably be isolated as “genetic groups” nonetheless), while Stalin simply went after his political opponents, which statesmen from every ideology do, albeit none of the scale that he did (e.g. the Ukrainian population, due to its political opposition, not due to their racial characterization).

    All that said, Hitler might have been a failed artist, but I find the Nazi party flag to be a mesmerizing logo, and quite frankly worthy to be called art. What it represents is no less repugnant because of this, however.

  35. In 1967, the Jews took more land than was originally partitioned in the U.N. agreement. As a result, Israel lost international favor. To combat criticism of Israel and it’s racist policies the Zionist Jews created the HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY….. Movies, sensational television dramas, memorials, museums, books, and of course, the mind washing western high school curriculum. Check for yourself, virtually no academic work was done on the Third Reich until the late 60s/early 70s.

    The result: Jewish suffering is unique. No group has suffered as much as the poor Jews, so please don’t complain about their racial state or what they do to the Palestinians. And, don’t question the official story of the Holocaust or you’ll go to jail in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and hopefully soon, the U.S.

    Read more, a book by a Jewish Professor who was recently denied tenure at his University because of his views. Dr. Norman Finklestein’s, The Holocaust Industry.

  36. Oh, yes, and that’s why we in the west are so familiar with that Swastika symbol

  37. im fuckin a jew and my grand mother was in a camp ….but all i see in this pic is a awsome tattoo of a dragon water and a decapitated head and a symbol that was ruind by a group

  38. For me the difference is the ideology of the supreme arian race … while stalin for example “just” did political motivated mass murder, the SS and GeStaPo tried to whipe their occupied areas “clean of jews, disabled ppl and (than of course also political motivated) the communists, socialists and democrats”.
    The “problem” also was the industrialised killing – while it always happend in history that Nations whiped out other Nations or Cultures this happend in “a war”. For example Presidents who are (still) honored with their portrait on Dollar Bills are responsible for the extinction of whole Indian Tribes and many cultures … but it was called “war” even if there are parallels with deportation and death marches … still the organized and idustrialised killing of millions with a big masterplan behind it (Endlösung) was a new quality and the term that was created for this is not called “crime against humanity” for no reason.

    Soooo … if somebody belives in this ideology – for me – it is different than someone beliving in ideologies that have been missused like communism … although I never liked the ideas of communism in it’s core it is at least humane and has the goal to make live better for everyone instead of fascism, kolonialism or the Nazis. Even capitalism is organized crime!



  39. @15 You raised a point about Canadian schools and in Canada we are taught on History from an economical point so little bias is involved.

    The swastika has appeared in many religions and political beliefs
    and only one of them has used it has used it as a hate symbol.

    socialism at the core is better than capitalism because it protects the average worker (which I am and I assume more than one of you are) and insures the standard of living.(a socialist government in Canada created the free medi-care that
    I appreciate to this day)

    This man has stunning tattoo work I would love to see it up close.

    capitalism holds the lower class (those that make under $120,000 in Canada) below the upper class that gets taxed at a
    lower rate. High taxation and hyper-inflation created by politicians that can vote them selves raises lead to poverty and political desperation which in turn leads to radical political solution i.e socialism, fascism

    but everyone is entitled to their own opinion and no of us know the reason of his flag hanging (is it his flag?)

    ManWoman must be rolling in his grave (figure of speech)

    To close out my argument I would pick communism over fascism any day of the week but Stalin killed more people than Hitler.

    Have A Nice day

  40. I think there is no need to discuss all the negative sides this flag stands for.

    I think the problem is to accept and spread the sign as something completely acceptable. Others who may be ignorant or not well informed will be accepting toward this sign. I don´t think that it is good to show the sign as something harmless.

    That really reminds me of a lot of older people here in Germany. “Hitler may have done a few negative things, but he brought us the autobahn.” They still don´t seem/want to understand that these “few negative things” meant the killing of millions of people. I think that it is stupid and ignorant and I have the feeling that the belittlement of nazi-signs (showing and having) will worsen this ignorance.

  41. @44: i have noticed it, but hoped that it may stand for other things which i am not aware of.

    and the tattoo shown above is great.

    BTW: when i see pics of people with this sign i also assume that they share the ideas of the nazis.

  42. I remember when Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party…
    My my, the contreversy that caused…

  43. Nevertheless, the swastika, as it’s portraied there, is one of the best looking symbols of all time, according to me. Too bad it was used for that shit, otherwise it would be on my body.

  44. I’ll admit to not reading all of this debate, but i want to comment as someone who studies subculture in asia (Japan), most of the kids I’ve met with swastikas and nazi paraphernalia really have no fucking idea what it means. They see their heroes wearing it or Vivienne Westwood makes a design out of it and they buy it because it looks cool.

    Otherwise, the Stalin idea I think is a bad comparison. Compare it more to the dipshit hipsters in America with Chairman Mao kitsch who have no idea what he did to China and you have a better idea.

    Naturally, there’s the other end of the spectrum too, where people do know what it and wear and collect it in connection with satanism. But most of the kids you see with it are just really ignorant of that kind of history. And when you confront them on it they really don’t see what the big fuss is between wearing a nazi uniform, a japanese uniform or an american uniform as in their eyes it all promotes the same violence.

    It’s distinctly cultural context and I wish people would understand that before they got on soapboxes and ranted on how sick this sort of thing is.

    Slightly off the subject, I’ll point out some of these people do use evil dictators and nationalists as forms of political satire and resistance. I’ve got nothing for the nazi’s (sadly most of that is purely fetish here), but there was the infamous punk band the Stalin and in recent years there’s been the extreme rightwing comic Torihada Minoru who definately has a nazi vibe about him.

  45. Oh — and one more thing on cultural context.

    This tattoo and many traditional tattoos in the japanese tattoos section would be interpreted by many Japanese people to be associated with yakuza (criminal organizations) and by extension the extreme rightwing. Although most white people would instantly be absolved of the connection it’s nevertheless important I think to point out that that cultural context is very significant in our interpretation of symbols. A Japanese youth these days rarely considers a traditional Japanese piece due to the stigma associated with it and look a bit strangely at foreigners who make such a choice.

    Symbolism within many traditional Japanese tattoos embrace the idea of Japan as one homogenous united nation free of the filth and taint of the outside world (modernization) and the purity of Japanese blood and national spirit. And yet foreigners get them with pride being ignorant of the symbolism contained within.

  46. I don’t think that ideology is at the heart of the use of either communist or Nazi symbols. For the mst part I think it is just there to piss people off. I don’t think that very many who use this stuff have any idea what it really means.

  47. disgusting.
    i suppose i could be more digusted by communist imagery, but im not. however i am just as disgusted when i see people wearing Tshirts of Stalin, Lenin, pol-pot, G.W.Bush, Reagan, etc, etc.

    freedom of speech is great, but i think people who wear and display that shit should be have some CONSIDERATION for others. like for those who may have lived thru the Nazis.

    i also believe that those who would deny people’s lives and freedoms DONT deserve those same freedoms. fuck that tired, old catch22.

  48. In English schools you have it drummed into you about Nazism from about the age of 9.
    Socialism only really enters your consciousness when you are all ‘poor’ because you have £5 a week pocket money and you think that wearing a ‘Che’ shirt makes you cool. Very few people know what Stalin did other than sport a pretty rocking moustache.

    I own two t-shirts with communist imagery, one from BMEshop. I wore the one with a modified Lenin on in Prague and nobody minded. My friend, whose grandmother was in a gulag, used to make jokes about Stalin and Lenin during our Russian History lessons. I’m not saying that justifies a little English girl like me wearing it, but perhaps its for an individual to decide whether they are offended or not.

  49. Pro-communist imagery is not the same as pro-Stalinist imagery. Stalin was a brutal dictator who corrupted an idea, and it is perfectly possible to believe in communism without supporting the things that Stalin did. Nazism is a different matter. Without the things that Hitler did, there would be no Nazism – ethnic cleansing was a core policy of the Nazi government.

  50. love this pic, such a nice tattoo. also love the flag, dont like the idea behind what the nazi’s where thinkin but i do love to collect paraphenalia becuase it was crazy, they made a whole Nazi life…either way get off it there is a reason they are not in power and it couldnt happen agian so chill and dont hate….its a crime.

  51. I guess there were never many photographs or media coverage of Communist atrocities, no allied soldiers liberating gulags and seeing first hand what went on there, and so on.

    The Holocaust is very prominent in western consciousness because many of our grandparents actually SAW the results first-hand; you’ve probably even met a few survivors from the camps. But the closed nature of the USSR meant that those who died there simply disappeared, unnoticed by the West. So there’s a much stronger reaction about the one than the other, even though the communists killed an order of magnitude more people.

  52. At first, I fear people who stands a swastika, cause I automaticaly associate it to nazism. Maybe the person don´t really know what that means, or maybe it´s non-nazi swastika, but I always prefer prudence.
    But I really apreciate swastika as a budhist simbol, and I get happy when I see it in modblog. Hope one day many people will know the diference between nazi and non-nazi swastikas, and the holders of the second may show it in peace and without offending people. I don´t fell like holding a swastika, but I suport anyone who works to bring back it´s original meaning.

  53. Meh, it’s all about context. Pictures like this, I think it’s just part of an appreciation that the nazis looked cool, and I doubt history comes into it at all for people from non-western cultures. If I see nazi imagery used in the uk, iI just assume it’s either to piss people off by pretending to be hard or simply the wearer is a bit of a bigot, probably both. Still, not something to get upset by. Communist imagery is useful in that it alerts you to the presence of students who’ve read Marx and bitch about capitalism and the military-industrial complex as if they’re experts. Cause you know, they’ve watched the motorcyle diaries. not that i’m judgemental or anything ;)

  54. most of my family was killed by the Nazis in WW2. i do associate the swastika sign to the Nazi party automatically and i have to take a moment to read some info before usually realizing it is a non-Nazi swastika. this flag however is clearly the Nazi flag and it’s use does offend me even though i have to suck it up because of my belief in freedom of speech. i believe that if a person does not know the history of this flag and hangs it because they think it’s cool – it’s sad (for me, more then them i think). having to see the consequences of the Holocaust on my grandparents and family all my life, and even making a trip to the concentration and death camps in Poland, the subject is very close to me and i would like to see people being more considerate if they could. my issue with the general swastika sign is in progress seeing that the first swastika sign i knew about was related to hatred and mass murder, as hard as it is for me i want to try to be more open minded about it.

  55. “Very few people know what Stalin did other than sport a pretty rocking moustache”
    best summary of Stalin ever

  56. This Bloody sily Singaporean guy. Why would he want to put a nazi sign there. Even though i do not really like muslims but i will not put a put up any lame nazi stuff.

  57. why focus on nazi and soviet flags? what about the US flag? I know that this is the longest comment ever and will probably be removed, but hell, it’s a long list!

    American atrocities started when the nation was first formed with the genocide against Native Americans and torture has been an integral but mostly secret part of US policy since the second world war. After the war the US protected the worst Nazis so that it could learn from them and adopt their torture techniques.

    After the CIA was officially formed it made torture part of its policy and exported its use around the world. In 1953 the CIA started Operation Phoenix, a program of torture and murder of civilians in Vietnam. Around the same time the US overthrew Iran’s democratic government and put the Shah in power. The CIA created, trained and managed Iran’s dreaded SAVAK secret police which tortured and murdered countless people. After the country of Chile dared to embrace democracy and elect a President not chosen by the US, the US was quick to install the brutal dictator Pinochet who tortured and murdered tens of thousands. CIA controlled death squads in Central America brutally tortured and murdered over 200,000 people during the 80′s. Millions of others have been killed around the world as a direct result of US policy.

    Torture was widely taught in the US School of the Americas to people who came to be known as some of the world’s most monstrous violators of human rights. Amnesty International cites the United States as the largest international supplier of electro-shock weapons to governments that practice electro-shock torture. $3 million worth of electro-shock devices were sold to Saudi Arabia in 1990.

    However, it is not only the CIA & military that has been guilty of conducting torture. The Chicago police department used brutal torture techniques against non-white prisoners up until the mid 80′s. Throughout the US prison system, torture and rape are routine. In fact, the situation has been so bad that in 2000 the UN delivered a severe public rebuke to the United States for its record on preventing torture and degrading punishment. Amnesty International has repeatedly denounced U.S. police forces for “a
    pattern of unchecked excessive force amounting to torture.”

    The so-called ‘War on Terror’ is being used to create a culture of brutality from the highest level. Mass media has suggested that torture is necessary to protect American lives. The January 2001 cover of The Atlantic Monthly asked in large print, “MUST WE TORTURE?” Terrorism analyst Bruce Hoffman from Rand Corporation suggested that torture is necessary to protect American interests. It has been suggested by many Americans that torture be legalized.

    The reality is that torture is not a good method of extracting information. Information obtained under torture is not reliable and a person who is tortured will make up whatever information is wanted just to stop the torture. A skilled interrogator can get the information they need without torture. Even the CIA’s own “Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual–1983:” says:

    “Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, fabricated to avoid additional punishment. This results in a time-consuming delay while an investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite, the subject can pull himself together and may even use the time to devise a more complex confession that takes still longer to disprove.”

    The advanced intelligence gathering technique of remote viewing can obtain information from a distance. This technique was used extensively to identify bombing targets in the first attack of Iraq and to probe the plans and intentions of Saddam Hussein in a daily basis. Non-harmful mind control techniques can also be used to extract information. From a technical aspect, torture is simply not necessary.

    The brutality against the Iraqis isn’t even about extracting information, it is merely brutality for its own sake. The question is why does the US government allow and promote torture?

    Making Enemies
    Most people are peaceful and more concerned with their own well-being than with invading another country. Lacking any real enemies, American foreign policy has intentionally created enemies and conflict to support the defense industry and further the goals of the ruling elite for the last 50 years.

    Vietnam – The Vietnamese war was a good example of how the US creates enemies to further its own agenda. During WWII , Ho Chi Minh lead the resistant on behalf of the Allied Powers against the Japanese under an agreement that Vietnam be given its freedom from French domination after the war ended. Ho Chi Minh kept his side of the bargain and on August 17, 1945 he broadcast:

    “We were fighting Japs on the side of the United Nations. Now Japs Surrendered. We beg the United Nations to realize their solemn promise that all nationalities be given democracy and independence. If United Nations forget their solemn promise and don’t give Indochina full independence, we will keep fighting until we get it.”

    On September 2, 1945 a band marched through Hanoi playing the Star Spangled Banner. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnamese Independence and began his speech with “All men are created equal.” Yet, the dream of Vietnamese democracy was not to be. The country was divided and South Vietnam was given back to the French. The US betrayed the Vietnamese and supported French oppression. The US even offered the French atomic weapons to use against the Vietnamese, which the French fortunately declined. It was only after the betrayal by the US that Ho Chi Minh turned to Russia for the help needed to defeat the French and truly became ‘communist’. The US had effectively turned an ally into an enemy and destroyed democracy in ‘Indo China’.

    By 1954 the US was paying for 78% of the French war against the Vietnamese. After the French were defeated in May 1954 at Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Accords temporarily divided Vietnam in half at the 17th parallel, with Ho Chi Minh’s Vietminh ceded the North, and French puppet Bao Dai’s regime granted the South. The accords also provided for elections to be held in all of Vietnam within two years to reunify the country. The US opposed the unifying elections, fearing a likely victory by Ho Chi Minh, and refused to sign the Geneva accords – further denying the Vietnamese the possibility of democracy.

    As the French left, the US stepped in to control the South. The CIA’s Phoenix Operation began almost immediately after the US takeover in 1954. Under US management the South Vietnamese secret police dished out live burnings, garroting, rape, torture, sabotage – much of which was blamed on the Vietcong. Over 50,000 civilians were tortured and murdered at the hands of the CIA & military intelligence. In all, over a million Vietnamese were killed by US forces. The land mines, unexploded ordinance and death from chemical contamination have killed and crippled countless more. Richard Nixon admitted in his final days that he had escalated the war against Vietnam merely for the defense industry to sell more weapons.

    It was in the early days of the fighting in Vietnam that a Vietcong officer said to his American prisoner: “You were our heroes after the War. We read American books and saw American films, and a common phrase in those days was ‘to be as rich and as wise as an American’. What happened?”

    Iraq – US involvement in Iraq goes back several decades and parallels British domination of the country early in the century. In 1958 the CIA hired Saddam Hussein to assassinate the President of Iraq – Abdel Karim Qassim. It wasn’t until 1963 that Hussein and the US were successful in overthrowing the Iraqi government. In the process 5,000 were killed. Immediately after the coup Saddam rounded up and murdered another 800 people on a list prepared by the CIA of potentianl opponents. However, the new Ba’athist regime had little popular support and was replaced by rival army officers 9 months later. With more CIA help Saddam regained control and was
    kept in power until the US invaded Iraq in 2003.

    In his book “October Surprise”, Gary Sick details how Bush-Reagan used arms and cash to bribe the Iranians to keep the American hostages until after the election to prevent Jimmy Carter from being re-elected 1980. The Iranians kept their part of the deal and the hostage’s release was announced the day Reagan was sworn into office. The US continued to clandestinely supply Iran with weapons to help pay for its illegal war against democracy in Nicaragua in what came to be known as Iran-Contra. At the same time it supplied Iraq with its chemical and biological weapons to use against Iran. In 1986 Reagan sent Saddam a secret message telling him that he should step us his bombing of Iran. Iran is suing the US & Germany for supplying Iraq with the illegal
    chemical and bio weapons used against them in the CIA directed war of 1980-1988.

    Up until Iraq’s US approved invasion of Kuwait, the US Department of Defense training manuals sang the praises of Saddam Hussein, noting how he had vastly improved education, medical care, and the standard of living of his people. His regime was called one of the most enlightened, progressive governments in the region.

    As Iraq massed it troops on the Kuwaiti border in preparation for invasion, the US watched on in complete silence. Ever loyal to US interests and his CIA handlers, Saddam invaded Kuwait to support the administration of George Bush and ensure support for long-term military bases in the Middle East. After killing 500,000 Iraqis, the US then setup Saddam’s opponents so that Saddam could eliminate any active opposition to his brutal regime.

    To further the suffering of the Iraqi people and set them up for future events, the brutal and meaningless sanctions were imposed. At the International Court On Crimes Against Humanity, US, British and UN officials were charged with ‘causing the deaths of more than 1,500,000 people including 750,000 children under five, and injury to the entire population of Iraq by genocidal sanctions.’ While the Iraqis were suffering and dying
    for no good reason, Saddam lived in unimaginable luxury.

    The hatred of the Iraqi people towards the US, who put Saddam in power and kept him in power for over 25 years is only being deepened by US actions. There was never any intention of “winning Iraqi hearts and minds”. The ‘revelations’ about the US torturing Iraqis is merely a way to fan the flames of hatred against Americans.

    “We have heard that a half million children have died,” said “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, speaking of US sanctions against Iraq. “I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And — and you know, is the price worth it?” Her guest, in May 1996, U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, responded: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

    Other countries – Throughout the world the US has overthrown democracies, installed dictators, setup brutal secret police and death squads, and created conflict where none existed. Anywhere true democracy might rear its ugly head, the US is there to quickly chop it off and put one of its brutal puppets in place. Wherever brutality and corruption exists the US is usually somewhere behind the scenes manipulating events. In the process, the US has caused unimaginable suffering and deprived the world of hope.

    The negative impact of US foreign policy is so great that the path of human evolution has been altered. The covert CIA coups and wars have deprived entire continents of the opportunity to climb out of poverty and eliminated generations of potential humane leaders. The environment is being destroyed with projects approved by US puppet governments with money loaned by the IMF and World Bank and then stolen by US Corporations, leaving the impoverished public to pay off the debt. Global warming is very real and causing billions in damage every year, yet the US continues to suppress alternative energy and worship the dark god of oil.

  58. n 1967, the Jews took more land than was originally partitioned in the U.N. agreement. As a result, Israel lost international favor. To combat criticism of Israel and it’s racist policies the Zionist Jews created the HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY….. Movies, sensational television dramas, memorials, museums, books, and of course, the mind washing western high school curriculum. Check for yourself, virtually no academic work was done on the Third Reich until the late 60s/early 70s.

    The result: Jewish suffering is unique. No group has suffered as much as the poor Jews, so please don’t complain about their racial state or what they do to the Palestinians. And, don’t question the official story of the Holocaust or you’ll go to jail in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and hopefully soon, the U.S.

    Read more, a book by a Jewish Professor who was recently denied tenure at his University because of his views. Dr. Norman Finklestein’s, The Holocaust Industry.

    and that’s why we in the west are so familiar with that Swastika symbol

  59. Why is Communist imagery considered more acceptable?

    Because there are those who believe what boff posted in #74, that the United States is the greatest evil that the world has ever known. It’s easy, then, to hold up Communism as something good and just, since the Cold War was dominated by the United States and ohter Western nations opposing the Soviet Union and other Communist nations.

    They conveniently ignore the seven million Ukranians starved to death at Stalin’s orders (25% of the population at the time), or the 23 million Stalin had murdered by 1953.

    Most often, their response is the same one I’ve heard throughout this thread: “That was Stalin and Stalinism. That’s not Communism.” Fine. Of course, 30 million died in the largest famine in history during Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”, or the million that died during the “Great Cultural Revolution”. Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” eliminated between 1.7 and 3.2 million people (out of a population of 7 million). Then there’s the executions, gas chambers, tortures, forced abortions and famines of North Korea. That sure seems like more than just Stalin to me.

    But, you know what they say: “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

    Oh, and nice bunch of propaganda there, boff. Always nice to use part of the truth, omit what doesn’t fit with your view, and make up a few more things, when trying to push an agenda.

  60. #47 Zion… I too am in a relationship a Jew… I have Swastika tattoos. I have a shaved head, I get tattooed at a shop owned by a Skinhead… I’m not a Skinhead… I’m not racist. This picture shows beautiful tattoo work and a flag which sadly has a place in our world history… note the word history (it actually happened)no biggie. Is Shannon laughing about what this has stirred up?

  61. i am not defending stalinism. i am merely pointing out that to limit the debate to soviet/nazi flags and imagery is rather short sighted when EVERY nation is guilty of atrocities, and usually the more powerful the nation the greater the crime. i used the US as the example, but it could just as easily been the British, israel, brazil, the catholic church… whoever. the flag may change, but the truth remains: power corrupts, no-one is innocent, all governments lie and carry out murder.

  62. most of us, the asian knows about nazi. but it just that so many people couldnt bear to see the logo is because its either their family was hurt by hitler or either they know about the history. but during ww2, japanese killed so many chinese and so many people. so when people wear japanese flag logo we shall scold them in their face too? every human have the right to wear what they want, and what they like. if you dont like it, simply ignore it. if you wanna wear it, just wear it. its just like satanism. every other religion hate it as well. but how many americans are wearing church of satan tee shirts? its just like any single people in any religion, once they do crimes, they will be charge, be it they are from whatever religion. people are bad and kind from their heart, not by their clothing etc. its not up to us to decide who love to support hitler but think about it, how about those that dont wear nazi tee or whatsoever. why dont human just kill each other and everybody dies so no one will suffer? once and for all.

  63. The 88 comment… any Nazi would know what that mean…
    The bodyart is very, very good… the person(s) behind is clearly very gifted!

    But my question is to the webmaster: how come you can find it in yourself to put the svastika or “sun symbol” [croocked cross] on this page, in clear sight and at the same time keep the genital pictures “blurred” ???

    Witch is really the worst of the two ?

  64. Maybe the flag was put there to raise a few eyebrows, or maybe to see what would get the most reactions; the nudity or the svastika.

    We also have to remember that the svastika had other meanings before it was used by the nazis, so maybe the person on the photo put this flag up for its original meaning and not for what it became.

  65. you seem to associate hammer and sickle with a swatsika pretty easily but if you think it threw many people use the hammer and sickle as an image representing ideas of a better world nothing to do wit stalin im a communist and i hate hitler as much as stalin but i do have a hammer and sicle on my jacket a nazi symbol only has one meaning;…

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