CIA Picture Pages, FBI Picture Pages!
November 23, 2002 9:53 AM   Subscribe

The CIA's Freedom Fighter's Manual is chock full of helpful hints like how to be lazy and how to screw things up at work! For more government comic hijinks, check out the FBI's Black Panther Coloring Book. Find out more information here via Social Design Notes.
posted by Stan Chin (11 comments total)
Disclaimer: I have no idea whether these are real or not, I think the FBI is supported as real from the searches I've done. Nor am I going to pretend I have any idea about the politics or history behind these, so I'm not for or against these. I just thought they were pretty intriguing.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:56 AM on November 23, 2002

I love stuff like this. The thing I miss most about the Cold War is the quality propaganda.

Matt Groening did a "Life in Hell" strip about this a while back. I think it was called "Los Funnies Del Revolutina" or something. I couldn't find it online anywhere. Maybe some more Google-saavy MeFite can...

If the CIA ever does another one, they ought to get Groening to do it.
posted by agentfresh at 11:04 AM on November 23, 2002

I did a paper on this same manual a few years ago in high school - needless to say, the teacher wasn't too interested, but the students I passed it around to seemed to like it. I was expecting to see more guerilla activity in History class or something, but nothing came of it.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:51 AM on November 23, 2002

Wow - if that's the only advice they can give on being lazy and skiving off work ("throw away the tools") then it's further proof that any MetaFilter member knows more about any subject than the whole CIA put together.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:07 PM on November 23, 2002

Thank you for posting this. I have been looking for something like this for a long time now. Would prefer something that also has some Marxist propaganda in it, but this is great. See... there's a plastic molding factory near here that's laying people off and they've been hiring Mexican immigrants at minimum wage for a couple of years now. Rumor has it there are incentives from the federal government for them to hire immigrants, so out of pocket expenses are actually less than $5 an hour per Mexican, for 50 or 60 hours a week.

It's kind of hard for me to look at them walking to work from their seven-man apartment. Distributing these comics will make me feel much, much better.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:45 PM on November 23, 2002

This is real - the Freedom Fighter's Guide, anyway. I picked up a copy several years ago in a used book store - it's a thin paperback book, looks exactly like that. Wacky stuff.
posted by majcher at 1:11 PM on November 23, 2002

son_of_minya: Reducing the efficiency of the factory while the Mexican immigrants are working there is not going to encourage the management to give more jobs to Mexican immigrants. And what do you believe the factory owners should be doing instead? Paying them more than minimum wage? That constitutes a competitive handout to the factory's competitors who pay what the market demands, and will ultimately make layoffs more likely. The only way to fight these conditions long term is legislation.
posted by gsteff at 1:14 PM on November 23, 2002

gsteff: Longterm, absolutely. You're right.

Everything between those first and last sentences... You think there is any competition around here? Simple rule: Mexicans make minimum wage here, and the only way for them to make more money is to work longer hours. Your "competitive edge" argument makes me go boo-hoo and all, but the truth is there's no excuse to exploit free human beings.

I understand that they justify it using your logic, and legislation is the only thing that will force them to stop. That's what's really sad, especially considering it will never happen. I'd really like to see some liberal labor laws in place, but for now I think I'll stick to my economic sabotage plan.
posted by son_of_minya at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2002

This coloring book, which was purported to be from the Black Panthers, had actually been rejected by them when it was brought to them by a man later revealed to have intelligence connections. Not to be troubled by the fact that the Panthers found the coloring book revolting, the FBI added even more offensive illustrations, and mass mailed it across America. It so infuriated the white population that they stopped listening to the legitimate grievances of the black people.

Now is it just me, or does that last sentence ... sound like it could come out of the book? Such myopic overstatement and perpetuation of pernicious myth. COINTELPRO was certainly bad enough. But at least as documented by the Church commission, the coloring book was one small instance in the FBI disruption and harassment of the Black Panthers, sent to companies (directors? executives? employees?) who were sponsoring their breakfast program. {Search for "113"}

Second, the Black Panthers were pretty scary on their own -- an image they themselves cultivated. There were also other, more violent groups, and general events like riots, rising crime rates, and burned-out ghettos like the Bronx. It didn't take a coloring book to convince many people that Black Separatism and associated movements -- or, by extension, all urban blacks -- were dangerous (note: I'm not saying that they were).

Third, by 1970 the "legitimate grievances" had been heard. The legal framework, at the federal level at least, had been put into place: schools were integrated; voting rights guaranteed; racial discrimination in hiring and housing outlawed. (Much work remained to implement the law, of course.) These achievements alone deflated the sails of movements like the Black Panthers (for all you 'root cause' analysts). The 1970s would see backlash ... and Bakke. By the next decade, a black man could credibly (though still of a measure quixotically) run for President -- and onetime Black Panthers would find themselves in Congress. And by the time the President got around to holding a national conversation on race, most people scoffed -- too little, too late.

I don't think that qualifies as "infuriated whites stopping listening to the legitimate grievances of blacks". Looks to me more like they were just getting started.

s_o_m: I was going to tell gsteff you were kidding.
posted by dhartung at 2:25 PM on November 23, 2002

I find some of the comments along the righthand side of Stan's first link very amusing as well.

"I find it reprehensible
that some of you think
this manual is FAKE! Well
Duh! This material can
after shucking your
elitist geocentric and
ethnocentric delusions!
OPEN your EYES and EARS!"

You go, Carl!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:16 PM on November 23, 2002

All they need to bring down productivity to near-zero levels is one word: Three words?
posted by dg at 7:28 PM on November 24, 2002

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