Of course, this cold-war fantasizing predates the fall of communism, and it works both ways - in posters such as the one above (this one from 1966), we can see the “fantasy” of the oppressed cogs in capital’s infernal machine discovering Marxist (Maoist?) revolution. Usually the subjects of these pieces were nondescript Africans and Arab-types, but sometimes they braved the ultimate usurpation: Americans. It certainly meant something to show the golden sons and daughters of the Free World called to action by a Chinese slogan; no less so when the central figure is African-American.
There’s something disquieting about images like this. It suggests a hegemony that never was. It feels almost voyeuristic, as if I’m being watched. We’re accustomed to looking at the world through the old “the cold war had a winner” lens that frames everything from the presupposed victory and primacy of capital. We watched the liberation of the East; we saw them acquiring what always came “natural” to us. And this suggests a world in which we’re the ones who needed liberating.