Visual rhetoric in periodicals published by anarchists, socialists, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) served as an important tool in the radicals' critique of the emerging corporate state in the years before World War I. Radical cartoons ranged from crude sketches to fine art that used symbolism, stereotypes, satire, juxtaposition, inversion, metaphor, and irony to mobilize the masses against capitalism. This article uses social identity theory to examine cartoons in seven radical periodicals from 1903 through 1917 to explore how they constructed social reality, forged group identity, and countered hegemonic media. Although radical cartoons often provided powerful visual rhetoric for critiquing capitalism, the article argues some of it unwittingly contained disempowering messages that may have repelled possible converts.
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