Lithograph by El Lissitzky name’s “Beat the whites with the red wedge”
A red square vertically crushing the old order of things, paraphrases a billboard he had designed in the year before, the famous Beat The Whites with The Red Wedge. The latter, propaganda for the Red Army in its fight against the monarchist white troops, specifically addressed the Jewish population of Russia: Subverting the slogan Beat The Jews, it reminded viewers of the antisemitism of the right-wing forces.
In addition, it reused the Jewish iconography of his 1917 illustration to the Haggadah children’s story The Little Goat, showing an angel who punishes slaughter on earth by pulling his sword in heaven and striking it down to earth.
Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge is a lithographic Soviet propaganda poster by artist Lazar Markovich Lissitzky better known as El Lissitzky. In the poster, the intrusive red wedge symbolises the workers, who are penetrating and defeating their opponents, the Whites (capitalists/counter revolutionaries), during the Russian Civil War.
Lissitsky used abstract art not only to convey universal spiritual expression but also for propagating social ideas (his poster “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” ) (Raizman, 174). The idea of abstraction has progressed since then and still holds strong in our society.