Capitialism in a new hat (Grandjouan)

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Icon Feb 13, 2010

Jules Grandjouan:“qu’elle ait un bonnet de république ou une couronne, c’est toujours la même bête, et il n’y a que le syndicat pour la tuer” (it has a Republic cap or a crown it  is still the same beast, and there is the union to kill)1. I have no context or dates (at the moment). The symbols are universal to pieuvre or octopus cartoons: the capitalist octopus sitting on a pile of bodies and a worker (union?) in its grip, with a new hat ‘Republic’.

The second shows a capitalism octopus at the base of a cliff. Once again sitting atop a pile of bodies. This time individuals are scrambling up the cliff face to join a group. They are attempting to roll a large boulder over the edge onto the octopus. The caption: “Isolés nous sommes perdus. Unis, nous sommes sauvés” (Isolated we are lost. United, we are saved)2.

Regardée comme un monstre (plus puissante que l’ancienne hydre), la pieuvre acquiert une double fonction dans la caricature, celle d’attrape-tout, vorace comme le capitaliste, et celle expansionniste de conquête planétaire (dans une époque de forte colonisation). Son emploi perdure puisque la mafia, par exemple, est de nos jours associée à ce mollusque. Regarded as a monster (more powerful than the old hydra), the octopus has a dual function in the caricature, as catch-all, as the voracious capitalist, and expansionist conquest of global (in an era of high colonization) . Its use continues as the Mafia, for example, is today associated with this mollusk.3


  1. Centre du Graphisme (2004), ‘Jules Grandjouan’, (Accessed: 2nd Feb 2009). Translated by Google language tools.
  2. Animalisations dans la caricature: (Accessed 2nd Feb 2009)
  3. Centre du Graphisme (2004)

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