A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 02, 2010
Watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside)

Environmentalists are sometimes called by the slang name “watermelon” for being green on the outside and red (communist or anti-capitalist) on the inside. The term “watermelon” was used to describe Korean communists in the 1950s. Fidel Castro’s communist revolution in Cuba saw the use of the term “watermelon” in the early 1960s. El Salvador in the early 1980s saw the use of “watermelon” directed at the Social Democrats, whose colors were green and red.

There are several citations in 1990 (see below) that demonstrate the use of “watermelon” regarding environmentalists and not simply communist political parties. Science author Petr Beckmann used “watermelon” in January 1990 and is believed by some to have coined the term. The “watermelon” epithet is used by people who believe that the “greens” (environmentalists) have a “red” (communist) philosophy inside their movement that is against capitalist business and for the redistribution of wealth.

Related political terms include “radish communist” (red on the outside, white on the inside) that was used by Russia’s Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) and “beefsteak Nazi” (brown or Nazi on the outside, red or communist on the inside).

“Green is the new red” is a similar saying.


Wikipedia: Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, Green socialism or Socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, Green politics, ecology and alter-globalization. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transstatal structures; they advocate the non-violent dismantling of capitalism and the state, focusing on collective ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers and restoration of the Commons.

Ideology
Eco-socialists are critical of many past and existing forms of both Green politics and socialism. They are often described as Red Greens - adherents to Green politics with clear anti-capitalist views, often inspired by Marxism (Red Greens should be contrasted with Blue Greens).

The term Watermelon is commonly applied, often as an insult, to describe professed Greens who seem to put social justice goals above ecological ones, implying they are “green on the outside but red on the inside”; the term is usually attributed to either Petr Beckmann or, more frequently, Warren T. Brookes, both conservative critics of environmentalism, and is apparently common in Australia, New Zealand and the United States (a website in New Zealand, The Watermelon, uses the term as a compliment, stating that it is “green on the outside and liberal on the inside”, using the term ‘liberal’ while also citing “socialist political leanings”, reflecting the use of the term ‘liberal’ to describe the Left-wing in many English-speaking countries). Red Greens are often considered ‘fundies’ or ‘fundamentalist greens’, a term usually associated with Deep Ecology despite the fact that the German Green Party ‘fundi’ faction included eco-socialists, and eco-socialists in other Green Parties, like Derek Wall, have been described in the press as ‘fundies’.

Wikipedia: Petr Beckmann
Petr Beckmann (November 13, 1924, Prague, Czechoslovakia - August 3, 1993, Boulder, Colorado) was a statistician and physicist who became a well-known advocate of libertarianism and nuclear power. Later in his life he challenged Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and other accepted theories in modern physics.

Wikipedia: Ecologist Party “The Greens”
The Ecologist Party “The Greens” (Portuguese: Partido Ecologista “Os Verdes”, pronounced [pɐɾˈtidu ekuluˈʒiʃtɐ uʒ ˈveɾdɨʃ], or PEV) is a Portuguese green and eco-socialist party. It is a member of the European Greens and a founding member of the European Federation of Green Parties.

It was the first Portuguese ecologist party and since its foundation, in 1982, the PEV has had a close relationship the Portuguese Communist Party, and now (as of 2005[update]), after participating allied with it in the Unitarian Democratic Coalition in several elections, the PEV holds many mandates in local assemblies and two seats in the Assembly of the Republic.
(...)
In elections, the PEV is closely allied with the Portuguese Communist Party, first in the Unitarian Democratic Coalition. This explains a nickname given to Os Verdes by some: “melancias” (lit. watermelons): green outside, red inside.

Urban Dictionary
watermelon
The new breed of Environmentalist extremist, the term ‘watermelon’ indicates that these losers are only green on the outside, but red (or Communist) to their core.
Look, a watermelon spiking that tree, and on private property, too. Let’s go spike HIS sorry ass.
by Proud Conservative Jul 21, 2003

Double-Tongued Dictionary
watermelon
n. a communist masquerading as an environmental activist.
Citations:
1983 Oakland Ross Globe and Mail (Toronto, Can.) (June 4) “El Salvador: Election just a sideshow to real fight” p. P9: Major Robert D’Aubuisson, leader of the ultra right Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), likes to compare the Christian Democrats to a watermelon. “Green (the Christian Democrats’ official color) on the outside,” he says, “and red on the inside.”
1991 Harry Vaughn San Francisco Chronicle (Mar. 25) “Letters to the Editor: “Hate Campaign”” p. A20: The keynote speaker, William H. Holms, presented a talk entitled, “Wimps, Weirdos and Watermelons,” in which he stated environmentalists were just a bunch of unemployed welfare-leeching Communists. He suggested that the timber industry should join forces with the farming and mining (oil) industries and mount a “hate campaign” against the environmental community, which he portrayed as “green on the outside and red on the inside.”
2004 [Dean Esmay] Dean’s World (Apr. 25) “Fun With Political Hate Speech”: We have one for the greens—“watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside, i.e. closet commies).
Posted 30 Apr 04

Google Books
September Monkey
By Induk Pahk
London: V. Gollancz
1955
Pg. 251:
Watermelon Communists are the ones who appear green on the outside but are red on the inside.

Google News Archive
15 February 1956, Toledo (OH) Blade, “Koreans Recognize 3 Types Of Reds, Visitor Tells Guild” by Betty Marsh, pg. 25, col. 1:
THREE types of Communists known to Koreans were described yesterday by author-educator, Mrs. Induk Pahk, Seoul, Korea, at a luncheon meeting of the Friendly Center Service Guild.

“The red apple Communist is red on the outside and whote on the inside. The tomato Communist is red both on the inside as well as the outside—a hopeless case. The watermelon Communist is green on the outside and red inside,” Mrs. Pahk said.

“With a big kettle and a hot fire, we could make apple cider of the first, tomato juice of the second and watermelon pickles of the third.”

24 April 1960, New York (NY) Times, “Cuba: Profile of a Revolution,” pg. SM124:
Another describes Dr. Castro as being like a watermelon—“green outside and red inside.”

Google News Archive
20 March 1982, Sumter (SC) Daily Item, “El Salvador In Review,” pg. 12A, col. 2:
The worst—and the State Department’s nightmare—could be victory for an extreme right that regards Christian Democrats as “watermelon Communists” (green on the outside, red inside).

Google News Archive
17 September 1984, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, “Duarte wins time, but the odds and history are against him,” pg. 11, col. 1:
The colours of President Duarte’s Christian Democrat Party are green and red. Major d’Aubuisson’s favourite campaign trick was to slice a watermelon. Green on the outside, red on the inside, he would sneer.
(El Savador—ed.)

New York (NY) Times
No Blank Check for El Salvador
Published: March 21, 1989
(...)
Before Mr. Duarte’s election in 1984, El Salvador was less a country than a mortuary, with an official count of 7,000 killings and disappearances a year. In those days, ‘’Major Bob’’ D’Aubuisson brought supporters screaming to their feet by slashing watermelons with a machete while likening the fruit to Christian Democrats - green outside, red inside.

25 January 1990, Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette-Telegraph, “Sham environmentalists hide real agenda” by Petr Beckmann, pg. B9:
The radish is dead; long live the watermelon! It stands for the sham-environmentalist—green outside, red inside.

16 July 1990, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “Jokes Help East Europeans Cope,” pg. 6, col. 1:
As the ex-communist “new socialists” in Czechoslovakia preach social service and “green” environmentalism, they have exchanged the hated hammer-and-sickle symbol for two bright red cherries. Czech wits suggest the communists more honestly adopt the watermelon: green on the outside, red on the inside, but mostly water.

23 October 1990, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, “Cuomo urged to drop support for environmental bond issue,” pg. A6, cols. 2-3:
ABLANY—Herbert London, the Conservative Party candidate for governor, says the state’s fiscal troubles should make Gov. Mario Cuomo change his mind about the $2 billion environmental bond act.
(...)
London compared Cuomo to a watermelon—green on the outside to appeal to environmentalists and red on the inside to signify the state’s increasing debt.

17 November 1990, Toronto (Canada) Star, “Paper firms are facing major battle with ecologists” by Paul McKay, pg. A19:
The last annual CPPA convention included headline speakers who equated ecologists to watermelons - “green on the outside and red (Communist) on the inside.

Google News Archive
27 June 1992, The Item (Sumter, SC), “With 230 billion trees in America, it’s OK to use paper” by Walter Williams, pg. 12C, col. 1:
Is America running out of forests and trees, thereby creating the necessity for Congress to do something? Misled by the “watermelons” (those who are green outside but red inside), and their news media helpers, the average American would say yes.

Samizdata.net
December 01, 2006
Friday
Watermelons
James Waterton (Perth, Australia) Activism • Slogans/quotations
Green on the outside, red on the inside.
(...)
COMMENTS
I first heard members of the Gaian left described as watermelons by the later Petr Beckmann, probably in his newsletter Access to Energy (I don’t think he used the term in his book The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear but I may be wrong).
Posted by Peter Saint-Andre at December 2, 2006 03:16 AM

ecopolitology
Glenn Beck Likens Climate Bill to Watermelon: ‘Green outside; Communist red inside’ [video]
June 28th, 2009
by Timothy B. Hurst

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, January 02, 2010 • Permalink