Hammer and sickle
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The hammer and sickle (☭) was conceived during the Russian Revolution. Since the initial Soviet usage, it has been a globally recognisable symbol for marxism, communist parties, or socialist states, and has been taken up in flags, emblems, and communist art world-wide. The hammer and sickle stands for worker-peasant alliance, with the hammer a traditional symbol of the industrial proletariat (who dominated the proletariat of Russia), and the sickle a traditional symbol for the peasantry.
Farm and worker instruments and tools have long been used as symbols for proletarian struggle. The precursor to the hammer and sickle was a hammer on a plough, with the same meaning (unity of peasants and workers).
In Ireland, the symbol of the plough remains in use and may have shared roots with the hammer and plough. The Starry Plough banner was originally used by the Irish Citizen Army, a socialist, Republican movement. James Connolly, co-founder of the Irish Citizen Army with Jack White, said the significance of the banner was that a free Ireland would control its own destiny from the plough to the stars. A sword is forged into the plough to symbolise the end of war with the establishment of a Socialist International. This was unveiled in 1914 and flown by the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Easter Rising.
The hammer and sickle was first conceived of in 1917, though it was not the official symbol until 1922, before which the original hammer and plough insignia was used by the Red Army and the Red Guard on uniforms, medals, caps, etc.
Later, the hammer and sickle symbol was featured on the flag of the Soviet Union, adopted in 1923 and finalized in the 1924 Soviet Constitution, and flags of the republics of the Soviet Union after 1924. Before this, the flags of Soviet republics tended to be a plain red field, with the golden text of the name of the respective republic superimposed on it, as written in Article 6 of the 1918 Soviet Constitution.
- The Coat of Arms of the Soviet Union and the Coats of Arms of the Soviet Republics showed the hammer and sickle, which also appeared on the Red Star badge on the uniform cap of the Red Army uniform and in many other places.
- Serp i Molot (transliteration of Russian: Серп и молот, "Sickle and hammer") is the name of the Moscow Metallurgical Plant.
- Serp i Molot is also the name of a stop on the electric railway line from Kurski railway station in Moscow to Gorky, featured in Venedikt Erofeev's novel, Moscow-Petushki.
The Communist Party of China uses the hammer and sickle as the party symbol. Its flag is red with the emblem in yellow. The Communist parties of many other countries also use the hammer and sickle in this way, including the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the Romanian Communist Party and the Lebanese Communist Party. In Laos, the hammer and sickle flag can often be seen flying side-by-side with the national flag. The same is true in Vietnam.
Two federal subjects of the post-Soviet Russian Federation use the hammer and sickle in their symbols: the Vladimir Oblast has them on its flag and the Bryansk Oblast has them on its coat of arms, which is also the central element of its flag. In addition, the Russian city of Oryol also uses the hammer and sickle on its flag.
The separatist government of Transnistria uses (with minor modifications) the flag and the emblem of the former Moldavian SSR, which include the hammer and sickle. The flag can also be used without the hammer and sickle in some circumstances, for example on Transnistrian-issued license plates.
The Communist Party of Greece officially uses the hammer and sickle as a symbol. Many other Communist parties around the world also use it, including the Communist Party of Chile, the Egyptian Communist Party, the Communist Party of Spain, the Communist Party of Denmark and the Communist Party of Norway. The Communist Party of Sweden and the Mexican Communist Party use the hammer and sickle imposed on the red star. The hammer and sickle accompanied by the yellow star is used by the Communist Refoundation Party, the main Communist party in Italy.
A hammer and a sickle are both prominently included in the Austrian coat of arms, although they are not superimposed over each other and are not intended to represent communism, rather the union of the workers and the former aristocracy (represented by a crown) within the Austrian Republic.
Many symbols having similar structures and messages to the original have been designed. For example, the Angolan flag shows a segment of a cog, crossed by a machete, and crowned with a socialist star. In the logo of the Communist Party USA, a circle is formed by a half cog and a semicircular sickle-blade. A hammer is laid directly over the sickle's handle with the hammer's head at the logo's center. The logo of the Communist Party of Turkey consists of half a cog wheel crossed by a hammer, with a star on the top.
Tools represented in other designs include: the brush, sickle, and hammer of the Workers' Party of Korea; the spade, flaming torch, and hoe used prior to 1984 by the British Labour Party (which was a socialist and not a communist party); the monkey wrench and tomahawk of the Earth First! movement; the pickaxe and rifle used in communist Albania; and the hammer and compasses of the emblem of the East German flag. The Far Eastern Republic of Russia used an anchor crossed over a spade or pickaxe, symbolising the union of the fishermen and miners. The Fourth International, founded by Trotsky, uses a hammer and sickle symbol on which the number '4' is superimposed. The hammer and sickle in the Fourth International symbol are the opposite of other hammer and sickle symbols in that the head of the hammer is on the right side and the sickle end tip on the left. The Trotskyist League for the Fifth International merges a hammer with the number '5', using the number's lower arch to form the sickle.
The Communist Party of Britain uses the hammer and dove symbol. Designed in 1988 by Mikhal Boncza, it is intended to highlight the party's connection to the peace movement. It is usually used in conjunction with the hammer and sickle, and appears on all of the CPB's publications. Some members of the CPB prefer one symbol over the other, although the party's 1994 congress reaffirmed the hammer and dove's position as the official emblem of the Party. Similarly, the Communist Party of Israel uses a dove over the hammer and sickle as its symbol. The flag of the Communist Party of Guadeloupe uses a sickle, turned to look like a majuscule 'G', to represent Guadeloupe.
With differing intent, the eagle on the Austrian coat of arms holds a golden hammer in its left talon, and a golden sickle in its right talon. The tools were not meant to be references to communism (indeed, the eagle also wears a golden crown) but, rather, were meant to represent the industrial and agricultural laborers, united with the former aristocracy, in one republican democracy.
The flag of (CCM) Chama cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution in Swahili)- currently the ruling political party of Tanzania - has a slightly different symbol with a hammer and a hoe/jembe instead of a sickle to represent the most common farm tool in Africa.
The National Bolshevik Party used the hammer and sickle in their flag, but had them colored black instead of yellow and put in the design of the Nazi swastika flag; a black hammer and sickle inside of a white circle on a red banner.
In several countries in the former Eastern Bloc, there are laws that define the hammer and sickle as the symbol of a "totalitarian and criminal ideology", and the public display of the hammer and sickle and other communist symbols such as the red star is considered a criminal offence. Hungary, Lithuania, and Moldova (October 1, 2012 - June 4, 2013) have banned the symbol along with other communist symbols. A similar law was considered in Estonia, but eventually failed in a parliamentary committee. Georgia are planning to introduce measures banning communist symbols, including statues of Joseph Stalin.
The foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic called for an EU-wide ban on communist symbols in 2010, urging the EU "to criminalize the approval, denial or belittling of communist crimes" and stating that "the denial of such crimes should be treated the same way as the denial of the Holocaust and must be banned by law".
In February 2013, the Constitutional Court of Hungary annulled the ban on the use of symbols of fascist and communist dictatorships, including the hammer and sickle, the red star and the swastika, saying the ban was too broad and imprecise. The court also pointed to a judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in which Hungary was found guilty of violation of article 10, the right to freedom of expression. On June 2013, the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled that the Moldovan Communist Party’s symbols – the hammer and sickle – are legal and can be used. In Indonesia, the public display of communist symbols like the hammer and sickle is prohibited by decree.
The flag of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
The hammer and sickle as it appears on the Communist Party of China flag.
The flag of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
Flag of the Lebanese Communist Party.
Flag of the Romanian Communist Party.
Flag of Bryansk Oblast.
Flag of Vladimir Oblast.
The flag of the Shining Path.
Hammer, Sickle and Brush of the Workers' Party of Korea
The flag of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (1978-1995).
The flag of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front.
Coat of Arms
Logo of the Communist Party (Sweden).
Logo of the Communist Party USA
Logo of the Mexican Communist Party.
Logo of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party, EPRP.
Logo of the Communist Party of Greece.
Logo of the Communist Party of Spain.
Logo of Aeroflot.
Symbol of the Communist Party of Chile.
The flag of the Communist Party of Ireland.
Emblem of the Italian Communist Party
Emblem of the Communist Party of Brazil, PCdoB.
Emblem of the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain.
The hammer and sickle has long been a common theme in socialist realism, but has also seem some depiction in non-marxist popular culture. Andy Warhol who created many drawings and photographs of the hammer and sickle is the most famous example of this.
- Flags of the World
- Hungarian Criminal Code 269/B.§ (1993)
- "Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols". BBC News. 2008-06-17.
- "Moldovan Parliament Bans Communist Symbols". Radio Free Europe. 2012-07-12.
- Communist symbols to be banned in Georgia, BBC News, 4 May 2014, retrieved 13 May 2014
- EU refuses to ban denial of communist crimes — RT
- "Hungary, hammer and sickle ban declared illegal". ANSA. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Constitutional Court rules that ‘hammer and sickle’ can be used". Allmoldova.com. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- Dickie Christanto (20 October 2008). "Artists summoned over communist symbol exhibition". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 12 November 2013.