- Communist symbolism
Part of the series on Communism
Communist symbolism consists of a series of symbols that represent (either literally or figuratively) a variety of themes associated with communism. These themes may include (but are not limited to) revolution, the proletariat, the peasantry, agriculture, or international solidarity. Communist states, parties and movements use these symbols to advance and create solidarity within their cause.
Usually these symbols, along with a pentangle representing either the five inhabited continents (in the context of the 6-continent model where Eurasia is counted as a single continent) or the five components of communist society (the peasants, the workers, the army, the intellectuals, and the youth), appear in yellow on a red background representing revolution. The Flag of the Soviet Union incorporated a yellow-outlined red star and a yellow hammer and sickle on red. The flags of Vietnam, China, Angola, and Mozambique would all incorporate similar symbolism under communist rule.
The hammer and sickle have become the pan-communist symbol, appearing on the flags of most communist parties around the world. However, the flag of the Korean Workers' Party includes a hammer representing industrial workers, a hoe representing agricultural workers, and a brush (traditional writing-implement) representing the intelligentsia.
Hammer and sickle
The hammer and sickle (Unicode: ☭) is a symbol of the communist movement. The hammer stands for the industrial working class while the sickle represents the agricultural workers; together the hammer and sickle represents the unity of these two groups.
It is also speculated that the hammer represents power, while the sickle represents efficiency: "Power and Efficiency."
The hammer and sickle was first used during the Russian Revolution but it did not become the official symbol of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic until 1924. Since the Russian Revolution, the hammer and sickle has come to represent various communist parties and socialist states.
The five-pointed red star, a pentagram without the inner pentagon, is a symbol of communism as well as broader socialism in general. It is sometimes understood to represent the five fingers of the worker's hand, which run the five continents; or it is understood to symbolize the five entities "classes" of socialist society: workers, farmers, intellectuals, soldiers, and youth.
The red star was one of the emblems, symbols, and signals representing the Soviet Union under the rule and guidance of the Communist Party, along with the hammer and sickle. It was also used as a badge in German concentration camps at the time under Hitler and WWII to mark communists.
Main article: Red Flag
The red flag is often seen in combination with other communist symbols and party names. The flag is used at various communist and socialist rallies like May Day, or used in a red bloc. The flag is also commonly associated with socialism.
The red flag has had multiple meanings in history but it was first used as a flag of defiance. The red flag gained its modern political meaning in the 1871 French Revolution. After the October Revolution, the Soviet government adopted the red flag with a superimposed hammer and sickle as its national flag. Since the October Revolution, various socialist states and movements have used the red flag.
Other Communist Symbols
The following graphic elements, while not necessarily communist in nature, are often incorporated into the flags, seals and propaganda of communist countries and movements.
- Crossed proletarian implements, including picks, hoes, scythes, and in the case of the Workers' Party of Korea, a brush to represent the intelligentsia. The ubiquitous hammer and sickle also belong in this category.
- Rising sun, exemplified on the crests of the Soviet Union, Socialist Republic of Croatia and Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic.
- Cogwheels, exemplified on the crest of Angola and the People's Republic of China.
- Wreaths of wheat, cotton, corn or other crops, present on the crests of almost every historical communist state, except Indonesia.
- Rifle, such as the AK-47 on the flag of Mozambique and Mosin-Nagant on Albanian lek.
- Red banners with yellow lettering, exemplified on the crests of Vietnam and China.
- Red or yellow stars, perhaps the most common communist symbol behind the hammer and sickle.
- Open books, exemplified on the state crests of Mozambique, Angola and Afghanistan, and also on the party crests of CPRF and CPU.
- Factories or industrial equipment, exemplified on the crests of North Korea, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Kampuchea and Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
- Natural landscapes, exemplified on the crests of SR Macedonia, Romania and the Karelo-Finnish SSR.
- Torches, exemplified on the emblem of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, on the symbol of DEHAP in Turkey and on the symbol of the socialist FLN in Algeria.
- Sword and Shield, exemplified on the KGB emblem, and the Kiev Rodina.
- Notable examples of communist states that use no overtly communist imagery on their flags, crests or other graphic representations are Cuba and the former People's Republic of Poland.
- Anarchist symbolism
- Hammer and sickle
- Hammer and dove
- Red flag
- Red star
- Raised fist
- The Internationale
- Flags of the Soviet Republics
- Flag of East Germany
- Coats of Arms of the Soviet Republics
- Coat of Arms of the German Democratic Republic
- Coat of Arms of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
- Coats of arms of the Yugoslav Socialist Republics
- Emblem of the People's Republic of China
- USSR State motto
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