The Hammer and Sickle Today?

 
QWhat is your view on the usage of the original hammer and sickle symbol, and is there anywhere I can find something such as a flag with the current official symbol?
A

Thanks for your question, Ryan.  The imagery of the hammer and sickle (both the original and our modern hammer, sickle, and gear) are the subject of ongoing discussions in CPUSA.  As far as a flag with the CPUSA's current symbol goes, I'm not sure I can help you--but here are several responses to your broader question, to give you an idea of how our thinking is developing.


"I think the older symbol has history and meaning for many.  I think at times this symbol has resonated with people focused on a time and circumstances we no longer live in. Not that I'm opposed to using this symbol, but I do think there needs to be an effort made to help it resonate with a more diverse population and the current struggles we go through.  I don't know many people of this generation who actually use a sickle in their work--doesn't mean I think it should be thrown out completely, but maybe we could look into a logo that incorporates more modern tools as well.  Updating the symbol isn't about erasing history, but more so updating and adding to it, since so many struggles have taken place since its inception." -- Chauncey Robinson


"We love our history but there’s no point in being a cult about it. For example, do we need a hammer and sickle? A sickle was a common agricultural tool of European peasants, but that symbol doesn’t mean anything to Americans – we only see a sickle if someone dresses up as the Grim Reaper for Halloween.  The hammer and sickle was a beautiful depiction of the unity that the working class was called on to build in revolutionary Russia in 1917. The workers needed to win over the peasants to unite with them and the sickle was a respectful tribute to that huge class of working people, one that honored their work and that they would recognize and feel comfortable with. We need a new 21st century logo that evokes an image of the unity that WE are building. We don’t have another class to unite with. The primary unity we seek is that of the working class – the 99 percent - in its glorious diversity, not only of races and nationalities and genders, but also of trades and professions that in a great division of labor produce all of our society’s wealth."  --Roberta Wood


"Symbols live in history.  When the hammer and sickle was first used, it represented the unity of workers and farmers.  Later, during the great ideological clashes of the Cold War, it came to represent the only sustained challenge to a U.S.-dominated capitalist world order: the struggle for a society based on solidarity rather than exploitation and oppression.  For that reason, the hammer and sickle continues to inspire many of us who share that vision.   That said, it's far from the only possible choice.  The rooster, the dove, the cherry blossom, the star, and many other symbols have all rallied people to the cause of equality, democracy, and socialism.  Ultimately, it is concrete struggle that gives a symbol its meaning, not the other way around.  I'm eager to see what new symbols will emerge from the great and growing resistance to the Trump regime." -- Scott Hiley


"I grew up in a generation for whom the Soviet Union was firmly set in the past. The severe anti-communism of the 50s was only something we learned about in textbooks. For my generation, the Soviet Union and Communism aren’t as ominous as they are to older generations. The hammer and sickle is a vague symbol of rebellion, but not one that is terribly relevant for us. It is easily recognizable and that kind of brand recognition takes years to develop and isn’t something that should be ignored; however, it is only one of many symbols we should be using to get our message out. The hammer and sickle should be one in a larger toolbox of symbols and statements. We need to work on developing other more socially relevant symbols which speak more to our cause but we also shouldn’t discount any symbols which may speak to even a subset of people today."   -- Cori Marshall

Author
    Chauncey K. Robinson believes that writing, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be one of the tools to help bring about progressive change. Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, she has a strong belief in people power and working class strength. As a social media content creator and writer for People's World she seeks to make sure that topics that affect working class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight and part of the discussion.
Author
    Roberta Wood, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communist Party, is a retired journeyman industrial instrument mechanic. A lifelong union activist, she was a founding co-chair of the United Steelworkers District 31 Women's Caucus. She writes on labor issues for peoplesworld.org. A Chicagoan, Roberta is married to Steelworker retiree Scott Marshall. Scott and Roberta have four daughters and seven grandchildren.
Author
    Scott Hiley has taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels.  A member of CPUSA since 2010, he is active in struggles against austerity and for education justice and labor rights. His articles have appeared in the People's World (US), the Morning Star (UK), and l'Humanité (France). He lives in a rural town in upstate NY.

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