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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 six-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.
The hammer and sickle (Unicode: ☭) are 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 represent the unity of these two groups.
It is also speculated[by whom?] that the hammer represents power, while the sickle represents efficiency: "Power and Efficiency."
The hammer and sickle were first used during the Russian Revolution but they did not become the official symbol of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic until 1924. Since the Russian Revolution, the hammer and sickle have come to represent various communist parties and socialist states.
The five-pointed red star 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 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, being a symbol of socialism itself, is also commonly associated with non-communist variants of 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.
The following graphic elements, while not necessarily communist in nature, are often incorporated into the flags, seals and propaganda of communist countries and movements.