In the first part of your series, "The Hammer & Sickle Is As Bad As The Swastika," you spend two paragraphs worth of a single passage philosophizing on the purpose of symbols. I found this salvo to be fairly vague and superfluous, and while nothing you said here can really be argued against, there is one important aspect to the nature of symbols which you forgot to explore: symbolic meanings change over time. You reference this phenomenon when you explain the original meaning of the Swastika compared to the contemporary one, but you don’t include it in your account of the properties of a symbol. If, however, the Swastika was able to adopt a negative connotation after shedding its positive one, why then should the Hammer & Sickle not be able to take up a positive one?

Well, if you are an anti-socialist, then I suppose you would still see the Hammer & Sickle in its modern context as still problematic, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of socialists in the U.S. today are non-violent, and their usage of the Hammer & Sickle is likewise pacific. You yourself note this when you explain that the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), “adheres to a more socialist ideology that encourages socialism through voting, rather than a physical revolt” (1). The Hammer & Sickle in the U.S. today is not the symbol of the USSR, it is the symbol of American Socialistsa group of people who are ideologically non-violent.

American Neo-Nazis (the majority of people using the Swastika in the U.S. today), however, are not as peaceful. According to the Washington Post, between 2010 and 2017, there have been 93 incidents of domestic terrorism which can be attributed to right-wing extremists. That’s more than one third of the 263 total attacks. Left-wing extremists, by contrast, total a mere 13 percent (2). Yes, there have been incidents of leftist violenceevery group has its radicalsbut according to these statistics, you have more cause to be afraid of the Swastika than the Hammer & Sickle.

And it isn’t just in the incidents of direct violence that we see how less insidious the Hammer & Sickle is. The Swastika is consistently used today in acts of vandalism as a provocative image, in a way that the Hammer & Sickle isn’t. If the Hammer & Sickle were truly as bad as the Swastika, then why is it only the Nazi image that is used to desecrate the graves of minorities? When people display the Hammer & Sickle in the U.S. today, they do so with its original meaning intended: the unity of the working class. When people display the Swastika in the U.S. today, it is not as the icon of good luck for which it once stood: it is a symbol of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and sometimes fascism. If these are things that you likewise find distasteful, then you are, quite frankly, likely to get along with the socialists who also oppose this sh*t.

Now maybe it’s unfair to pit such arguments against yours, as your point seems not to be that the Hammer & Sickle is currently viewed as being just as bad as the Swastika, but rather that it ought to be. Well, to that I say that until such a time comes when Marxists displaying the Hammer & Sickle assault the cathedrals of wealthy communities with the same vigor that Swastika-touting neo-Nazis do Synagogues and black churches today, the old Russian flag shall never know such infamy.

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