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January 25, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

What would the modern America Sickle and Hammer look like?

The Hammer and Sickle represented the alliance between urban factory workers and rural agricultural workers. If you were to make a symbol for the 99% today, representing a working class alliance, and wanted to incorporate two items crossing, what would they be?
posted by history is a weapon to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A keyboard and a deep-fryer.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:01 AM on January 25, 2012 [17 favorites]

Not a direct parellel but I think the Freelancers Union beehive-with-worker-bees logo is a pretty good modern day analogue that is non-speculative, has some thought and design behind it, and is actually used by a sizable organization.

I don't actually know anything about the union or their politics and I'm not suggesting anything. I just think their logo is cool.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:07 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

A bus pass and a pickup truck.
posted by The World Famous at 11:07 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The direct modern equivalent would probably be a steering wheel and a nailgun or welding torch.

Maybe a four part symbol: cash register, steering wheel, nailgun, welding torch. Together they represent retail workers, drivers & farm workers, construction workers, and industrial workers.
posted by jedicus at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2012

Nametag and power drill.
posted by theodolite at 11:11 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

"There are only four things we do better than anyone else

microcode (software)
high-speed pizza delivery"

From Snowcrash.
posted by adamrice at 11:15 AM on January 25, 2012

hard hat and ...
posted by sciencegeek at 11:22 AM on January 25, 2012

Steering Wheel and Spreadsheet.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hypodermic syringe. Lots of people in the health care industry.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:29 AM on January 25, 2012

A robotic factory arm (urban factory) and a pedri dish full of genetically modified hormones (rural).
posted by amazingstill at 11:32 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I started thinking about this and was wondering what the largest industries in the US are. My shallow googling found this.

1 Educational services, public and private 13,471,100
2 Hospitals, public and private 5,667,200
3 Full-service restaurants 4,598,100
4 Limited-service eating places 4,137,300
5 Employment services 3,144,400
6 Grocery stores 2,497,300
7 Offices of physicians 2,265,700
8 Management of companies and enterprises 1,894,600
9 Depository credit intermediation 1,819,500
10 Nursing care facilities 1,613,700
11 Department stores 1,557,000
12 Hotels (except casino), motels, and all other traveler accommodation 1,531,800
13 Other general merchandise stores 1,490,100
14 Computer systems design and related services 1,450,300
15 Automobile dealers 1,186,000
16 Legal services 1,163,700
17 Clothing stores 1,133,700
18 Building material and supplies dealers 1,114,600
19 Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 1,008,900
20 Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors 982,900
21 General freight trucking 976,800
22 Home health care services 958,000
23 Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services 950,100
24 Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 909,800
25 Private households; all jobs 891,800

posted by sciencegeek at 11:33 AM on January 25, 2012

Combining items from a couple already posted, I think keyboard and nametag would capture the spirit as well as any two items could. I agree that in the modern economy, it is hard to find only two items that capture the full swath. Maybe add a modern claw hammer or screw gun and have the three crossing over a steering wheel?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:34 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

A graded paper and scrubs.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:34 AM on January 25, 2012

Fry daddy and sheet of plywood. Or replace the latter with a credit card.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:35 AM on January 25, 2012

Is part of the symbolism of hammer/sickle not just that they're workers' tools but also that they can be weapons?

N. Korea adds the paintbrush to the mix. I don't see why we can't use a computer as both tool to create and tool against "the man"...

I can see something representing health care (also an important wartime function). A wheel/steering wheel for transport/logistics/food... and... hmm...
posted by symbioid at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2012

An alarm clock and a blackberry

(for getting up every morning and for being always available)
posted by aetg at 11:41 AM on January 25, 2012

A burger-flipping spatula and a toilet cleaning brush.
posted by Corvid at 11:44 AM on January 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Arranged in a fan:

Electrical Cord with plug
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The top 10 occupations for people earning less than $64,858 (the 90th percentile for single income tax filers) are:
Secretaries and administrative assistants
First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Retail salespersons
Janitors and building cleaners
Customer service representatives
Elementary and middle school teachers
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
Registered nurses

More generally, the top SOC occupation groups for workers below the 90th percentile are:
43 - Clerical
41 - Retail
51 - Production (factory workers)
11 - Management (there are a lot of lower level managers)
47 - Construction
53 - Transport
35 - Food Service

If the two SOC groups of health care workers (29 & 31) are combined, they are 4th.

Of course, these are all 90% and the white collar jobs needing degrees tend to be fragmented.

Two is really tough. The Worker's Party of (North) Korea uses 3: the hammer and sickle, with a (calligraphic) paintbrush representing intellectuals.

The keyboard (representing clerical and knowledge workers), the hypodermic needle (representing health care workers) and the wrench (representing maintenance and factory workers as well as the construction and transport sector to some degree) crossed on a cash register silhouette or barcode (representing retail and food service).
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:47 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

A pen (still widely used in all kinds of white collar jobs) and a hammer or wrench. Keyboard... I ust can't see the design that would work.
posted by hat_eater at 11:56 AM on January 25, 2012

Hard-hat and a mouse?
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:08 PM on January 25, 2012

Hair net and name tag.
posted by Jairus at 12:15 PM on January 25, 2012

A bee skep (with little office windows) in John Deere yellow on a field of John Deere green, with "WE WORK" in large letters below it.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:22 PM on January 25, 2012

A marijuana leaf boxing a pint of beer.
posted by TheRedArmy at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2012

A telephone headset (like this) which covers customer service, fast food and telemarketing jobs. Then maybe a rolled up diploma and a syringe for the education and health care industries.
posted by mullacc at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Michele Bachmann
posted by Sphinx at 11:31 PM on January 25, 2012

A hard hat and a lunch pail
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2012

Thinking about the modern (N. American) equivalent to the sickle brings me to the combine - not exactly a hand tool. The modern equivalent of the hammer is...the hammer, I guess. Others have had good suggestions. The basic wrench, though it's odd to me, is pretty iconic and can represent repair & maintenance (vehicle and building), factory work, construction & building trades, and so forth. A shovel is still pretty important in farming, but also in other fields. A pitchfork is right up there as well; a rake would be good too and could also cover landscaping type work.

Given the US's car culture, how about a pickup truck and a minivan/SUV?

Having said all that, I think we don't, as a society, focus so much and certainly not almost exclusively on the two basic necessities represented by the sickle and hammer: food production and shelter building and maintenance (slash factory production of goods). We have cheap, abundant food and huge houses, relatively speaking, as well as a flood of cheap consumer goods (the majority of which we don't even make). I think some of the top things we in the US are focused on are infrastructure maintenance and expansion, and healthcare. (There may be more people employed in other fields, depending on where the lines are drawn, but I feel like these are probably the top two, for various reasons.) So! How about the ol' wrench and a syringe?
posted by attercoppe at 9:35 PM on January 26, 2012

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