TikTok's teen communists are reclaiming the hammer and sickle Favorite 



Feb 11 2021



20-year-old Ilyssa, from New York, sees communism as the only viable alternative, one that will improve the societal issues we currently face. “From a young age, I was very aware of the stark class differences that existed,” she says. “I grew up with a single mother in a very poor family. We made it work but I was aware of our class status.” On TikTok, she educates her 67k followers on the subject of anti-semitism and creates hammer and sickle-inspired makeup looks. For Ilyssa, the symbol means “solidarity among the working class. [Communism] means being anti-capitalist. It means advocating for equality and dignity for all people and striving towards a basic level of humanity for every person that exists.”

Yet it's hard to ignore the geographical and historical disconnect between young Americans with a new interest in this history, and those related, through experience or blood, to hardships under Soviet rule. Alina, an 18-year-old from Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine, wonders if TikTok’s communist boom is rooted in people who are “fans of communism, but… who understand little about its history”.

There are a lot of TikTok videos under #communism that set out to show that true communism has never been properly implemented. One video says “the Stalinism and Soviet communism legacy distorted so many people’s understanding of Marxism and socialism. They are different ideologies”. For the communists of TikTok, oppressive regimes like that of Stalin, North Korea, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia have very little to do with what communism and the hammer and sickle mean today

“I don’t necessarily agree that it’s offensive,” says 18-year-old Zoe from Chicago, who has a tattoo of the symbol and uses her TikTok platform to educate others about communism. “I don’t think that we should equate communism with the Soviet Union. We associate the symbol with more radical, positive change.” That desire for change was what pushed her into far left and anti-capitalist politics in the first place. “It was mostly the events happening in the US, especially over the summer, that were the reason I decided that communism was the best fit for me,” she says. And there are many others, both Gen Z and millennials, that are also starting to consider communism — or socialism — as a more suitable ideological fit

Posted by osalasandrea on

Staff rating: