The World Tree in Socialist Cosmology (part I of IV)

On one of the much-circulated posters that Walter Crane made for the labour movements’ May Day celebrations we find a maypole. The wooden pole – throughout the history of scholarship linked with idea of a macrocosmic world tree at the centre of the world an thus with the microcosmic so-called warden tree ofNamnlöst.jpg courtyards – has in the poster been substituted for a Marianne character, the Juno of the French revolution. Singing and laughing, whirling around this anthropomorphic pole, common people adorns her with banners with political messages. In drawing this image of the ideal May Day – a celebration that may be perceived as the labour movement’s counterpart to the ancient religious new year rituals when the world was born anew – Crane was not only motivated by political utopianism but additionally by the at the time thriving interest in fashioning a so-called “religion of humanity”. In fact, among Crane’s friends and associates the merging of socialist utopianism with religiosity, as a rule inspired by Auguste Comte’s Religion de l’Humanité, otherwise know as Église positiviste, was so influential that socialism in itself could be perceived and conceptualised as a new religion with the virtuous, beautiful, knowledgeable, perfect and perfected human as a deity. As such she is the centre of the world and the axis of life.


Masonic G and Anarchist A (3)

IMG_9190Thanks to Dr. Bruno Leipold it is now possible to put yet another piece to the “Masonic G and Anarchist A” puzzle. While reading Raymond Rütten’s Republik im Exil. Frankreich 1848 bis 1851: Marie Cécile Goldsmid, Citoyenne und Künstlerin (2012) Dr. Leipold noticed, he kindly informed me, that the symbolism of the Fraternal Democrats seems to draw on the symbolism of a French group called “Association pour la propaganda démocratique et social”. A group I never encountered before.

IMG_9186 rdDr. Leipold concluded his mail to me pointing out that: “Since, Harney and the Fraternal Democrats were quite close to their French counterparts, it seems like the symbol might have been a frequent component of social-republican/socialist iconography at the time.“ I can not but agree.

According to the caption in Rütten, the emblem with the A-like tool – i.e. the tool that I have some difficulties finding the proper English name for (“plumb bob”, “plumb square”, or just “plumb”?) – was originally, fittingly, in red. Hence, my clumpsy attempt to dye the emblem. (Looks somewhat street cool though…)