This is one of the more unusual artefacts from the history of the German labor movement and the Social Democratic Party. It is a pipe made of wood, leather, and paper. It shows a worker with a copy of the SPD’s Braunschweig newspaper, the Braunschweiger Volksfreund, in his pocket: he is assuming a particularly disrespectful posture above a copy of the Anti-Socialist Law (1878–1890). The barrel of petroleum suggests the possibility that the worker will commit arson or some other violent revolutionary act. The slogan printed on the flag held by the worker is a play on words. It declares: “We don’t give a hoot about the law!” [“Wir pfeiffen auf das Gesetz!”]. This mixed-media object could presumably be smoked as a pipe by placing tobacco in the “barrel.” The Braunschweiger Volksfreund was just one of hundreds of SPD newspapers that fell victim to the Anti-Socialist Law.

“We Don’t Give a Hoot about the Law!” A Social Democratic Pipe (1878)


Source: Pipe, Braunschweig, October 29, 1878. Wood, leather, paper. Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin. Inv.-Nr.: AK 98/469. Available online: http://www.dhm.de/lemo/bestand/objekt/98006986

© Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin