Die Arbeiterbiene – The Worker Bee
When Manchester was granted a Coat of Arms in 1842, one little detail was the Worker Bee. A pictorial nod to the people who made the city what it is today. At that time, there were over 100 mills dedicated solely to spinning cotton. Each one of these “hives of activity” provided work for the people moving away from the increasingly enclosed countryside. They became the bees to the hive. Today, when you describe yourself as being “a busy bee” you are continuing a phrase adopted to describe the labour undertaken in Manchester in making it “Cottonopolis.”
Today you can spot the Bee all around Manchester: on its bins, above doors in Industrial Era buildings, on a can of Boddies beer. The Bee took on new poignancy after the attack on the Manchester Arena when it became a shared symbol of solidarity, people queuing round the corner to get it tattooed, and it being freshly graffitied around the city.
It was before this, when Manchester St. Pauli (or Mankt Pauli as one pitch in our original email chain suggested) was forming, that Barry came up with the wonderful logo we have, taking in the club logo and putting a stylised Bee (found on the internet, created by a designer called Keith Bates), in the centre. It was perfect.
In those original emails, Kim described Manchester as “the home of left wing politics in Britain.” It’s hard to argue otherwise. Even before Marx and Engels had their first meeting at Chetham’s Library, Mancunians were taking a stand for what they believed to be right from the Luddites fighting the army at Middleton, through to 15 dying as the cavalry charged at Peterloo and onto the Pankhursts leading the Suffragettes. 60% of the Hives of Manchester had even stood still to protest against using cotton picked by slaves during the American Civil War.
It is easy to draw a parallel between these radicals and the Punks and Anarchists who stood toe to toe with the police and city on the HafenStraße in the 1980s and the fans who constantly stand up for what they believe in the name of “No homophobia, no racism, no sexism, no fascism.” A hive, who may have minor differences of opinion but have a collective aim. A safe space for everyone to watch a game, have a beer (or spliff as many first timers at the Millerntor find initially shocking) and a good time.
Everyone gets drawn to St. Pauli in different ways not just for radicalism and politics, but one thing is for sure, once the Freibeuter have you captive, they become important. It is about more than football (with apologies to our friends Glasgow St. Pauli). It is about a way of life.