Red flag (politics)

In politics, a red flag is a symbol of
Socialism, Communism, and left-wing politics; it has been associated with
left-wing politics since the French Revolution. Socialists adopted the
symbol during the Revolutions of 1848 and it became a symbol of communism as a
result of its use by the Paris Commune of 1871. The flags of several communist
states, including China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union, are explicitly based on
the original red flag. The red flag is also used as a symbol by some democratic
socialists and social democrats, for example the Avami National Party of
Pakistan, French Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The
Labour Party in Britain used it until the late 1980s. It was the inspiration
for the socialist anthem, The Red Flag. History
In the Middle Ages, ships in combat flew a long red streamer, called the Baucans,
to signify a fight to the death. In one petition, a group of English sailors
asserted that the Crown had no right to a share of the prize money earned from a
Norman ship captured in 1293 because it had raised the Baucans. By the 17th
century, the Baucans had evolved into a red flag, or “flag of defiance.” It was
raised in cities and castles under siege to indicate that they would not
surrender. “The red flag is a signal of defiance and battle,” according to
Chambers Cyclopedia. The red cap was a symbol of popular
revolt in France going back to the Jacquerie of 1358. The color red become
associated with patriotism early in the French Revolution due to the popularity
of the Tricolour cockade, introduced in July 1789, and the Phrygian cap,
introduced in May 1790. A red flag was raised over the Champ-de-Mars in Paris
on July 17, 1791 by Lafayette, commander of the National Guard, as a symbol of
martial law, warning rioters to disperse. As many as fifty anti-royalist
protesters were killed in the fighting that followed.
Inverting the original symbolism, the Jacobins protested this action by flying
a red flag to honor the “martyrs’ blood” of those who had been killed. They
created their own red flags to declare “the martial law of the people against
the revolt of the court.” The Jacobin Club ruled France during the Reign of
Terror and made the red flag an unofficial national emblem. However, the
earlier Tricolor never lost its official status and regained popularity under
Napoleon. British sailors mutinied near the mouth
of the River Thames in 1797 and hoisted a red flag on several ships. Two red
flags soaked in calf’s blood were flown by marchers in South Wales during the
Merthyr Rising of 1831. It is claimed to be the first time that the red flag was
waved as a banner of workers power. Along with the Newport Rising eight
years later, it was one of the most serious violent outbreaks witnessed on
mainland Britain. The red flags of Merthyr became a potent relic following
the execution of early trade unionist Dic Penderyn in August 1831, despite a
public campaign to pardon him. During the Mexican siege of the Alamo in
March 1836, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana displayed a plain red flag
from the highest church tower in Bejar. The meaning of this flag was not
socialism: its meaning – directed to the Alamo defenders – meant “no surrender;
no clemency.” At much the same time, the Liberal
“Colorados” in the Uruguayan Civil War used red flags. This prolonged struggle
at the time got considerable attention and sympathy from Liberals and
revolutionaries in Europe and it was in this war that Garibaldi first made a
name for himself and that he was inspired to have his troops wear the
famous Red Shirts. During the 1848 Revolution in France,
Socialists and radical republicans demanded that the red flag be adopted as
France’s national flag. Led by poet-politician Alphonse de Lamartine,
the government rejected the crowd’s demand: “[T]he red flag that you have
brought back here has done nothing but being trailed around the Champ-de-Mars
in the people’s blood in [17]91 and [17]93, whereas the Tricolore flag went
round the world along with the name, the glory and the liberty of the homeland!”
The banner of the Paris Commune of 1871 was red and it was at this time that the
red flag became a symbol of communism. The flag was flown by anarchists at a
May Day rally for an eight-hour workday in Chicago in 1886. A bomb blast killed
a policeman and the Haymarket Eight were arrested and five were executed. This
event, considered the beginning of the international labor movement, is still
commemorated annually in many countries The red flag gained great popularity
during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Soviet flag, with a hammer, a sickle
and a star on a red background, was adopted in 1923. Various Communist and
socialist newspapers have used the name The Red Flag. In China, both the
Nationalist Party-led Republic of China and the Communist Party-led People’s
Republic of China use a red field for their flags, a reference to their
revolutionary origins. In more recent times, social democratic
parties have gravitated away from the Red Flag as a symbol. However, several
European parties retain a “red square” symbol, including Germany’s SPD and the
Party of European Socialists. The building to have had a red flag flying
for the longest period of time and to still have one is the Victorian Trades
Hall in Melbourne, Australia. The flag has been flying for over a century.
=The British Labour Party=The red flag was the emblem of the
British Labour Party from its inception until the Labour Party Conference of
1986 when it was replaced by a red rose, itself a variant of the “Fist and Rose”
then in wide use by left of center parties in Europe. The more floral red
rose design has subsequently been adopted by a number of other socialist
and social-democratic parties throughout Europe. Members of the party also sing
the traditional anthem The Red Flag at the conclusion of the annual party
conference. In February 2006 the Red Flag was sung in Parliament to mark the
centenary of the Labour Party’s founding. The flag was regularly flown
above Sheffield Town Hall on May Day under David Blunkett’s Labour
administration of Sheffield during the 1980s, leading to Sheffield being
labelled the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire.
=Laws to ban red flags=During the Red Scare of 1919-20 in the
United States, many states passed laws forbidding the display of red flags,
including Minnesota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and California. In Stromberg
v. California, the United States Supreme Court held that such laws are
unconstitutional. The current flag of Oklahoma dates to this period and was
adopted because of the association of the first flag of Oklahoma, a white star
on a red background, with socialism.=Flag of Kuwait=
In the 19th Century, Kuwait was using a red flag, unintentionally virtually
identical to the flag used by various revolutionary movements at the time. In
1899 Kuwait changed this flag. Communist/socialist Red Flag as name or
title It has been common to find streets,
buildings, businesses and product brands named after the Red Flag in nominally
socialist countries. For example, a famous line of limousine cars
manufactured by China FAW Group Corporation has the brand name of Red
Flag. Galleries
Bellow are two galleries of national and political flags based on the red flag.
=National flags=Political parties
See also The Red Flag
Bandiera Rossa Red star
Hammer and sickle Black flag
Flag of the Soviet Union Flag of the People’s Republic of China
Flag of Vietnam Red bloc
Communist symbolism Eureka Flag
Racing flags#Red flag Red flag warning
References External links
Red flag of Socialism at Flags of the World

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