Concept

Anarchist symbolism

Summary
Anarchists have employed certain symbols for their cause, including most prominently the circle-A and the black flag. Anarchist cultural symbols have been prevalent in popular culture since around the turn of the 21st century, concurrent with the anti-globalization movement. The punk subculture has also had a close association with anarchist symbolism. Red flag (politics) The red flag was one of first anarchist symbols and it was widely used in late 19th century by anarchists worldwide. Peter Kropotkin wrote that he preferred the use of the red flag. Use of the red flag by anarchists largely disappeared after the October Revolution, when red flags started to be associated only with Bolshevism and communist parties and authoritarian, bureaucratic and reformist social democracy, or authoritarian socialism. The black flag has been associated with anarchism since the 1880s, when several anarchist organizations and journals adopted the name Black Flag. Howard J. Ehrlich writes in Reinventing Anarchy, Again: The black flag is the negation of all flags. It is a negation of nationhood ... Black is a mood of anger and outrage at all the hideous crimes against humanity perpetrated in the name of allegiance to one state or another ... But black is also beautiful. It is a colour of determination, of resolve, of strength, a colour by which all others are clarified and defined ... So black is negation, is anger, is outrage, is mourning, is beauty, is hope, is the fostering and sheltering of new forms of human life and relationship on and with this earth. The origins of the black flag are uncertain. Modern anarchism has a shared ancestry with—amongst other ideologies—socialism, a movement strongly associated with the red flag. As anarchism became more and more distinct from socialism in the 1880s, it adopted the black flag in an attempt to differentiate itself. It was flown in the 1831 Canut revolt, in which the black represented the mourning of liberty lost.
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