Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The importance of symbols

Reading: The Guardian, Independent and BBC News websites. The Morning Star. Green World and Green Party (GPEW) Activist Bulletin. Some pages of Finnegans Wake. Urban 75 Politics Boards.
Listening: Editors, local radio, Radio Five.
Viewing: Chelsea Vs Liverpool (Well done Liverpool!) Doctor Who, episode two of current series on BBC1 (amusing subversive republican subtext!)

I have posted some ideas for a Green Socialist, green libertarian socialist or ecosocialist flag below. Emblems, colours and symbols are often underestimated for their power as weapons in the struggle. The most powerful weapons of this kind are the simplest and most easily recognisable. Fortunately the two designs below are virtually unused internationally (apart from a few departmental or heraldic flags) but are admirably simple and recognisable (and quite pretty). The diagonally divided one resembles the black and red flag of the anarchosyndicalists of Spain made famous by the CNT and FAI in the Spanish civil war and revolution. In red and green I think it may have been used at some time by the British socialist youth movemnt, The Woodcraft Folk, though their more recognisable symbol is the red gold and green rising sun, fields and trees design. As the Spanish and later international libertarian left used the juxtaposition of red and black as the marriage of anarchism and syndicalism (or libertarianism and socialism), so the emerging ecosocialist movement could use the similar red and green flag to symbolise the marriage of (libertarian) socialism and ecological politics. The other flag with a horizontal divide is similar to the horizontally divided red and black flag of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Again the juxtaposition of the two colours emphasizing the coherence of our current and its drawing on the wisdom and experience of green and socialist movements. I would be interested in what ecosocialists think and how they feel we might go about agreeing and popularising a design.



At 5:44 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

Yours is a nice idea. Have you seen the Reclaim the streets flag ?

Of your suggestions, I like the CNT-like one


José Antonio Vergara

At 9:06 am, Blogger greenman said...

Thanks very much for your comment. The RTS flags were very effective, but I haven't seen any recently. I agree with you on the two designs - the diagonally divided one is the more striking.
Good to hear from Chile!
How are things in your part of the world?

At 3:45 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

Well, here as anywhere else you can see the effects of this capitalist/productivist/patriarchal civilization, with massive alienation by consumerism, neoliberal common sense and politics degraded into an empty spectacle. But things are happening, and I hope president Evo Morales will succeed in leading Bolivia away from neoliberalism.

At 3:01 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

I'm sorry, Greenman, for the silliness of posting twice the same comment ! I wasn't sure about this Blog technology. Could you please remove one of them ?

At 3:04 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

Actually I did it myself but unfortunately still remain the tracks of my previous mistakes.

At 4:38 pm, Blogger greenman said...

Don't worry, mistakes are part of the learning process!

At 12:26 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

Thank you, compañero. I'm interested in your following statement: "given the capacity of Trotskyists, New Labourites and neo-anarchists to wind me up". In my English Dictionary, one of the senses for "wind sb. up" is "to cause sb. to reach a high level of excitement or stress" and "to annoy (irritate) sb.". is that what you meant ? I avoid talking with dogmatic Leninists of any strand (Stalinists, Trotskyists, Maoists and so on).

At 4:50 pm, Blogger greenman said...

Yes, that was my meaning. You are wise to avoid arguing with the more dogmatic types, as it rarely achieves very much in the swaying of attitudes, though some of the less dogmatic can be debated with more productively. And of course ideas and positions argued for by these groups must be confronted when they are adopted by members of community and workplace organisations that we belong to, if they look likely to lead in an authoritarian, sectarian or unproductive direction. There is much excitement amongst the left in Britain about the "left turn" of governments and electorates in your continent - sometimes a little over-optimistically, as I am sure your movements face many of the obstacles ours do, as you say. Nevertheless, great to hear from you, and solidarity with your struggles!

At 3:48 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...

Even considering myself an open minded, critical ecomarxist, I can't endure the absurd class reductionism, authoritarianism, State-centrism and sectarian arrogance of most Leninists. I do not agree with their simplistic "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" stand to periphereal "antiimperialist" dictorships.

Did you read my short interview by the comrades of the Socialist Unity Network ?

At 3:49 am, Blogger chilean luxemburgreen said...


At 10:15 pm, Blogger greenman said...

I found your interview very interesting - for others who might be interested I post the URL here -

At 6:20 pm, Blogger WorldbyStorm said...

I like it a lot... good design.


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