The Political Atlas (9/9) The Rainbow of Politics (Plus My 50+ Attempts at Flag Design)

[The cover image of every post in this series is an apolitical mock flag design of my own creation.The flower overlapping the star is a pansy, which represents Free Thought.]

[Personal Note: You have no idea how glad I am to finally finish this series. Sorry for the long gaps between updates but I’ve been very busy. Expect more SMiLE analyses and random one-offs again for the next few weeks.]

One notices many motifs in the political world as they do research, including party iconography or even the clothing choices of various candidates. It’s no coincidence that every Left-Authoritarian state from the USSR to China to North Korea have all used red flags. There’s also a reason why the Libertarian Party in the US uses yellow branding and wear yellow ties in public appearances. Or why Hillary and Bill Clinton wore noticeable purple clothes at her concession speech. And the way news commentators refer to states as red, blue or purple. Branding is a powerful thing that communicates meaning or conveys association between people or groups without having to say a single word.

In some ways, colors and animals carrying political significance traces back to at least Ancient Rome, where only rich aristocrats (and later, the Emperor) could afford purple clothing, which then came to be tied to the idea of wealth and authority. Ancient Rome used the image of eagles on their military banners, the Aquila, which then carried over into the use of eagles in various medieval states’ emblems or coats of arms. Some carried the image of the eagle into modern times in fact, and thus it has come to mean nationalism and state authority. The fasces were carried by lictors, bodyguards of state officials and the emperor, to signify their power to punish or execute dissidents, and these later lent their name and image to fascism.

In the modern era, colors as political branding goes back to at least the French Revolution, where the colors of Paris (blue and red) were combined with that of the monarchy (white) to form the modern national flag and colors of France. The red flag would be used by the radical Jacobin factions, the socialists and communists the world over, from Bolshevik Russians to Labor Parties in America. And yet, in the US, the two major parties never had set colors until 2000, when coincidentally, news networks collectively used red to represent the Republicans and blue for the Democrats. Since then, the association stuck, and they have carried into the present day.

Color Associations

Red: traditionally, red banners and colors are associated with Leftism, and in particular, Marxism, Socialism and their various offshoots. However in America this is the opposite, and Red is used in conjunction with the Republicans.

Orange: this color is often associated with Christian politics and Distributism

Yellow: classical liberalism, and in more modern contexts, libertarianism.

Green: environmentalism and green politics.

Blue: conservatism and capitalism, except in America where the colors are reversed and it has come to be used by the Democrats and liberals.

Purple: sometimes associated with monarchy due to its connection with the ancient Tyrian Purple. It is sometimes used in association with feminism. Most commonly it is used to denote a mixture of left and right ideas, or a swing state.

White: either truce and pacifism, or absolute monarchy, especially the Borboun Dynasty and Czarist Russia (the Whites in the Civil War.)

Black: black is humorously used to represent either anarchism or its polar opposite, fascism.

Brown: Nazism

Gray: secessionist movements or independent politicians

Pink: LGBT movements, though of course they also use the rainbow flag.

Political Symbols

Fascism: Fasces
Nazism: Swastika
Falangism: Yoke and Arrows
Leninism & Stalinism: Hammer and Sickle
Trotskyism: Hammer and Sickle with the number 4
Socialism, Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy: Red Rose
Liberalism: A bird in flight or a donkey (in association with the Democrats) Libertarianism: Torch
Conservatism & Nationalism: Eagle or an elephant (in association with the Republicans)
Environmentalism: Sunflower or a globe
Anarchism: An “A” and any star or flag that’s black
Marxism or Syndicalism: A fist
Syndicalism: A black cat (in reference to wildcat strikes), a gear or cog.
Technocracy: A gear or cog, yin-yang symbol with white and red coloration.
Right-Libertarian: Gadsden Flag (yellow with a snake and the motto “Dont tread on me”)
Agorism: “A” with a superscript “3,” black and gray flag with diagonal division
Minarchism: yellow and blue flag with a diagonal division
Objectivism: Atlas holding up the world
Council Communism & DeLeonism: An arm holding a hammer
Egalitarianism: Equals sign or the letter E
Juche: Sickle, Hammer and paint brush
Distributism: dog with a torch in its mouth (“domini cane”)
Capitalism: dollar sign and “V” for Voluntarism
Transhumanism: H+, Head with a gear on it.
Anarcho-Capitalism: yellow and black flag with a diagonal division, “V” for Voluntarism flipped around to make an “A” shape.
Anarcho-Communism/Anarcho-Syndicalism: red and black flag with a diagonal division.
Anarcho-Primitivism/Anarcho-Environmentalism: green & black flag with a diagonal division
Mutualism: orange and black flag with a diagonal division
Anarcho-Individualism/Anarcho-Egotism: blue and black flag with diagonal division
Anarcho-Transhumanism: indigo and black flag with diagonal division
Anarcha-Feminism: purple and black flag with diagonal division
Queer Anarchism: pink and black flag with diagonal division
Anarcho-Pacifism: white and black flag with diagonal division
Free Thought: Pansy Flower (as seen in this series’ header flags I designed)

Please note that, within the individual quadrants, the exact placement of the various symbols is largely arbitrary. This is meant to serve as a quick guide to common political icons and their respective quadrant, nothing more.

My Flag Designs & Symbols I “Invented”

Here are flags I’ve designed for many different political ideologies. It was just a fun project I did on and off in my spare time. I wanted to give certain movements that don’t have a set flag (as opposed to, say, Nazism or Marxism-Leninism which do have iconic banners) something striking and memorable. I wanted to set all of the cookie-cutter anarchist flags apart from one another and give each variation more personality.

You’ll notice some unusual symbols in these flags. Several of which I created anew, others I took from other fields (like alchemy or astronomy) and co-opted into a political context.

White Rabbit: Grassroots organizing (since rabbits eat grass.)
Circuitry: AI and Automation
DMT Molecule: Ending War on Drugs/Embracing Ego Death and Psychedelia
Planets: Space Exploration
Cube: 3D Printing, thinking outside the box
Ship’s Helm: Self-Determination
Robotic Grip: Automation
Alchemic Symbol for Gold: Capitalism, the Rich
Water Pitcher & Trowel: Geoism
Astronomy Symbol for Earth: Earth, Private Property, Land
Constellation: Collectivism, Strength in Numbers
Keys: Christianity
Alchemic/Astronomy Symbol for Pallas Athena: Transgenderism
White Tree of Gondor: Mankind coming together, Unity

You won’t find these next ones in any of my flag designs, but while compiling this final installment I started thinking about what symbols might be appropriate for different foreign policy ideologies. (Strangely, foreign policy of any kind never seems to get associated colors or icons.) I thought of a Wolf for the Realist-Intervention quadrant since they’re pack animals but individuals still try to be the “alpha” (at least as far as pop science is concerned.) For Realist Isolation I considered a shelled animal like an oyster or hermit crab due to their solitary nature. For Liberal Intervention I thought a eusocial insect like a bee would be most fitting. Finally, Liberal Isolation could be a coral reef, individuals acting alone but still part of a greater whole. Or a triforce-like series of triangles, together making a structure but still autonomous shapes.


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