Jan 20 2021

REPUBLICAN SYMBOLISM

Category: UncategorizedRCN @ 3:32 pm

The first article on an English republican flag has been written by James Gallacher of the Republican Socialist Platform. The second on a Scottish republican flag has been written by Allan Armstrong (RCN-RSP).

 

1. AN ENGLISH REPUBLICAN FLAG

 

A new republican flag has been designed to represent a new republican identity in a new England. The colours identify with the most important popular struggles that have shaped England’s parliamentary democracy.

 

English republican flag

The tricolour design connects England with the the UK’s ‘next door neighbours’, Ireland and France who both fly tricolours. Lesser-known republican tricolour flags are also used in Wales and Scotland. The three vertical stripes stand for a society which values liberty, equality and solidarity. This is a secular and republican flag and points to a future England founded on the sovereignty of the people; at present we live under the sovereignty of the crown and its anti-democratic powers (LINK).

St George was a Christian royalist. The St George’s cross is associated with the crusaders and although some sections of the left and of English society have tried to reverse this, it has strong connotations to the English far right. According to some interpretations, the dragon symbolises feminine energy, which is annihilated by the aristocratic patriarch chevalier. Its time to do away with this barbaric medievalism.

Peter Howson – Seht Ich Mache alles neu – 2018

 

Peter Howson – “Were War – Der Tor”, 2017

The new republican flag goes back deeper in time, to the pre-Christian and primordial era. Specifically the red stripe is linked with anthropologist Chris Knight’s idea of the role of early women and red’s cultural symbolism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Knight_(anthropologist)#Blood_Relations:_Menstruation_and_the_Origins_of_Culture

https://vimeo.com/search?q=%20chris%20knight%20radical%20anthropology

Archaeology has shown that red ochre decoration was one of the earliest forms of artistic human creativity and expression.

 

red ochre

Following this prehistorical symbolism, the flag’s historical referencing then jumps forward to the Levellers, the democratic party of the English Revolution in the 1600s. Levellers formed the most advanced pro-democratic wing in the New Model Army. They identified themselves by sea-green ribbons worn on their clothing.

 

A Green Society for a World Turned Upside Down

 

This thread continues to run, stopping next at the Chartist movement of the 1800s and the Suffragettes of the 1900s, the most important popular struggles that have shaped England’s parliamentary democracy, fighting for the vote. Both the Chartists and the Suffragettes had their own tricolours, and the new English flag pays homage to them by essentially amalgamating their flags.

 

Chartist Rally

Suffragette Demonstration

 

The Chartist tricolour was Red, White, and Green (top to bottom, horizontal stripes). Coincidentally this is now the Hungarian flag, except for a different shade of green.

Chartists’ flag

 

The Suffragetes’ tricolour was Green, White and Violet/Purple (Give, Women, Votes). It is still in use, for example by the WASPI.

 

Suffragettes’ flag

So to be clear:

Red for a social republic (Chartists),

Purple for the Suffragettes,

Green for the Levellers.

Green also represents a concern for the environment, as well as England’s Irish community (who did so much to advance republican and internationalist thought.

 

_________

 

2. A Scottish Republican Flag

 

In Edinburgh RIC we began discussions before the October 2018 Edinburgh AUOB about what banners we should take to the demo.  We had already made a tentative Scottish Republican banner, to go along with the Irish, Welsh and English republican banners.

 

From top to bottom – Scotland’s, Ireland’s, Wales’ and England’s republican flags

 

In the end it was decided not to spend money on promoting a more tentative Scottish republican flag but on the 3 large banners which led off the RIC contingent on the AUOB demo.

(https://edinburghric.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/auob-6.10.18-photos.pdf)

Here is the thinking behind the colours chosen for the Scottish Republican Tricolour.

Blue– the colour of the radical Covenanters

Red – the colour of the social republic (which appeared in the Naval Mutinies in 1797 and Merthyr Rising in 1831, but became a key symbol of the social republicanism of the 1848 Spring Time of Peoples)

Green – the colour representing Scotland’s Irish community (who did so much to advance republican and internationalist thought from the 1880s onwards and contributed so much to the 2014 vote of Glasgow, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire to secede from the Union)

 

However, these three colours can also be taken at two other levels

 

Political

Blue -a generic colour for Scotland

Red – The Paris Commune took over the red of the early social republicans. It could also perhaps be linked with Chris Knight’s idea of the role of early women and the cultural symbolism of red in:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Knight_(anthropologist)#Blood_Relations:_Menstruation_and_the_Origins_of_Culture

Green –  A concern for the environment

 

Physical/Environmental

Blue– the seas and skies of Scotland

Red – the red soils of the Borders, the red shales of the Central Belt, the red rocks of the Highlands (e,g, Red Cuillin)

Green – the forests and fields of Scotland

However, we should return to the issue of a Scottish republican flag given that  the official traditional Scottish is flag, the Saltire is a its Christian symbol), like the English Cross of St. George  And they are combined with the St Partick’s cross (the Anglo-Irish ascendancy’s choice) in the Union Flag acting as  a continuing symbol for British conservatism and reaction upholding the UK state. .Ireland has three flags which are not part of this unionist tradition –

       1.  the traditional – Irish Harp

 

         2. republican  – Irish Tricolour

 

 

         3. socialist republican  – Starry Plough

 

 

Scottish republicans could perhaps promote the suggested Scottish republican flag. Furthermore, here is a challenge for RSP artists – design a Scottish equivalent of the socialist republican Starry Plough!

 

________

also see

 

From Pre-Brit to Post-Brit, Allan Armstrong

Introduction, section a

What does the Union Flag tell us about the UK?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Sep 11 2019

SCOTLAND’S SECRET SHAME

The issue of ‘sectarianism’ in Scotland has raised its head again following loyalists attacks on republican marches in Govan on August 30th and Glasgow city centre on 7th September. Whilst the attacks  made by the loyalists were on  legal marches, politicians and the media have  predictably fallen back on the ‘sectarian’ two tribes approach. This attempt to cover-up the central issue, the nature of Northern Ireland’s and Scotland’s relationship with the UK state, has a long history, as shown by the response of  Jack McConnell 

Emancipation & Liberation is publishing an abridged version of an article written in 2006 by the late Brian Higgins, which addresses the issue of ‘sectarianism’. The full version of this article can be seen on the Intfrobel.com website, where it was published for the first time this August.

(https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/scotlans-secret-shame-1.pdf)

______________

SCOTLAND’S ‘SECRET’ SHAME

 

 INTRODUCTION

The issue of religious sectarianism in Scotland has been raised by Jack McConnell’s 2005 Valentines Day Summit, and by the BBC’s Panorama programme, Scotland’s Secret Shame, on Celtic and Rangers, broadcast soon afterwards.  Tam Cowan has even (if unintentionally!) added impetus to this debate, illustrating the significance of the subject.  He invited Jack McConnell on to his Offside programme (BBC Scotland, 6.3.06,  a satirical rant at Scottish football and the SFA. He questioned McConnell about ‘Scotland’s Secret Shame’ by famously asking him, “What’s secret about it?”  Cowan 1 – McConnell 0.  More seriously, we have UEFA making a bizarre ruling over Rangers supporters’ sectarian behaviour, at the Championship League matches against Villareal.  They initially washed their hands by declaring such behaviour to be “related to a social problem in Scotland”! Continue reading “SCOTLAND’S SECRET SHAME”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Apr 07 2017

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance and the Left Unity Party draws on the revolutionary democratic political tradition in England, linking the Levellers, the Chartists and the Suffragettes. He outlines its strengths compared with the social democratic and economist political tradition of Labour and most of the British Left sects. Steve argues that Socialists should be championing the revolutionary democratic tradition today.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

“Westminster? It’s old, defunct, a waste of time. I hate the place” – Mhairi Black MP *

Westminster does not look or work any better from the inside or the outside. In May 1991 Tony Benn MP proposed fundamental reform. He introduced the Commonwealth of Britain Bill in the House of Commons, intended to make Britain a federal republic. The current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP seconded the Bill. The Bill’s first hurdle on the parliamentary road to a republic was to get permission from the Queen to submit it to the Commons. Then there has to be majorities in the Commons, Lords and then finally with the royal assent the Bill becomes law.
Continue reading “THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Jun 24 2014

LABOUR AND SOCIALIST LEFT UNIONISM IN THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE

th-10

 

Allan Armstrong (RCN) prepared a talk for the Conference of Socialist Economists Day School held in the Out of the Blue Centre in Edinburgh on June 21st. The article below  incorporates some of the discussion points that were raised. It provides a socialist republican analysis of the British Left and the case for an ‘internationalism from below’ alternative in the Scottish independence referendum campaign.  This talk is also a chapter in the extended article, Making Plans For Nigel, which can be viewed at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/06/26/making-plans-for-nigel/ A shortened version of this talk was also given as a contribution to the debate in the Left Unity Party – Glasgow South branch,  on December 13th.

 

On the British Left, continued support for maintaining the UK state and for upholding the internationalist nature of all-British party and trade union organisation stems from their understanding of the British ruling class and the United Kingdom. They view these as having played a key historical role in replacing the older feudal order in these islands, and other pre-capitalist societies in many parts of the world.

Continue reading “LABOUR AND SOCIALIST LEFT UNIONISM IN THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Nov 25 2013

2nd RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE – ‘AFTER THE UK: THE FUTURE OF 4 NATIONS’

 

The RCN received the unanimous backing of  the Edinburgh branch of RIC to ask the  RIC National Steering Committee to organise a session at the second national RIC conference on November 23rd in Glasgow, entitled ‘The break-up of the UK – the case for ‘internationalism from below’’. This was then unanimously agreed by the Steering Committee, subject to availability of speakers and any modifications required by the overall conference programme. In the event, the session was renamed ‘After the UK: the future for 4 nations’.

The initial choice of speaker for Ireland was agreed to be Bernadette McAliskey, and for Wales, Leanne Wood, a republican and the president of Plaid Cymru. Leanne initially indicated her interest, but later had to give her apologies because the conference clashed with a Plaid Cymru event, which also meant that a substitute speaker could not be arranged. Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance was also proposed as a speaker for England, and after the organisers’  consideration this was also agreed. The organisers were left to arrange a speaker for Scotland. In the meantime, Mary McGregor (RCN and Dundee RIC) was proposed to chair the session. Later the organisers came back and, in the interest of preserving gender balance, transferred Mary to speak on Scotland. Tony Kenny, a republican and former SNP member and council candidate was asked to chair the meeting instead.

Below we provide a video link which shows Bernadette’s contribution to this session. After this we provide both videos  and the full texts of Steve Freeman’s and Mary McGregor’s contributions (which was slightly curtailed because of time considerations).

This is followed by a reply to David Torrance’s report of the conference in The Herald.

Videos by Patricia Kirk and John Lanigan

 

Bernadette McAliskey, Mary McGregor, Steve Freeman and Allan Armstrong at the RIC conference

Bernadette McAliskey, Mary McGregor, Steve Freeman and Allan Armstrong at the RIC conference

 

 1. BERNADETTE McALISKEY’S CONTRIBUTION CAN BE SEEN AT:-

http://youtu.be/biwdlxRElI4

Continue reading “2nd RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE – ‘AFTER THE UK: THE FUTURE OF 4 NATIONS’”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Nov 05 2013

THE CASE FOR THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PLATFORM IN THE LEFT UNITY PARTY IN ENGLAND

There has been considerable interest shown in the proposed Left Unity Party in England and Wales, which it is intended to launch on November 30th. We have already posted one proposed platform – the Socialist Platform (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/08/12/5722/). In an interesting development, some members of  the Republican Socialist Alliance in England are Making the Case for a Republican Socialist Platform.  They argue from a similar ‘internationalism from below’ stance to the RCN.

The Chartists' republican tricolour

The Chartists’ republican tricolour

 

A CASE FOR THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PLATFORM

“British politics urgently needs a new force – a movement on the Left to counter capitalism’s crisis. If a new, networked movement of the Left could agree on some key principles, and avoid creating another battleground for ultra-left sects, it could give a voice to million … a movement uniting all those desperate for a coherent alternative to the tragedy of austerity, inflicted on this country without any proper mandate”. (Owen Jones ‘Independent’ Sunday 20 January 2013)

Continue reading “THE CASE FOR THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PLATFORM IN THE LEFT UNITY PARTY IN ENGLAND”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Oct 29 2013

SOCIALIST UNITY – THE RCN ASKS 12 QUESTIONS

The RCN has been involved in preliminary discussions with Frontline, the International Socialist Group (Scotland), individual members of the International Socialist Network and Defense of Our Party faction in the SWP, as well as other individuals mainly from an SSP background. Frontline  published the views a number of socialist organisations, which we reposted at http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/06/10/socialist-unity/. Stemming from these initial discussions, the RCN has framed 12 questions, which it has sent out to those organisations participating in socialist unity discussions. We will post each response as receive it. We would like to thank Alister Black of Frontline (http://www.redflag.org.uk) and James Foley of the International Socialist Group for the first responses to our questions.

 

th

 1. ALISTER BLACK OF FRONTLINE  REPLIES TO THE RCN’S 12 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR SOCIALIST UNITY

 

1.     After the demise or major setbacks for Left unity and Socialist unity projects in these islands (SSP, Socialist Alliance, Respect, Forward Wales, United Left Alliance-Ireland), there have been a number of new initiatives recently – the Peoples Assemblies, the proposed Left Unity Party (LUP) and the Socialist Unity Platform (SUP) and International Socialist Network/Socialist Resistance/Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ISN/SR/ACI) unity proposals. However, these have mainly been confined to England and Wales. Why do you think things are less advanced in Scotland at the moment?

The Scottish political environment is now very different to that in the rest of the UK state. The left has faced the problems of its own fractures but also of the ascendance of the Scottish National Party. The left lacks credibility but also has been slow to recover from the self-inflicted wounds of the last few years. At the same time the SNP has presented themselves as social-democrats through reforms such as free prescription charges and abolition of tuition fees (whilst being very friendly to union-busting big business outfits like Amazon).

Continue reading “SOCIALIST UNITY – THE RCN ASKS 12 QUESTIONS”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Jul 26 2002

How republicans around Britain and Ireland are the ‘celebrating’ jubilee

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 02RCN @ 7:13 pm

Socialist Alliance in England

It is the queen’s jubilee time and the Socialist Alliance in England supports all republican activities which seek to expose the lack of democracy at the heart of British society. The jubilee does not end on June 4. That is just the beginning of the monarchist jamboree up to the 50th anniversary of Elizabeth Windsor’s coronation, which is in 2003.

Socialist Alliance branches should discuss ways they can raise republican sentiment where they organise: in the localities, trade unions and in the campaigns they support. Rather than celebrate an unelected parasite on a throne for 50 years and the constitutional system she represents, the working class and socialists should celebrate the republican tradition of Britain. The Levellers and Diggers, Thomas Paine, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Chartists, the Suffragettes, William Morris, Tom Mann, the formation of the Communist Party, the general strike of 1926 and even diverse characters from society from Oliver Cromwell to the Sex Pistols. We should take the opportunity offered us in the following weeks to make propaganda for a democratic republic, the abolition of the House of Lords, proportional representation and a democratic society.

For this to happen, the working class needs to take a lead on democratic questions. The Socialist Alliance has a role to play in this. Our activities against the jubilee celebrations should seek to raise republican sentiment among the working class and to organise republican and anti-monarchist events across the United Kingdom Socialist Alliance National Council resolution, February 2002. However the June extended Bank Holiday should not be the end of it. Socialist Alliance policy is to seek to establish an ongoing organised working-class campaign for a republic after the jubilee celebrations. On the basis of activities by republicans both in and outside the Socialist Alliance we should seek to build an ongoing campaign.

What you can do:

  • Hold republican social events on the June bank holiday weekend: picnics, Barbecues, street and estate parties. Get your friends, family & comrades together to celebrate republicanism.
  • Apply for funding for your republican activities from your local authority. You probably won’t get approval, but send a press release saying that legitimate activity relating to the jubilee year is being blocked by the council.
  • Demonstrate when the queen visits your area. To find out her tour dates go to: Golden Jubilee – now defunct
  • Hold a gig, invite local bands.
  • Hold a public meeting on republicanism, the monarchy and democracy.
  • Hold a Socialist Alliance members meeting on the question of the republican tradition.
  • Have a debate with monarchists.
  • Write letters to the national and local press. Don’t let the republican voice be silenced.
  • Raise the matter in your trade union.
  • Hold a public event/stunt at your local town hall against the monarchy. Invite the press.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,