In a campaign where nothing has been left to chance, we have America’s new First Family, the Obamas, all decked out in red and black! When I looked at this picture this morning, I thought the choice of clothing colors was a bit odd. Really, who puts black on a little girl and why red & black on the all four of the Obamas?
Why this combination of colors, when surely the campaign has been planning what the first photographs of the incoming faux president and his family would look like for weeks? Even the criss/crossed material on Michelle’s dress seemed odd to me. I had to dig a little deeper.
Think about it. Don’t we always see politicians in shades or combinations of red, blue, navy, etc. Examples that quickly come to mind include Nancy Reagan’s red dresses, Hillary’s many shades of blues dresses and pantsuits, Laura Bush her many shades of blue and royal blue . . . the men follow the same the same etiquette. Why, because subliminally we are supposed to think of the red, white, and blue in our country’s flag. I didn’t have to dig very deep . . . here’s the answer.
The red-and-black flag is the symbol of the anarcho-syndicalist and anarcho-communist movements. Black is the traditional color of anarchism, and red is the traditional color of socialism. The red-and-black flag combines the two colors in equal parts, with a simple diagonal split. Typically, the red section is placed on the top-left corner, with the black on the bottom-right corner of the flag. This symbolizes the co-existence of anarchist and socialist ideals within the anarcho-syndicalism movement, and to symbolize the more socialistic means of the movement leading to a more anarchistic end.
One of the most famous variations of the anarcho-syndicalist flag is that of Spain‘s Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labor, CNT), which still exists today. The CNT, along with the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (Iberian Anarchist Federation, FAI), a major militant faction within the CNT, was a major player in the popular anarchist movements in Spain of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This group has its own version of the red-and-black flag with its initials on the flag. CNT is in the red, while FAI is in the black – the color of anarchy – as the FAI was founded in 1927 to keep the CNT dedicated to anarchist principles.
Another variation on the red-and-black theme is the red-and-black Africa used mostly by the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF or ZabFed), a federation of anarchist groups in South Africa. ZabFed was inspired by the Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists. ZabFed members share a basic agreement in terms of theoretical and tactical unity, collective responsibility, and federalism as suggests by the Platform. In historical terms the Platformist tradition starts with The Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists, and in the post-war period many include documents like the Georges Fontenis’ pamphlet Manifesto of Libertarian Communism
Lest anyone think that campaigns and politicians don’t understand the importance and symbolism of the use of color in their campaigns, has anyone forgotten Hillary’s orange pantsuit the night of her speech at the Democratic Convention in August?
At the time, I thought that was an odd choice too, until I realized that orange is a color of protest. HRC was so cool, protesting her unfair treatment by the DNC’s selection of Obama in her orange suit, and it went over most people’s heads. Way, to go, girl! It’s just one of the reasons we loved you!
Memo to the Obama team: the choice of red & black clothing for this all important introduction to the American people was either one of the dumbest moves I’ve ever witnessed, or was incredibility insensitive to the history of this country, or was intentional.
You may want to remember that the last time the world had to deal with a charismatic leader capable of keeping millions of people mesmerized with his rhetoric, his iconic symbol, also in red and black, looked like this . . .