Our Flag is Red, Not Red, White and Blue

On May First, over a million immigrants and their allies filled the streets of cities and towns from border to border and coast to coast. They brought a fresh and needed wind of struggle into society. Their outpourings were a challenge and inspiration to everyone. But many carried the flag of U.S. imperialism.

People need to understand what that flag really stands for. And that we have a different flag—the red flag—that represents the historic mission of those with nothing to lose, to lead a revolution and a revolutionary society that will abolish all oppression and exploitation.

What does the American Flag Stand For?

The American flag is the flag that brought Black people to this country in chains, buying and selling them as slaves. Many of those 13 stripes on the flag stand for slave states. And where did those stars come from? Many of them represent states stolen from Mexico in an unprovoked, unjust war of conquest to extend the U.S. empire, and within that the slave states in the South.

This is the flag carried into battle by the U.S. Cavalry as it carried out genocide against the Native Americans, murdering, burning and pillaging a bloody trail across the country. This is the flag that invaded and conquered Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, killing hundreds of thousands in 1898. This is the flag that killed two million in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with napalm, carpet bombing, death squads and village massacres. This is the flag that twice made war on the people of Iraq, invading and occupying, killing hundreds of thousands. This is the flag that threatens nuclear war against Iran.

The American flag is the flag that proclaims the right to go anywhere in the world and invade any country that it claims is a potential threat to the U.S. This is the flag that economically dominates and devastates vast areas of the globe, ruining the lives of billions. This is the flag that holds thousands of people in Guantánamo and secret prisons throughout the world, proclaiming the right to torture and jail them forever. And this is the flag over prisons that hold two million people, many of them Black and Latino, mostly for the crime of being hungry, poor, and desperate. This is the flag of U.S. imperialism and its global empire. Even the rights and freedoms this system brags about—to the extent they are anything but total lies—are built on the blood and bones of those they murder and work to death here and around the world to create the prosperity you see in la jaula de oro (the cage of gold).

Our Flag is Red

It was heartening to see red flags throughout the crowds in some of the May First protests. The people carrying them represent a whole different future. The red flag is the flag of the proletariat, the working class worldwide. It is the flag of the class that can only free itself by freeing all humanity.

We are calling on readers to correspond on the “flag battle.” To help others understand both why you don't want to carry the American flag, and why you do want to carry the red flag. Post your comments online at revcom.us, or send them to RCP Publications, P.O. Box 3486 Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654.

The Internationale/La internacional

The imperialist rulers of the U.S., who have invaded and plundered the far corners of the earth, say they don't want people singing their national anthem in Spanish. But the oppressed people worldwide, those with nothing to lose and a world to win, and whose mission is to lead humanity to do away with all oppression, have an anthem. Our anthem is sung in different languages all over the planet. That anthem is The Internationale.

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The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism.

What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

Bob Avakian


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