white cross that Saint Louis (1214-n1270) and his French knights went tonbattle the Saracens in the Holy Landnand North Africa. It is probably nonaccident that red, being essentially an”hot” color (as opposed to the coolernblue), was chosen as the principal colornfor the flags of Europe’s two mostnardently Catholic nations. In the casenof Poland a white eagle was first superimposednon a red background, the rednremaining after the eagle had beennremoved; in the case of Castille andnsubsequently of Spain, gold castlesnwere placed on a scarlet ground, wherenthe scarlet has remained to this day.nThe kings of France, for their part,npreferred to be robed in white, andntheir heraldic emblem being the threepetalednfleur-de-lis (derived from thenwhite iris), the flag of the Frenchnmonarchy was composed of whitenfleurs-de-lis on a blue background.n(This is just a hunch, but I suspect thatnthe blue rectangle and stars in thenleft-hand corner of our own flag wereninspired by those royal French colorsnand combined with the red-and-whitenstripes of the Washington family crestnto form the Stars and Stripes — thensoldiery and mariners of Louis XVl’snFrance having done as much as anyonento ensure the defeat of George Ill’snRedcoats.)nNow let us jump to the watershednyear of 1789, which saw the start of thengreat mutation. On July 20th, six daysnafter the storming of the Bastille, Lafayette,nwho had returned to France afterncampaigning in America, and who hadnbeen placed in command of the Parisnmilitia, decided that something with anless absolutist connotation than thenblue-and-white fleurs-de-lis flag wasnneeded to symbolize the new, fondlynhoped-for “union” of king and people.nThus was born the tricolor flag, whichncombined the traditional blue-andwhitencolors of the House of Francenwith the scarlet oriflamme of SaintnDenis, the legendary first bishopmartyrnof Paris and the country’s patronnsaint. The relative simplicity ofnthis new flag, with three basic colorsnmatching the ideals of “Liberty,nEquality, Fraternity,” made it almostnovernight the flag of the Revolution,nand more specifically the flag of thentriumphant bourgeoisie.nRevolutions being what they are —ndifficult to control — the members ofnthe constituent Assembly undertooknthree months later (October 21, 1789)nto vote a law authorizing the municipalnauthorities to proclaim a state of martialnlaw, if necessary, in order to maintainnlaw and order. A red flag — the rednflag of danger — was then to be prominentiyndisplayed from one of the windowsnof the town hall, and anothernparaded through the streets of Paris asnthe visible signal that all crowds were tondisperse. Once order was restored — ifnnecessary by warning shots, followednby firing—the red flag was to benremoved and replaced for the nextnweek by a white flag, the symbol ofnpeace and tranquility.nBy the summer of 1791 the Revolutionnhad turned sour, and the bourgeoisie,nhaving humbled the aristocracynand stripped it of its privileges andntides, found itself threatened in its turnnby revolutionaries of a more radicalnstripe. The clumsy Louis XVI havingnbungled an attempt to escape to Belgiumnwith his wife, Marie Antoinette,nand a coachful of faithful servitors, thenhotheads of the revolutionary Club desnCordeliers (so called because they hadnset themselves up in a monastery previouslynoccupied by the rope-beltwearingnFranciscans) decided the timenhad come to get rid of this king whonhad betrayed his country and his peoplenby trying to flee abroad. On Julyn17, 1791, after circulating a petitionnand collecting six thousand signatures,nthey organized a major turnout on thenChamp de Mars (which was then annopen parade ground and quite differentnfrom the present, Eiffel Towerdominatednparterre of lawns, flowerbeds,nand gravel walks). While Dantonnand Camille Desmoulins were workingnthe crowd up to fever pitch with theirnrevolutionary rhetoric, Lafayettenturned up at the head of 1,200 NationalnGuardsmen. The red flag, whichnhad already been hung out over thenfagade of the Hotel de Ville, nownmade its appearance on the Champ denMars, preceding the arrival of the mayor,nBailly, and members of the municipalncouncil. Few persons in the angryncrowd saw the flag, nor were they in anmood to disperse peacefully and driftnaway. The Guardsmen, greeted bynstones and curses, had to load theirnmuskets and start firing, and by thentime the smoke had cleared one hundredndemonstrators were dead.nnnThe “massacre of the Champ denMars” — for which Lafayette, Bailly,nand ultimately Louis XVI werenblamed — helped to seal the fate of thenFrench monarchy. But in the immediatenwake of the slaughter the red flag ofnmartial law was bitterly denounced innradical pamphlets and newssheets asn”the infamous red flag … the flag ofndeath, an iniquitous flag, the all tooncertain signal of the barbarism of dangerousnaristocrats, who give a thousandnnew forms to the infamy of theirnhideous projects,” etc. In short, the rednflag was regarded as the emblem of thenwar that the more prosperous “haves”nwere waging against the less fortunaten”have nots.”nBut soon, thanks to a kind of chemicalnreaction produced in the witch’snbrew of revolutionary fervor, the samenred flag of martial law—the “martialnlaw of the sovereign people”—wasnbrandished by the crushed demonstratorsnof yesterday against “the rebellionnof the executive power” — which is tonsay, against the “rebellion” of LouisnXVI, guilty of having been “fanaticizednby the clerical party” and ofnbeing associated with France’s enemies,nled by the reactionaries of MarienAntoinette’s Austria. The abhorred rednflag of yesterday now became the emblemnof the extremists and in particularnof the Jacobins, taking its place atnmeetings of the “Society of the Friendsnof Equality and Liberty” next to thenPhrygian bonnet as the symbol ofnrevolutionary elan.nUnder Napoleon — himself a formernJacobin who had quickly “seen thenlight” — the red flag of the extremistsnwas all but forgotten, blotted out by thentricolor flag and the even more triumphantngreen of the French Imperialnbanners. Not until June 1832 did thenred flag return to the forefront of thenParis stage, during the funeral processionnof a notoriously republican (andnthus anti-Louis-Philippe) general,nwhen a strange black-clad and blackwhiskerednhorseman girdled in a glaringnred waistband suddenly appearednout of nowhere brandishing a red flagnon which, in bright white letters, wereninscribed the words, “Liberty — ornDeath.”nBy this time the color red was firmlynassociated with the libertarian and progressivencause as opposed to then”black” reactionaries of the church —nMARCH 1989/41n