On the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, one might wonder why the color red is so closely associated with Communism.
Indeed, in Soviet Russia, they had a Red Army, while the flags of Communist Russia and China are both awash in red.
In the west, the term “Red” and “Red scare” were synonymous with the fear of Communism.
Apparently, red was associated with left-wing movements in Europe long before the Russian Revolution. The flags associated with the European revolts in 1848 as well as the flag of the Italian nationalist Garibaldi were red – indeed his troops were called camicie rosse (redshirts). The flag of the Paris Commune of 1871 was also red.
However, the red so prominent in the Russian and Chinese flags today are believed to relate to the blood of the workers – that is, to honor the suffering and sacrifices of the proletariat.
Under Chairman Mao, a popular slogan in China was The East Is Red.
Left-wing terrorist groups in Japan and Germany during the 1970s called themselves “The Red Army.”
However, ironically, in the United States, the conservative Republican party (the polar opposite of Marxism) is now associated with the color red. In recent election, states like Alabama and Nevada which favor Republicans are called “Red States,” while liberal Democrat-leaning states like New York and Massachussets are called “Blue States.”
The color red appears to have a long positive association in Russian culture – from long before the rise of Communism.
Indeed, the Russian word for red (???????) is very similar to the word for beautiful (????????).
In fact, Moscow’s famed “Red Square” got its name centuries before Vladimir Lenin was even born.
Red is also prominent in the processions and vestments of the Russian Orthodox Church (hardly a bastion of Communism).
Perhaps to nest sum up Russia’s adoration of the red color, an article in the Assumption Orthodox Quarterly said: “In Russia, red is the color of beauty, brightness and joy,”