An A in a circle - and it's all in red and black. The symbol of anarchism ... the colours of anarchism ... so is this the flag of anarchism?
Well, it's the most unlikely of settings. These flags on such ceremonial display flank the entrance of a glorious old haveli - a traditional mansion - in the walled city of Lahore, the heart of what's often described as Pakistan's cultural capital.
And you can see the distinct echo of anarchist iconography - take these examples of anarchist emblems and flags:
Surely the similarity between the traditional anarchist emblem and the flag on display in old Lahore can't be a coincidence.
The haveli in question is often used for swish dinners and events promoting luxury brands. The flag is actually the emblem of a hugely expensive - really, really, expensive - brand of Swiss engineered and assembled watches which are being marketed to Pakistan's ultra-rich. And by a curious twist of fate, I ended up at this very dinner - but no, I didn't fork out the small fortune necessary to make a purchase.
So, it seems that this standard which bears all the trademarks of an anarchist emblem is simply a corporate brand identifier. How disappointing!
But hang on a moment. In the 1860s and 70s, one of the strongholds of anarchism in the First International was among the watchmakers of the Swiss Jura. I cling to the belief that somehow or other there is a lineage between Bakunin's artisan supporters in the Swiss mountains and this striking red-and-black flag in old Lahore.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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