Jason Wehling
History of the Black Flag Why anarchists fly it, What are its origins?

The black flag is a symbol of anarchism. Unfortunately, the exact origin of this association is very elusive. This may be frustrating to those fascinated by historical trivia but it is by no means surprising.

Anarchism has always deliberately stood for a broad, and at times, vague political platform. The reasoning is sound; blueprints create rigid dogma and stifle the creative spirit of revolt. Along the same lines and resulting in the same problems, anarchists have rejected the “disciplined” leadership found in many political groupings. The reasoning for this is also sound; leadership based on authority is inherently hierarchical. It seems to follow logically that since anarchists have shied away from anything static, they would also shy away from the importance of symbols and icons.