Flags and Occupy Portland (2011)

By Ted Kaye, revised by Scott Mainwaring
Originally published in The Vexilloid Tabloid #31 & #32, Dec ’11 & Feb ’12

Occupy Portland, the protest movement and encampment in downtown Portland, has used flags in interesting ways. Ted Kaye observed a march in late October in which the flags used included USA, Cascadia, Tunisia, and red (IWW) and black (Anarchists).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Flag
The Cascadia flag.
Flag of Tunisia
The IWW flag. From sitt.wordpress.com blog (photo not from Occupy Portland)

Part of a national movement, the Portland group created a logo based on the flag of the city of Portland, a wonderfully innovative use (what would Doug Lynch have thought?).

An Occupy Portland logo based on the Portland flag.
An Occupy Portland logo based on the Portland flag.

This unusual “Gadsden Variant”, drawn on cardboard by an artist named Bobby, turns the well-known rattlesnake into the “99%” image reflecting the movement’s motto “We are the 99%”.

A 99% variant of the Gadsden flag.  Photo by Ted Kaye.
A 99% variant of the Gadsden flag. Photo by Ted Kaye.

The US flag was very popular, often flow upside down to indicate the nation in distress, or as a background for writing.

From the “Domo Adventures” blog (domoadventures.org). Posting by “Tommy D” on October 6, 2011, “Domo Occupies Portland!”

Peter Orenski’s TME Co. designed and manufactured 99% variants of the US flag and gave them away to Occupy movements across the country in return for a photograph of them in use for publication on TME’s website. One made its way to Portland via Ted Kaye.

99% US flag, designed and manufactured by Peter Orenski’s TME Co.  Ted Kaye delivered this one to the Occupy Portland    protesters in early December 2011 at Salmon Street Springs.  Photo by Ted Kaye.
99% US flag, designed and manufactured by Peter Orenski’s TME Co. Ted Kaye delivered this one to the Occupy Portland protesters in early December 2011 at Salmon Street Springs. Photo by Ted Kaye.
TME's “Occupy” U.S. flag variant, with the 50 stars in the canton rearranged to say “99%”; the “%” made up of smaller stars.
TME’s “Occupy” U.S. flag variant, with the 50 stars in the canton rearranged to say “99%”; the “%” made up of smaller stars.

What If There Were No Third Flag Act?

Blog post by Scott Mainwaring

On April 4, 1818 the US Congress enacted the following:

An Act to establish the flag of the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress Assembled, That from and after the fourth day of July next, the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be twenty stars, white in a blue field.

And be it further enacted, That on the admission of every new state into the Union, one star be added to the union of the flag; and that such addition shall take effect of the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission.

It established the rationale for every version of the US flag that followed:  each new state gets an added star, but the 13 stripes, representing the 13 original states, remain the same.  Before this, the last official US flag had been defined in 1795 to represent the new states of Vermont and Kentucky with two new stars — and two new stripes:

A 15-star, 15-stripe US flag from the period between 1795 and 1818. This particular design (note the “dancing” stars) was used for the “star-spangled banner” that Francis Scott Key wrote a song about.

As Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee joined the union, the official flag was unchanged.  New states were acknowledged by a variety of unofficial flags that added stars, and sometimes stripes as well (the Zaricor Flag Collection has some of these).  But it wasn’t until the 1818 Flag Act that the new states were recognized on the official flag, and a general rule for additions to the flag defined.

PFA member Michael Orelove wondered what would have happened if this Act never happened and instead the flag got a new star and new stripe for each new state.  He found some red and white striped fabric and brought this speculative flag to a meeting in 2011:

Michael Orelove and his 50-star, 50-stripe US flag.
Michael Orelove and his 50-star, 50-stripe US flag.

It’s still recognizable as an American flag, but it demonstrates the wisdom of the Congress in 1818 to rein in over-enthusiasm in the stripe department. We speculated that the field would look pink from a distance, a form of “American Pink Ensign,” and wondered how many other flags had pink fields.

(BTW, the only pink flag we could think of is the unofficial Newfoundland tricolor.  Do you know of others?)

The “Pink, White and Green” Newfoundland tricolor.

World Population Flags

By David W. Ferriday
Originally published in The Vexilloid Tabloid #31, December 2011

Flag to commemorate the world's population reaching 7 billion.  The background represents the planet's land and water.
Flag to commemorate the world’s population reaching 7 billion. The background represents the planet’s land and water.
Anticipatory design for the population reaching 8 billion.
Anticipatory design for the population reaching 8 billion.
Anticipatory design for the population reaching 9 billion.  By this last flag the planet will be nearly finished.
Anticipatory design for the population reaching 9 billion. By this last flag the planet will be nearly finished.

See also:

The Seal of the State of Jefferson

By Michael Orelove
Originally published in The Vexilloid Tabloid #31, December 2011

Kathleen Forrest and I recently drove from Portland to the San Francisco area and passed through the State of Jefferson (parts of southern Oregon and northern California).

We carried a flag of the State of Jefferson on their trip.  The flag bears a reproduction of the seal of the State of Jefferson—a gold pan with two large Xs, representing the feeling of being double crossed by the two state governments.

The original 1941 seal of the State of Jefferson, a gold pan with two Xs on the bottom and “The Great Seal of State of Jefferson” around the rim, shown with a contemporary State of Jefferson flag (no flags were created during the actual secession).
The original 1941 seal of the State of Jefferson, a gold pan with two Xs on the bottom and “The Great Seal of State of Jefferson” around the rim, shown with a contemporary State of Jefferson flag (no flags were created during the actual secession).

The original Jefferson Citizen’s Committee chose Yreka, California, as the interim state capital in November 1941.

The original seal of the State of Jefferson is at the Siskiyou County Museum in Yreka.   Kathleen and I went to the  museum to see the gold pan, which was in the vault.  After seeing our Jefferson flag and hearing that I was a member of the Portland Flag Association, the staff put on white gloves and brought out the pan from the vault.  I also put on white gloves and held both the pan and the flag for a photo.

The museum has wonderful exhibits about the Native American culture of the area and is a nice place to stop and visit if you are driving by on Interstate 5.

[ Note:  Ted Kaye’s comprehensive article on the Jefferson’s  history, flag, and symbols, “The State of Jefferson”, was published in The Flag Bulletin #150 (vol. 32, no. 1), Jan.–Feb. 1993, pp. 22–30.]

New Wave: Facts About Flags [book review]

By Ted Kaye
Originally published in The Vexilloid Tabloid #31, December 2011

New Wave -- Facts about Flags.  5”x7”, full color, 144 pages   Black Dog Publishing (2011) ISBN:  978-1-907317-30-9
Libby Waite (Ed.).  New Wave: Facts about Flags. 5”x6.5”, full color, 160 pages Black Dog Publishing (London, 2011) ISBN: 978-1-907317-30-9

Many of us like to give flag books as gifts to those who don’t yet fully understand why flags appeal to us.  Here’s one that merits a place in the “present drawer”.

New Wave is not the typical flag book—a compilation of flags of the world arranged by country.  While it devotes a few pages in the back to national flags and some sub-national sets (Brazil, Canada, Spain, U.S.A.), it is more a book about flags.  Sections cover:  The History of the Flag, Colours, National Flag Stories, Twentieth Century Flags, Flag Families, Religious Flags, Protest Flags, Flag Etiquette, Flags at Sea, Sports Flags, Popular Culture, Sovereign Flags, and Flag Terms.

A pocket-sized paperback, New Wave uses a bold graphic style with large blocks of color and a very dynamic layout.  It would engage both a younger reader and an adult.  It has color on every page.  While a British book, hardly any aspects of it would jar an American or Canadian reader.  And though Max and Patrick found some factual errors in our last meeting, it is well-researched and quite accurate.  Interestingly, no author is credited, as if the book were a team effort at its London publishing house.

New Wave is part a compilation of flag trivia, part a mini-reference book, and part a series of short articles on several flag-related topics.

The fun section on Fictional Flags probably makes it the only flag book with an illustration of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock.  In a shout-out to vexillologists, the flag of FIAV is included among the International Flags.

Its own blurb correctly says “Spanning geography, politics, history, culture, design, and art and presented in an accessible and refreshing format, New Wave is an entertaining exploration of the diversity of flags, as well as the rituals and communication aspects that inform them.”

(For more information, check out Black Dog Publishing’s page for this book.)

A Flag for All Mankind in the 21st Century

By David W. Ferriday
Originally published in The Vexilloid Tabloid #31, December 2011

There are thousands of flags representing many different groups of people around the world.  The United Nations flag and the Olympic flag are the most inclusive.  But there is, I believe, a need for a flag that represents each and every one of us, as a member of the human species, and so I have designed a flag with that in mind.

The UN flag.  Adopted 1946, emblem designed by Donal McLaughlin.
The UN flag. Adopted 1946, emblem designed by Donal McLaughlin.
The Olympic flag.  Adopted 1914, designed by Pierre de Coubertin.
The Olympic flag. Adopted 1914, designed by Pierre de Coubertin.

People are divided by race, religion, nationality, and many other factors large or small. Recent developments in science, and concerns for the ecological stability of our planet, have brought some people together and pushed others apart.  We need to be reminded of our common humanity and our home.

Flags appear regularly in the news as emblems of our various interests and alliances, and are surely a very important means of communication and representation.  This is one reason why I have chosen to express my feelings and my understanding of some of this extremely complex set of factors with a flag.

A flag for all mankind in the 21st century, designed in 2011 by PFA member David Ferriday.
A flag for all mankind in the 21st century, designed in 2011 by PFA member David Ferriday.

The specific design is representative of earth, air, fire, and water (elements found in many historic, religious, and early scientific contexts), as well as the sun—the ultimate source of power for our world. The colors express these: earth—black, air—white, fire—red, water—blue, and the sun—yellow.  In addition to the extremes of black and white are added the three primary colors.

The particular graphic way in which I have brought these together in the form a flag are simply my own sense of design.

From Vexilloid Tabloid #33.
From Vexilloid Tabloid #33.

Vexilloid Tabloid #31

A Flag for All Mankind in the 21st Century
David Ferriday's flag "for all Mankind in the 21st century"
J. Patrick Genna's personal flag
J. Patrick Genna's personal flag

Issue 31 of our newsletter The Vexilloid Tabloid is here, thanks to interim editor  Ted Kaye.  The new issue features:

  • A Flag for All Mankind in the 21st Century (David W. Ferriday)
  • Japanese Battle Standards (Patrick Genna)
  • Remembering John Hood
  • Book Review: New Wave – Facts about Flags (Ted Kaye)
  • The Seal of the State of Jefferson (Michael Orelove)

and as always the “What’s That Flag?” quiz (from our quizmaster, Max Liberman), Flags in the News, and notes from our 2011 meetings.

Click here for this latest issue (PDF, 1.1MB), or see portlandflag.org/vexilloid-tabloid for access to this and all previous issues.

What if the US had kept adding stripes, not just stars, to the flag? Michael Orelove made this answer.