There are many symbols of anarchism including cats that have been used over the years to identify and rally supporters for a cause. The cause is usually a protest or political movement against current conditions. With the increase in anti-globalization recently, the symbols of anarchy are starting to reappear.
The black cat was designed by Ralph Chaplin, a prominent figure of the IWW, also known as the Wobblies. The movement started in 1905 and continued through the early 1920’s until it was suppressed by the Justice Department under J. Edgar Hoover. It signified wildcat strikes and radical unionism. The symbol has also been associated with witchcraft, bad omens and death.
The black flag has been a symbol of anarchy since the 1880s. It symbolizes defiance and opposition to surrender. The flag has been used by groups opposed to representation. The black flag has also been used in many protests against oppression. It was used by pirates to indicate the lives of a crew would be spared if they surrendered. It was also used during the French and Russian Revolutions by certain protest groups. It is still used today by anarchical movements.
The circled A, where the A stands for anarchy, is one of the best known present day symbols. It was developed by Giuseppe Fanelli, a Freemason, in 1868 and later adopted as a symbol of anarchy. The symbol became a part of the punk rock movement in the 1970’s. It was used by the band, Sex Pistols, to signify the punk rock style of music. Although used as a marketing ploy, it increased the awareness of anarchy.
The black cross is a symbol representing a movement to eliminate all prisons. The symbol originated in Russia to support political prisoners. It was adopted by anarchists to signify unity of purpose. The cross was modified from the symbol for the Red Cross to avoid confusion with the Red Cross. It has been associated with black power, women’s lib, youth power and the American Indian Movement.
Known as a symbol of piracy, the jolly roger or the skull and cross bones has gained popularity as a symbol of anarchy. Originally used by the Libertatain pirates, it signifies a pirate’s way of life free from repressive societies. It has gained popularity with many anarchical movements.
The anarchist symbol, circled A, with a V represents the political philosophy of animal liberation. The philosophy also known as veganism excludes the use of animals for food, clothing or other uses. It was popularized in 1995 by Brian Dominick and is used by animal rights groups. People who actively support this movement are against killing any animal and have strict vegetarian diets.
Other symbols of anarchy not shown above are the wooden shoe, black rose and bisected flags and stars. Each symbol has been used to represent a political movement or protest throughout the world. Depending on the cause, an organization will adapt or create a symbol that best represents it’s philosophy.