THE Socialist Party says no political party in Zambia owns the colour red.
Party president Fred M’membe said there was no political party, organisation or individual who holds a patent to the colour red in the country or the world at large.
“There’s no political party in Zambia that owns the colour red. The Socialist Party is not offending or imitating any political party by using the colour red and the clenched left fist as its symbols and salutes. The Socialist Party went through a rigorous process of getting its name and symbols cleared and approved by both the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Registrar of Societies,” he said.
Dr M’membe said it was trite patent law that a single colour cannot be patented but colour as part of a complete design could be patented.
“For example, if you want to patent the colour red, you won’t be able to patent it. However, if you have a design that includes the colour red, you can obtain a patent protecting the entire design,” he said.
“By using the colour red, the Socialist Party is not violating the rights of any political party. The Electoral Commission of Zambia wouldn’t have allowed its emblem or symbol to have the colour red if it was conflicting with that of any registered political party.”
He said red was traditionally associated with socialism, left wing political parties.
Dr M’membe said the oldest symbol of socialism was the Red Flag, which dates back to the French Revolution in the 18th century and the revolutions of 1848.
“Before this nascence, the colour red was generally associated with monarchy or the Church due to the symbolism and association of Christ’s blood. The colour red was chosen to represent the blood of the workers who died in the struggle against capitalism,” he said.
“All major socialist alliances and organisations – including the First, Second, Third and Fourth Internationals – used red as their official colour. The socialists use red much more often and more extensively than other ideologies use their respective traditional colours.”
He said political colours were colours used to represent a political ideology, movement or party, either officially or unofficially.
Dr M’membe said parties in different countries with similar ideologies sometimes use similar colours.
“The colour red symbolises left-wing ideologies in many countries, while the colour orange symbolises Christian democratic political ideology, and the colour yellow is most commonly associated with liberalism and right-libertarianism,” he said.
“The political associations of a given colour vary from country to country, and there are exceptions to the general trends. For example, red today is also the colour associated with the conservative Republican Party in the United States.”
He said similarly, the use by the Socialist Party of the clenched left fist salute was not an infringement or imitation of any political party’s symbol.
Dr M’membe said while others were using the right hand, the Socialist Party – a leftist party – was using the left hand.
“The raised left fist, or the clenched left fist, is a universal socialist symbol of solidarity and support. It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. The painting by Honoré Daumier of the French Revolution of 1848 includes a possible early example of a ‘political clenched left fist,’ according to curator Francesca Seravalle,” said Dr M’membe.
“The use of the left fist by communists and antifascists is first evidenced in 1924 when it was adopted as the salute for the Communist Party of Germany’s Roter Frontkämpferbund (Alliance of Red Front-Fighters). We hope this is clear to those parties who think the Socialist Party’s use of the colour red and the clenched left fist salute.”