King’s Flag to be Replaced

The Communist flag which hangs in the King’s bar is to be replaced with something less ‘offensive’

communist flag Francesca Ebel hammer and scythe kcsu King's College kings bar lisa carlin mollie wintle sickle socialism symbol

King’s College students have voted to replace the Communist flag which hangs in their bar.

At an open meeting at the end of term, KCSU resolved to ‘alter or replace the current flag so that it no longer evokes memories of an oppressive regime.’

The motion was proposed by Lisa Karlin, whose family lived in Ukraine while it was controlled by the USSR:

“It’s not that the flag is a Communist symbol, but it’s that it specifically represents the Soviet Union.

“The flag makes me uncomfortable because of everything it stands for, and all the atrocities that were committed under the flag.”

The flag shares with the Soviet flag its red star, as opposed to simply the traditional hammer and sickle. 

Flagged up for offence

The reasons listed for getting rid of the flag included that it was inappropriate for a communal space such as the bar, it could be intimidating to freshers, and that it misrepresented the views and history of the college.

However, other King’s students failed to see what the problem was.

First-year MMLer Francesca Ebel sees the flag as “a historical artefact and a powerful cultural symbol, rather than a mark of oppression.

“For King’s it is a nod to our recent, radical history – especially the swathes of champagne socialists who pass through our gilded halls!”

Traditionally radical

Solutions suggested varied from putting a plaque underneath the flag, to simply getting rid of the star, to turning the flag itself upside down.

A motion to replace the flag with a rainbow narrowly failed to be passed.

The flag was reportedly bought by fellows on eBay for £5.50 in 2004 and put up in the bar to stop vandals drawing hammers and sickles on the red walls. It was noted in the meeting that although originally intended as a joke, it is in bad taste and does not make the flag less offensive.

In addition to this, it is not necessarily obviously intended ‘as a joke.’

It was ultimately decided by KCSU that the flag be replaced by a different symbol of socialism.

The bar itself recently hosted the King’s Bunker with the theme ‘Occupy’

Ivan Tchernev, President of KCSU, said “a symbol which so deeply offends some of our own members cannot truly represent us to the outside world.

“Now, we have a chance to pick a symbol that will.”

The new flag will be determined with flag hustings in week 2 of Lent term.