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Mouvement des Démocrates et des Écologistes pour une Martinique Indépendante


Last modified: 2017-08-09 by ivan sache
Keywords: mouvement des démocrates et des écologistes pour une martinique indépendante | modemas |
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[Flag of MODEMAS]

Flag of MODEMAS - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 September 2000

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The flag of MODEMAS is horizontally divided green-black with a red triangle placed along the hoist, therefore similar to the flag of the FNLM.

The flag, or at least its colours, have a long revendicative history. The three colours are said to have been used on scarfs and headbands during the 1870 insurrection against the government which supported the landowners of European origin (béké). The colours reappeared in 1965, used in a vertical pattern by OJAM (Organisation de la Jeunesse anti-coloniale de la Martinique / Organization of the anti-colonial Youth of Martinique). Five years later, an independentist group created the current flag design, shortly later adopted by the Parti Progressiste martiniquais. After the decentralization and regionalization process (1982), the flag was more or less abandoned until the mid-1980s burst of nationalist-ecologist revendications.
The writer Guy Cabort Masson claims that the flag, designed by Alex Ferdinand and himself during the May 1968 troubles in Paris, was secretly transferred to Martinique in 1971 and adopted by the first independentist movement of the island, the MIM. The flag was first published in two reviews directed by Cabort, En avant and La Voix du Peuple. In 1974, the flag was widely used by the movements which organized the strike of banana plantation workers.
[L. Nyssen. Un drapeau en Martinique. Vexillacta [vxl], No. 9, September 2000]

There are several explanations for the colours of the flag:

  • Green for the country, its trees and fields; black for the colour of skin; red for the revolt against injustice
  • Red and black for the struggle; green for revendication and appropriation of the country
  • Red to glorify the sacrifice of the rebel Amerindians and marroons (the black slaves who had escaped and refugeed in the mountains), to exhort the legitimate struggle for existence and liberation of the consciousness and the nation; green to glorify the faith in the fecund country, to honour the nourishing earth and sea, mould of the heritage and bearing hope for the future generations of the Martinique people; black to affirm the essentially black African origin, so much denigrated by the European ethnocentrism, andexpress the negritude of the creoles (the culture of mostly black people born in the Americas), but without promoting ethnonationalism and to acknowledge the Amerindian, Asiatic and European heritage and legacy

The word négritude (constructed on the French words nègre, "negro", and solitude, "loneliness") was coined in 1939 by Aimé Césaire, writer and politician from Martinique, in his poem Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a return to the motherland) to restore the dignity of those "who never invented anything and had became mute because of slavery and colonization". The concept was extended to Africa by Léopold Senghor, writer and former President of Senegal. The concept of negritude is not unanimously accepted by the black community, and several writers of English expression such as Richard Wright from USA and Derek Walcott from St. Lucia have rejected this "particularization" of the black people. Since MODEMAS has some origin in Aimé Césaire's Parti Progressiste Martiniquais, the use of "negritude" in the proposed explanation of the flag colours is not coincidental. The use of Marcus Garvey's colours is also not coincidental.

Ivan Sache, 29 September 2000

Use of the flag of MODEMAS

The flag of MODEMAS is widely used in Sainte-Anne, a municipality located in the south of the island, whose Mayor is Garcia Malsa, the President of MODEMAS.
The flag flies at the honour position on the balcony of the Town Hall of Sainte-Anne, as prescribed by a Decision adopted on 5 October 1995 by the Municipal Council from 5 October 1995. According to the Decision, the flag should "symbolize the resistance of Martinique people to French and European colonial oppression and be a rallying symbol to promote the nation, and helps to the construction and conception of a[n independent] state of Martinique."
[L. Nyssen. Un drapeau en Martinique. Vexillacta [vxl], No. 9, September 2000]

Ivan Sache, 29 September 2000

In September 2001, the flag of MODEMAS was hoisted on every roundabout Sainte-Anne.
On the Town Hall, the flag was flown upside down (voluntarly or not). The flag was flown along with the flags of France, of Corsica, and of Palestine. This might be the only Town Hall in France where these flags are tolerated near the French Tricolore.
I also saw the flag of MODEMAS once in Fort-de-France, between Place de la Savane and the sea, seemingly used by a baot renter.

Olivier Touzeau, 20 November 2001

Legal issues with the flag of MODEMAS

The Administrative Court, the court dealing with internal disputes in the French civil service, upon request of the Government Commissioner, nullified the local elections organized on 11 and 18 March 2001 in Sainte-Anne. The election of Garcin Malsa as Mayor and General Councillor was, therefore, nullified. Among the reasons for the nullification was the hoisting on the Town Hall of the MODEMAS flag, therefore the flag of Malsa's political movement. The Town Hall is considered as a neutral building, on which hoisting a political flag is strictly prohibited. Moreover, hoisting the party's flag on an election day was considered by the Court as a means of pressure on the electors.
[Un pavoisement qui coûte cher. Vexillacta [vxl], No. 12, June 2001]

Ivan Sache, 3 July 2001

Front National de Libération de la Martinique


Flag of FNLM - Image by Jaume Ollé, 8 December 1998

The FNLM was active in the 1960-1970s. The colors of its flag were borrowed from the Parti Progressiste de la Martinique, led by Aimé Césaire, which used them in a vertical arrangement from 1957 to 1962.
After 1975, the Revolutionary Workers' Party used the same flag, adding its emblem in the triangle.
The Front de Lutte Révolutionnaire de la Martinique used a different arrangement of the same colours.

Jaume Ollé, 8 December 1998