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Guy Fawkes was no hero, and certainly no anarchist!

Discussion in 'Anarchism and radical activism' started by The Hat, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. The Hat

    The HatExperienced Member Experienced member


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    There's an old joke that is recited among many anarchist groups, circles, collectives etc. that goes like this..........

    "Guy Fawkes was the only person to enter Parliament with good intentions, and look what happened to him!"

    The truth of the matter is that Guy Fawkes was a religious fanatic who wanted the official religion of Great Britain to be Catholic, so much so that he was willing to blow up Parliament for it.

    You can celebrate Guy Fawkes day if you wish, and dress up in costume and set off as many fire crackers, and fire works as you want or are allowed to, but this is just another case of religious intolerance from what I have studied.

    You might as well say Pope Lucius III and Torquemada were heroes and liberators of oppression as well.

    (Martin Luther is another story entirely, but he was no good guy, either. He was just as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-jewish, and anti semitic as his Catholic counterparts)

    Never forget that, throughout history, almost all wars were started due to religious intolerance/bigotry.
     

  2. 1xAntifa

    1xAntifaExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member


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    Nov 22, 2019
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    Whilst you're right about Fawkes, he was a member of a persecuted minority who faced the death penalty for his beliefs. It was illegal to be Catholic in the UK until the 1850's from memory. I think the Fawkes celebrations in the uk now are more driven these days as an inchoate expression of dissent against the powerful per se, not the persecution of Catholics as such.

    The Fawkes mask is a symbol of that dissent that has caught on globally whenever people are protesting governmental action. And the fantasy of blowing up government to solve social ills in one fell swoop is an appealing, if highly unrealistic, one. So it does tie in loosely with the desire for self governance and the no masters principles of anarchism.

    Much more worrying to my mind is the situation where supposedly secular governments are keeping or implementing laws based on religious dogma, like anti-abortion or anti-gay legislation. Here our government is trying to push through a Religious Freedoms bill that would allow religious believers to discriminate in the area of employment and service provision. It means doctors can deny medical help based on their religious bigotry. Pharmacists could refuse to stock things like condoms or dispense oral contraceptives or the morning after pill. We may even be prevented from critiquing their favourite sky friends dogma.

    Now I've got no problem with what religious types choose to believe within the privacy of their congregations and lives, but I draw the line when they pressure governments to make laws based on their particular dogma that affect us all.
     
  3. The Hat

    The HatExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Sadly what you're describing is happening on many levels in the U.S. Pharmacies that are owned and operated by people with religious convictions refuse to sell any form of birth control, especially the so-called "Morning after" pill. And when our Vice President Mike Pence was governor of Indiana, he passed a "Religious Freedom" law which allow business to refuse service to people based on their religious beliefs, meaning if a gay person wanted to eat in a restaurant, if the owner had their own interpretation of the Old Testament, they could refuse service on the grounds of religious beliefs.

    I still stand by what I posted, but I appreciate the history lesson concerning religious persecution/prosecution.
     
  4. 1xAntifa

    1xAntifaExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member


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    Nov 22, 2019
    Victoria, Australia Australia
    Fair enough. I believe the Religious Freedom bill they are talking about here is actually based on the US model.
     
  5. ScottO

    ScottOMember Forum Member


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    Yes, Fawkes would likely have been a happy cat if only the monarch were Catholic. While atheism is most compatible with anarchism, especially looking into the distant past, I think we should recognize that religion is sometimes against the state.

    Also, see Erica Lagalisse's book, Occult Features Anarchism.
     
    punkmar77 likes this.
  6. kyledewolf85

    kyledewolf85Member New Member


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    May 10, 2020
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    It depends on the context. I am a former Catholic and I used to admire Guy Fawkes. For me, it was important that neither the state nor any other entity should dictate your religious beliefs. Over time, a person can become a symbol of an ideal which is much greater than anything that they actually stood for in their own time. For example, Martin Luther is primarily remembered and celebrated among the churches that bear his name for the remarkable stand that he took for the liberty of conscience when he was arraigned by the authorities in the Roman Catholic Church. Many so-called Lutheran churches have disavowed much of his historic teaching and only stand by the key tenets of "sola scriptura" (the sole authority of scripture) and "sola fide" (salvation by faith in Christ alone) which he is thought to have introduced. These doctrines are still less than desirable for anarchists who argue that we should dismiss the tyrannical nature of God in favor of human freedom and autonomy. However, it shows how a person can be remembered as an icon of something other than what they originally taught. To quote Rick & Morty, "People will get more from what he represented than the jelly bean he actually was." To what extent should we seek to disabuse people of their illusions about the heroes of the past? I have found historical disputes frustrating and distracting. So I would have to ask when people are celebrating Guy Fawkes, what are they celebrating him for? What lesson are they taking from his example? Is there any way that anarchists could use his example or his inspiration as an opening to move the conversation forward? In the United States, I often see this with discussions of men like Thomas Jefferson. We could spend all day criticizing Thomas Jefferson, but he is still a beacon of liberty for many. Is it more productive to tear him down from his pedestal or rather demonstrate that his principles, if taken seriously, could only be fully realized within anarchism? I don't claim to have all the answers, but I have typically found that tearing down the heroes of the past is more likely to shut down a conversation than move people to a more advanced understanding, but often using an angle will open up a conversation and lead to more fruitful engagement. When people achieve a more advanced understanding, then they will drop the hagiography on their own. Most people wearing Guy Fawkes masks today are not militant Catholics. Most Lutherans today don't believe even half of what Martin Luther originally said. Most Jeffersonians today are not advocating slavery. So I would probably look to co-opt and subvert the historical legacy rather than just disabuse people of what they think that their heroes stood for or at least introduce them to new heroes that go beyond them.
     
  7. Spasmolytic

    SpasmolyticMember Forum Member


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    I assumed this was well known?
     
  8. delirio punk

    delirio punkMember Forum Member


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    Jul 10, 2010
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    I think that interpreting Gui fawks would be dificult, we only know he tried to explode parlament of England (One of the worst empirialist today), he was catolic, but probably even anarchists where catolic during that time... What I mean is, he was a revolutionary, he oposed power by himself, I respect that guy, sorry he got burned, and the system promotes insensibility to his death by celebrating his burning with the bon fire night of the british..

    I am an anarchist, but I am also spiritual, religions are manipulation, but there is more to life than matter...
     
    kyledewolf85 likes this.

9 members have read this thread this month

  1. CULTO DEL CARGO
  2. punkmar77
  3. ungovernable
  4. Red Menace
  5. Spasmolytic
  6. Arnold Malone
  7. delirio punk
  8. kyledewolf85
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