In defence of Guy Fawkes – let’s take it back for the Activist Left

By   /   November 6, 2017  /   7 Comments

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You can take my sparkler out of my dead cold hands. 

I’m sorry.

I like Guy Fawkes.

I do.

The joy of my younger years running around with double-happys and sparklers and moon rockets have been all but reduced to sparklers these days as we have relentlessly moved to reduce the more dangerous elements of fireworks but the idea behind Guy Fawkes is one so beautiful that I don’t want it to leave us.

Yes, I believe we should celebrate Parihaka Day as a National Holiday as was proposed by the Māori Party and has been respectfully picked up by Marama Davidson for the Greens.

It makes far more sense for us to celebrate as a national day the importance of what happened at Parihaka and it would do more to build us as a people than any other symbolism could.

And yes, I think public fireworks should be reserved for an offical Matariki celebration the way Wellington has decided. 

I’m for those two ideas, BUT I  do not want us to lose the rebellion that Guy Fawkes represented.

When I burn the Guy on my bonfire, I’m not burning some Catholic zealot from 400 years ago, I’m burning the 1%, I’m burning neoliberalism, I’m burning vested corporate interests, I’m burning the deep state and I’m burning the 5 Fucking eyes.

The symbolism that we the people can blow up Parliament is absolutely essential to activism in a world where thought crimes are now enough for the State surveillance apparatus to start spying on you.

Celebrate the importance of peaceful resistance with a National Parihaka Day, celebrate Matariki with public firework but I refuse to allow our symbolic celebration of outright rebellion against a corrupt Parliament to be lost.

We should as the Activist Left, take back Guy Fawkes Day and make the symbolic burning of the 1%, neoliberalism, vested corporate interests, the deep state and the 5 Eyes a fundamental part of the celebration.

In the words of V from V for Vendetta, ‘People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people”

As a nation of sheep, we need more symbolic rebellion, not less.

You can take my sparkler out of my dead cold hands.

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  1. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    I heartily agree!

    When else can I legitimately bad mouth the Papists?

    We (UK) used to make a Guy several weeks before November and try and raise funds for fireworks with the old “Penny for the Guy” routine. The better your Guy, the more money you got.

    November was always cold, damp and foggy so a roaring bonfire at 7:30 pm was a welcome sight. The Guy on top, potatoes cooking in the glowing ashes and fireworks with names like Squib, Catherine Wheel, Banger, Bengal Flare, Volcano and Jumping Jack flashing and banging away and filling the air with the timeless odour of gunpowder. Sky rockets launched from empty milk bottles. Pater was the official lighter but we ankle biters were allowed to run around wiv (sorry, “with”) sparklers.

    But I readily admit to being a dinosaur in an age when we should be extinct…

  2. randal.mcmurphy says:

    every busy body is very busy throwing the baby out with the bath water. al the tin pot panderers are out trying to please everybody and they have all taken their eye off the ball. I am not going to lecture anybody here on the importance of democracy and ho wit came into being. thats the job of the education system but it seems as if they are al taking the easy way out too. bring back the bang and for the right reasons.

  3. Marc says:

    Love the spirit of it!

  4. Cemetery Jones says:

    That’s actually the real intention of the American first and second amendments. If you look at the period of English republican political thought which crossed the Atlantic to the American colonies and went on to inspire the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the general idea of the American republic, you’ll see at both ends of the process the strong influence of Florentine and Venetian political philosophy from the preceding century.

    The Florentine branch was heavily inspired by Roman ideals, while the Venetians tended to favour Greek tradition. But the way they fused in terms of creating the notion of a commonwealth which had a high enough standard of citizenship to resist tyranny, they concluded that a population must be as heavily armed and educated as possible. You can see a degraded version of it in Cromwell’s New Model Army, but he was too much of a tyrant to allow it to really germinate. One could add of course that our American friends have been a little more focused on the part about being armed and not enough so on the part about being educated, but by the by…

    What was vital was the conclusion that whatever may seem to be in principle, when it comes to the lived reality, it is pretty evident that a republic is no less likely than a monarchy to produce tyranny unless there’s a free exchange of ideas and the ability of the individual to engage with them to their own satisfaction, and the ability of the individual to physically resist unjust coercive force, collectively if need be. And really, that’s what you’re doing in your mind when you engage freely with ideas. You are resisting mental coercion. That’s why I don’t agree with using dubious precedents like ‘hate speech’ laws or ‘deplatforming’ campaigns to shut down debate. Here in the commonwealth, we’ve already consented to being disarmed and prohibited from being armed for the purpose of self defence. So the ability to resist physical coercion is basically gone for us. Now we’re letting ourselves be gaslit into the steady erosion of our ability to resist mental coercion. We’re nearly back to pre-Renaissance serfdom.

    Unarmed, uneducated, the currency of our thoughts now largely determined by the false coin of outrage culture and prefabricated polemics. They’re already calling check; mate soon to follow.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Hi CJ.

      Learning not to repeat history are valuable lessons which is why I tend to lean towards the worst case scenarios. And it’s one of those telling phrase that aren’t always correct. If we look at the last 30 odd years since neoliberalism was brought to New Zealand, radio was still a big part or people’s lives, disco was a fading memory because the cassette tape had taken over. And VHS took off. Since then the Internet has largely taken over those mediums of transmitting thoughts, ideas, and entertainment with Facebook being a central player in all this. Back in 96 when the beginnings of Facebook first appeared dial up modems had captured about half the homes in New Zealand. We can go back and check the exact number but it was huge. That said. It may well be that modes of transmitting thoughts will continue on its technological evolution. With AI taking over computer modelling it should only be a matter of time before we have a working model of a cleaning robot that can work through an earthquake, giving rise to the next wave of tech billionaires/trillionaires.

      We have found some solutions to our problems. In the early half of the 20th century it was typical to have families upwards of 12 children or more. Long story short that didn’t sit well with urban planners who needed to atomise the family unit into to the atomic family (2 parents, 2 kids. Not sure any one listened) I’m not aware if this contributed towards religious around birth deaths and marriages, particularly in Elvis Presley’s time after being labeled the devil and rock & roll denounced as the devil. So we argued them to stop at having 2 children. But we didn’t have to stop them. All we had to do was 1) educate the woman, 2) woman held jobs, and 3) woman would not want to have to many pregnancies, because they lose income during pregnancies and lose promotions when they get back. So that solved a problem. But it’s not a straight line extrapolation. What has happened in the past.

      Each change brings about a different reaction to what has happened in the past. So I can not tell you looking back on the past 30 years and say what will happen in the next 30 years. It is going to be very different 30 years.

      Guy Falk himself is one example as sure as he made himself unpopularity sent to the gallows. We New Zealanders have found some silo tons to our problems. The principles of Guy Falkes day maybe applicable. But it is for us to pick and choose which of the principles are useful to us.

      As I said one of the things New Zealand has done is to educate the woman and that has addressed some what urbanisation. But that creates a shrinking population and we some what falsely assume people don’t want to work so now we import workers just to keep up the vitality of the population for something completely unforeseen and unforeseeable 30 years ago. It’s just completely unpredictable. Kiwis have been experiencing growth between 1% or 3% economic growth year on year so why would they have thought things would get this bad, that our woman once educated would not want to have any more children. And they are marrying latter, and a huge chunk about 30% remain single there entire lives.

      So I do not believe looking back 30 years will tell us the way to move forward.

      Now. We are not responsible for the world that is in turmoil over Anthropogenic Climate Change, massive populations, Africa, the Middle East, maybe India, maybe China. Those are beyond our control and we just watch things as they pan out. But I see the impact of all these developments having a deleterious effect on our living environment. So harmful to the prospects of future generations.

      You can not put 9 billion or 10 billion people on our planet with out discomfort or distress. How ever. Some countries can, and I know China does. Keep migrants out of overpopulated countries. And we along with Australia are a few of those countries who keep migrants out and we are very strict on that. New Zealand is now around 5 million population. I never expected tide so soon. I remember when the 2 millionth New Zealander was called out over the radio when I was just a boy. So now the population is made up of mostly Europeans (about half), Māori, some Asians (maybe expected to over take Māori populations), pasifika, and others bringing New Zealand to a population of about 5 million people.

      So we needed to import an extra million or 2 million workers. Now we must live with in those limits.

      • Cemetery Jones says:

        We’re definitely well placed to avoid the sort of collapse which is already well underway elsewhere. But from here it will take a lot of effort to keep it just so.

  5. Shona says:

    Remember remember the fifth of November,
    Gunpowder, treason, and plot
    I see NO REASON
    Why gunpowder season
    Should EVER be FORGOT!