Guy Fawkes tried to kill members of Parliament to replace the British government with a…
Contrary to popular belief, the “Guy Fawkes” mask is not of Guy Fawkes, it is of the Pope. When Catholics eventually received equal rights in England, the government decided they needed to find something a little more politically correct. And now, the day isn’t even known as Guy Fawke’s day. It’s called bonfire night and it’s no longer popular to burn the effigies. The masks have always symbolized the rejection of religion and the promotion of separating church and state. They are a true symbol of anarchism, and always have been. It just been mis-assumed through history.
And no, Time Warner does not have copyrights to the image of the “Guy Fawkes” mask. Sorry to disappoint you, but you’re wrong.
Maybe I should have been more clear? I really am not interested in commenting on the actual holiday, since I have never been somewhere that celebrates it. I’m not even interested on commenting on the masks themselves or how they were used through history, but it definitely is interesting to be reading about. I didn’t know how the holiday had changed, so thank you for pointing me in that direction.
This topic of the masks themselves definitely isn’t super important to me, it just shows again my frustration with the lack of research and critique going in to stuff that’s currently thought of as radical, right now being the “occupations.” I don’t want to put anyone down for learning about something from a movie instead of books, because I think that’s still totally cool. And if that’s the working knowledge people have of anarchism, then cool, that’s a start. But there’s a silly amount of hypocrisy in wearing something that does symbolize anarchism but not knowing anything about anarchism that wasn’t put together in a Time Warner movie, and especially when it refers back to an attempted act of violence but at the same time you will condemn people around you for what you’ve defined as violence.
Is breaking a window violence? Is self-defense violence? Is property damage in response to racial violence, itself violence? These are open ended questions, and I am interested in how people choose to consciously define violence (I am not, however, interested in people’s regurgitation of what a violent society has told them real violence is).
I don’t even care so much about people having to pick sides (although I feel like that’s what I’m doing, like forcing people to choose violence vs. nonviolence when I know it’s not like that at all); I just want to see work that is being done with a level of critique and self-reflection that it is not so obviously hypocritical. Just because someone breaks a bank window doesn’t make them a bad person, and it’s insulting to assume it makes them an agent provocateur; sometimes people are mad about state violence, and very often banks are agents of violence. Maybe depending on the type of violence we should be asking whose violence was worst, or whose was unprovoked, or who’s gaining what from inflicting violence?
Again, there are no solid answers, but I really hesitate to call work truly radical until it is trying to build working answers to these types of questions, or at least to engage with them to a level beyond the hypocrisy I’m seeing right now.
Here is an open letter by someone involved in Occupy Oakland, trying to ask these very questions about violence, given that people who damaged property are now being condemned as violent and “not what our movement is about” (which makes me curious, then, what the movement is about).
Finally, the link I posted with the claim that Time Warner has a copyright on the image of that mask is here again; it comes from Time magazine, as in Time Warner, so I’m guessing they got this right about their own company. Obviously this wasn’t true until a few years ago; it’s also not the first time a corporation has been allowed to “own” the rights to a popular culture image that they didn’t create but simply made money from co-opting.