Once Again The Yearly Red Poppy Charade Of Concern Is Upon Us.

Mick Hall with a piece from earlier this month which looks at the significance of Poppy Day. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

In a sea red poppies the peace poppy
Once again the yearly red poppy charade of concern for the UK’s war dead and wounded is upon us. Those who appear on British TV are pressurized to wear one. Professional footballers have them stitched into their shirts and woe betide if they refuse to wear them. Not for the first time Ireland international James McClean's refusal to wear a remembrance day poppy created a media frenzy against him. Never mind he hails from Derry and his reasoning was perfectly understandable and not only in Derry I'm sure:
For those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different.

What the above demonstrates is whenever the British military goes to war jingoism raises its ugly head and common sense and personal choice goes out the door. The ruling class obsession with wearing the red poppy is an extension of that nothing more nothing less.

Whether you wear one or not the ‘Red Poppy,’ and those like the British Legion and the Tory government who stand behind it, glorify war in all its putridity. It's bad enough the ‘red poppy’ emerged after WW1 as a front for a charitable organisation, when the government of the day had all but forgotten the military victims of the Great War, preferring instead to build a mini Cenotaph in every city, town and village while the needs of the veterans were all but ignored.

It's a national disgrace such a charity still exists today to help meet the needs of members of the military who have some form of disability due to having served in Britain's many wars. If these men and women are held in such high regard as the media suggests then the State and the politicians who sent them to war should provide services which meet their every need.

This ‘charity status' sends out all the wrong messages about warfare and the responsibility of government to look after those who have served them in the military. Over the last two decades British government's have spends many billions of pounds fighting what most of us now regard as unnecessary wars, but when it comes to looking after military widows, the wounded and veterans in need, it tells us they must partially rely on the charity of the collecting tin. Shameful hardly begins to describe it.

At this time of year the mainstream media churns out countless articles demanding we have a duty to support the British Legion and fill its collecting tins. We're told the red poppy is not a badge of militarism, but a token of the bond between the living and the dead. As one Tory propagandist put it "a collective expression of gratitude to those who served and to those who fell."

The men and women from these islands who had their lives stolen in warfare did not fall, they didn't trip over a kerb or pothole the council had forgotten to fill in. They were killed violently in an armed conflict often in the most appalling manner and not of their choosing.* Why is it those who support the red poppy seem unable to state this simply truth.

One of these gallant scribes who write so heroically about Britain's past wars never having been within the sound of gunfire or the whiff of cordite, wrote justifying Britain's involvement in WW1:
The pre-war belligerence of Germany, the Napoleonic ambition of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his desire for continental hegemony were such that it is hard to envisage a peaceful resolution to these tensions would have looked like. Britain’s fear of a radically enlarged German navy roaming the North Sea and French ports was real, and justified.

And after this he still claims this was not a war about imperialist expansion which was fought by the majority to benefit the few. * As far as his type are concerned it was OK for the British Empire to have hegemony over millions of people across the world and control of the seas, but if another nation claims the same right there is no alternative but war.

Is it any wonder the British media has become the main cheerleader for ever more military interventions overseas?

The best thing we could do today is stop sending the UK military overseas to engage in hopeless wars which have nothing to do with national security; that cost a fortune of taxpayers coinage and which bring absolutely no benefit to the ordinary people of the UK, and tragically costs far too many people their lives.

As Alex Snowdon wrote on this subject:
In so many ways, remembrance is about the present and the future not just the past. Those who rule over us know it all too well. Their fetishisation of the whole business is in many ways a symptom of their weakness. We should be clear and unambiguous in offering an alternative vision of the past, present and future.

We should politely but firmly, say no to the obligatory wearing of a red poppy and explain why, and defend those who are attacked for not complying with the enforced style of ‘commemoration’.

 * In WW1 conscription was introduced in January 1916, targeting single men aged 18-41. Within a few months World War 1 conscription was rolled out for married men.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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