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Nov 02 2017

Remember, Remember The 4th Of November…

Gunpowder Treason and Plot.

Hey, in England it’s a big deal and I won’t claim to give any but the most biased and counterfactual summary (oh, and it’s shallow and superficial too).

After Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth (a virgin by reputation, certainly unmarried and childless by law, filthy minded Walter Raleigh smokers shut up, Shut Up, SHUT UP!) the Tudor dynasty kind of ran out of heirs and divine right passed to the Stuart King of Scotland, James VI.

Jimmy the first (as I like to call him) had a few spots on his escutcheon (a defined area that heraldic symbols are displayed on usually represented by a shield) beyond the fact he was Scots of which there is no true. For one thing he was a Roman Catholic (I’ll probably get around to this later since it’s the quincentenary of Luther’s 95 Theses) and Henry and Elizabeth had spent a little over 50 years defining that as rank treason.

There was also the minor matter of divine right, the concept that Kings (and Queens to be fair, no one can claim that Catherine the Great is less than a thoroughgoing autocrat) not only reigned but ruled (the one implies symbolic power of the pursuasive kind, the other arbitrary power enforced by the military might of the state and the spiritual decree of the great omniscient, omnipotent, and imaginary sky god). Jimmy thought that he ruled.

England, though it was one of the first emerging nation/states, wasn’t really all that unified and the common folk (that would be people like you and I) pretty much hated Scots, and Papists, and Aristocrats in about that order and Jimmy started with 3 strikes against.

Which is why the veneration of Guy Fawkes is rather puzzling and difficult to unpack.

You see, English people despise him, at least that’s the iconography. It’s his effigy that is burned in the ceremonial bonfire, his name taunted in children’s rhymes and even his plot, such as it was, doesn’t make much sense.

It was a failed assassination attempt against a Catholic King (Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmaay) seeking to undo the Protestant Reformation by exercising his despotic power only he wasn’t doing it fast enough to suit them. Wait, this does sound a little familiar.

Anyway Fawkes was arrested sitting on top of 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords and he promptly peached (definition 2- informed on) everyone he could think of and several names he made up out of the whole cloth. Had the plot been completed it would not only eliminated the King of England but a quarter to a third of the Aristocracy. This is why Anarchists (wrongly) celebrate The Guy, better to venerate Robspierre on the Premier d’Pluviôse, celebrating Année de Liberté Quatre.

Je prononce à regret cette fatale vérité… mais Louis doit mourir, parce qu’il faut que la patrie vive.

Of course the English had their share too, and earlier (1649). Soon enough Charles the First, Jimmaay’s son (he was the first Charles in Scotland also), lost his head (quite literally) over that divine right, reign and rule thing, ironically enough also in January (a popular month for decapitating monarchs).

That led to the English Civil War which is remarkably encapsulated compared to other European conflicts for the most part and thus passes from our memory (Clio will rear her head soon enough).

So the Racist Right is correct enough suspecting a Fall Anarchist Uprising because most Anarchists are ahistorical fools who never studied (c’mon, admit it- you were smoking that primo Kush and fantasizing about that sexy Lab Partner in Physics). They’re only off by a day.

We need to do better.

Why the far right believes a US civil war will start on Saturday
by Jason Wilson, The Guardian
Wednesday 1 November 2017

If you are inside the “alt-right” information bubble, you might be preparing yourself for a civil war to commence this Saturday.

Since late September, the idea has been circulating on Facebook groups, subreddit message boards, Twitter, and leading conspiracy media outlets that on 4 November, anti-fascist groups will begin a violent insurrection.

Some websites are telling their readers that antifa groups are “planning to kill every single Trump voter, Conservative and gun owner” this weekend. Hundreds of Facebook posts show how seriously consumers of such media are taking the news, and comments like “One more threat against white people and I swear to God I’m going to take a goddamn car and run over every fucking one of them” are not unrepresentative of the response.

But antifa groups have no plans to protest that day, and the small leftist groups who are planning protests have only dubious connections to the antifa movement. So what gives?

The whole thing rests on some very slender reeds, according to Spencer Sunshine, who recently wrote a report on the theories for the far right-monitoring group Political Research Associates. In the conspiracy underground on YouTube, he explains, there has been talk that “there was going to be a civil war” starting in November for some months.

Beginning in late September, three things kicked it a into higher gear. First, Refuse Fascism, a small group linked to the Revolutionary Communist party, staged a visually spectacular protest in Los Angeles. They blocked the 101 freeway and held up signs that enigmatically spelled out “Nov 4 it begins”. This is the same group that is organizing a series of protests around the country against the “Trump-Pence regime” this weekend.

Second, a video posted on a Facebook page called Vets Before Illegals went viral. The video, entitled “Antifa sets a date for civil war”, claimed that “on their website, they are calling for an open civil war that will start in November”, and set out alleged plans for attacking police officers, then citizens and the government.

Last, but by no means least, the rumor was picked up and amplified by Alex Jones, the radio star with an audience of millions. As Sunshine explains, Jones “is a kind of meta-conspiracy theorist now” who “harvests other people’s theories” and repackages them to fit his narratives and his audience.

Once Jones had mentioned it, Sunshine explains, the rumor mill exploded: “Once Jones says something, even more people pick up on it and put their own spin on it.” Jones’s website was still running the story on Wednesday morning.

In recent days, the story took an absurd turn, and had its closest brush with more mainstream conservative media, when Gateway Pundit, a longtime conservative blog that has recently expanded into news coverage, published a story by its White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, claiming that an “antifa leader” had promised to “behead white parents” on 4 November.

The tweet the story was based on, however, was a joke from an account that had no apparent ties to any antifa groups.

In a telephone interview, Wintrich conceded that the tweet his reporting was based on was not serious, and that it was unlikely that there would be a revolution on Saturday. But he did not back away from the story, presenting it as a critique of leftist rhetoric.

“The radical left is always making jokes about killing white people. What would happen if I made a joke about killing all black parents? That would be a national headline.

“If it’s appropriate for them to demonize [conservatives] over quite innocent jokes, why would we just roll over when they make inappropriate jokes? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

The piece included a detailed account of antifa ideology, which included the claim that the activists “are larpers (‘live action role-play’) attempting to find someone/thing to sexually interact with”.

When asked what sources he drew on in reporting on their ideology, Wintrich said: “I did go to school at Bard College. I received my education around people who I’m sure are on terrorist watchlists as socialist or communist extremists.”

As Sunshine says, Refuse Fascism activists have been supportive of antifa groups in the past, and often show up to the same demonstrations, but there is “no formal connection” between them and antifa. They are also small, he says, and their protest is explicitly nonviolent and specifically directed against the administration, not rightwing activists or police.

Mark Bray, historian and author of Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, agrees. “Prior to 2017, the far right didn’t really know what antifa was,” he says, adding that the focus on these groups has a number of causes. It is an extension of the demonization of anarchists in general, but it is also a way to smear mainstream liberals who have no links to antifascist groups.

And to some extent, this particular panic has succeeded in energizing a particular slice of the right. As Sunshine puts it: “It motivates the base, it’s part of the apocalyptic narrative they use – there’s always a dangerous event just over the horizon.” Also, he says: “It’s a call for vigilante activity. There are currently tons of threats against leftwing activists.”

Le secret de la liberté est d’éclairer les hommes, comme celui de la tyrannie est de les retenir dans l’ignorance.

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