The false image of Guy Fawkes

Ever since the movie V for Vendetta was released, anarchists and Anonymous have picked up on the mask worn by V, the protagonist, and the 17th century English bomb-plotter Guy Fawkes (upon which the character V is supposed to be based on) as a symbol of revolution, freedom, rebellion, fighting against government and Internet control, and fighting against religious oppression and theocracy. If only this were true.

In reality, the historical Guy Fawkes was not a freedom fighter, and while he may certainly have entered Parliament with honest intentions, those intentions were not good, honorable, or noble. He was a Catholic terrorist who plotted to blow up the Parliament building in London so that he could replace the Protestant government of 1605 with Catholic rule. See, he was on the side of the Jesuits, who were a Catholic organization, and they didn’t like the fact that they were ruled by Protestant kings, or Parliamentary government, and wanted to hand control of Britain back to the Catholic Church and the Pope.

The actual gunpowder plotters, who as you can see bear no resemblance to comic book anti-heroes.

Now, let me ask you this: if you really loved freedom, why would you celebrate the image of a dead Catholic terrorist whose plan was to coerce Britain into being Catholic, blow up Parliament, and give the country back the Pope? What kind of believer in freedom does that?

Doesn’t it seem odd or even just ironic that Guy Fawkes, a man who was basically just another religious terrorist, not too different from your average Islamic extremist in modern society, has come to represent the opposition of state authority and religious oppression? Don’t you find it strange that Anonymous uses the image of a religious terrorist to fight the oppression of a religious organization (namely Scientology)? Keep in mind, all this comes from a graphic novel/movie and its influence on anarchism, protest, and modern culture, but I find it very strange that Alan Moore has turned a religious terrorist has been turned into a heroic anarchist, and actually supports the use of Guy Fawkes masks to represent the fight for freedom and individualism.

Through all this I’m simply reminding the Internet that Guy Fawkes was a terrorist. Not a hero, not a freedom fighter, not an anarchist, but a terrorist, no different to any religious terrorist in modern times. And in glamorizing the image of Guy Fawkes, we are glamorizing religious terrorism. Any anarchist worth his salt should reject Guy Fawkes as a symbol, because if he represents anything, it’s religious terrorism designed to create a theocratic state, not freedom or revolution against authority.

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2 responses to “The false image of Guy Fawkes

  1. In my opinion the British celebrate Guy Fawkes night as a celebration at the failure of terrorists to blow up king and parliament. Hollywood is notorious for misrepresentation in pursuit of a good movie script.

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