November 4, 2011 at 6:57am
“It’s not about bombing anything; it’s about being anonymous – and peaceful.”
It is about retaining Individual Freedoms. Guy Fawkes was a part of a minority who had suffered religous prejudice, loss of Freedom of Speech and had been disaremed of course when his party was in control they had done the same. At least he took some action to seek change. Even, though it was the wrong action and it did not work it acted to bring change and equity under the law.
To the 20-year-old from Keyport, N.J., the Fawkes mask “is about being against The Man – the power that keeps you down.”
But history books didn‘t lead to the mask’s popularity: A nearly 30-year-old graphic novel and a five-year-old movie did.
“V for Vendetta,” the comic-based movie whose violent, anarchist antihero fashions himself a modern Guy Fawkes and rebels against a fascist government has become a touchstone for young protesters in mostly western countries. While Warner Brothers holds the licensing rights to the Guy Fawkes mask, several protesters said they were using foreign-made copies to circumvent the corporation.
Yet whether the inspiration is the comic, the movie or the historical figure, the imagery – co-opted today by everyone from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the hacker group Anonymous – carries stronger connotations than some of the Occupy protesters seem to understand.
Then came the comic book, a nihilistic story set in a futuristic England. And the movie. People began thinking of him as a libertarian or even anarchist hero.
“Gradually over the centuries, the meaning of Guy Fawkes has dramatically changed,” said Call. “The reputation of Guy Fawkes has been recuperated. Before he was originally seen as a terrorist trying to destroy England. Now he’s seen more as a freedom fighter, a fighter for individual liberty against an oppressive regime. The political meaning of that figure has transformed.”
A man at the Occupy London protests on a recent day said the mask has become a potent symbol.
“It’s unifying the world under one symbol,” said the 33-year-old man who asked not to be named because he claimed to be a member of a group accused of hacking into government and corporate computer systems.
“People hide behind the masks, put the masks on and their identity is hidden. Therefore they can do a lot more than they would if they didn’t have the masks,” he said, after emerging sleepy-eyed from his tent.
The London protester said his brethren are trying to counter Warner Bros.’ control of the imagery.
He claims that Anonymous UK has imported 1,000 copies from China, and the distribution goes “straight into the pockets of the Anonymous beer fund rather than the Warner Brothers. Much better.”
Hudson Williams Eynon, a protester in Seattle’s Westlake Plaza, said the mask is not the only corporate product the Occupy movement is using. Smart phones, cameras and Internet service are used to organize. It is something unavoidable, he said.
“There’s a lot of inherent ironies in protesting corporations in a corporate world,” Williams Eynon said in early October.