How Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to murder a king and a government became a symbol of anti-capitalist protesters across the globe

 I have wanted to tell the story of a merchandised product, designed,packaged,marketed and adopted by the “occupy ” (insert city here) movement. Their unceasing  war on all things corrupt,capitalist,consumerist and down right manipulative in the world today. One product,humble as it may be has become the symbol of this noble struggle. Not freely distributed at no cost,but cleverly sold ,becoming the must have accessory for every would be crusader in every city in the world. Here though,the story has been told far more eloquently than I could ever tell it.
 
 

How Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to murder a king and a government became a symbol of anti-capitalist protesters across the globe

 

By Mike O’brien

Last updated at 12:24 PM on 6th November 2011

Saturday, November 5, is Guy Fawkes Day in Britain marking the day he tried to blow up Parliament.

It is also known as Bonfire Night, a celebration involving fireworks, bonfires and children having fun.

Four hundred years later Guy Fawkes’s face is now a global symbol of protest with the Occupy movement.

 
Vienna: Protesters take over the downtown area in Occupy Vienna on the global day of rage on October 15Vienna: Protesters take over the downtown area in Occupy Vienna on the global day of rage on October 15

In the last month alone, that devilish grin, moustache and thin goatee has shown up in Latin America, North America, Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The mask has been adopted as the talisman for a new disaffected generation who are raging at corporate greed and increasing economic inequality.

The gains of the human rights movements of the 20th Century have been overshadowed, it seems, by the 99 per cent factor.

 
Sinister: Hugo Weaving as V in the movie adaptation of V For VendettaSinister: Hugo Weaving as V in the movie adaptation of V For Vendetta
Rome: A protester wears the mask on the back of his head during violent disturbances in RomeRome: A protester wears the mask on the back of his head during violent disturbances in Rome
Lisbon: A demonstrator at the Portuguese parliament on October 15Lisbon: A demonstrator at the Portuguese parliament on October 15
Frankfurt:
Seattle
 

Across the continents: Protesters don the masks in Frankfurt, Germany, and, right, Seattle

Berlin: Demonstrators in front of the German Reichstag on October 22Berlin: Demonstrators in front of the German Reichstag on October 22

The over-arching theme in all the protests worldwide is that one per cent hold all the wealth while the rest struggle to survive.

In the comic book series V For Vendetta, which started in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation, the main character wore a Guy Fawkes mask.

In the comic and in the film, ‘V’ succeeds in blowing up the Houses of Parliament on 5 November.

Its film adaptation opening shows a dramatised depiction of Fawkes’s arrest and execution, against the backdrop of the first lines of the poem of Guy Fawkes Night: Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November.

In terms of protests, the mask first came to prominence in 2008 when members of the hacking group Anonymous showed up in various places wearing them, CNN reports.

Initially they wore them to hide their identities at protests against the Church of Scientology.

Now both groups – Anonymous and Occupy – have come together at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, camping in tents in support of the ’99 per cent.’

Even Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the poster boy of hacking, wore one at a demonstration.

It is estimated that 100,000 masks were sold last year.
New York: The omni-present mask at the place where it all started, Zuccotti Park in Manhattan

New York: The omni-present mask at the place where it all started, Zuccotti Park in Manhattan

Frankfurt: A protester in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank on October 18Frankfurt: A protester in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank on October 18
London: Two women wear the masks outside St Paul's CathedralLondon: Two women wear the masks outside St Paul’s Cathedral
The original: The cover to the graphic novel V For VendettaThe original: The cover to the graphic novel V For Vendetta

The terrible irony is that the mask is a paid-for product, owned by a major corporation.

Time Warner owns the rights to the masks and with every mask sold more money is deposited into that corporation’s bank account.

The movement is working its way around that with replica masks.

According to CNN, replicas are now being mass produced in Asia.

 London protester Joshua Whitfield, 19, told CNN that instead of buying an officially licensed mask at a store in the city, he bought one considerably cheaper from an Anonymous member.

He said: ‘Some people wear it to make a fashion statement, others because they know what it’s about.

‘I thought I would show my support for the book and for Anonymous by picking up a mask and being part of the movement.’

Fellow protester and Anonymous member Malcolm said: ‘We don’t really want people putting money into corporate pockets, and this is one of our solutions.’

Asked why the mask is so popular, he said it’s because it has become ‘an international symbol for rebellion and anonymity.’

He also cited one, time-honoured observation. He said: ‘As they say – Guy Fawkes was the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions.’

 
 
 
South Korea:
Mexico
 

The world covered: A demonstrator in Seoul, South Korea, and in Guadalajara in Mexico

 
 
Bucharest: A protester makes signs during Occupy Bucharest on October 15Bucharest: A protester makes signs during Occupy Bucharest on October 15
 
Oakland, California: Protesters on November 2 in the city where the police actions have galvanized the movementOakland, California: Protesters on November 2 in the city where the police actions have galvanized the movement
 
London: A masked group of school friends aged 11 and 12 pose at the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest camp London: A masked group of school friends aged 11 and 12 pose at the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest camp
 
Frankfurt: Demonstrators outside a branch of Commerzbank on October 29Frankfurt: Demonstrators outside a branch of Commerzbank on October 29
 
Los Angeles: Protesters pass through a tunnel during a march through the downtown financial districtLos Angeles: Protesters pass through a tunnel during a march through the downtown financial district
 
London: A show of solidarity at the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest on October 22London: A show of solidarity at the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest on October 22
 
Hong Kong: The movement stretched to Fat East on October 15Hong Kong: The movement stretched to Fat East on October 15
 

 

  

“I’d start buying shares in Time Warner Inc. “- Rory, Bangor, 6/11/2011 13:36 ….So – These masks are from a film?………. Are Time Warner sponsoring these protests then? – and advertsing their brand in the process? Well thats an unexpected turn then isnt it? Hypocrites!!!! … the anonymous protesters complaining about multi-nationals are wearing a multi-national brand to protest in !!!

>> Students with masks don’t speak for the 99%, IF they don’t move for the remembrance ceremonials I will personally be there to do as much as I can do remove them and i don’t care what I am called, You do not insult the glorious dead. – Gill, middlesbrough…………………. Didn’t our glorious dead die for our freedom? You may call them layabouts but they’re doing more to retrieve control over our nation than you or I are.

 

>> “movie is essentially an American liberals daydream of what they think a world run by neo-cons is like – it was never about that”. – PD, UK……………… The original, original, was written at the time of the Thatcher government by a Brit, and was actually about the people rising up to overthrow the perceived oppressive governement at the time. So actually it was about the neo-cons. The film was made against a backdrop of lieing politicians both side of the pond that many people felt we’d lost any kind of control of. Read the history of the story: it’s worth it. Having said that, I loved the film and only went back to read the story having seen it. Great to see it’s spawning a conciousness against manipulative, spinning, too-media-aware-for-their-own-good polititians and institutions.

– Ken, Scotland, 06/11/2011 14:46

If you remember the first mask that you saw was from the movie “Armadaus”

– Mark, Greenville USA, 06/11/2011 14:10

Click to rate     Rating   4

Just for the record, a little group you may have heard of called Anonymous wear these masks.

– Anonymoose, worcester, england, 06/11/2011 14:00

 
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