Guy Fawkes: Not what you think.

I was born on the 5th November 1985. Not many people can say that they had fireworks let off as they were born, but I can. I had never learnt much about why my birthday was so important to British history and culture, until recently. I knew the rhyme and I knew Guy Fawkes had tried to blow up the houses of parliament, which is why we all had a big party. Like most people however, I was never quite sure whether I was celebrating the torture and execution of a traitor or the fact that the government and king were almost destroyed.

Guy Fawkes

 

The story goes that King James I ingrained the tradition into British culture so as to make a mockery of any Catholic rebellion against the throne and government. He encouraged the people to create dolls of the pope and burn them on bonfires. Later on this would have evolved in to what we know as a modern celebration with sparklers and fireworks.

 

66666

Since the release of V for Vendetta in 2005, the mask that is supposed to be the face of Guy Fawkes has circulated and infiltrated resistance movements across the world. I’ve seen it at anti-government rallies, peace protests, the London riots, animal rights demos and most recently at the anti-fracking demos. Let me explain to you why, in the most simplest and uneducated way, Guy Fawkes should not be used as a figurehead of any resistance movement, anywhere.

Google Image Search Guy Fawkes

 

Guy Fawkes was born in York in 1570. His father was a protestant, but his mother’s family had catholic sympathies. When his father died in 1579, his mother remarried a couple of years later, this time to a catholic. Guy subsequently grew up catholic influenced by his step-father, his step-father’s family and the school he attended in York.

In October 1591 Fawkes sold the estate in Clifton that he had inherited from his father. He travelled to the continent to fight in the Eighty Years War for Catholic Spain against the new Dutch Republic and, from 1595 until the Peace of Vervins in 1598, France. He became known as a master of war and even changed his name to Guido Fawkes to fit in better with his Spanish comrades.

In 1604 Guy became involved with a group of catholic nobles through an old school friend and his brother Christopher. These nobles planned to assassinate King James I and place his young daughter on the throne as a puppet catholic queen. The assassination attempt failed and so the Gunpowder Plot was born and attempted in 1605. Unfortunately for Fawkes, one of his co-conspirators got cold feet and gave word to a friend in parliament. This lead to the discovery of dozens of barrels of gunpowder and Mr Fawkes himself under the houses of parliament on 4th November 1605.

He was brutally interrogated and tortured before finally being executed in 1606.

Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were pro-monarchy. They didn’t like King James I because he wasn’t catholic and imposed various restrictions on practising catholicism. They wanted a catholic king preferably, but a queen who they could marry to a catholic noble of their choice would do. Maybe one of them? Does this sound like the type of people you would want to represent anti-monarchy, anti-aristocracy and feminist movements? Nope!

They were also exceptionally pious catholics, hell-bent on civil and holy war. They had the names and addresses of all Scottish protestant nobles living in London and they had every intention of murdering them and their families, had they not been caught. Guy Fawkes would no doubt have been part of this, given his talent for murder on the battlefield. Is this someone you really want to be a figurehead of peace protests?

I understand that people want to remain anonymous during demos and protests because of police and CCTV surveillance, but before Guy Fawkes, faces were painted black, clown masks were worn and even at a freedom to protest rally I attended in 2008, we had blank masks with green curly hair.

Guy Fawkes was pro-religious piety, pro-state sponsored aggression, a warmonger and certainly not a freedom fighter for anyone other than catholic nobles. It’s time we found someone else who will enter parliament with honest intentions.

(NB, the lack of capitalisation on the word catholic is deliberate.)

Advertisements

Rant No.1

This week I have three weights sessions, four spin classes, two circuits classes, two Spartan training sessions and a long hike planned; yet I am still able to cook healthy food, promote veganism, have a fulfilling relationship with my partner, look after five cats and a bunny and still have time to read and learn so as not to be ignorant of the things around me. I might even get some me time this week too. (Oh yeah and let’s not forget the 35 hour working week.)

It annoys me greatly when people say that they don’t have the time for the gym. What? Are you too busy watching three hours of TV a night or did your life depend on you getting that achievement on your new Xbox game? (I’m a gamer as well and I manage a good few hours of that a week too so :P)

It annoys me even more when people say they don’t have time to read and educate themselves on matters of importance not only to them, but to the planet and to the animals. In the past week I’ve had several people talk to me about non-abolitionist single issue campaigns. It always boils down to lack of knowledge on their behalf. I can understand if you haven’t read every abolitionist book out there, but not reading my deliberately simplified and easy to understand blog posts on abolitionism? Now that just sets my face on fire! Instead of arguing with me about the validity of your method of advocating for animals, you could have read my blog and perhaps grasped why I cannot and will not support your speciesist way of thinking.

 

angry-face

 

 

“You are highlighting the plight of one species of animal. In a society where the use of animals is accepted and considered normal, for any animal advocacy group to single out just one, immediately suggests that this particular use is somehow morally different than all other uses. That somehow this use is unacceptable, but the others are fine—or at least better. This has the effect of normalising all other uses in the eyes of the public. It suggests that some species of animals are okay to use, but some are “special” and deserve to be protected. This is actually speciesism (the belief that one species is morally superior to another), the very thing that we need to oppose if we are to achieve rights for animals. It’s helping to create moral inconsistency in our view of animals instead of challenging it.” – Jenna Fox, The Abolitionist

Animal Rights – You are failing!

This is going to upset people on both sides of the fence I imagine, but you know what? I don’t care! It needs to be said and it needs to be said now. I’m sick and tired of not getting anywhere because all the time, effort and money of people who genuinely care about animals, most of which are vegan, is being spent on campaigns that do not and are not working.

In my previous blog post about abolitionism, I talked about how single issue campaigns were not working. I also spoke about how abolitionist theory was too complex for the majority of us working class folk and we needed a more simple way of understanding it. So here we are my friends, a week in the world Animal Rights, but not the movement I belong to.

Cheltenham race weekend.

One of the top stories on the Animal Aid website is called, “Deathwatch 2012.” It relates to the number of deaths at various horse racing events in 2012. There were a total of ten horse deaths at the Cheltenham festival last year and there will probably be plenty more this year. Animal Aid’s solution is to ask for stricter sanctions and hold a demonstration outside of the racetrack over the course of the weekend.

1)      At no-point is veganism mentioned. Vegans do not support horse racing because it is the use of an animal for entertainment i.e. human pleasure.

2)      By not calling on the absolute abolition of horse racing and indeed all animal use, they insinuate to the non-vegan that it is ok to use animals as long as you stick within certain guidelines. In Cheltenham’s case this means a few quid to make people feel better about an industry that is as full of bloodshed as a slaughterhouse.

3)      Cheltenham still continues and the number of people who attend each year is growing with an estimated 220,000 due to attend this year.

4)      This article says it all really: It’s ok to do whatever we like as long as it is with the regulations. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/cheltenham-festival/9920927/Cheltenham-Festival-2013-officials-say-new-measures-should-ensure-no-repeat-of-last-years-tragedies.html

My verdict? FAILURE! Go vegan, spread the vegan message and end animal slavery once and for all.

Horses_Costwolds Jump Racing

 

CCTV for all slaughterhouses.

This first started to be talked about in 2011. All the standard “AR” groups jumped on board and welfare organisations such as the RSPCA joined the cause too. (Don’t even get me started on them.) It was made public knowledge by newspapers such as The Guardian and the campaign even has a Facebook page. Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose, Co-op and Sainsbury’s all forced their suppliers to fit CCTV in the stunning and slaughtering areas.

1)      The CCTV does not cover the entire process of raising an animal on a farm, feeding her, breeding her, shipping her in a lorry and then the entire rest of the abattoir before the stunning and murdering takes place. How then can they be sure that the animals are not being abused, outside of the confines of the normal abuse endured by being a slave, in areas which are not covered by the CCTV cameras?

2)      The supermarkets were only insisting on their own brands. The protest groups did nothing to call them out on other brands that they would continue to sell anyway.

3)      This was done to make consumers feel better about eating animals. If they believe that the animal was not abused, then they are more likely to continue eating meat. This article says this clearly: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/03/abattoirs-supermarkets-cctv-cruelty-welfare Check out this quote from Animal Aid (*sigh*) “Animal Aid said its undercover footage revealed “serious systemic problems” in six abattoirs, including substandard treatment of pigs, sheep and cows before slaughter, and improper stunning. Of all the abattoirs where it had filmed, the campaign group gave only one a relatively clean bill of health.”  So they are clearly saying to the whole of the country that they support the slaughter of animals and consumption of their flesh as long as it is done within a set of regulations. At no point do they mention veganism, which would release all of these animals from the bonds of slavery in the first place.

My verdict? People feel better about eating meat because they believe that the animal carcass they are consuming was treated well before his life was ended. FAILURE!

Worker-sharpens-knife-while-two-pigs-await-stunningpng.img_assist_custom-600x444 PigSanctuary

 

The horse meat scandal.

Well you know what doesn’t contain horse meat don’t you? Fruit and vegetables! 😉 On a more serious note, this is a perfect opportunity to promote veganism in the mainstream media, yet have I seen any of the big organisations out there on the news, in the cities and in the newspapers? Nope! They believe that the concept of veganism is too hard for people to understand. Given the right discussion, nothing is too hard to understand and if they spent half as much time and money as they did on promoting single issue campaigns, half the country would be vegan by now. True facts!

A production line at the Spanghero meat processing company in 2011

 

The EU ban on testing cosmetic ingredients on animals.

This particular news has filled up my Facebook newsfeed for a couple of days now. Everyone from your average non-vegan Joe to The Body Shop (a non-vegan establishment that is owned by animal testing giant L’Oreal) are shouting from the rooftops about what a great achievement this is. Sadly whilst they were busy signing petitions and holding demonstrations outside the European parliament, a new directive called R.E.A.C.H was being approved in the background. This directive means a possible end to all cruelty free cosmetics because it demands that all chemicals and compounds used within them must be tested on animals if they have not done so already. That means companies like LUSH (also a non-vegan company, but with a good vegan selection) are in deep shit and more animals than ever will be vivisected all in the apparent name of our safety as human beings. If any of these campaigns had promoted veganism with the money they spent here, there would have been a seismic shift towards vegan cosmetics thus giving vegan companies a larger market share and a bigger voice. No fuck that! We’ll just take each hurdle as it comes with our stupid little baby steps and end up in more shit than when we started.

rabbits-draize-testing

 

So, as you can see I’ve been getting progressively angrier as I have been writing this post, but I cannot help it. It’s so crystal clear to me and you all need to wake up. Non-vegans, go vegan. It’s really easy and it’s good for animals, the environment and your body. Vegans, stop supporting single issue campaigns and start supporting veganism as the only way to end animal slavery once and for all.

Happy-Animal-5

 

I’m done now.

A Week Off

A couple of weeks ago now a friend of mine was taken from this world by someone who never deserved to have someone as amazing as her in his life. The whole metal community in my home town drank, partied, grieved and drank some more in her honour. I went to a couple of events and even carried on going to work until last Monday when it hit me hard in the face like a brick. The girl who was the first person to actively use Mouche and Emzy together , who would listen to my problems or dance the night away with me: She was gone, forever.

I had to have some time off to get my head around it, but that’s when my depression really started to kick in. All I wanted to do was sit on the sofa, play video games and drink and that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t even go to the gym.

My depression is a crazy monster that lives inside of me that makes me act strangely and alienates those around me. It’s also heavily affected by a healthy diet and a serious amount of exercise, neither of which I had last week. I continued to spiral downwards.

When I’m not in control of how I feel, I tend not to be in control of my gender issues either. I kept switching along my gender spectrum. This is highly traumatic for me because I can get dressed, go out and then be in the entirely wrong clothes and feel 100% dysphoric.

IMAG0161 IMAG0190 IMG_0614 IMG_0627

The picture of my Dad from 1978 rings a bell with me. I don’t have any biological male siblings, so I have no idea what I’d look like as a guy. I’ve been in femme mode for about the last two months and now I’m sat firmly back in androgyny, or as I like to say: without gender. Mykey my partner, has been supportive throughout this time and I look forward to him meeting the more masculine me, but for now I am back in control and where I like to be.

20130214_104721

 

To top it all off, my oldest rescue cat went missing on Saturday. This triggered my anxiety and made me very twitchy. Thank-fully she came back and is happily asleep somewhere warm and comfy.

All in all, I feel a lot better today and I’m back at work. I even went to the gym this morning, so onwards and upwards.