Remembering the ‘Lions’

November 9, 2008


Anyone growing up in a working class community knows that Remembrance Sunday is very important to an awful lot of people. Most anarchists are willing to honour those who died in the fight against fascism, but there are also many, mainly middle class liberals, who frown upon the wearing of poppies as somehow celebrating war and power. Some choose to wear white poppies to advocate peace, but this message is often taken as some kind of ‘judgement’ on the actions of those caught up in war.

If you speak to most of the old boys who fought in the Second World War they’re not your tub-thumping, gung-ho military types, they’re men who lost friends and family. Ok, most liberals will accept this, but then they will condemn modern day soldiers. The town where one of our members lives is an ex-pit village of 7000 people. When the second gulf war ‘broke out’ (not that it ever really ended) nearly 40 people from that one community were sent to Iraq. Thankfully nobody from the town was killed, but there have been nearly a dozen injuries with 4 amputees and who knows how many will suffer psychological problems in the coming years (though we can be certain that more people will commit suicide after seeing warfare than will die during the conflict). And, as ever, we’re talking about kids here – often literally no more than teenagers – kids who have grown up in a still overwhelmingly class divided society. With this in mind we choose to wear a poppy; maybe not with ‘pride’, but certainly with respect.

To help differentiate between the patriotic, ‘Queen & Country’, ‘donkey’ type and those who choose to remember the ‘lions’ we change our poppy – not to white, but to red and black. It’s a simple process. Dismantle your poppy. Take your green paper leaf and place it on some black card to use as a template. Cut out a black leaf and re-assemble your poppy. It’s a subtle, but effective statement. Maybe next year class conscious anarchists can get together to lay a reef of these poppies in remembrance?


4 Responses to “Remembering the ‘Lions’”

  1. re post at with more links.

    could not agree more.

  2. Alessio said

    I agree with the sentiments of what your saying but why are you on the one hand thankful that none from your community were killed in the gulf war but forget to mention the many tens thousands of babies, children, men and women that were slaughtered by those same men from your community as part of the British Army?

    So yeah, remember the class divide, the abandonment of ex-servicemen..etc but at the end of the day many millions of working class people DO NOT join the army for the precise reason that they much prefer to get on with their lives and not be told what to do by some sandhurst twat in a uniform.

    Its like the guy who joined the army in the US only to go AWOL because all everyone talked about were guns and killing! Boo-fucking-hoo.

    Support our troops when they shoot their officers

  3. Class War - Barnsdale Brigade said

    Don’t get us wrong we would never condone the armed forces as a career choice (for a start there’s good reason to believe that the army were involved with breaking the miner’s strike), but few kids (and make no mistake, we’re talking about teenagers here) join the forces to ‘kill babies’ (there are, of course, those who are pure psychopaths and many more who are ‘looking for adventure and travel’ – though in reality Catterick Barracks tends to offer neither of these). To understand their motivation you need to understand the ‘town’ that we’re talking about.

    Ex-mining towns tend to be little more than council estates (with the same problems as inner-city council estates) stuck in rural areas (which, despite the ‘Countryside Alliance’ face their own impoverishment). The majority of pit-towns were built around a single industry and when that industry was decimated by the government there were few alternative employment options and the areas in question have become officially some of the poorest in Europe. Of course poverty attracts millions of pounds funding, but well meaning grant monsters are always on hand to ensure that the money has no real effect on the lives of the poorest people. The town we mention in our blog has an 80% child poverty rate and virtually no youth facilities; the kids are bright, inquisitive and full of life – as kids generally are – but if they cannot conform to middle-class meritocracy then they must be broken using other means. One of our member’s has a son who is in the top 5% in the country academically; he’s studying his A Levels and gets £30 a week EMA. His best friend is funny and incredibly imaginative, but he isn’t academically minded and failed to do well at school. He has been placed on a government training course which takes place in a fenced compound where they’re treated more like prisoners than students. Last week his EMA payment was stopped (in full) because he misplaced his safety goggles. He’s considering joining the armed forces as a ‘better alternative’ to learning a trade. There are plenty of us telling him it’s a mistake, but there are also squaddies – usually only slightly older than him – flashing their cash and talking about the crack they have with ‘the lads’. We really hope he chooses wisely – and even if he doesn’t we’re pretty sure he’ll be wanting out sooner rather than later – but we will not condemn him because we know only too well the forces that weigh against him.

  4. Alessio said

    Fair enough, I completely understand – all the more so to up the anti and organise an alternative. There is definitely a strategy by the British Army to recruit from lower working class and deprived areas – makes me sick that they are using young kids who have little options and are easily influenced!

    I do think though that any “hero” status attributed to non-conscript soldiers need to be undermined and they and others need to be put off from joining.

    cheers, I enjoyed your blog by the way!

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