He writes about the way that, in recent years, Guy Fawkes has been adopted as a symbol by those claiming to be opposed to state power:
A certain right-wing political blogger was an early adopter, back when the British left was still in the ascendancy and he could convincingly pretend he wasn't a member of the establishment. Since then the Guy Fawkes mask has become the symbol of left-wing anti-government protests far and wide, including hacktivists Anonymous and the Occupy Movement.Yet, argues Elledge, this represents a misunderstanding of what Fawkes was about:
Guy Fawkes was many things, but one he emphatically wasn’t was a freedom fighter. Fawkes had actually voluntarily fought for the Spanish empire in its Eighty Years War against Dutch independence – hardly the action of someone who fights over-weening government power wherever they may find it.
The reason the Gunpowder Plotters decided to take down the government of King James I & VI was not because they were opposed to government oppression. The Plotters were kind of okay with a spot of government oppression, actually: they just thought that the oppressed Catholics should be the ones doing it.The place to be on 5 November is Lewes in East Sussex, where Protestants were burnt at the stake under Queen Mary. I wrote about Bonfire Night there for Spiked before this blog was born.