The Joker, Guy Fawkes, and Wall Street
The Occupy Wall Street “Movement” seems to have embraced Guy Fawkes. Why? What can the connection be? I have noticed an increase over the past months, (written in Oct. 2011). More and more Facebook identifiers are using this motif. The commonality linking the many Guy Fawkes personae on FB seemed to be an angry nihilism.
The zombie-like scions of suburbia seem to be out for Revolution. It is as if on cue. President Obama made his speech (yes there are many) this one when he waved around The Bill, The American Jobs Act as if he were appealing directly to the American people over the heads of Congress. This message was not just a general one, to the American People. No, I believe it was more like the broadcasting of a pre-arranged code word.
Certain groups suddenly sprang into action. In ordinary circumstances one might call them Sleeper Cells. Unlike Tea Party rallies where one senses rational concern on definite issues, this OWS op has been vaguely unsettling. It is as if that is its main purpose: unsettling. The President’s advisor Van Jones has said in his soft, kind manner that this loving revolution will come from the bottom up and from the top down. This is the signal to bring the bottom up. In the weeks before the Occupy Wall Street revelry began, President Obama told his base to put on their marching shoes. Marching shoes? The President is calling for his base to hit the streets! Recall Madison, Wisconsin. The Governor and the State House passed legislation to reign in the Public Sector Unions. Unions like SEIU are Obama’s major supporters. http://youtu.be/KxVNuM7-ec4
Guy Fawkes is the perfect symbol of an anti-Capitalist, and an anti-Modernity movement, as I shall attempt to demonstrate. Fawkes was a Catholic in England when the Scottish King James VI inherited the English throne as James I. Thus he combined England and Scotland under one crown, creating Great Britain.
Britain was in the midst of a revolutionary period. There were extremely complex interactions and competitions in several different social spheres. They began to crystallize into two poles.
The one pole was the Traditionalist, and Royalist; the England of the Country Squires, Fox Hunting, Landed Aristocracy and Gentry. They represented the traditional source of all wealth, land. Rural Britain remained little changed from Medieval Times. In those parts of Britain where absentee landlords reaped wealth from the labor of peasants had not yet been touched by the breath of modernity. The folk were ignorant, superstitious, illiterate, and were enthrall to Priests, whether Anglican or Catholic. They believed they were consigned to Eternal Hell Fire but for the rites and sacraments provided by The Church. The Norman Conquest made little difference to them. The only difference was the name of the Lord to whom they owed fidelity. They were peasants, and were at the mercy of the Aristocracy. But, though they hated the nobility, they despised the new phenomenon; the Middle Class even more! After Henry VIII severed relations with Rome and built the Anglican Church, little changed. The Rites were indistinguishable from Catholicism, except for the fact that the Tithes went to The Anglican Church rather than to Rome, and the many Monasteries and Convents with their vast land holdings were confiscated to increase the wealth and patronage of the Crown. And Henry re-married.
But now there were deeper rumblings in Christendom. The printing press and the translation of The Bible into the vernacular allowed for the literate to read for him or herself the Word of God, and not be dependent upon the Priests and their interpretations.
But who could read?….
Gradually, in the interstices of the old feudal order towns began to grow. Specialist tradesmen set up shops. Merchants traded. As the craftsmen and merchants of the larger towns and cities became wealthy, for the first time non-aristocrats and non-clergy had access to capital. It was not long before Town folk in the Burghs of Europe became recognizable as The Bourgeoisie. This gradual development suddenly reached critical mass, and voila: a prosperous, thrifty, literate class that was neither Peasant nor Prince nor Priest. They were in the middle. They were the Middle Class. And it was the first new thing under the sun since the fall of Rome, if not longer.
These Townsfolk became wealthy by virtue of investment of time to learn a skill that was in demand, by frugality and reinvestment in their business, and through sobriety which was necessary to maintain one’s reputation for integrity. Tradesmen and Merchants must still zealously guard their reputations to this day. These characteristics became recognizable as the Protestant Work Ethic, and are also the hallmark of all middleclass aspirants. Surplus funds allowed their children to become literate, and from then on, their children and their children’s children would be literate.
Meanwhile the Aristocracy was everything the Middleclass was not. If not engaged in war, they engaged in ostentatious consumption, gambling, drinking, the hunt, debauchery and frivolous entertainments. Agriculture was not advancing at the clip of the Bourgeoisie’s technology. When land was the sole means of wealth creation, landlords were Lords indeed. The tradesmen, professionals and merchants broke the monopoly on wealth production held by the landed nobility.
The Clergy also saw their position eroded. Literate townsmen were reading their Bibles, for themselves. Not seeing much correlation between the Religious Establishment and the actual scriptures, tithing was down. Bishops as Aristos had pretensions to keep too. Both found themselves having to go hat in hand to the upstart Merchant Class for loans. This was not something they were happy about.
Now we have set the Table.
The Stewart Dynasty came into power at the time these forces were building up pressure within Britain. Scotland had been very much in the camp of Knox, a Reformed Theologian. The Lowland Scots largely became Presbyterian. Meanwhile in England, there was constant concern that the Aristocracy was secretly Catholic or aligned with Rome. The coming south of King James was seen as great promise for Protestant reform in England. However when James VI of Scotland sat upon the English Throne as James the First, he had had a stomach full of Presbyterians with their nouveau riche uppityness. He was not going to allow England to go down that path. He was condemned as a secret Catholic by many. He allied Britain with France in War against the Protestant Dutch. It was rumored that his wife was Catholic. It was rumored that he was gathering an Irish Catholic Army to bring England to heel. All of their fears were a lesser or greater extent, based on the truth. One thing was certain, however, Parliament would not vote him funds for any war against fellow Reformed Protestants in the Netherlands or anywhere else! The refusal of Parliament to levy taxes forced James to accept foreign aid from France, and this merely confirmed for many his wobbliness on Catholicism. Parliament had become the center of the opposite pole in Britain.
This second pole was anti-Anglican, (anti-High Church with its “smells and bells”), it was urban, it was chapel oriented (as opposed to High Church), it was literate, it represented intellectuals like John Locke who were active then; it was Capitalist (though the term had not been coined). Since the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, Catholicism was viewed from Britain and the Netherlands as Communism was for the latter half of the 20th century. Perpetual Cold War was interrupted by flashes of actual war. The Dutch Reformed Protestant Church had been fighting the Spanish who had ruled the Netherlands for centuries. Here nationalism and religion were closely linked. The Dutch appealed to Britain. As so often the case historically, Britain found herself as the sole defender of liberty against a would-be hegemon of Europe. Great Britain was the Protestant Bulwark. Thus, anti-Catholicism has been a major plank in the English national psyche. There is nothing against Catholics as individuals, on my part, or upon the part of the English now or even back then. Nations often identify themselves by having faced down a deadly foe together. This carried on into America. The presence of the French in Canada cemented the loyalty of the American colonies to the motherland. Only the British Fleet protected them by sea, and the British Army manned the defenses against the French-armed Indians in the west. (It is no coincidence that the American Revolution began percolating shortly after the British victory in the French and Indian War. The threat was lifted, and Britain was no longer needed, thank you very much.)
King James tried to quell the national rancor over religion by pushing Anglicanism down equally on all. He was well-meaning in this regard.
Catholics were also against James. This is somewhat exonerating, for to have both sides against him, he must have been seeking compromise. A bloody Civil War was required to get to the point where the British peoples had had a belly full of religious violence. The British Civil War erupted in the reign of James’ son, Charles the I, and cost him his head. For a brief period Oliver Cromwell ruled as Protector.
So what about Guy Fawkes?
We are at the juncture where the Age of Protestant rationalism, Capitalism, science, and Liberty, were about to flower into what we call the Modern World.
Guy Fawkes was a Catholic Englishman. He had fought for the Catholics in the Dutch Wars. It is as if he were an American Al-Qaida. He attempted to blow up Parliament with King James inside, perhaps attempting a False Flag, to blame the Puritans in order to raise Catholicism in the regard of the people. Or maybe as an openly Catholic terrorist op, to force a Protestant war with Spain that he was sure the Spanish with his help would win. Whichever, the very fact of this question points to a strange connectedness with his time and ours. His time was the cusp between the Pre-Modern and The Modern. He was seeking to abort the Modern Age with it Protestant British underpinnings.
His face now adorns the masks of Occupy Wall Street partygoers. And we are again on the cusp between The Modern and now the Post-Modern, which will be much like the Pre-Modern but with more effective Inquisatory Technology and much more anti-humanism filling the air. Anti-Semitism*, anti-Capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Anglophone, and anti-Protestantism (as represented in this age by the Evangelicals, whose name is like a curse on the tongues of the the Left) is what unites the otherwise chaotic Occupy Wall Street “message”. There is no real goal, they are urged on by an inchoate hatred of The Modern. Their existence has been whistled-up by Obama The Community Organizer. The myriad organizations with their incestuous mingling of chairmen and funders, as in Glenn Beck’s spaghetti-string charts are controlled by men like George Soros, Maurice Strong, and all the demons whose names are linked with all that is dark about the New World Order Power that is rising to high places.
Guy Fawkes is the plus perfect symbol that connects all the disparate pieces. Like a film running backwards, there is a movement to the poles.
And, as if on cue, I was chilled to the core upon reading of the Vatican’s attack on “corporate greed” and its support of a World Bank! Finally, with all of the patience of a saint, Guy Fawkes prevailed! The Euro-Continental Catholic resistance against The Modern Age, with its Capitalism and pesky notions about Liberty and individual God Given Rights (and not Church-given indulgences!) finally wins. Guy Fawkes, OWS and his allies in High Places have set the charges under Parliamentary or Constitutional Republicanism, and seek to bring it all down. They are rewinding History to where it might be if Guy Fawkes had succeeded in restoring England to the Roman Catholic Church. An England restored to the fold of Rome, would not have emerged as the source of the Protestant Enlightenment. John Locke who had spent much time staying out of James’ grasp, would be unknown. A return of bloody Inquisition might have extinguished the Puritan movement and thus the history of North America would be quite different. The removal of the Puritans would also have lessened the chance of an English Civil War; an event that sent many Royalist families to Virginia. America and the great age of Liberal Commercial civilization would not have occurred. It is as if Guy Fawkes is a Terminator from some alternate universe where Rome reigns supreme, with a global bank, and a Monumental Gothic Cathedral in Jerusalem.
The Pope criticizes Corporate Greed, and joins the children wearing Guy Fawkes masks all over America protesting Wall Street. The once proud symbol of Capitalism, Wall Street has been sullied by the admixing of illegitimate government meddling. They have corrupted Capitalism by bribing it with all the benefits that illegitimate government can offer. And Wall Street returns the favor by funneling money to the wielders of power. It is foolish to blame Wall Street. Corporations answer to their shareholders. If it takes donations to certain pols to get certain contracts or to avoid persecution or simply to be left alone, then that is merely written down as the cost of doing business. Only with the collusion of government can corporations grow to such magnitude. When Corporations become so powerful that they can bend the Government to their will, and when the Government becomes so powerful that it can determine which corporations attain that power it is as a Mobius Strip, with we the ants not knowing which way is up! We do not need a Guy Fawkes Terminator sent from the past to kill the future. No! We need only restore the the Government to its Constitutional Cage. We absolutely do not want to treat the problem of Cronyism by attacking capitalism! Is that not like treating Cancer with Plague?
The Tea Party represents John Locke, and Occupy Wall Street, Guy Fawkes. The former would restore the meaning of the 4th of July. The latter will give us the 5th of November. Choose wisely.