This article by Mike Small was first posted by bella caledonia. It highlights how the British ruling class and UK state has created Remembrance Day to celebrate British militarism and warfare and not as a day to bring about global peace. They are now giving full backing to the settler apartheid, Israeli state attempt at the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to try to suppress all remembrance in the face of a growing international movement for an immediate ceasefire.
REMEMBRANCE AND HATE MARCHES
As the death-count rises above 10,000 in Gaza* – you live in a country that believes a commemoration of the cessation of violence at the end of World War One is a bad time to call for peace. In fact you live in a country that has effectively weaponised a remembrance service into a tool of propaganda for war and cultural conformity. As a friend put it: “It seems to me that Remembrance Day is the perfect day for a peaceful protest to call for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. One is remembering a Ceasefire and one is asking for one.”
But here we are. Urged-on by the sort of hysterical rhetoric from Suella Braverman, ‘The Sun Says’: “If a pro-Palestine hate march intrudes onto Armistice Day patriotic Brits will be outraged. The Met Police must take a hard look at today’s protests. Because the next, on Armistice Day, could be a tinderbox.”
“YET again today our streets will be awash with Islamist thugs, ignorant teenagers and thick lefties cheered on by Hamas and Hezbollah as the useful idiots they are” the paper continued before adding: “Any intrusion by marchers into Whitehall, or violations of the Cenotaph or other war memorials, will outrage all patriotic Brits fiercely proud of those who gave their lives for our freedom. Rishi Sunak’s letter to Met chief Mark Rowley yesterday made clear cops can apply to ban the demo if merely imposing conditions on it will not keep order.”
It’s beautifully Orwellian. It’s essentially saying “we fought for freedoms which must be suppressed” – and arguing that any movement for peace is an act of hate.
Remembrance has become an act of forgetting. This has nothing to do with ‘respect’ its simply an act of social control, and comes as the Tories are conjuring up even more extreme legislation to suppress the right to protest and to criminalise anyone guilty of critical thinking, as The Observer revealed at the weekend. Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities started a review of non-violent extremism in spring this year. Quite how such legislation falls under ‘Levelling Up’ is anyone’s guess but the proposed legislation plans to broaden the definition of extremism to include anyone who “undermines” the country’s institutions and its values, according to documents seen by the Observer.
The proposals have provoked a furious response from civil rights groups with some warning it risks “criminalising dissent”, and would significantly suppress freedom of expression.
Such legislation needs to land into a heightened state of British exceptionalism and outrage to have any hope of being passed. It would require a monumental act of complicity by all of Britain’s political parties to get through, and the grounds for this are being made as we speak.
Internal departmental documents marked “official – sensitive” say the proposed definition could “frame a new, unified response to extremism”. The documents state: “Extremism is the promotion or advancement of any ideology which aims to overturn or undermine the UK’s system of parliamentary democracy, its institutions and values.”
This could mean anything. Certainly anyone in favour of Scottish independence is actively aiming to overturn the UK’s institutions.
I have no idea what the UK’s values are?
The roots of this outrage are many – but we should note three: first the (little noticed) conflation of independence supporting voters with ISIS (Separatists and Extremists) at the last General Election, second the long-standing attacks on environmental protestors in the USA and the militarisation of the police (see Barbarism in Dakota) which is part of a wider pattern in western societies, third the criminalisation of legitimate protest and the new surveillance tools being used against peaceful protesters in England.
As NETPOL (The Network for Police Monitoring monitors and resists excessive, discriminatory and violent policing in Britain) has said: “The media is now test-flying the idea of banning next Saturday’s Palestine solidarity protest. Under Section 13 of the Public Order Act, the final decision lies with Home Secretary Suella Braverman.”
No doubt part of the tactic here will be to ramp up the rhetoric through the week, initiate a ban then ‘come down hard’ on anyone defying it. If, as likely the protests remain absolutely peaceful, it would not be hard to imagine police provocateurs manufacturing appropriate violence to justify any action.
However, such is the scale of the current protests, and the example from France and Germany was that banning protests only acts to greatly amplify them.
We need to act together to resist the grotesque logic that says condemning the mass killing of women and children is an act of hate. This orgy of stupidity just rolls on through melancholy delirium punctured only by the joy of watching Britain disintegrate. We are experiencing (still) late or terminal Britishness. Parody Britain is sustained (for those still transfixed) by Poppies, churnalism and doublespeak, but is visibly falling apart. There is no mistake that despite all the sabre-rattling, military policing and threats of state intimidation this is a huge political crisis in Britain as they struggle to control public rage and (re) control the narrative.
* Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza since 7 October, according to new figures released by the health authority in the territory. The total number of deaths now stands at 10,022, including 4,104 children