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CPIR Statement on the Meaning of the British Legion Poppy

category international | anti-war / imperialism | press release author Tuesday November 06, 2012 13:21author by CPIR - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtaauthor email cpir32 at yahoo dot ie Report this post to the editors

What is the meaning or significance of the British Legion Poppy? A harmless mark of belonging? A badge of British nationalism? Or a neutral remembrance of long past wars? The CPIR offers a different reading.

Once again, we have come to that time of year when we see our TV screens saturated with the blood red Poppy of the British Legion. Programmes aimed at young people, such as The X-Factor, are particularly targeted. Contestants, regardless of their origin, are forced to wear the symbol of the British Legion. And, because of the abject dependence of RTÉ on programming of British origin, Irish youths are just as subjected to this symbol as are their British contemporaries. And every year, we see, in the streets of Ireland, the results of this media saturation of young minds. More and more young Irish people think it is “cool” to wear a British Legion Poppy.

So, what is the British Legion? What is it’s poppy symbol? Is it a harmless fashion statement? A benign badge of belonging to the dominant tribe, a harmless mark of British nationalism? Is it a harmless remembrance of soldiers, fallen in long past wars? Unfortunately, it is none of these. The motto of the British Legion is: “Standing with those who serve.” The work of the British Legion is not remembrance of the past, but the facilitating of the present. In particular, the facilitating of current British imperial adventures in lands far and near.

As the website of the British Legion proclaims, “We help serving members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.” This help consists of help with housing, the provision of loans, along with medical attention for those who have felt the resistance of native peoples all over the world. Needless to say, this work takes a huge financial pressure off the British government, and, in effect, prevents the British state from feeling the full financial effects of making war. To isolate those who make war from the effects of the wars they make, is to actually encourage and facilitate war.

The British Legion runs a dedicated media center, which glorifies the British military and their operations in countries such as Iraq. We see the smiling faces of British service personal in the sunshine. What we do not see is the aftermath of the activities of these smiling faces. We do not hear of the particular infamy the British Army has earned for it’s massive crimes against humanity - particularly directed against children - in Basra and Fallujah. Through the massive use of depleted uranium, against the civilian population of Fallujah, there are now more children, per head of population, being born with devastating birth defects than were being born after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Young women in Fallujah are now literally afraid to bear children. We remind people that Article 2(d) of the Genocide Convention defines "Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group," as an act of Genocide. We also remind people that depleted uranium - radioactive waste from nuclear power plants - is still 60% as radioactive as uranium, and has a half-life of 700 million years. When an invading army poisons a native civilian population with depleted uranium, the intent is clearly to prevent that population from reproducing itself in a healthy manner. It is, in effect, war on children. The British military has earned itself an almost equally despicable reputation in Afghanistan. It’s role in Libya has been to help to destroy the infrastructure of one of the only developed nations in Africa, to kill thousands of civilians from the sky, and to unleash a Holocaust against people of Black skin. We have every reason to believe that the British armed forces are deeply involved in terrorist atrocities against civilians in Syria. This is the reality of what the British Legion stands shoulder to shoulder with.

Recently, the Security and Emergency Services Ireland Forum (SESIF), on behalf of the Southern state, in the guise of raising money for a children's charity, held a day of tribute to the perpetrators of these massive crimes against humanity, at the notorious K-Club. In a time of terrible hardship and privation for decent Irish people, the "Irish Guards," British Army band, privately entertained many of those who brought this terrible suffering on the good people of Ireland, through their criminal speculations and psychotic greed. This is the Irish comprador class, which has, since the founding of the free state in 1922, regarded the Irish people as a cash cow to be squeezed and drained of life. This is the comprador class that has built nothing of lasting value, but has destroyed and destroyed again, the lives and hopes of the Irish people. Above all, this is the comprador class, whose ultimate guarantee in Ireland is not the armed forces of the southern state (who they have never really trusted) but the British armed forces stationed in Ireland. 5,000 of them now. This is the comprador class who, in January 1976, sent Jack Lynch and Garrett Fitzgerald to County Cork, to beg British Foreign Secretary, Jim Callaghan, at his holiday accommodation, not to withdraw the British Army from Ireland. To beg him not to leave the vile and corrupt Irish comprador class to face the righteous anger of the Irish people.

For the past number of years, the Irish comprador class has been aggressively pushing a Normalization agenda in the 26 counties, doing their utmost to make the British armed forces seem acceptable to the people of Ireland and to maintain the partitionist status quo. Hence, the massive campaign by RTÉ television to promote the "heroic" image of the British Army in Ireland, and to make the British Army seem like a valid career option for unemployed Irish youth. Even the National Museum has been called to do it's bit. Indeed, we have already seen the results of this vile campaign - body bags being returned to Irish mothers from far off lands. Once more, the poor of Ireland, those youths of no property, who might just get uppedy, are to be safely liquidated - the cannon fodder of British imperialist adventures.

Some Irish people, who wear a British Legion Poppy, will claim that they are only remembering Irish men who died decades ago. In reality, such innocence does not exist. The British Legion, on behalf of the British ruling class, demands hegemony over the memory of past wars. WW1 is not to be remembered for what it was, i.e. a vicious imperialist land grab, in which the British empire had been a principal cause. It is, instead, to be remembered as a fight for freedom. Whose freedom, or the freedom to do what, we dare not ask. The millions who died senselessly in the trenches are not to be remembered as victims of imperialism, but as some kind of "freedom fighters." None of this is remembrance. It is, in fact, the fabrication of false memory. And, the end result of all this fakery is that if you believe a fraud of such magnitude, it will be easy enough to induce you to believe that the British military bomb Brown skinned people today for their own good - to give them "democracy" - that their oil and other natural resources have nothing to do with it.

When you put your coins in the box, to get your British Legion Poppy, you are helping to fund the British imperial wars of today – and not only in financial terms. You are helping to give moral cover to murderous campaigns against Brown skinned people all over the world – particularly in those regions that are rich in mineral resources. To wear a British Legion Poppy is an act of the most base racism. It is to claim that the lives of some people are less valuable than the lives of those who look and sound like you do. It is to claim that those native peoples, who stand in the way of your enjoyment of their resources, deserve to be slaughtered. It is to agree that nations who do not fully submit to the rule of Anglo-American corporations, or as RTÉ would put it, those who do not accept “democracy,” should be bombed into submission.

Make no mistake, the red of the British Legion Poppy is not the ancient dust of WW1 or even WW2, but the blood flowing wounds of today’s Wretched of the Earth.

Communist Party of the Irish Republic
6th November 2012
Statement Ends

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author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 15:26Report this post to the editors

I think this image sums it up pretty well:

author by serfpublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 17:42Report this post to the editors

Good post. We've had other good poppy day threads here discussing some of these issues.

for example, check out:

author by newsmediapublication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 00:41Report this post to the editors

"WW1 is not to be remembered for what it was, i.e. a vicious imperialist land grab, in which the British empire had been a principal cause."

Regardless of their other comments, would the CPIR have preferred Germany's war machine to have trundled across Europe and occupied countries across Europe and perhaps farther afield?

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 00:53Report this post to the editors

newsmedia's comment seems to imply that, in 1914, the German ruling class was somehow worse than the other ruling classes of Europe. This is not in any way correct. Particularly if compared with its rivals in the British empire. Neeedless to say, the Belgians were one of the most criminal régimes the world has ever seen. The utter destruction of the Belgians would have been a great relief to the people of the Congo. The criminality of the French in their colonies is well documented. Germany actually had one of the most progressive régimes in Europe in 1914.

Europe is now being united under German hegemony. Was their any need to suffer two World Wars, just to reach the same destination?

author by wasted livespublication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 03:52Report this post to the editors

"Europe is now being united under German hegemony. Was their any need to suffer two World Wars, just to reach the same destination?"

Yeah, I think that's the show stopper!! ;-)

All those millions of wasted lives for nothing it seems. Only delaying German hegemony.
Maybe if we just let them win WWI, we'd have a proper rail system and health system in Ireland by now.

author by James Casement/Roger Connollypublication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 07:30Report this post to the editors

"Maybe if "we" just let them win WWI, we'd have a proper rail system and health system in Ireland by now."

"We" regarded the Central Powers as "our gallant allies". Presumably "we" therefore WANTED them to win.

Roger Casement and James Connolly regarded the Great War as a catastrophe, one which was deliberately brought about by Britain in order to sustain and increase its imperial world domination.

And, once the catastrophe was under way, Casement and Connolly made out a very strong case why German/Central Powers victory was in the best interests of humanity.

Even the Poppy crowd can hardly deny that the Great War and the European settlement inflicted on the defeated countries were a disaster for mankind.

Casement set out his case against War, and then against British/Allied victory in the War, in his book "The Crime Against Europe":

When it was clear that the European socialist movement had failed to avert the War ( - it actually made no serious attempt to avert the War), Connolly published his arguments for alliance with Germany, and for German victory, in articles in his newspaper Workers Republic:

Connolly seems to have been in agreement with the American Frederic C. Howe who wrote a book, "Socialized Germany"
about Germany in 1915 to explain why, contrary to Allied expectations, Germany would not be easily and quickly defeated. This was because of the quality of German society, which provided for and protected all its citizens. The traditional social elements of German society were re-asserted when the Hitler regime was defeated by Soviet Russia in 1945.

Frederic C.Howe was a U.S. Senator, government official, and aide to President Woodrow Wilson in the post-War "treaty" negotiations ( - the "treaties" which brought about the Central European mess which produced the Hitler movment and another World War, the "treaties" which produced the present Middle East mess, and lots more of the wonderful stuff that we are now only too familiar with).

Howe supported the Allied side in the Great War, and wrote his book in order to inject some sense of reality into the Allied war effort.

But Connolly saw no reason to support a British war of destruction against European civilization and European socialism.

Here is the Table of Contents of Frederic C. Howe's "Socialized Germany", published New York, September, 1915:



I. Introductory — The Dual Germany

II. The Background of Modern Germany

III. The Constitution of the Empire

IV. The Economic Foundations of Class Rule

V. Recent Economic Progress

VI. The Theory and Extent of State Socialism

VII. The State-Owned Railways

VIII. Canals, Waterways, and Free Ports

IX. Harbors and River Shipping

X. Mines, Forests, and Agricultural Lands

XI. The Attitude of Germany toward the Social Problem

XII. Caring for the Unemployed

XIII. Labor and Industrial Courts

XIV. Social Insurance and Social Democracy

XV. Higher Education — Providing the Expert

XVI. Elementary Education

XVII. Vocational Education — Preparing the Child for Life

XVIII. Sanitation and Health

XIX. The War upon Disease

XX. Governing Cities by Experts

XXI. Municipal Socialism

XXII. The Building of Cities

XXIII. Municipal Landownership and Housing Projects

XXIV. The German Conception of the State

author by newsmediapublication date Thu Nov 08, 2012 16:33Report this post to the editors

No matter the arguments above, surely the bottom line is that Germany's leaders initiated WW1 by ordering the military invasion of another nation beyond its borders.

Unlike in latter years where nations have been invaded by foreign military forces and NONE come to their assistance.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Thu Nov 08, 2012 18:09Report this post to the editors

newsmedia, you are putting forward a very simplistic view of WWI. It's like saying the war in the Pacific began in 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbour, when, in reality, it began at least twenty years before that, when the US Navy started to squeeze Japan's ability to import oil and other resources vital for industrialization - just as the US Navy is doing to China today.

Britain had been squeezing German economic and imperial expansion for years before 1914, and tried to undermine the German economy by provoking an arms race. Germany knew that once war was declared, to stand any chance against the combined might of the old empires of Russia, France and Britain, it had to knock France out of the equation, before Russia could fully mobilize. This was the Schlieffen Plan, and, it was generally a good plan, except that Germany's technological supremacy was not enough - unlike in 1940.

I recommend that you watch Robert Newman's History of Oil, it's highly entertaining and informative:

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