Taking it Back

November 4, 2012 § 8 Comments

Every year in November, people in Canada become highly religious. Their rational thinking shuts down and en masse, they worship the fallacy of Canadian altruism, duty, and military service. So called Remembrance Day.

We absolutely should salute those who fought against Nazi fascism. But this is not the way to honour them. Remembrance day is a tool of indoctrination. A day of nationalist propaganda to paint Canada as a morally enlightened country that fought fascism in WWII out of duty and altruistic ideals. But this is of course a lie. If Canada was so altruistic why did it turn away the ships of Jewish refugees who were fleeing the horrors of the Nazi holocaust – implementing the anti-Semitic immigration policy of “none is too many?” If Canada was against fascism why did it punish Canadian communists who went to fight the fascist Franco regime during the Spanish civil war? Because WWII, like all wars, was fought in the interest of the powerful. It was merely a coincidence that Canada’s opponents in WWII were actually bad people. And Canada has used this coincidence as a propaganda tool ever since, vilifying anyone who doesn’t go along with the popular dogma of “our military heritage.” The misplaced honour of WWII has even been stretched to justify other wars and silence their opponents: “if you oppose the war, or don’t support the troops, then you’re taking your freedom for granted and you must not hate Naziism” they say… Bullshit! Canada fought Naziism because it was a threat to the economic interests of the powerful. Not out of any kind of moral enlightenment. And every other war Canada has taken part in before and after WWII was completely unjustifiable, and a shameful act of imperialism.

Your grandparents didn’t fight the Nazis so the government could trick you into state-worship and unconditional support for the military. The freedom to bomb the third world to smithereens and steal their resources wasn’t what grand pappy had in mind. How can Canada valorize its dead while not even bothering to count the piles of bodies it’s left behind? When we adopt the dogma of remembrance day, we loose touch with reality: The reality of aggression, self interested invasions, proxy occupations, mass slaughter and the brutal killing of civilians, drone attacks and perpetual oil wars, and the geo-strategic and economic interests that lay at the root of every war. All this in the interest of weapons manufacturers, oil and mining corporations, the political class, and other unscrupulous profiteers. It’s no wonder we need such an intense day of propaganda and indoctrination to keep the population in check. Nothing could be further from the interests of average working class women and men. But this is where vast amounts of our resources go – to death and theft on the largest scale imaginable. This is what you worship on November 11th – whether you realize it or not. There is nothing noble or heroic about Canada’s wars. We should all be very ashamed.

While we sympathize with the working class interests of those tricked into fighting Canada’s wars – we can not support them. In fact, we condemn them. Many of us grew up poor and disadvantaged. We saw some of our schoolmates join the military, get scholarships, and lucrative careers. And we saw them go off on “peacekeeping” missions, and to Afghanistan and other far away places to kill their working class sisters and brothers. But we did not join the military in order to better our financial situation. We knew it wasn’t right, and we found other ways to survive. Anyone who blindly participates in mass murder because their government told them to is a danger to us all. This is not to say that all soldiers in Canada are beyond redemption (some likely are). But they must come to learn that their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by their peers. We dream of a day when Canadian soldiers desert their posts after killing their commanding officers!

We have kept quiet year after year on remembrance day – grinding our teeth in disgust at the nationalist military spectacle. We have argued with our friends and allies about how to approach this taboo without alienating anyone or making enemies. No more! We are taking November 11th back. This is a day to remember the victims of Canada’s horrific legacy of imperialist genocide. On November 11th we remember the millions of indigenous people who were exterminated during the creation of the Canadian state. We remember the countless victims of Canada’s wars and predatory economic policies. We remember the life of Norman Bethune who died on November 11th while treating the victims of war overseas. We remember the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion who fought – suffering many losses – in the struggle against fascism, only to be shamed by the Canadian government upon their return home. And we remember the Haymarket Martyrs – some of who were executed by the state for their political beliefs on this day.




In love and struggle,

Anti-Colonialist Working Group – Toronto, 2012


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