Flounderers Field: Another year of poppy fascism

The US has flag fascists, and Canada (and other countries like England) has poppy fascists who say, “Participation is NOT optional.”  If you exercise your right not to wear a poppy, you’re “an enemy of freedom”…never mind the fact that the poppy is as much a symbol of colonialism, racism and christian ideology.

From blogger Yves Engler:

A day to remember

While there’s some criticism of the nationalism and militarism driving Remembrance Day, the organization sponsoring the red poppy campaign receives little critical attention. Incorporated by an act of Parliament, the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League was formed in 1926. Renamed the Royal Canadian Legion in 1960, from the get-go it was designed to counter more critical veteran organizations. In The Vimy Trap: or, How We Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, Ian McKay and Jamie Swift write, “benefiting from government recognition, the Legion slowly supplanted its rivals. It was consciously designed as [a] body that would soothe the veterans temper and moderate their demands.”


The Legion has also espoused a racist, paranoid and pro-Empire worldview. In the years after World War II it called for the expulsion of Canadians of Japanese origin and ideological screening for German immigrants.

From the University of Guelph, Office of Diversity and Human Rights (DHR):

Racism Against Asian Canadians

Decades later, Sikhs are still defending their turbans. There is controversy over whether turbans should be permitted as part of the RCMP uniform, and some branches of the Royal Canadian Legion have banned entry on Remembrance Day to those wearing turbans.

Public shaming and harassment is the norm against businesses that refuse to allow “poppy boxes”.  Do the “legion” stand up the same way against businesses that show themselves to be racist or bigoted against LGBTQIA people?  Somehow, I doubt it.  The media often gladly participates in encouraging such harassment.

Leduc store refused to allow a poppy box

Members of the Royal Canadian Leduc Legion were outraged after a manager at a sporting goods store refused to allow volunteers to drop off a collection box for the poppy fund.

According to legion members, volunteers Noreen and Michael “Mick” Mellings were distributing the collection boxes for the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy fund on Friday when a store associate and a manager at the SportChek in Leduc Common said they would not allow a box at their location.

FIFA ruled that England and Scotland were not allowed to wear poppy armbands during a World Cup qualifying game on November 11th because it is deemed a political symbol, to which of course, the military fetishists engaged in special pleading.  If November 11th is allegedly “a day of somber remembrance”, why is a sports entertainment event going on?

FIFA row over wartime emblem prompts poppy debate

[B]aited in part by the British press, players from both teams will play the game wearing black armbands with the emblem of a red poppy.

In doing so they will simultaneously defy FIFA — the world governing body for football — and demonstrate Britain’s curiously tempestuous bond to a flower that symbolizes wartime remembrance.

The laws governing the game prohibit clothing that carries “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” and can penalize teams with fines or points deductions for doing so.

I don’t normally defend FIFA, but in this case I hope they do punish them with points deductions.  It might even save England from another World Cup embarrassment by not qualifying.

There are plenty of people for whom the poppy is not a symbol of “freedom”, but rather one of oppression.  Irish football player James McClean is from Derry, Northern Ireland, where in 1972 the English army murdered fourteen peaceful protesters on what is commonly known as “Bloody Sunday”.  He has perfectly valid personal reasons for refusing to wear a poppy as an English ethnic and theological symbol.  But to poppy fascists in England, he is somehow “insulting” them, completely oblivious to how the poppy insults McClean.

Paddy Clancy: It’s time to stop pressure on James McClean about wearing a Remembrance Day poppy

[I]n recent years a problem has arisen in what I call the poppy police. They are those who claim that anybody born or working in the UK is betraying the country if they do not share enthusiasm for the poppy.

A frequent target of the poppy police is Ireland international and West Brom player James McClean.


“People say I am being disrespectful but don’t ask why I choose not to wear it”, he said. “If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem.

“I would wear it every day of the year if that was the thing but it doesn’t, it stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in. Because of the history where I come from in Derry, I cannot wear something that represents that.”

He’s quite right, of course. The poppy now represents every conflict that Britain has been involved in, not just the World wars.

And that’s a crucial factor in his decision, although the poppy police choose to ignore it.

McClean comes from a city where unarmed citizens on a peaceful protest march were shot dead by paratroopers in the British Army.


  1. Siobhan says

    I managed to go the entire poppy stretch wearing a rainbow ribbon instead and got no grief for it.

    That would make it the first year.