Hero(in) Dealers Try Again: Another year of poppy fascism

Apparently, twenty years of failed and pointless war in Iraq and Afghanistan has done little to silence the hero(in) dealers, a/k/a poppy fascists. They’re spewing the usual “support the troops” propaganda yet doing nothing to prevent the next planned war for oil.  In the UK’s case in 2021, their “war for oil” is soldiers driving petrol tanker trucks around the country.  For once, paid terrorists are actually doing something useful.

Poppy fascists don’t do anything to “support the troops” that have permanent disabilities and mental health issues from twenty years of war. (In 2021, the republiclowns oppose spending money on VA hospitals now that the war is over, as if the after effects don’t exist or suddenly stopped.)  All that the keyboard warriors want is to cheerlead for the next war.  Abandoning the disposable heroes is standard practice, as is silencing any ex-military who criticize the government or speak out against war.  As L7 eloquently and elegantly said in the song, “Wargasm”:

Wargasm, wargasm, one, two, three

Tie a yellow ribbon round the amputee

Masturbate, watch it on TV

Crocodile tears for the refugees

[. . . ]

Wave those flags high in the air

As long as it takes place over there


The poppy fascist lie continues to be repeated: “they’re trying to ban poppies in [town name]!” which is about as believable as facebook enacting user fees.  Those who refuse to wear poppies continue to be the victims of harassment and threats of violence.  So much for the fiction that “poppies stand for freedumb!”  James McClean contiues to be a target of abuse and threats, so much so that even the “uk royal legion” had to speak out against it.

In more than one pile of tripe, sophists philosophers Alfred Archer and Benjamin Matheson claim to “support James McClean’s decision not to wear one”.  But they don’t support anyone else’s right not to wear one unless the person gives what the two consider to be a “valid” excuse.  Ergo, they don’t actually support individual personal freedom.

Commemoration and Emotional Imperialism

2 The Poppy’s Message

McClean refuses to wear the poppy because he finds the message that it has for him objectionable.

[. . .]

On McClean’s view, the poppy has a different meaning for the people of Derry (or at least the Catholic community of Derry) compared to people in other parts of the United Kingdom. Importantly, he takes the message that it has for him to be objectionable such that it is permissible for him not to wear the poppy. In this section, we support McClean’s stance.

The unspoken message is there: If your reason for refusing a poppy isn’t because you or your people are victims of militarist violence, then it’s “not valid” and you have to participate in poppy fascism.  If that weren’t their stance, why aren’t they stating it explicitly?  Why aren’t they calling for personalizing it and keeping it out of public discussion, to stop making it a “litmus test for patriotism”?

No one should be compelled to wear a poppy.

No one should be violated for not wearing one.

No one has the right to question anyone’s decision.

By violated, it could mean social shunning, firing people from jobs, or any other unlawful use of force that could coerce people.

Apparently the second clown Ford brother can’t grasp those concepts, currently trying to enact a fascist law in Ontario that will have government dictating policy to private businesses.  So much for being “pro-capitalism”.  I’d label those cheap plastic poppies a safety hazard and force the government to prove otherwise.

Ontario would compel employers to let workers wear poppies around Remembrance Day

Ontario is introducing legislation that would give workers the right to wear a poppy during the week of Remembrance Day.

The Progressive Conservative government says it wants to enshrine the right in law to remind employers that Ontario “owes a debt of gratitude” to those who serve the country.

It says that position should be reflected in employment policies and practices.

There will be an exception to the proposed law if a poppy poses a safety hazard.

Premier Doug Ford vowed to introduce the legislation last November amid controversy over a since-revoked policy at grocery chain Whole Foods Market that forbade employees from wearing anything other than their basic uniforms, including poppies.

The UK should know better or be more circumspect this year on the 50th and 100th anniversaries of two Bloody Sundays, but shameless as usual, they’re not.  On July 10, 1921 protestant loyalists ignited a campaign of violence and arson leading to at least seventeen deaths and a thousand people left homeless.  And it was on January 30, 1972 that uniformed UK terrorists murdered fourteen peaceful protesters without provocation, shooting them in the streets for carrying signs.  (Another Bloody Sunday anniversary, November 13, 1887, happens next year, the 135th.)  This is what James McClean objects to, the celebration of those who murdered innocents.



If I’m going to celebrate anything on 11/11, it’s “pocky day” (“pepero day” in South Korea, their local knockoff brand).  Having kids be kind and share chocolate covered sticks with each other serves more purpose than glorifying war.



  1. Allison says

    Sounds like this poppy fetish is a lot like the USA’s flag worship.

    I’ve always thought it odd that the most fervent adherents of Old Testament Christianity are perfectly willing to ignore the Second Commandment (“no graven images”) when it comes to the flag.

  2. Bruce says

    Unlike in Commonwealth countries such as the UK or Canada, the USA stands out in that wearing a poppy is not a thing, even really on 11/11. So as a USA person, I have to ask, what does it mean? If it means to support the troops, then why don’t all poppy wearers worldwide write letters to USA newspapers to lobby for full funding of Veterans hospitals? It looks to me that they don’t really support wounded veterans. They only support making more wounded veterans. Sick.

    • says

      It’s essentially the same, fake patriotism and apeing the “support the troops” mantra. Some will get physical (anything from pushing your shoulder to assault) if you don’t stand for the flag or anthem.

      Poppy wearing was enforced in public schools when I was a pre-teen kid, back in the 70s. Refusing to wear one or prostrate yourself for anything related to uk blue bloods received punishment.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    At first, I thought this post concerned the opium producers of Afghanistan (not sure how they get along with Taliban 2.0 so far).

    Apparently that aspect of Papaver has yet to penetrate Tory consciousness, such as it is.

    • says

      It was a play on words, combining the right wing fake hero worship, that heroin comes from poppies, and the invasion, occupation and war crimes in Afghanistan.

  4. seachange says

    Why it is not so in the USofA, it has to do with definitions of what it is to be male, what it means to be fundraising, and exclusive club memberships.

    Poppies were associated with WWI only. My dad had been forced as part of his education to remember In Flanders Fields and recite it. He did this for me and this impressed a lot of the people watching at a Veteran’s Day parade.

    Especially since my father’s recital to me, we were socially-forced to buy a plastic three dimensional sweet pea, which was called a poppy. The current weird flat two-petal poppy pin I see some commonwealth folk wear which also doesn’t look like any poppy to me and has a bizarre leaf that is nothing like a corn poppy. Scots have more sense? Anyhow it looks like a crown of thorns flower which happily grows around here, with a very different meaning to me, and that plant has no leaves when it’s blooming and the leaves are very tiny the spines are much more prominent. So botanic corruption is the only link in common I guess.

    Buying the ‘poppy’ even, was a matter of tension, because while the recital had merit my dad was in WWII (and he never wanted to talk about it) the wrong war. The deciding factor to the crowd was my uncle who had been in WWI.

    However, people assigned male did not wear flowers in public and were only allowed to hold flowers with the idea that you would give them to someone assigned female. So everyone who bought them briefly hold them or would pin them somewhere inconspicuous and then take them off immediately after the parade. Trash bins were full of them. Women who were not widows of veterans of WWI and people who were not orphaned were discouraged from wearing one on a permanent basis. Anyone could buy one, but not anyone could wear it.

    Anyone involved with the Viet Nam War? Not allowed!

  5. alfredarcher says

    Dear Rhiannon,

    Thank you for discussing my and Benjamin Matheson’s work on this topic! I hope you don’t mind me clarifying our point a little. We fully agree with you that no one should be compelled to wear a poppy. In response to your question of why we don’t say so explicitly, I would point out that we do say “We think it is plausible that there is a general right for people not to engage in commemorative practices that they do not wish to engage in.” However, it is true that this is not the main focus of our discussion, as we wanted to focus on the particular forms of wrong involved in making victims of the brutal colonial violence of the British army engage in these commemorative practices. So we think poppy enforcement is wrong generally but is especially grotesque in these cases.

    Alfred Archer