Page 16 - From Echoes from Labor's Wars- in a New Expanded Breton Books Edition by Dawn Fraser
ISSUE : Issue 62
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1
drape some of these flags over such property. Often, in? deed usually, the property referred to was stolen by the rich men from the natives of the country where the property is located. In an effort to recover this plunder that was stolen from them, the natives attempt to seize it forcibly, and in the process the flag that has been draped over it is pulled down. It is then that the rich men and capitalists take ad? vantage of the sentimental nonsense that has been taught in the public schools about the flag. They pub? lish in the newspapers of the country • which they ei? ther own or bribe • that the flag, the piece of cloth which we love, has been outraged and insulted. This arouses us to indignant frenzy, and encouraged by the capitalists, we march or sail away to the foreign land to steal back the property that has been recovered by the natives or real owners. The wise capitalist is not the least bit interested in the piece of cloth that was pulled down, but he is interested in recovering his plimder, so he gets us to march or sail away, to suffer and die in the effort of recovering his property • all the time assuring us that what we are really doing is avenging an insult to the piece of cloth. Smooth work, eh, what? But of course you say, "It is not the flag itself, it is what the flag represents • the beautiful principles of right and justice that the flag stands for and upholds." I answer that what the flag stands for depends entirely on who is standing under it, or who controls it. The king, the capitalist, the dictator are left to interpret what it stands for, and they make it interpret what is to their own interests. The insignia of ancient Rome stood for slavery and oppression; the flag of Spain, in its day of power, stood for plunder; the flag of the Catholic par? ty stood for the murder and extermination of all Protes? tants and heretics; the orange flag of the Protestant party stood for the burning and murdering of Catholics. As one may not be permitted to speak the truth of the flag of the country in which one happens to live, I ask you just to pick up the authentic history of that country, and decide for yourself in just how many cases that flag stood for right, justice and high ideals. You will find Dawn Fraser Your Nova Scotia Government Bookstore Outlet in Cape Breton Cape Breton Books First-Rate Literature A Wide Range of Books from Popular to Scholarly "THE DOWNTOWN BOOKSTORE" 361 Charlotte St. Sydney B1P1E1 539-8551 BOOKS ARE A GREA T GIFT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR and Lewis Parker Cards; PORTRAIT OF CAPE BRETON fflSTORY that when the country hap? pened to be for the time weak, it was ever whining about oppression and in? justice, but in the day that it happened to be strong, it was practicing that same oppression and injustice, and calling the process "progress." No, one may not tell the truth about some flags, but | just now there is one flag that it is fashionable to discuss. Ho, there! Hold that blood-red banner high, and let us examine it. We have the advantage of being one who is sup? posed to be more or less fa? miliar with it. We have had the experience of marching under that blood-red banner, and when we thus marched we had all the beautiful dreams and high ideals of the modem school? boy, who sings in the classroom about the national flag. We interpreted what the red flag stood for to be eman? cipation of the working classes. To us the red flag meant liberty, justice, equality; a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. But like other flags, the red flag has different idolaters to interpret it. The day came when it became clear to me that loygilty to the red flag meant that I should cut the throat of every man who did not happen to agree with me; that the hateful bourgeois must be exterminated, just as a King Henry would ex? terminate a Catholic, or as Queen Mary would extermi? nate a Protestant. Loyalty to a red flag meant that I must murder my poor old mother because she hap? pened to have a home to shelter her in her old age. Bah! Don't seek to blind my eyes by waving a flag in them. You ask me, would I not fight under any circirai- stances? I answer. Yes, I would fight for my own prop? erty; I would fight if somebody tried to take my plate of soup or my bowl of porridge; but I will not fight to recover somebody else's property, or in the interest or for the dignity of any piece of cloth. Oh, yes, I know • when you are fighting for the capitalist, you are told that what the capital? ist is trying to recover is the property of the Em? pire, and consequently your property. Oh yeah, it's your property! If it is, then all I say is, TRY AND GET IT! From Echoes from Labor's Wars: The Expanded Edition by Dawn Fraser, with an Introduction by David Frank and Don MacGillivray. Available in bookstores or from Breton Books, Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia BOC 1 HO for $9.95. 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