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What do you think about not standing for the pledge of allegiance?

+5 votes
I'm in high school, and an 18 year old senior. When ever people stand up for the pledge of allegiance, I refuse to stand up and participate. I always stay seated. I'm always the only one who does this. The reason I don't stand up is because for me it's as if I'm standing up for greed, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and etc. Do you feel the same way, and what do you think of me for doing this?

edited from "what do you think about this" to
"what do you think about not standing for the pledge of allegiance" and for tags
asked Apr 17, 2013 by anonymous
edited Jul 15, 2014 by dot

3 Answers

0 votes
Us old geezers might still remember a time when the pledge was not recited at the beginning of the school day (at least in my school district). We might also remember a time when "under god" was removed and then replaced.

Mostly what I remember is also not participating in the recitation. I also didn't (and still don't) stand for the national anthem.

As long as the flag and the anthem remain important symbols of patriotism and nationalism, radicals should refrain from participating. But make sure you have some well-thought-out and easily understood reasons for your refusal.
answered Apr 18, 2013 by lawrence (13,560 points)
+5 votes
While I dont have an opinon about the act itself, I do think that acts of refusal, in any context and in whatever way feels important, are ways for us to see ourselves resisting. What I mean is: as anarchists, as persons questioning the norms all around (i.e flag worship, etc..) it seems important to find out where you stand in the world and how you stand there. So, I think resistance towards acts of the mass, ideas of a person you share space with, or anything otherwise presented to you (or imposed upon you) is an overall good thing and way to know yourself and know when to say "no", with or without explanation. And this is where I disagree with Lawrence, I don't think you need "well-thought-out or easily understood reasons" to say no. I think part of being a person is not always understanding the full reasons for why you do something and the interesting part of being a person is learning what those reasons are over time, learning how to better articulate them.

To answer your question of what do I think of you for doing this: great.
answered Apr 21, 2013 by urtica (470 points)
I am 17 years old and a senior in high school and I don't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance either. Honesty is a very important moral stance for me and I also like to be technical or "right". As an anarchist and an atheist, I consider reciting the pledge at school as an act of dishonesty. And in my opinion, as an anarchist, you are obligated to take a stand in what you believe in and not conform to others or be dependent. Also, pledging your allegiance to the United States of America and the republic for which it stands is pledging your allegiance to our government and the republic form of government.
Why do you believe that anarchists are "obligated" to do anything? Also why do you believe that "technical" or "moral" rightness is in any way important?
+3 votes
There is actually no real equivalent to this in UK schools (unless it was very quietly introduced sometime within the last couple of decades), though there are some times it is considered "proper" to salute the state (or its icons).

Not only do I wholeheartedly endorse your stance, I also approve of your reasons for doing so.  It can be hard to make a stand like that, merely seeing the issue in such a way involves a willingness to question things you are taught as sacred fact, and it can leave you open to bullying, punishment or being ostracized by your peers, all of which is necessary to perpetuate this cultish mantra of obedience and loyalty to the state and the capitalists for which it stands.

Fortunately there are also benefits.  Your action can help to give others the courage to do the same, or at least to question what they're doing.

Incidentally, do schools in America typically take formal/informal action against this kind of behaviour?
answered Jul 25, 2014 by Anarchisteve (290 points)
I think the closest equivalent in the UK would be all the nationalist/militarist hoopla on 'General Haig's poppy day', and how not wearing the poppy is pretty much treated as treason by a lot of people, teachers included.

Re: formal/informal action against this kind of behaviour - I think it varies.  In state schools I don't think teachers would care enough, or have the time to care enough to do much about it, but if for example your parents send you to a christian school or something like that it could be treated very differently.  Private education is much more common in the US, and is often more about 'values' than the quality of the education.  There's a much wider spectrum of private education than in the UK, where the purpose of private schooling seems to be much more about 'prep' for Oxbridge.  My point is basically that there's a lot of kids in the US attending schools that the government has little control over, and because the parents send them to these schools on the basis of values rather than their kid's economic future, these schools can be much more aggressively nationalist/militarist than state schools, knowing that that's what the parents want.
k - wtf is "general haig's poppy day" !!!??
(i like multi-tasking while watching the original series of the avengers with steed and catherine gale/emma peel, partly because of wacky characters that the series became an excuse for showing off. GHPD sounds like something straight out of that series. pre-monty python british humor.)
"general haig's poppy day" is remembrance day (remembering the dead of WW1, but not that they were forced, coerced, manipulated, and bullied into dying for a system that would go on to exploit all those lucky enough to walk away from the bloodshed).

We have some other more-or-less "patriotic"/nationalistic days in the UK.  St. George's day is a favourite for the swastika-tattoo brigade, bonfire night celebrates Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up parliament but it really amounts to little more than bonfires and fireworks (the proper way to celebrate would be to have another go at it).  We also, sadly, have royal events, a mindless extravaganza of throwing money at the idle rich.
I like that GHPD sounds almost like some sort of anti-war commentary, what with some military fellow and opiates for the masses and such. What day is that, I feel a celebration coming on.
"General Haig's Poppy Day" IS some kind of anti-war commentary.  It is either a term Yosemite made up or one he heard elsewhere, it is by no means an "official" name (though it is referred to as "poppy day").  I think Yosemite might be one of those rebellious types.
Lol, I did make it up,  although it was low hanging fruit and there's nothing new under the sun etc.

I do think it's a more accurate name than 'remembrance day'  though,  given that the poppy appeal was founded by Haig,  the butcher of the Somme; the original purpose was to co-opt the the socialist and working class soldiers' organisations and protest movements (which didn't allow upper class officers to join or run them), and redirect their energy into a state sanctioned nationalist holiday.  It's kinda similar to why Labor Day was founded - to recreate May Day as a non-threatening holiday with no embedded class analysis.

Edit:
Also, Steve I'm glad you mentioned royal events, the royal wedding in particular was also used as an opportunity for repression - most of London was pretty much a police state that weekend, complete with ridiculous new grounds for arrest (something like 'suspicion of potential intent to disturb the peace) and militarized police everywhere, all because of the 'exceptional circumstances'.

Oh and if by 'rebellious type' you mean I don't wear the poppy, you're quite correct ;)
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