Occupy Protesters Embrace ‘V for Vendetta’

Hans Pennink/AP Photo

“Remember, remember the 5th of November” warns “V,” the anonymous rebel who sparks a revolution in the 2006 movie “V for Vendetta.”

Based on the comic book series and graphic novel of the same name, the film — and especially the mask worn by “V” — has become  a symbol of discontent among Occupy protesters.

The mustached white face, frozen in a wide-mouthed leer, is based on Guy Fawkes, an Englishman who schemed to assassinate King James I in an attempt to restore Catholicism. He was eventually caught on Nov. 5, 1605, when authorities found his stash of gunpowder explosives hidden in the Parliament cellar.

A Facebook page blazoned with an image of “V” asks “all OCCUPY Protestors to come together on November 5th, 2011, to rally again for our efforts to end corruption and social injustice.”

In the movie, “V” issues his rallying cry, “If you see what I see, if you feel as I feel and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me …. and together we shall give them a 5 th of November that shall never, ever be forgotten.”

Although “V” sought and advocated for vengeance, Occupy has a much more peaceful message, emphasizing that Saturday’s rally is “not a channel to express violence.”

Occupy leaders are calling on supporters to pull their money out of large Wall Street banks and deposit it in local credit unions and other smaller institutions.  Kristen Christian, the small business owner who launched Bank Transfer Day, says her movement isn’t affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, but “acknowledges the enthusiasm” of Occupy protesters.

One Occupy event, scheduled for Liberty Square in New York City, will feature a “day long series of open forums” with representatives from community development credit unions who will “discuss why credit unions are an ethical alternative to conventional banking institutions.”

The BBC recently spoke to British graphic novel artist David Lloyd, who created the image of the mask. He said it’s become “a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny – and I’m happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.”

Or, as “V” would say, “Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth, and the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country isn’t there?”

Lloyd even visited the protest in New York’s Zuccotti Park, where several people were wearing the mask.

“My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also symbolize that they stand for individualism – V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system,”  he told the BBC.