British Museum collections, £12.99
'Not in my Name' anti-war badge
United Kingdom, 2003
This badge is one of 200,000 produced by the firm Better Badges for the Stop the War Coalition, a British body formed on 21 September 2001 at a public meeting in London. The aims of the coalition are to oppose the 'War on Terror' conducted by the United States with the support of Great Britain since the attack on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001. The group also opposes any anti-Islamic backlash and aims to defend civil liberties. The Stop the War Coalition is the fastest growing political movement in Britain, with over 500 affiliated groups formed over two years. On 15 February 2003 an estimated five million people around the world participated in marches against the war in Iraq, including approximately two million in London.
Wars have always stirred up strong feelings. When a country goes to war, its citizens are urged to unite behind their government and the troops and demonstrate their support for the war effort. Patriotic badges were an important form of propaganda in the First World War and now, as then, those who declare their opposition may be vilified as appeasers or traitors. Some individuals and groups oppose all wars due to religious or ethical convictions. Others focus their opposition on particular wars, especially those conducted overseas, where there is no perceived threat of invasion in the home country and involvement is seen to increase rather than reduce the problem.
P. Attwood, Status symbols: identity and b (London, British Museum Press, 2004)