The British royals - outdated, anti-democratic & unwelcome

As Gardaí go door to door in central Dublin trying to intimidate any residents who might be tempted to protest against the visit of the British queen, their colleagues in Britain have mounted raids on social centers and squats across London. Five social centers were raided this morning in London and over 60 anarchists have been banned from the centre of the London on the day of the wedding of Liz's parasitic offspring. Cops used battering rams to raid 3 further houses in Hove.

Much of the focus on Liz's visit to Ireland has been on the symbolism of the British monarch in relation to Irish nationalism. The problem with this nationalist based opposition is that it can tend to suggest that the problem is between the people of Britain and Ireland rather than the monarchy being a shared problem for people in both Britain and Ireland. But the harassment wedding protesters in Britain have been targeted with ahead of the wedding, which has now included over a dozen pre-emptive arrests, mirrors the same fear of the population and how they really feel about the royal parasites that the Garda are exhibiting towards the population of Dublin. In both cases although they dress up their fear in the language of anti-terrorism it is quite clear that it is also about any attempt to challenge the carefully choreographed royal pantomimes that are planned for Dublin, London and Cork.

This morning in London five social centers including the Grow Heathrow, Ratstar, Upmarket, Petro Seige and Offmarket were raided by police who arrested at least 8 people according to early reports on London indymedia. Later reports talked of a much greater number being detained. On Tuesday the Telegraph reported that 6 other anarchists had been arrested ahead of the wedding protests and that this brought "the total number of anarchists banned from London on the day of the wedding to 68." Metropolitan Police Commander Christine Jones has revealed that the police even intend to use the Public Order Act to remove any placards protesting the wedding.  The pre-emptive arrests even included three people who were planning to carry out a bit of street theater, see youtube below.

The intention behind this repression of potential protest is clearly to create the illusion that the population of Britain are behind the parasitic family that has ruled over them for hundreds of years and whose role has included the torture and execution of hundreds of British republicans who sought to introduce democracy. That history is to be airbrushed just as any sign of dissent is to be banned from central London on the day of the wedding. Instead the police will marshall the 0.2% of the population who will sycophantically turn out on the streets to wave flags and proclaim their loyalty to the family that rules them. Their numbers will no doubt be swelled by hordes of American tourists whose own county kicked the royalty out over 200 years ago.

In his satirical column in the Guardian Stewart Lee describes the purpose behind the wedding pantomime. "It's no coincidence that as genuine social mobility in broken Britain is eroded, so commoners turn to the National Lottery, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. Winning them represents the only chance real people have to change their circumstances significantly. It could be you. And, like some giant illuminated penis flying over the rooftops of suburban homes and frothing at random passing women, William has pointed himself at Kate Middleton, the Susan Boyle of social mobility. In declaring her his princess, he brings hope of real change to millions of people denied a decent education and the means to better themselves, to millions of tiny babies denied even books, that one day they too could be randomly rewarded with untold wealth and privilege."

The spontaneous targeting of William's parasitic father when his car was driven into the student protests in December last illustrated just how shallow the illusion of popular support for the monarchy is. Despite comical attempts by the loyal press, TV and radio to drum up outrage the incident provoked laughs from most people and a happiness that the royals had finally been taken down a peg or two by the 'mob'.

The weddings guests tomorrow were to have included the Crown Prince of Bahrain, where democracy protesters were recently massacred, and according to the British campaigning group Republic still include the "crowned heads of state and royals from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Brunei, Qatar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Bhutan and Kuwait, all of which have poor human rights records, limited political freedoms and histories of state violence." There has already been a protest organised by Swaziland women outside the luxury hotel that the Swaziland king and his entourage of 50 is staying in while 70% of his subjects live below the poverty line. Protesters carried placards reading carrying posters such as “Swazi King parties while country starves” and “Royal Wedding guests are human rights abusers”.

This is the reality of monarchy everywhere, corrupt parasitics families living in extreme luxury while many of their subjects are trapped in poverty. Again to quote the British Republic group on their monarchs; "Occupying the palaces we have a family of fairly ordinary, uninspiring individuals who represent the very worst of Britain - snobbish, elitist and utterly out of touch with the rest of the country. The Windsors just keep on taking from the taxpayer and give very little back. Despite doing little and achieving even less, they demand respect and deference from everyone. The most talented and accomplished commoner is expected to defer to princes Harry and William."

Liz's visit to Ireland is intended to fulfill another form of pantomime, in this case to try and draw the line under the hundreds of years of bloody occupation of the island of Ireland by the British state. It is easy to see why republican groups, who insist the occupation isn't over as long as Britain retains control of the north, are outraged. But the realty of the visit from the point of view of both the Irish and British states is to mark the fact that the southern state is now a minor partner of EU imperialism alongside Britain, Germany & France. As they see it the historic conflict isn't so much over as no longer relevant. Modern militant nationalism is an awkward relic of times past that another awkward relic will symbolically put behind though visiting and in effect acknowledging as correct those who fought British imperialism and her army in 1916 and the Anglo-Irish War. The selection of the Garden of Remembrance and of Croke Park for the visit makes no sense in any other context. To our rulers the fact that the British Queen is head of the army that invaded Iraq and occupies Afghanistan is of little relevance. After all 'we' aided both wars through refueling the very much larger US Military force as it deployed via Shannon airport.

There is a challenging reality here that the simple nationalist narrative of a betrayal of the mean and women of 1916 doesn't really address. The 1916 Proclamations after all described German imperialism at that moment in time as "Our gallant ally in Europe." The program of the rising was a program compatible with the current imperialist carve up where the south gets to play its minor role. Like it or not the Irish state's position does indeed represent a significant strand of traditional Irish republicanism. That segment, often the majority viewpoint, that behind the rhetoric sought not a real democracy for the people but rather a new understanding with Britain under which an Irish capitalist class would have the autonomy to exploit the Irish working class for its own ends. And where that new nation would join Britain and the other powers in imperialist adventures abroad.

The militant nationalism of 1916 and the Anglo-Irish War that followed saw the republican left make what was hoped to be a short term compromise with right wing nationalism in order to wage a common struggle against the external enemy. The writings of James Connolly show that many involved in that compromise, including Connolly, understood full well the nature of it. It was reported that at an Irish Citizens Army rally a week before the rising Connolly said that ".. if we should win hold on to your rifles because the Volunteers may have a different goal. Remember we're out not only for political liberty but for economic liberty as well."

Compare the 1916 proclamation with the program Connolly had published in the Weekly Worker when he thought the Irish Citizens Army was going to have to rise on its own. Connolly outlined a program for a new revolutionary government as follows
“All the railways at once to be confiscated and made public property, no compensation being given to the shareholders. All necessary ships ought at once to be taken from their owners, without compensation and without apology. Let [the Government] take the factories from the manufacturers, and immediately confiscate all the idle land (the enormous quantity of splendid land lying idle in demesnes and private estates of the nobility and gentry) and put labourers upon it to grow crops to feed the multitude. As the propertied classes have so shamelessly sold themselves to the enemy, the economic conscription of their property will cause few qualms to whosoever shall administer the Irish Government in the first days of freedom.”

Protesting the anti-democratic parasite family is good, whether in London, Dublin or Cork. But as we approach the 100th anniversary of 1916 it also makes sense to critically examine the actual outcomes of that compromise Connolly made and to ask whether it really remains any sort of valid strategy in the fight for freedom today. Does our common interest lie with the more nationalist inclined section of the domestic capitalist class or with those in Britain who have shown that they have as little time for 'their' monarchy as we have? 90 years after partition, when pretty much no one alive today remembers it, is there really a military 'solution' to the presence of the British state in the North East? Or is it now a question of recognizing that the political solution can only be based on winning over a majority to a common struggle for freedom across but no longer limited to the island? Is any genuine form of republicanism today no longer separatist but rather internationalist to the extent that we need to search out new 'gallant allies in Europe' not amongst the imperialist powers but amongst those who, like us, are engaged in the struggle for real freedom? 

WORDS: Andrew Flood  IMAGE: Transition Heathrow site

  


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