God Save the Queen ?

Jan Pole anticapitalist2 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Mar 31 22:51:55 BST 2002

It is of course true that getting rid of the monarchy is a Good Thing. 

Even the market-loving, capitalism-cradling Americans can see that (our
transatlantic cousins, naturally, preferring their monarchs to rule
over some other poor bastard so they can come over and take
photographs). But as the Americans have actually proved, not having a
monarchy solves little by itself. 

If anything it gives further legs to the lie that in capitalist society
all are equal before the God of the market and that there are no real
class distinctions. Perversely, perhaps, the Royal Family in the UK is
the feature of British society that probably generates more class
hatred than any other. 

It is a symbol of all that is wrong with capitalist society and should
naturally go along with it — but in a process of genuine, democratic
revolution which neither replaces one figurehead with another (as the
academics would like) nor glories in "class violence" just for the sake
of kicking the shit out of our oppressors without having a clue as to
what to do next. 

Socialists oppose the monarchy because in many ways it embodies the
things we despise: the unfettered triumph of wealth and heredity; the
existence of opulence amid squalor; the victory of idleness over
creativity; and the festering legacy of the anti-democratic principle. 

When it comes to abolishing the institutions of class privilege,
socialists take a militant and principled stand, and that is a stand
unencumbered by learned think-tanks or provocatively dangled nooses, by
the facile desire for a President or the tragi-comic clamour for the

This is because socialists are aware above all else that the monarchy
is little more than a farcical side-show in the corporate extravaganza
now conquering the globe in the name of the market. 

The monarchy is not "the enemy": it is but one tiny fragment of it. As
socialists we don't waste our time pursuing such a narrow single-issue
campaign which would bring little if any practical benefit to the
working class within capitalism. 

Capitalism can well do without the monarchy and does just that across
most of the globe, including the parts wracked by the worst inequality
and suffering. 

What it can't do without is a compliant, docile working class which is
tied economically and ideologically to the market system. And it is
only this class — the working class — which is capable of realising
that abolishing the laugh-a-minute royals can be only one small part of
a much wider and more serious process: social revolution carried out by
the majority in the interests of that majority.



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