Saturday, October 29, 2022



The Queen’s death has once again put the royal family at centre stage of attention, past the propaganda storm of bourgeois media sending condolences to the dead Elizabeth. There sits a growing group of dissatisfied workers and students. All asking “What is the point of a monarchy?” Even before the Queen’s death a great number of calls to abolish the monarchy had already been raised. As it stands 22% of the general population prefer abolition this figure rises with 31% of young people being opposed to the monarchy entirely. Britain today is shaken by a multitude of crises; all manufactured by capitalism. Britain’s place as an imperialist power, the so called “Cost of living crisis”, increasing inflation and industrial action across the island at levels not seen for three decades. Many progressive workers disapprove of the monarchy, with its vast landed-estates and approval of imperialism. Elizabeth herself explicitly supported the invasion of Iraq.  Since we are passing through a momentous occasion with crisis not just in Britain, but in the entire world. We as communists, must restate that the monarchy is a tool for bourgeois rule. A distraction from class conflict and an opium of the masses.  

Why does Britain have a monarchy?

Bourgeois society must manufacture distractions in order to confuse, trick and pacify the working class as a futile attempt to secure their classes power. The monarchy is one of many methods used to achieve this goal, with the monarchy in Britain functioning more as celebrities than appointed rulers. Countless tabloid articles, magazines and newspapers are filled with stories of the royal family -seeking to portray them as a continual drama piece. One which has the added benefit of being inextricably linked to nationalism and pride in a bourgeois, hegemonic “British culture”. As such, the royal family is therefore a very useful instrument for carrying out class oppression in Britain. If they were not so, the bourgeois who wields exclusive political power would remove them, as no tradition is more important than class power.  

Princess Diana and the drama surrounding her life was broadcasted on every piece of media available by every bourgeois mouthpiece in the 80s and 90s. It was a convenient distraction from the mass of strikes, riots and discontent in that era of the country. The British bourgeois has attempted to make another drama out of Queen Elizabeth and will continue to do so as capitalism falls into deeper crisis. The sinister plans of the bourgeoisie and their lackies will use this event to paralyse the workers during this important period of class struggle. Bourgeois union heads have already cancelled strikes planned to go ahead for Royal Mail workers, as well as the RMT rail worker walkouts on the 15th and 17th being suspended due to “National mourning”. “The whole railway family is united in sending our condolences to the Royal Family,” was stated by a rail union spokesperson. The bourgeois plan to discourage workers taking action against an increasingly decaying capitalism by using the royal veneer. Claiming on one hand “Nothing is more important than our traditions and our culture, and that we “are all united in grief”. Whilst on the other, using the opportunity to tighten their grip over the working masses of people. The concept of a “National culture” is used to denounce those workers who dare to rebel against the bourgeoisie, in this case striking has been deemed “disrespectful” to the nation. Lenin stated, “The slogan of national culture is a bourgeois (and often also a Black-Hundred, and clerical) fraud. Our slogan is: “the international culture of democracy and of the world working-class movement.”[1]

[1]V.I. Lenin, Critical Remarks on the National Question, 1913

What should Communists’ attitude towards the monarchy be?

Many petty bourgeois groups have voiced opposition to the monarchy as they see it as an unjust institution. These groups fail criticize capitalism – the root issue. Instead, they focus on criticizing the monarchy in a monistic manner. A Great British bourgeois republic would change nothing for the workers living there, with monarchy or without. The monarchy is simply an appendage for bourgeois rule, where power remains held by the bourgeoisie. Revisionist groups have long called for the abolition of the monarchy whilst doing nothing but continuously tailing the masses of the workers. “Advancing” slogans completely devoid of revolutionary politics and of communism.

Many on the so called “left” have opposed the monarchy, offering solutions of nationalisation of royal lands, or establishing a republic in Britain. These ideas fall short of criticizing capitalism and instead lend themselves to the bourgeois and petty bourgeois. The nationalisation of the Crown Estate would be the same as any nationalisation under capitalism the transfer of power from one bourgeois to the other. In attempting to appear radical many raise the demand that Britain must become a “Modern republic”. Stating that a decaying aristocracy cannot represent working people, however is the central issue that Britain is a kingdom? The central issue is that Britain is a bourgeois state; completely rotten to the core. A nation whose problems can only be solved by a people’s war led by the proletariat in our country. In their opposition to the monarchy, they fall short of the demands of the masses, meekly “demanding” the most basic of bourgeois reforms. We must instead, clearly demarcate ourselves against the bourgeoisie.

Bourgeois groups have continually demanded the abolition of the monarchy and formation of a republic, even some advocating the “redistribution” of royal wealth along bourgeois lines. These “demands” are thoroughly bourgeois and not revolutionary focusing on the abolition of the monarchy and replacement with a bourgeois head of state. This is useless, we should not just change capitalist power over the country. Rather we should light a prairie fire underneath it!

A trend of so called “Anti-imperialists” have also criticised the monarchy on the basis that their wealth was stolen from British colonialism, the solution being to “Redistribute” that wealth to the former colonies. Here we must demarcate the petty bourgeois reactionary understanding of imperialism with the proletarian understanding of imperialism. The question of redistribution and reparation of wealth to the colonies obfuscates the true nature of imperialism. Not only did British imperialism extract wealth from other nations, not just direct colonies, but was this wealth only “Stolen by the royal family?” Clearly not, imperialism was carried out by the British monopoly bourgeoisie, on the backs of the exploited nations and of the British proletariat. To fulfil our internationalist duties Britain’s communists will; renounce all unequal treaties the British state has signed. Immediately cease imperialist exploitation through military and economic means. Instead, we must finally pursue an internationalist policy of aiding the just liberation struggles around the world.  

Capitalism must be dug out by the root, the tendency to solely criticise some aspects of bourgeois rule must be combatted. Only with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will we be able to forge a new world –this must be emphasised. The British royal family is only one of many masks the bourgeois wears to spread it’s all encompassing influence. If the monarchy is criticised without exposing the deep contradictions inherent in capitalism it will cause a half way reformist approach to be adopted. If communists cannot lead by exposing these bourgeois farces to the working people our goal will not be achieved, which is the liberation of all working people on earth.

“There are undeniably some comrades among us who have joined the Communist Party organizationally but not ideologically. In their world outlook they have not yet over-stepped the bounds of small production and of the bourgeoisie. They do approve of the dictatorship of the proletariat at a certain stage and within a certain sphere and are pleased with certain victories of the proletariat, because they will bring them some gains; once they have secured their gains, they feel it’s time to settle down and feather ‘their cosy nests. As for exercising all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, as for going on after the first step on the 10,000-li long march, sorry, let others do the job; here is my stop and I must get off the bus. We would like to offer a piece of advice to these comrades: It’s dangerous to stop half-way! The bourgeoisie is beckoning to you. Catch up with the ranks and continue to advance!”

-Zhang Chunqiao, And Mao makes Five: Mao Tsetung’s last great battle




No comments:

Post a Comment