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Why we don't welcome the visit of the British Queen

category ireland / britain | imperialism / war | press release author Friday May 20, 2011 06:40author by WSM - Cork Branch Report this post to the editors

The British Queen - An enemy of the working class, an enemy of the poor, head of the imperialist British state, symbol of privilege, inequality and oppression.

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The visit: why now?

There is a drive to normalise the British occupation of the six counties and partition. It is part of a wider pattern to integrate Ireland into the loose alliance of imperialist nations. There has always been a desire on behalf of the British state, the USA and the European Union to engage Ireland as a junior partner in the imperialist club. The ending of the war in the north and the gradual normalisation of relations between Britain and Ireland has allowed an acceleration of this process. The visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth is all part of it.

Why we oppose the visit?

Britain maintains an army of occupation in Ireland along with the secret MI5 and other coercive forces. Britain is engaged in a violent war of occupation in Afghanistan and in a bombing campaign in Libya in pursuit of its imperial interests.

The very existence of the monarchy is counter to the basic democratic values that all progressive people subscribe to. In an era where mass poverty, unemployment and crippling debt affect large sections of the population both here and in Britain, the very idea that by chance of birth someone should enjoy the vast wealth and privileges of the royalty is obscene. If we were to remain silent in the context of this visit it would be taken as an endorsement of the nonsense in the capitalist press about the acceptance of all Irish people of relations being "normal and friendly" between us and Britain's brutal capitalist state and archaic monarchy. The Irish working class along with the British working class gain nothing from the monarchy and can only benefit from its obliteration.

Money squandered on visit

The Irish State is spending millions of euros on the visits of Queen Elizabeth and Barrack Obama. 10,000 Gardai and soldiers are being mobilised to provide protection, local councils are dipping into their budgets to beautify the routes on which they will travel. All this whilst workers' wages, welfare, health care, education, etc etc are being cut. The Irish government thinks nothing of lavishing resources on these representatives of imperialism but pleads poverty when taking about the needs of the working class. This is the nature of our society and the future of our society if we do not organise to change it.

Anarchists have a different vision of how society should be organised, one without privilege, without hierarchy, one where everyone’s needs are met by collective effort and democratic organisation. This is a very different society from where we dwell today but it is achievable if we are prepared to struggle for it. The last visit by a reigning British Monarch to the south of Ireland happened in 1911 with George V. James Connolly wrote inspiringly about the nature of the monarchy and the reasons for opposing the visit. Indeed demonstrations were organised by socialists and republicans to oppose the visit as Ireland’s ruling class and media fawned over the King. Sound familiar?

Here is a flavour of what Connolly wrote:

What is monarchy? From whence does it derive its sanction? What has been its gift to humanity? Monarchy is a survival of the tyranny imposed by the hand of greed and treachery upon the human race in the darkest and most ignorant days of our history. It derives its only sanction from the sword of the marauder, and the helplessness of the producer, and its gifts to humanity are unknown, save as they can be measured in the pernicious examples of triumphant and shameless iniquities.”

“Fellow-workers, stand by the dignity of your class. All these parading royalties, all this insolent aristocracy, all these grovelling, dirt-eating capitalist traitors, all these are but signs of disease in any social state - diseases which a royal visit brings to a head and spews in all its nastiness before our horrified eyes. But as the recognition of the disease is the first stage towards its cure, so that we may rid our social state of its political and social diseases, we must recognise the elements of corruption. Hence, in bringing them all together and exposing their unity, even a royal visit may help us to understand and understanding, help us to know how to destroy the royal, aristocratic and capitalistic classes who live upon our labour. Their workshops, their lands, their mills, their factories, their ships, their railways must be voted into our hands who alone use them, public ownership must take the place of capitalist ownership,social democracy replace political and social inequality, the sovereignty of labour must supersede and destroy the sovereignty of birth and the monarchy of capitalism.

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Revista "Socialismo Libertário" num. 2

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