1960s >> 1961 >> no-688-december-1961

The Passing Show: Ghana Visit

Ghana Visit
It has finally been decided, after many comings and goings, that the Queen’s visit to Ghana is still on. Mr. Duncan Sandys, the British diplomats in Ghana, the Prime Minister himself—-all have been called on to take some part of the responsibility, all have had a hand in the final decision along with the other members of the Cabinet. The only person who doesn’t seem to have been consulted is the person whose safety, after all, is at stake—the Queen herself. There could hardly have been a more striking illustration of the position the monarchy now holds as against the ruling class. The Capitalists having taken over the state and the machinery of government, they have either converted the governmental instruments of the old landowner-ruled society to their own uses, or have allowed them to survive merely as powerless ceremonial appendages. Even though at the beginning of the visit it seemed not improbable, after several recent anti-Nkrumah bomb explosions, that there would be some attempt at violence as the Queen and Nkrumah rode together through the towns of Ghana, the Queen had no choice in the matter. The Government, the Capitalists’ executive committee, had decided that she was to go. And since the monarch in Capitalist society is no more than a puppet, she was constitutionally bound to “take her minister’s advice”—i.e., do as she was told.

Criticism
Recently Nkrumah, as the chosen right hand of the Ghana ruling class, has been revealing more and more clearly what kind of society the Ghana rulers have decided on. It is now an offence punishable with jail to ”defame” the President, which seems in practice to cover any kind of criticism of him. It is not the first time a Capitalist class have decided that a dictatorship suits them best in a given set of circumstances, nor will it be the last.

But what can be said of some of the newspapers, such as the Daily Express. who are now deploring Nkrumah’s dictatorial methods? Only a decade ago, when there was just as much of a dictatorship in Ghana as there is now— the only difference being that the dictatorship was then run by the British ruling class instead of the Ghanaian ruling class — the Daily Express had no objection to the dictatorship at all. It seems that it isn’t the dictatorship itself that they object to: only the particular set of people who happen to be running it. The record of the Daily Express on the matter deprives it of the right to criticise. Only those who criticised the British dictatorship of the past can logically now criticise the Nkrumah dictatorship of the present.

Fall Out
A most significant fact of the giant Russian H-bomb which was exploded at the end of October—the one intended to be fifty megatons, which apparently turned out to be even larger—was that Russia exploded it at home in its own territories.  The people who will suffer most from the fall-out from this bomb are the Russian working class. Which is another demonstration that the Russian rulers, for all their pretence that their state Capitalism is a form of “Socialism,” in fact show as much contempt for the interests of their own workers as any Western ruling class could.

Horrible to think
In an article in The Observer (5/11 /6I) on this explosion, Mr. John Strachey, M.P., said :

   It is horrible to think that an appreciable number of human beings will be crippled either mentally or physically over ensuing generations in order that Mr. Krushchev should attempt to terrorise the world in this way. But 1 am afraid this may be part of his calculation.

Mr. Strachey is somewhat illogical. Of course it is horrible to think of the crippled or mentally deficient children who will be born as a result of the bomb’s explosion, merely in order that Mr. Krushchev should take another step in his attempt to terrorise his enemies into submission: but how does this differ from the millions of human beings crippled or killed outright by the British ruling class in the last two world wars, undertaken so that the British rulers could impose their will on their then enemies? Do we have to remind Mr. Strachey that at least  in the second of those wars he was a prominent Labour M.P.. supporting the war to the hilt? If it is “horrible” for the Russian ruling class now, why was it right for the British ruling class then? Mr. Strachey is a little too selective with his horror.

Alwyn Edgar

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