What about the monarchy?
I have subscribed to your journal to read intelligent alternative opinions as part of a thought-provoking process. I had intended to renew. However, the article on pages 14 and 15 ‘Parasites’ puts me off – it is below the belt as we look forward to H. M. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Clearly the writer assumes an elected President would be much better. How shallow. Just look back at the conduct of so many past and present. Being elected does not ‘improve the human condition’, often elected by minorities. The Queen’s 70 years of service has been remarkable and should be commemorated.
Councillor G. Wanstall, Dover.
You have correctly understood that we are not monarchists. We are opposed to monarchy, even a rubber-stamp constitutional one. It can’t and won’t survive into socialism. Obviously.
In the capitalist state known as the ‘United Kingdom’ the monarch is not only the formal ‘Head of State’ but also the focus of the nationalist identity that the capitalist class seek to inculcate into the state’s subjects. With some success, as you are far from alone in your view.
Are the royal family ‘parasites’? The capitalist class think they perform a useful role for them. We don’t see that they do anything useful as far as the rest of us, the excluded non-owning majority, are concerned. They are the head of what’s left of the aristocracy and great landowners in their own right. In any event, calling another human being ‘your majesty’ or ‘your highness’ offends against our democratic sentiments.
However, this does not mean that we see any merit in the British state becoming a republic. That would, as you put it, ‘not improve the human condition’. It wouldn’t make any difference, either way. Capitalism would remain as would the problems it generates for the excluded majority forced to work for wages. The USA and France are long-established republics but the position of the excluded majority is no better there than it is here. Whether the capitalist state you live under is a monarchy or a republic is an irrelevance.
So, you are wrong to conclude that we want the head of the British state to be an elected president instead of a monarch. Our priority is ending the class-divided capitalist system and replacing it with a one based on the common ownership and democratic control of productive resources by all the people. Neither a monarch nor a president will have any place in such a society.
To tell the truth, we are dreading the 70th anniversary next year of the present monarch ascending to the throne. It will be a festival of British nationalism to which we, as world socialists, are opposed – just as we are to all nationalism, everywhere. – Editors.