The English Bourgeoisie Did Not Always Love its Monarchy.

 “A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French radicals and German police spies.

The communist Manifesto-Karl Marx

“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock, it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again.”

Barbara W. Tuchman-August 1914

“if the King were in the body of the enemy, he would as soon discharge his pistol upon him as upon any private man,” and if they did not think likewise, they ought not to enlist under him.”

Oliver Cromwell

“The attempt to minimise or eradicate the history of republicanism in England in the seventeenth century is one of the British establishment’s most important and longest-running projects. Unlike in the United States and France, where the revolutions of 1776 and 1789 have become a celebrated part of the national story, the English Revolution is systematically marginalised in the British education system and public life.”

Georgi Plekhanov

God save the Queen, She’s not a human being, and There’s no future And England’s dreaming

God Save the Queen-Sex Pistols

Why was the life of Elizabeth II the cause of so much love and adoration? It begs the question, what exactly was her contribution to humanity? After all, she lived a long and privileged life. She was a billionaire with more money than most people can dream of and belonged to a family that deeply sympathised with the Nazis. Remember Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform. Or the picture in the tabloid press of members of the Royal family giving Nazi salutes.

As for the funeral, as Chris Marsden says, it takes place amidst the spectre of war and revolution.[1] Marsden’s excellent article delves into history to expose the absurdity of the whole affair. Speaking of a previous royal funeral, that of  Edward VII, the American historian Barbara W. Tuchman says in the book The Guns of August,  “The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock, it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again.”

Another article on wsws.org examines the bourgeoisie’s sudden deep love affair with the royals. Joseph Scalice’s scathing article points out that  “Monarchy is an institution of colossal stupidity, a barbaric relic of the feudal past; its persistence is an embarrassment to humanity. Founded on heredity, shored up with inbreeding, intermarriage and claims of divine right, the monarchic principle enshrines inequality as the fundamental and unalterable lot of humanity. It maintains this lot with the force of autocratic power.”[2]

Although the English bourgeoisie buried “the ghosts of its republican ancestors long ago”, that time was the 17th century when things were different. Then the  English bourgeoisie killed a king, established a republic and got rid of the house of lords, a tad different from today’s fawning over a bunch of crooks, child traffickers and Nazi lovers.

The English bourgeoisie does not like to be reminded of its revolutionary past. As the Russian Marxist Georgi Plekhanov wrote in his extremely perceptive essay:

“The attempt to minimise or eradicate the history of republicanism in England in the seventeenth century is one of the British establishment’s most important and longest-running projects. Unlike in the United States and France, where the revolutions of 1776 and 1789 have become a celebrated part of the national story, the English Revolution is systematically marginalised in the British education system and public life. England passed through her revolutionary storms in the seventeenth century, and there were then two revolutions: the first led, among other things, to the execution of Charles I, while the second ended with an animated banquet and the rise of a new dynasty.

But the English bourgeoisie, in the evaluation of these revolutions, manifests very divergent views: while the first, in its eyes, does not even deserve the name ‘revolution’ and is simply referred to as ‘the great rebellion, the second is given a more euphonious appellation; it is called ‘the glorious revolution. The secret of this differentiation in evaluating the two revolutions has already been revealed by Augustin Thierry in his theses about the English revolutions. In the first revolution, the people played an important role, while in the second, the people participated hardly at all. When, however, a people mount the stage of history and begin to decide the destinies of their country according to its power and best understanding, then the higher classes (in this case, the bourgeoisie) get out of humour. Because the people are always ‘raw’ and, if the revolutionary devil begins to pervade it, also becomes ‘coarse’, the higher classes have a way of always insisting upon politeness and gentle manners—at least they demand these of the people. This is why the higher classes are always inclined to put upon revolutionary movements if prominently participated in by the people, the stamp of ‘rebellions’.[3]

It is not only the English bourgeoisie that would like to see the English revolution buried along with its brief republican past. As Leon Trotsky wrote, many historians have sought to ” vulgarise the social drama of the seventeenth century by obscuring the inner struggle of forces with platitudes that are sometimes interesting but always superficial.” These historians have not exactly covered themselves in glory over the death of Elizabeth II.

Historian Clive Irving who is not exactly a Marxist called the funeral a ‘façade’ and said that the Royal Family should ‘atone’ for slavery. Irving said the Royal Africa Company, founded by Charles II in 1666, “concealed a very evil enterprise which was shipping slaves from Africa to the Caribbean colonies.’Not exactly calling for a Marxist insurrection to replace the Monarchy, but this did not stop the torrent of abuse he received from several sycophantic historians

“Zareer Masani, a historian and author, responded to Irving’s comments by saying: ‘His comments are pretty old hat because these kinds of comments have been made about the Monarchy for the last decade by Black Lives Matter and those sorts of groups. I don’t see anything new. The Empire was overall very positive for most parts of the world. There were mistakes and violence in pockets, but on the whole, it was a benevolent institution which gave most of the world foundations for modern nationhood and economy. I don’t think it has anything to apologise for.’

Perhaps the most stupid and crass comment came from one historian who wrote, “‘The British crown stand above politics and outside politics, both domestic and international.[4] At last, the Queen has a fitting epitaph.

Working people need to wake up and smell the coffee, the Monarchy is no friend of the working class. In Requiem For a Dream, Hubert Selby Jr writes, “Eventually we all have to accept total responsibility for our actions, everything we have and has not done. I suspect there will never be a requiem for a dream, simply because it will destroy us before we can mourn its passing”.

Notes

Edward VII – King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India (1841-1910)


[1] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/09/19/srjc-s19.html

[2] The adulation for Elizabeth II: The capitalist class celebrates the principle of monarchy-www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/09/17/pers-s17.html

[3] George Plekhanov-The Bourgeois Revolution-The Political Birth of Capitalism

[4] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11231847/Queens-funeral-Historians-slam-royal-biographers-comments-state-funeral-fa-ade.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s