Is the Monarchy a relevant enemy or a symbolic irrelevance?

Is the Monarchy a relevant enemy or a symbolic irrelevance?

I have often been criticised for spending too much time attacking the Monarchy. So I ask the question, Is the Monarchy a relevant enemy or a symbolic irrelevance? Feedback would be gratefully received.

I have written blog posts about the monarchy on many occasions. The posts have received many positive comments, but have also attracted lots of criticism. The criticism is not about the content of the posting, as the audience that has read them are generally in agreement, and in no way, pro-monarchy. The criticism is always around the relevance of the monarchy in the wider class struggle.

I am told to. “Stop wasting your time talking about an irrelevant group of people”. Or, “they are just symbolic; and they do not have any power”. Or asked why it is relevant to workers and their everyday struggles?

Whilst not fully agreeing, I have always understood the point of view. For me, the monarchy is much more than just a tokenistic symbol of the class system. They are a direct manifestation, with much more money, power, and influence than most people would believe.

Surely educating and motivating people to fight against the class system must stretch beyond economics, politics and the work place? Do we not need to combat every aspect of the system? Of course, I do mean looking beyond the physical abnormalities, sex lives, and the unusual peccadilloes of the Royal family. I do try and focus on the real issues!

I would really welcome constructive feedback on the issue of the monarchy. If you are one of those people who believe them to be irrelevant, and targeting them, a waste of time, then please consider the following before giving your feedback.

1) The Royal family own all of the sea bed that is underneath British waters. Whilst these millions of acre’s may seem irrelevant. The Royals are charging extortionate ground rent for offshore wind farms, which is in turn leading to the need for massive subsidies for the renewable energy industry.
2) The Royal family are given £38.5 million a year. However, much like an MP and his or her expenses, with all the added extra’s, the real amount is well over £100 million each year.
3) When we had the Royal wedding earlier this year we received an extra bank holiday, which cost the economy £20 billion, which is slightly more than the government’s estimate of £500 million that the recent strikes cost.
4) Prince Charles has legal powers to prevent parliamentary legislation that directly or indirectly affects anything on his land. He has used these powers to overturn legislation on several occasions.
5) The Queen has a personal fortune of £500 million, which includes cash, jewellery, stamps, art etc.
6) They Royal family own over £10 billion worth of property.
7) The Queen owns 120,000 hectares of land. (not including the seabed).
8) Prince Charles owns 133,000 acres of land worth £700 million.
9) The Royal family do not need planning permission to build anything.
10) They have enough rooms in their castles and palaces to house all the homeless people in London.
11) We allegedly have a shortage of land to build affordable homes on, yet these bastards are the biggest land owners on earth.
12) The Queen is the head of the Church of England. Another organisation that controls and brainwashes elements of the working class.
13) The Royal family are part of a wide aristocracy and ruling class that sinks it poison into the house commons, lords, the judiciary, and the church.
14) Whilst supposedly politically neutral, what influence does the monarchy have on crack pot MP’s like Jacob Reece Mogg, or individuals high up in the armed forces? Didn’t the Queen mother have something to do with a plot against Harold Wilson?
15) The Queen has the ‘right’ to be consulted by governments. She has a veto that means she can refuse to dissolve parliament and sanction a general election. She has the Royal Prerogative, which confers governments to pass legislation or declare war without consulting parliament. She last granted this power to Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands war.

Whilst people may see some of these points as having little importance, I do not, and taken as a whole, they show the monarchy to be much more than a symbolic irrelevance.

As I said, I would welcome constructive feedback.

Comments

Chilli Sauce
Dec 5 2011 20:45

Ehh, I mean the main enemy is the capitalist class. It is the capitalist class who, unlike under serfdom where the aristocracy was truly the ruling class, extract our surplus value.

A socialist revolution will no doubt do away with the royal family; getting rid of the royal family won't get rid of capitalism. Know what I mean?

Ed
Dec 5 2011 21:00

Yeah, I'd say I was one of the 'couldn't give a fuck about the Royal Family' types..

Originally I was gonna respond point by point but I've just realised how hungry I am so I can't be arsed now, sorry.. embarrassed

But in general, some of the stuff you say about their ownership is true, but then also no different from any private owner.. so, say, empty rooms in their castles and palaces, you could say the same about 5-star hotels (or hotels generally), luxury apartments, empty properties etc.. same for that stuff about the sea-bed..

About political influence, to be honest, I'm pretty ignorant about how much influence they've got.. but again, I think they're wary of getting too directly involved in politics coz, well, politicians do unpopular stuff and get flak for it. With the Royals, you either love them or hate them (or don't care or reckon it's good for tourism) and it's rare that people ever point to something they've done as a reason to dislike them.. which I reckon they like.

That said, behind the scenes, who knows.. but then the same also goes for big companies, no?

Last thing, I can definitely think of ways of opposing the bosses or political class.. I'm not sure what anti-monarchist action would look like really..

All that said though, I've really enjoyed your articles about the Royals and I reckon they're fair game to write a few hundred words about from time to time, even if only to point them out for the feckless, inbreeding, Nazi-sympathisers that they are.. smile

Croy
Dec 5 2011 21:02

The queens ability to veto, to say yes or no to a law ultimately, aka "royal assent" is largely irrelevant. She has only ever said no to a low once.

And in general, these objections make you sound like a reformist. Im sure your not but that's how you come across. For instance, why does an anarchist care about seeping "poison into the house commons, lords, the judiciary, and the church". These institutions are poison already, one of your points before that was about the church anyway. Another example, why are you bothered about the economy losing out ? Finally, yes, the ruling class/aristocracy, government and monarchy, own loads of property, but that's a given, and therefore not really a purposeful point to raise.

Arbeiten
Dec 5 2011 21:06
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Ehh, I mean the main enemy is the capitalist class. It is the capitalist class who, unlike under serfdom where the aristocracy was truly the ruling class, extract our surplus value.

A socialist revolution will no doubt do away with the royal family; getting rid of the royal family won't get rid of capitalism. Know what I mean?

But the rolling heads of royals is a fair transitional demand right? laugh out loud

Working class organisation, I like your posts here, but I think they just bring out the worst in me laugh out loud

working class s...
Dec 5 2011 21:53

Croydonian,

Sorry, I didnt make myself clear enough.

The 'seeping poison' comment, and the remark about cost to the economy (wedding). What I meant was, that although some may see them as an irrelevance, they do in actual fact have an impact on us all.

I am certainly not a reformist. unless you call, scalping the chinless cunts, stringing em up, ripping our their fucking internal organs, and burning them, reformist.

Ed
Dec 5 2011 22:50

To be fair, I do reckon that would still be 'reformist' (as in it's reforming the parliamentary system - it's just a particularly bloodthirsty way of doing it! smile )..

I mean, say your thing with the scalping, stringing up etc happened, wouldn't we just be left with a republic with all the same shit (minus the £100m for their spending money..). Their property will be privately owned (either by companies or the state) and we'd get in on our ability to pay for it (whether they're hotels or museums or bits of seabed producing energy - though maybe some of the museums would be free actually). I'm not sure it would any equalising effect on society..

Also, still not sure about the stuff about the economy or public money going to their weddings and stuff as I don't reckon the economy or tax revenue is there to make the lives of working class people better.

RedEd
Dec 5 2011 22:57

I'm interested in point 4 (Charles overturning laws). Do you have a link?

Joseph Kay
Dec 5 2011 23:00
Fall Back
Dec 5 2011 23:25
Quote:
She has only ever said no to a low once.

Just had a quick look and as far as I can find, it's never been used since since Britain has been a 'democracy'. I could have missed it tho - what's the example you're thinking?

Croy
Dec 6 2011 08:55

I don't know the example, thats just what I was told when I learnt about in Government and Politics AS.

And as for the comment "what would anti monarchist actions look like" (paraphrasing), your only option would be propoganda by the deed, which would probably just have to be an assassination. And from what I have read on this site, the opinion seems to be at the moment that propoganda by the deed is outdated and not good to use. That said, I would not mind if they were killed any time soon.

Finally, sure they have an impact on the economy, but so does fucking everything, we live in a consumer society where it is impossible to escape capitalism and go and subsistence farm or some shit.

Patchy
Dec 6 2011 13:16

I'm with Ed on this one although I think for the ideological maintenance of British capitalism the monarchy plays a very crucial role, and as Ed said "I reckon they're fair game to write a few hundred words about from time to time". I wouldn't place any more significance over the monarchy however, their role is only propped up by capital and the only reason they continue to exist is because of their use to it, rather than an obsession of traditional power structures by the capitalist class. Again, as Ed points out, any concentration of propaganda on the monarchy implies that things would be so much better without one, ie. in a bourgeois republic. This is a reformist position however brutal you want to be with the members of the royal family, after all, the "terror" following on from the first French revolution was propagated by, and for the benefit of the risen French bourgeoisie. The capitalists are as good at abolishing them as we are.

I'd dismiss most of your points like Ed has done, the only one worth any meaning is the point on the suspected plot to coup Harold Wilson's government in 1974, although this is still speculation (obviously we would be hard pressed to have the secret service, of all institutions, to publicly confirm this). There was a confirmed board room meeting in 1968 between MI5, Lord Mountbatten and the head of the International Publishing Corporation on the matter as well but this amounted to nothing. There was, to be honest, probably very little involvement from the royal family and the Queen/Queen mother. But regardless, the main role of the monarchy is to act as the unitary head of State, the figure which transcends over lowly politics, the propagated idea that this figure cares only for the nation and its traditions and has no vested personal interest unlike politicians and capitalists who have financial profit to gain from it (which is obviously not true). That in times of crisis, you rally around both the "King/Queen and Country". It is based on the Hegelian argument for the constitutional monarchy, that in times of crisis the monarchy will be seen to transcend the petty political manoeuvrings which have placed the country in such a state of turmoil (turmoil for the wealthiest and the lowliest of subjects) and to come out of the woodwork to unite the country under their ideological leadership. It is not to say that they will take actual State power, but that the State in whatever form will be seen to be under the leadership of the monarch, that it acts in the interests of the monarch who in turn acts so selflessly in the interest of the nation, that it is no longer concerned with the politics of the 'left' and 'right' but that of the preservation of the nation and its tradition (which amounts to a defence of 'right-wing' politics).

We take Thailand for example, where the monarch's power and influence has been ever more increasing since the 1932 coup/'revolution' abolished the absolutist monarchy and replaced it with a constitutional one. The rising influence of the monarchy has been the result of a series of militarist coups against the rule of the 'democratically elected' parliament in defence of, you guessed it, the King, the traditions of Thailand and against the rise of the Communist party in the country. To this day, lese majeste laws are still in place and used mainly to silence reformist critics of the King, as well as being utilised by the conservatives to silence their liberal opponents. The 2006 military coup was conducted in order to 'preserve the monarchy', end Taksin's corruption, putting the nation back on track and because the monarchy is so selflessly concerned with the well-being of the nation, it was also supposedly in the interests of the Thai monarchy (despite their heavy dealings with Taksin and his family before the coup). I could hardly say that the monarchy was a stop gap for the Thai working class when they took over a large portion of the capital and set up barricades, stored weapons and attacked the army and police. Admittedly, with the absence of a coherent and sizeable revolutionary movement, many 'red shirts' were still restricted by their monarchist sympathies and carried placards and signs saying 'I love the King' as a reaction to the government accusations that the entire movement was anti-monarchist.

So in that sense, the monarchy is significant to the maintenance of class society in many countries, to act as the figure to unite around in times of crisis. But is it any more important to other ideological structures? I don't think so. It's worth dealing with, but not worth placing any more significance on it than say, the media, your employer or the State. They all compliment one another where they exist.

Alf
Dec 7 2011 07:50

I feel qualified to speak about this, because I did an a level in British Constitution, where I learned that the monarchy is A Good Thing, for two main reasons:

- in a constitutional monarchy, it is less likely that we will have extremes of government, a revolution, or other things which foreign types get up to
- it is very good for the tourist industry

There may have been other reasons, but that was a long time ago. You will be pleased to know that I got an A.

In conclusion then, and to sum up, the monarchy is just a small piece of the bourgeoisie's ideological armoury, far less important than, say, the Labour Party.

Jenre
Dec 7 2011 13:47

irrelevant or not it's always fun to mock them every now and then. keep it up

Chilli Sauce
Dec 7 2011 17:26

Agreed.

Standfield
Jun 4 2012 04:27

Thought I'd bump this, because I came across quite an interesting link (at least I think it is).

working class self organisation's blog said:

Quote:
She has the Royal Prerogative, which confers governments to pass legislation or declare war without consulting parliament. She last granted this power to Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands war

Actually, it was used for the recent Iraq war as well, and also for Thatcher's banning of Trade Unionism in the GCHQ in 1984.

I personally don't think it's as irrelevant as some people make it out to be, not because of the hereditary and unelected Royals per se, but because the British Government and the courts use it's power in the most undemocratic ways. They actively encourage the myth that there is no power among the Monarchy to get away, literally with murder, and making them completely unaccountable for such actions. The way I see it, the "Head of State" is a tool for unlimited, unaccountable Government powers.

It's all quite interesting, but the "prerogative power" comes in at 3:30: