Forget jubilee, queen and country - we've a collective future to fight for!

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30 May 2012

Whatever one feels about the antiquated institution of "royalty", the additional 2-day holiday which accompanies the Queen's Jubilee is welcome.

That is, at least for those lucky enough to have a job, who can therefore take a paid holiday (or time in lieu, if in essential services).

But that's about as far as it goes. Behind the illusion of a "happy population" joining with the royals to celebrate, lies the social reality that all the media's brainwashing cannot conceal.

Because millions are de facto excluded from the benefits of a bank holiday - the jobless, of course, but also most casual, part-time and self-employed workers. Because, for many of them, the official royal "generosity" won't be paying them a penny for the duration!

But who needs the royals?

But why on earth, in the 21st century, should the celebration of an event in the life of an outdated institution be required, before the working class is allowed some well-earned extra time off? We can sure do with this break - although we could also do without the obligatory blanket coverage in the media at the expense of everything else, for a whole week, not to mention the temporary paralysis of London!

It would be better for all concerned if the royals along with all their paraphernalia, just went away quietly, without any fuss. For far too long, they have been allowed to parasitise public funds, go on all-expenses-paid trips overseas, live in historical monuments - which should have been opened to visitors all year round, long ago. Yet there is nothing special about them: quite the contrary.

Their claim to their position is based purely on the fact that they are descendants of a European princely family which, in the 17th century, staged a reactionary coup against the progressive fighters in the English revolution. And thanks to this, today they own an estimated £17bn worth in assets!

Four centuries on, this relic of feudalism remains, even if the power of the monarchy has long disappeared and today's royals are no more than an expensive symbol. But they have a function which is not innocuous - to serve as a fig leaf for the profit system.

It's not for nothing that the politicians of the capitalist class have chosen to make such a huge fuss around the Jubilee this year. Royalty is supposed to stand there, holding the Union Jack, above all classes and above the deep social and economic crisis of this decaying capitalist system, to give credit to the idea that "we're all in it together", behind the royals and the flag.

But we're not. This is a class society and we, the working class, have social and political interests which are opposed to those of the royals and their capitalist sidekicks. Unlike the monarchy and the capitalist profiteers, who represent the past of society, we represent its future.

Towards the future

Against the background of the present crisis, when millions of working class households are having a hard time keeping their heads above water, these grotesque celebrations can only appear for what they are - both irrelevant and arrogant.

And no matter how much effort the media and politicians put into using the Jubilee to divert our attention from the real issues raised by the crisis, they won't succeed.

They've gone to great lengths to present this event as a "handout" to working people. But as far as we're concerned, it's not once every ten or twenty years that we could do with some additional rest - it's every week. Aren't working hours in Britain among the longest in Europe? Isn't it high time the length of the working week was substantially reduced, without loss of pay? And when the economy is so short of jobs, that 1 under-25 in 4 can't find a job, wouldn't this go some way towards helping them out?

More than a 100 years ago our great grand parents were already striking in their factories and mines to win the 10-hour day. And where are we at today, after a century of technological progress, which has seen labour productivity increase many fold thanks to technology? At an average working week which is around 50 hours!

That is capitalism in a nutshell, a system which is incapable of putting the progress of science and knowledge at the service of mankind as a whole. In order for a parasitic capitalist minority to increase its profits, this system can only waste the very advances it generates - when it does not destroy them, as it does today, in the crisis.

Building a future designed to cater for the needs of the whole of mankind will only be achieved by getting rid of all parasitic remnants of the past, from Buckingham Palace, to the City. This is the task of the working class.