The suspension of strike action on the railways and in Royal Mail and the postponement of the RCN nurses’ strike ballot by the union leaderships, literally within minutes of notice of the queen’s death, reveals exactly the true function of the British monarchy. Bringing the “nation” together, unity of all... Yes, concealing the deep class divide between poor and rich, working class and exploiting class - that same class which today refuses absolutely to pay workers a living wage!
Like it or not, by government decree, the whole population has been pulled into a drawn-out, incredibly lavish, over-the-top ceremonial reaction. This weekend, even football and rugby premier leagues and test match cricket, among other sporting and cultural fixtures - were stopped, postponed, or cancelled for obligatory mourning.
Yet the oppressive nature of the society and its inbuilt institutional prejudice and injustice cannot be hidden, even in these hyped-up circumstances. On Friday and Saturday protests took place (and they will continue!) in London, against the cold-blooded murder on the night of the 5th of September, by a police marksman, of the young black rapper, Chris Kaba, which, given the circumstances, can only be understood as a racist killing.
The optical illusion of a respectable “classless monarchy” in service of the public - aided by incredible (and incredibly expensive!) show-business - is precisely what the British capitalist state has relied upon these past 70 years to help it keep social peace.
And as we hear from the endless messages of condolence from politicians of every stripe, it makes no difference which party has sat in government. They have all upheld - and continue to uphold - this gold and diamond-encrusted system, equally! And to display their loyalty and obedience, every MP has been wearing black when attending the House of Commons in the days after the royal death.
The monarchy isn’t neutral
Of course, contrary to the wall-to-wall commentary about her, the queen was never a “neutral figure”, nor even “above it all”. Silence over her own opinions was always the silence of consent.
In truth this most bourgeois of queens – an extremely rich capitalist, in her own right, who nevertheless got a “sovereign grant” of £102.4 million from “her people” – would have found little fault with any of the prime ministers who kissed (or shook) her hand. Not even with the disgraced Boris Johnson and continuity PM Liz Truss, the last 2 to do so.
By saying nothing, Mrs Windsor was always saying “yes” to the perpetuation of the class system which British capitalism rests upon. And moreover, to a blood-soaked British imperialism and its domination over the so-called “Commonwealth” (“her great love”!); wealth which was and still is, sucked out of former dominions into British hands. Nothing “common” about it! But this is precisely why it is so vital to the ruling class to keep the monarchy alive, even if this would be an excellent moment to get rid of it for good!
So there was no pause. “The queen is dead, long live the king”. Charles 3rd shifted straight into her place. And as he said in advance, he understands that he’ll now have to keep his “dotty”, (by his own admission) opinions to himself… Silence means consent.
The throne must be overthrown!
Quite a few railway and postal workers were sad, not because of the death of the queen, but because of the cancellation of their strike days! And many were very angry. Rail union members received immediate messages on Thursday, reading: the "RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth. The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended...” We express our deepest condolences...”
Really? So the class struggle got suspended in mid-air in favour of joining the nation in (class!) unity, by the same union leader who just 2 months ago announced that the “working class” was “back”! Actually, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, union leaders are not revolutionaries. And militant officials are usually weeded out long before they get near to the top position!
Instead of staying on strike and demonstrating to the other classes how they can do nothing without us, workers are expected to observe 10 days of mourning, culminating in the most expensive funeral procession the world has ever seen! And all paid for by those “hard-working families” which politicians are so fond of mentioning. Families who today cannot afford to pay their bills, even after PM Truss intervened to limit energy costs to a maximum of... £2,500!
All that said, however, the working class WILL be back. There’s no other choice but to continue fighting. Ultimately though, the struggle has to go much further. The whole rotten, top-heavy, class system needs overthrowing. Because enough is too much.