Millions in the UK have been made a captive audience, with hagiographic media reports, delivered in the necessary solemn tones, forcing the entire country to show their respects whether they like it or not.
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the British ruling class has lost its popular head of state on which it has relied to project the myth of national unity and suppress social conflict.
Her death occurs at a time of acute economic, social and political crisis for British imperialism, including the deepest collapse of living standards since the Great Depression, a NATO proxy war against Russia waged on mainland Europe, and a rising wave of class struggle that threatens to erupt into a general strike.
The significance of Elizabeth II’s funeral is well illustrated by reference to a previous British royal funeral, more than a century earlier, that of Edward VII.
Amid the mind-numbing eulogies to Queen Elizabeth II, it is frequently asserted that she was “one of us” and “everyone’s grandmother”.
What was being celebrated at Westminster Hall is the ability of Britain’s imperialist bourgeoisie to utilise the monarchy as a means of sanctifying and reinforcing its own power.
The CWU tweeted within 50 minutes of the announcement of her death, “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrows planned strike action.”
The working class cannot take a step forward except by wresting control of their struggles from the TUC and the Labour Party—and their defenders.
Unite postpones London bus strikes out of respect for the Queen, puts below-inflation pay offer to members
This regime of “national mourning”, enforced through censorship and repression, is aimed against the working class
The NHS’s million-plus strong workforce, the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, wields enormous collective power, but they have been systematically demobilized by the trade unions.
Widespread anger at the police clampdown led leading political commentators and newspaper columnists with a long record of upholding the interests of British imperialism to warn that police attacks on people with republican views—a position held by at least a quarter of the population—was undermining faith in the institutions of the state.
This is the first part of a two-part article reviewing the BBC 2 documentary “The Plot against Harold Wilson.”
Even during the archaic mourning rituals, King Charles provided a glimpse of the real role of the monarchy, as an institution of imperialist rule.
When Nigerian-born Uju Anya tweeted her hatred of British imperialism after the death of Queen Elizabeth, she was denounced by billionaire Jeff Bezos and censored by Twitter.
One of the most notorious crimes was the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya. It began shortly after then Princess Elizabeth left Kenya in February 1952.
The endless tributes to the Queen are being used to divert attention from worsening social inequality, the policy of mass COVID infection and New Zealand’s integration into imperialist wars.
Nervously, the Queen is being variously described as the “anchor,” “ballast” and “bedrock” that held society together for 70 years amid economic, political and social turmoil.
None of the island’s governments have been able to redress British imperialism’s legacy of underdevelopment, dependency and above all economic hardship and social inequality.
The current royal crisis centred on Prince Andrew unfolds under conditions of factional warfare within the Conservative Party, the pre-eminent parliamentary vehicle of the bourgeoisie, and another over the leadership of the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force.
Correspondence between the queen’s private lawyer and civil servants responsible to Edward Heath’s Conservative government in 1973 documents how the monarch objected to anything that might reveal her private investments in listed companies.
While the media focuses on blanket coverage of the doings of the “royals” at Buckingham Palace and Montecito California, Britain is in the grip of a social and economic crisis of unprecedented dimensions.
The Tories have long desired to replace cheap migrant labour with a native workforce so reduced to penury that they too will do backbreaking work for a pittance.
The decision of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to “step back” takes place amid a more general crisis of every major institution of the British state apparatus.
Netflix series on Elizabeth II
The Crown is a biographical drama series, created and written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Damned United), about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season covers the years 1947 to 1955.
The season begins with the Suez crisis in 1956 and ends in 1963 with the Soviet spy scare centred on War Minister John Profumo.
Morgan’s attempt to portray the monarchy’s inner life in human terms successfully captures something of its corrosive impact on all concerned. He shows portions of the ugly reality.