by Bhabani Shankar Nayak 18 September 2022
There is no doubt that many of people mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth-II. The public display of death and celebration of her life exposes the false foundations of British democracy. It conceals her role in presiding over apartheid and colonialism in African, Asian, American and Caribbean nations. It is impossible to separate British colonial state and British monarchy in the history of colonialism. The British monarchy is directly benefitted from the colonial rule. The brutal subjugation and exploitation of British working class is the foundation of British monarchy. The white supremacist ideology and entrenched racism that prevails today derives its historic justification from British royalty. The public display and celebration of queen’s death is against the spirit of democratic ethos of the 21st century.
The Queen Elizabeth-II’s life is neither inspiring nor contributes anything progressive to the public life in Britain or anywhere else. The creation of mass hysteria around queen’s life with the help of mass media and state is a way to normalise the celebration of queens and kings in higher pedestals of our society. It undermines democracy and naturalises feudal values led by kings and queens. There is pouring of condolence messages after the death of Queen Elizabeth II as long serving queen. Yes, she is the longest representative of British monarchy who lived an incomparable lavishly unconcerned life of privileges with public resources. There is no comparison in history when it comes of the privileged life of Queen Elizabeth II. The British monarchy is a symbol of colonialism, slavery, exploitation and anti-democratic ethos.
The British monarchy continue to make money from land, parks, cricket grounds and streets to prisons. The British royal family owns £18.2 billion assets whereas over 26,000 households are homeless, nearly 14.5 million British people are suffering from poverty and more than 2 million adults can’t afford to eat everyday with the rising of cost-of-living crisis. It is time for radical reforms for the deepening of democratic governance of resources. It is time to demand redistribution of land and other resources owned by few families in Britain for the survival of the masses.
It is time to revive the radical traditions of St Peter’s Fields that reminds the power of people. The working-class people gathered peacefully in St Peter’s Fields in Manchester on 16th of August 1819 to demand democratic reforms for women’s rights and challenge the Anti-Corn Laws. The working-class women have not only participated but also led the movement for democracy in Britain. This movement was brutally supressed, eighteen people were killed, and more than seven hundred people were injured by the royal Yeomanary. William Fildes; a two years old boy was killed and his mother Anne Fildes, was trampled by a horse. The British monarchy led minimalist democracy has presided over the Peterloo massacre which killed women, men and children. Sarah Jones, Margaret Downes, Mary Heyes and Martha Partington were martyrs for democracy in Britain, but these heroic figures continue to be marginalised in British history. History is not about the love stories, lives and deaths of kings and queens. History is created and shaped by the material forces, social and political commitments of working people who drive the progressive change. These working women and men are the real driving forces in history.
The women like Sarah Jones, Margaret Downes, Mary Heyes and Martha Partington are true queens of our society. These women have not only sacrificed their lives in the service of our society but also changed the course of patriarchal democratic history led by British monarchy. These women continue to inspire and represent unparallel courage and commitment in the struggle for social change and political transformation. These working-class women continue to threat the forces of dominance represented by British monarchy.
Let the near and dear ones of Queen Elizabeth-II mourn her death in private and celebrate her life. It is time to stop the public display of her death and immortalise the history of monarchy and its exploitative systems. It is time to celebrate the real queens like Sarah Jones, Margaret Downes, Mary Heyes and Martha Partington, whose radical lives symbolise courage, commitment, dedication and inspiration for the deepening of democracy in Britain.