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The May 18 wedding of British Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an African-American woman, set loose an astonishing display of euphoria among many progressives and people of color. They were “swept away” by Markle and elements of Black culture—a Black preacher, a gospel choir, a young Black cellist—that broke the mold… that is, the form—of the usually all-white and deadly dull royal wedding.

A widely retweeted comment from a Black journalist exemplified the widespread cluelessness, self-delusion, and shameless slavishness towards not just the British monarchy but oppressive ruling classes and systems generally: “So I’ve seen a black president of the United States, and now I’ll see a black woman joining the British royal family. What a time to be alive.”

ONE: “What a time to be alive”???

People—and in particular people among the oppressed who have been able to achieve some degree of privilege—really need to stop chasing the delusion that having some people like them in positions of power changes the nature of a system that is built on oppression.

Joy Reid on MSNBC actually brought up Charlotte, a British queen in the 1700s who Reid excitedly declared may have been the first black royal. Oh, how wonderful! Well, guess what, if that is true, Charlotte presided over Britain making a fortune in the slave trade… so what is your fucking point, Joy? And Obama proved that the system will go right on murdering Black youths, deporting Latino people, and waging murderous wars in the Third World, as a Black president both spearheads and provides cover for these crimes.

And now this capitalist-imperialist system has brought forth Trump and his regime, who in this time, serving the same system, is carrying out ethnic cleansing and promoting genocidal ideas.

“What a time…” WTF?!?!

This system needs to be overthrown, not given a facelift.

TWO: The British Monarchy—Not a Fairy Tale, Not a Quaint Anachronism, but a 1,000-Year-Old Horror Show Built on the Suffering of Billions

After the U.S., the British empire is almost certainly the most blood-drenched horror ever imposed on suffering humanity.

Let’s leave aside for now Britain’s role in the kidnapping and enslavement of an estimated 5.5 million African people who then became a source of great wealth laboring in the British colonies. Let’s not get into England’s bloody conquest of Ireland, including a war in the mid-17th century in which about half of Ireland’s population was either killed or made slaves, or the Great Famine of 1845-9 in which the British occupiers exported vast quantities of Irish food to England while around a million Irish people died of starvation.

Let’s talk about the “Crown Jewel of the British Empire”—India—so-called because it was the source of vast wealth as well as soldiers—Indian cannon-fodder for the imperial armed forces in other parts of the empire. England conquered India in the mid-18th century and turned its hundreds of millions of people into near-slaves (or sometimes soldiers), enriching the empire—and the Royal Family—even as starvation and suffering spread in their own land.

When Indian soldiers rose up in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the British responded with utter ruthlessness. In the city of Oudh alone, 150,000 Indians were killed, at least 100,000 of whom were civilians. Similar massacres happened in other major cities involved in the uprising. Captured rebels were tied to the mouths of cannons and then shells fired through them.

During World War 2 (1937-45) the British empire suffered serious defeats as Japanese imperialism seized a number of its colonies, including major rice producers like Burma (now Myanmar). Meanwhile, Britain ordered the destruction of boats, carts, and other means of transport necessary for farming in India to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese should India be taken. This and other factors led to a massive famine in India’s Bengal region. Echoing what they had done in Ireland, the British diverted rice from India to Britain and other parts of their empire. And even when Australia and other war allies of Britain offered grain for India, British Prime Minister Churchill claimed—falsely—that there were no boats available to ship it.

Between two and three million Bengalis died in this famine. Churchill’s response: “‘I hate Indians,’ he told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery. ‘They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.’ The famine was their own fault, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for ‘breeding like rabbits.’” (“The Ugly Briton,” TIME.com, November 29, 2010.)

And what about Africa? At the Berlin Conference in 1884-85, Britain and 12 other European powers plus the U.S. carved up Africa, allotting different parts to different colonizers. This division set the terms for barbaric exploitation of Africa’s land, mineral wealth, and people, which goes on to this day. It deliberately established states encompassing rival tribal groups, thus setting the stage for Britain’s notorious policy of “divide and rule,” in which one tribal group would be favored by the empire and empowered to act as agents in the exploitation and suppression of the majority, setting up bitter and bloody divisions which, again, persist to this day.

Africa became a stomping ground for great-power rivalry. To oppose Germany, Britain built a railroad linking its East African colony of Kenya to Uganda by importing 30,000 laborers from India—as many as 10,000 of whom died, while exploitation in Kenya was intensified to pay for the railroad.

In 1952, Kenyans rose up in the Mau Mau rebellion for “Land and Freedom.” The rebellion was defeated in a two-year war… and then the British set out to break the rebel spirit by imprisoning 160,000-200,000 men in concentration camps, and while keeping about 1.5 million women and children in “enclosed villages … surrounded by spiked trenches, barbed wire and watch towers.” Both men and women were massively subjected to extremely cruel torture, including widespread castration of men (after their testicles were first crushed by pliers) and women having their breasts cut off, being raped, or having broken bottles forced up their vaginas. (For more on this, see the revcom.us review of the 2005 book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya, by Caroline Elkin.)

Yes, long live the goddamned British Monarchy and oh please, honor us by letting us be some small part of it!

THREE: The British Monarchy Is STILL a Bunch of Vampires Shedding and Sucking the Blood of the Oppressed

While Britain is no longer the most powerful oppressor in the world—as it was for hundreds of years—it revels in its role as “junior partner” to the U.S. empire, contributing firepower and sharing in the wealth that the U.S. extracts from its huge empire. And sorry people, Prince Harry is right down with it, 100 percent. In fact, Harry did two tours of duty in Afghanistan, helping the U.S. to bring these strategic countries under its control, in wars that have led to over a million deaths and many millions of people being displaced. Harry insisted on being in combat, and on flying Apache attack helicopters, which can fire Hellfire missiles and thousands of bullets per minute—in 2011, the UN reported that the Apache was “responsible for the majority of civilian deaths from air strikes.” (“U.N. Report: Apache Helicopters to Blame for Afghan Civilian Deaths,” PBS, July 14, 2011.)

Harry compared shooting people from an Apache with playing video games. (“Prince Harry ‘driving wedge between forces and Afghan locals,’” Telegraph, January 22, 2013.)

And by the way—he made sure to wear his military uniform at the wedding.

Why Should the Oppressed Yearn for “Inclusion” in Any of This?!

The fact that such vampires are held up as role models is itself a sign of how utterly morally and historically bankrupt capitalism-imperialism is. The fact that large numbers of people get sucked into this shows the extreme urgency of bringing forward a movement for revolution, and with it, growing thousands of revolutionary “role models” who dedicate their lives to the emancipation of humanity, not its enslavement.


Revolution newspaper/revcom.us, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.

Originally published at revcom.us

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Excellent Article: Excellent for revealing the truth behind the pageantry of the Royal Wedding; excellent for reminding us that no matter the fact that some individual black has “risen” to power and privilege, that does not mean that racism has been erased; excellent for reminding us of the horrors of British imperialism. Excellent