Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Friday, June 02, 2006

2nd June 2006 - First British Republic Day

Reading: Some pages of Finnegans Wake, some pages of Robert Goddard's "Past Caring", Morning Star, Guardian and BBC News websites, "Comment Is Free" blogs, various Wikipedia pages.
Listening: Local radio.
Viewing: None.

Firstly, I have just added a link to the excellent ZNet and Zmag sites - happy radical reading!
Today is the first "Republic Day" in Britain, initiated by the campaign group "Republic". This is a welcome development. Monarchy is an expensive and dangerous anachronism - its supporters are quite open that it is something to weld together different classes with opposing interests ("national unity") and is there to be wheeled into action when the "interests of the state" (for which read the interests of the capitalist ruling class) are threatened. What is more the British Prime Minister has monarchical powers, shown particularly during the rule of neo-liberal demagogues like Blair and Thatcher. There is a proud republican tradition in Britain - from Scottish, Welsh and Irish republicans to the English Levellers and Diggers of the Civil War period, through Tom Paine and others to the republican clubs of the 1870s, from the "red republicans" that grew out of the Chartist and early socialist movement to the modern republican campaigners and individuals. There are now several British republican websites like Republic and Throne Out. Those who say the monarchy is an irrelevance to the struggle ignore the power of symbols and archetypes that I have mentioned on here before, as well as the very real monarchical powers that are held in reserve to serve the ruling class. Hereditary monarchy is an offence to the democratic principle at the very head of the Britsh state - this offence filters down through the other organs of power like the crony-filled, appointed second house, the dictatorial Prime Minister and the established church.
As far as republcan symbols are concerned there has been recent interesting debate occasioned by an article in the Morning Star by Nick Wright. In response to his call for adoption of the red, white and green tricolour as a flag of recognition for British republicans with historical precedents there were letters arguing the case for the alternatives of the blue, white and green tricolour used by the nineteenth century English Republican propagandist Linton, and for the adoption of a tricolour in purple, white and green, as used by the suffragettes in their battle for the vote. I tend to favour the latter, as the red, white and green is too close to several existing flags, and Linton's flag appears to be currently used by some dubious elements. I like the suggestion on the vexillologist website that it could be in the proportions of one to the square root of three - that would add a certain uniqueness!
Anyhow, in celebration of the day, here they are -



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