Friday, 28 October 2011

Equal rights for princesses?

The leaders of 16 commonwealth countries have unanimously agreed that the first born child of the monarch will inherit the throne regardless of gender. At the same time, they have lifted the ban on marrying Roman Catholics. David Cameron thinks that these changes reflect "the modern countries that we have become."

The pronouncements on this subject are nothing short of absurd. Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard declares this "a change which equals equality for women in a new area," and the Queen herself has suggested that "it encourages us to find ways to show girls and women to play their full part" in society. The Guardian, meanwhile, opines that "it would be churlish not to welcome the news that a zephyr of egalitarian zeal has at last blown through court and political circles." They give credit to David Cameron and say "Labour should be ashamed" for not addressing "an egregious breach of human rights and equality" such as the rules of succession to the throne.

But let's stop for a moment and remember that we are talking about a monarchy. That is, the institution by which a person is installed as head of state on the basis of which vagina they shot out of. The last relic of feudalism and horrendous inhumanity and injustice that went with it. On what level, in what backwards interpretation of reality, does that have anything to do with equality?

So, women can ascend the throne ahead of men. Awesome. But after all is said and done we still have a throne, at the head of a state which claims a monopoly of force over those within its territory whilst serving the interests of capital at the expense of the working class. The vast majority of people are still excluded from the possibility of ever being head of state on the basis of their birth, and even if they weren't - as in America and elsewhere without a monarchy - we would still have capitalism and a class system that is the very basis of inequality.

The Guardian will have to forgive me for being churlish. But that the government finds the time to address something as pointless as establishing gender equality in hereditary privilege - more, that the media finds this laudable and newsworthy whilst working class people suffer attacks on their livelihoods and futures at the hands of these same governments with the assent of this same monarchy - is just fucking bollocks.

The only reform of the monarchy worth taking notice of will be when they tear it down and dismantle it entirely. Followed closely by the entire capitalist system within which this relic exists.