Not being a monarchist, I am bemused by the medieval pomp and ceremony surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth and the ascension of Charles to the throne. My social media feeds are filled with a mixture of posts. Many express deep sadness over the death of the Queen. Others proclaim it’s time we looked at the history of colonialism, slavery and the appropriation of indigenous lands by the Crown. Many suggest this is a perfect time for Australia and other Commonweath countries to move towards becoming republics.
Many are saying that the Queen was a very good person who supported many worthwhile charities. She had very good manners and always remained calm under pressure. Others are saying she never once spoke out about the injustices and exploitative policies that have been perpetuated in the name of the Crown in the past. Both of these positions have their truths.
Not being a monarchist but not being indigenous either, I retreat back into my witness self and observe all this furor going on around me. What comes to me is that the monarchy is a hierarchal system that maintains itself by proclaiming that a small percentage of the population are somehow better and more entitled than the rest of us by reasons of birth. At a time when countless people, myself included, are finding it hard to find an affordable place to live as the cost of living soars, I find the idea of hereditary privilege inimical.
It seems to me that the current version of the British monarchy and capitalism are inextricably linked. Both exploit the masses for the benefit of the few. Land and resources are controlled by those in positions of power. Perhaps the debate about republicanism could be extended to include a debate about capitalism and the exploitation of the many by the few.