Determined to prove that republicans aren’t meekly hiding away for the occasion, Republic, the UK’s largest lobby group for the abolition of the monarchy, is to hold a counter-celebration on royal wedding day in support of people power and democracy.
Not content to fly the republican flag on its own patch, it will also host a gathering of co‑thinkers from all the large European monarchies (Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden), united in a common drive to rid the continent of their feudal arrangements. If this response to the ‘happy day’ seems a little sober, the ‘Love Republic’ event with DJs and live bands shows that republicans can party with the best of them – albeit without the royalist overtones.
Music can be a powerful medium to convey the anti-monarchist message, but with John Lydon’s disappointingly sycophantic comments in the Sun about the wedding couple, it is clear that a genuine punk antidote is needed. Filling the gap is someone whose politics are a world away from those who, like Republic, want to replace the Queen with a democratically elected head of state. Anarchist, musician and writer Ian Bone – once labelled ‘Britain’s most dangerous man’ by the tabloids – will be making his sentiments loud and clear by releasing a remix of his ‘Better Dead than Wed’ CD on 5 April.
Originally released in 1986 to coincide with Andrew and Fergie’s wedding, he plans a new version with updated lyrics especially for Will and Kate. The song contains many catchy and colourful lyrics about the royals, including:
‘We’ve got a wedding present,
On this we’re very keen,
It’s built to last for frequent use,
It’s called a guillotine.’
Bone is well known for his direct militancy mixed with humour and was a founding member of various anarchist groups, such as Movement Against Monarchy (MAM), which was heavily involved with protests around the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Gawain, a member of the London-based Whitechapel Anarchist Group, says that they will also be taking to the streets again: ‘We would love to see a return of MAM and have been in talks with other anarchist groups to try to revive the movement in time for the wedding day.’
Anti-royalists in Scotland and Wales also have alternative events planned. The Scottish Socialist Party plans a public rally on the day of the wedding with an array of speakers and musicians yet to be finalised. It also plans to relaunch the Declaration of Carlton Hill event in Edinburgh, which originally took place as an alternative republican celebration to the opening of the Scottish Parliament. The declaration calls for an independent socialist Scotland, free from the ‘hierarchical and anti-democratic institutions of the British state’.
In Wales, the nationalist cultural group Balchder Cymru (Pride of Wales) is planning an alternative five-day celebration called the ‘Escape the Wedding Camp’, at a campsite near Machynlleth in north Wales. It is also considering planning a march through the town on the day of the wedding.
Organiser Adam Phillips explains that this location was chosen as it was the seat of Owain Glyndw^r’s independent Welsh parliament: ‘We are giving people an opportunity to escape the razzle dazzle and media hype. Not everyone will be celebrating this wedding because the taxpayer is footing the bill during a time of recession and cutbacks.’
Indeed, many will be simply outraged by the massive public cost of the wedding, estimated at £20 million.
Then there is the matter of the guest list. Among the usual dignitaries and celebrities will be the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both of whom have brutally oppressed their own people as they bravely rally for democracy.
George Galloway, among others, has made his feelings clear: ‘The king of Bahrain presides over a dictatorship which cuts down demonstrators, including a two-year-old child. The king of Saudi Arabia rules over an outfit where people are executed on a Friday afternoon and women are not allowed to drive cars or go out without a male relative.
‘What do these despots have to do with a wedding in Britain at the taxpayers’ expense? If the monarchy wants to remain meaningful it has to relate to our society, not a fellowship of despotic kings.’
As the government takes the spending axe to public services, is it not time that we rid ourselves of the most wasteful, archaic and undemocratic institution of all? As Sue Townsend, author and republican campaigner, proposes: ‘Perhaps one day Britons will take a lead from the Egyptians and congregate in Trafalgar Square and march down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace – hopefully without a shot being fired or a taser being employed – to demand that the monarchy be abolished and sent to live among the people.’
The ‘Love Republic’ event takes place from 7:30pm on 29 April at Borough Bar, 10-18 London Bridge Street, London SE1. www.republic.org.uk
This article is part of our series on emerging political movements, made possible with the help of the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust
When fire safety has become a privilege for the rich, it’s time to stop austerity and fund emergency mass works to raise standards immediately, writes Jane Shallice
The election result has irreversibly changed political discourse in the UK, writes James Fox
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Bernie Grant's election to parliament, Ayo Wallace explores the life and legacy of his radical representation of Tottenham's black communities.
Across Britain, hundreds of thousands of people have now taken part in mass rallies for Corbyn's Labour. Eli Regan soaks up the atmosphere in Warrington
The under-30s could be decisive in the general election. Frances Grahl meets young people hit by Tory austerity and looks at what's driving their support for Labour
“To them it’s just another number, someone else being sent back. But when you’ve got three children being left without their dad … it’s quite major,” writes Rebecca Omonira-Okeykanmi.
Hundreds of people surrounded the fences this weekend. Hera Lorandos spoke to women who have suffered inside.
Grassroots posters giving an alternative take on the general election
Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
Jeremy Corbyn is no longer the leader of the opposition – he has become the People’s Prime Minister
While Theresa May hides away, Corbyn stands with the people in our hours of need, writes Tom Walker
In the aftermath of this disaster, we must fight to restore respect and democracy for council tenants
Glyn Robbins says it's time to put residents, not private firms, back at the centre of decision-making over their housing
After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections
Under cover of 'cutting red tape', the government has been slashing safety standards. It's time for it to stop, writes Christine Berry
Why the Grenfell Tower fire means everything must change
The fire was a man-made atrocity, says Faiza Shaheen – we must redesign our economic system so it can never happen again
Forcing MPs to take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy undermines democracy
As long as being an MP means pledging loyalty to an unelected head of state, our parliamentary system will remain undemocratic, writes Kate Flood
7 reasons why Labour can win the next election
From the rise of Grime for Corbyn to the reduced power of the tabloids, Will Murray looks at the reasons to be optimistic for Labour's chances next time
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 25 June
On June 25th, the fourth of Red Pepper Race Section's Open Editorial Meetings will celebrate the launch of our new black writers' issue - Empire Will Eat Itself.
After two years of attacks on Corbyn supporters, where are the apologies?
In the aftermath of this spectacular election result, some issues in the Labour Party need addressing, argues Seema Chandwani
If Corbyn’s Labour wins, it will be Attlee v Churchill all over again
Jack Witek argues that a Labour victory is no longer unthinkable – and it would mean the biggest shake-up since 1945
On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist
Hilary Wainwright pays tribute to the life and legacy of Robin Murray, one of the key figures of the New Left whose vision of a modern socialism lies at the heart of the Labour manifesto.
Letter from the US: Dear rest of the world, I’m just as confused as you are
Kate Harveston apologises for the rise of Trump, but promises to make it up to us somehow
The myth of ‘stability’ with Theresa May
Settit Beyene looks at the truth behind the prime minister's favourite soundbite
Civic strike paralyses Colombia’s principle pacific port
An alliance of community organisations are fighting ’to live with dignity’ in the face of military repression. Patrick Kane and Seb Ordoñez report.
Greece’s heavy load
While the UK left is divided over how to respond to Brexit, the people of Greece continue to groan under the burden of EU-backed austerity. Jane Shallice reports
On the narcissism of small differences
In an interview with the TNI's Nick Buxton, social scientist and activist Susan George reflects on the French Presidential Elections.
Why Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’ is exaggerated: Polls show he’s more popular than most other parties’ leaders – and on the up
Headlines about Jeremy Corbyn’s poor approval ratings in polls don’t tell the whole story, writes Alex Nunns
Job vacancy: Red Pepper is looking for a political organiser
Closing date for applications: postponed, see below
The media wants to demoralise Corbyn’s supporters – don’t let them succeed
Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
In light of Dunkirk: What have we learned from the (lack of) response in Calais?
Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
Osborne’s first day at work – activists to pulp Evening Standards for renewable energy
This isn’t just a stunt. A new worker’s cooperative is set to employ people on a real living wage in a recycling scheme that is heavily trolling George Osborne. Jenny Nelson writes
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
Ken Loach, Dawn Foster & Soweto Kinch to speak in Croydon at the first event of a UK-wide series organised by The World Transformed and local activists
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself