On April 29, we are all supposed to forget for a moment the class war being quietly waged against us in austerity Britain. We are meant to dig deep into our rapidly decreasing bank accounts and shell out for some bunting – for an all-out celebration of the aristocracy.
Ah, the aristocracy. Just like any endangered species, those that are left are the most adaptable and have the strongest survival instinct. Royalty continues to thrive, absolving itself from existential threats by occasionally doing something with such mind-boggling extremes of pomp and ceremony that its importance is re-asserted in a jumble of glitz, red carpets and sycophantic commentary.
Of course, in pulling these stunts they also fulfil their only real function of somehow diluting the fact that the country is entirely run by different, but no less objectionable, group of unelected millionaires. The looming royal wedding is no exception – and with the cuts in full swing the timing is impeccable.
The media will suspend its (already temperamental) newsworthiness gauge, and plough out enough wedding-related drivel to make the average person feel like a battering ram’s being taken to their armour of rational thought and sense of perspective. No wonder one artist has been producing royal wedding themed sick bags.
To make matters worse, who’s paying for this expensive, spectacular event? Mainly us. Although most people would see a £5 million security bill as a hint to scale down their plans, it’s probably not so important when you’re not personally coughing up.
While the newspapers moan about the cost of policing those who exercise their democratic right to protest, flushing funds down the gilded royal toilet bowl is seen as just fine.
Here are a few things you could do to make the day more bearable.
1 Party like a republican
If you’ve got a day off work, you may as well make the most of it. Anti-monarchist campaigners Republic are already organising their ‘Not the Royal Wedding’ street party, but you can throw your own.
Play Crass and the Sex Pistols, boycott the Queen’s money and eat cake (but not Victoria sponge). Providing an alternative for your local community will be an interesting experiment to see who actually gives a crap about the royals and who’s just out for the beer and barbecue.
2 Read the small print
As the national newspapers devote not only the first few pages but an entire keepsake supplement to the royal do, it will be the perfect time for the government to push out some controversial bill or other safe in the knowledge that, at best, it’ll make page six. Spin doctors will assume we’re either too busy celebrating the nuptials of two bland, over-privileged strangers to notice, or else studiously avoiding all media outlets until it’s over. Don’t be fooled.
3 Place your bets now!
Sometimes, like a piece of forgotten commemorative china, romance loses its sparkle. When do you think the divorce papers will be served?
Cynical? Yes. But it’s also rather uncertain. On the one hand, there’s so far been no ambiguous blonde circling Will’s polo matches like a cross between a horse and a bird of prey. On the other, there’s the much-hyped fact that Middleton is a ‘commoner’ and, therefore, it can only be a matter of time before she runs screaming from the palace.
Another flutter could be: how long until Harry makes a fool of himself at the reception? Odds currently on three minutes or less.
4 Re-enact the Putney debates
The last serious entertaining of the idea of abolishing the monarchy took place way back in 1647. While it may leave something to be desired in the way of historical accuracy, discussing the nature of inherited privilege and democracy in your own living room, with plenty of pint-waving and shouts of ‘hear hear!’, is one way to stick two fingers up at the whole circus.
The Putney debates were said to have concluded in the preservation of the monarchy, in part for fear that dissolution of the old power structures would result in anarchy. That’s a debate worth revisiting.
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
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
Drax is the UK's biggest source of CO2 emissions – and we're paying for it, writes Almuth Ernsting
For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
Housing campaigners' gains in Bristol are spurring on a national movement to build a renters' union, writes Stuart Melvin
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava
It may seem as though these apps are working for us, but we are also working for the apps, writes Kurt Iveson
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
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform