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Having read ‘Royal Babylon’, a phenomenal piece of writing by Heathcote Williams, on the website of the International Times, I am reminded that we have every reason to loathe the monarchy and yet have become inured to its existence. This is in part because of the way it has humanised itself.
Gone are the Germanic strangulated vowels and clipped consonants, to be replaced with the public-school cockney favoured by Tony Blair and Peaches Geldof. Prince William can kick a football about, with no apparent urge to pick it up and run for the touchline. Black people are glad-handed as often as possible, and even picked up if small and sick enough.
The royals seem pretty much like any other celebrities, and other celebrities relate to them as such. Is that Christopher Biggins or Princess Michael of Kent in the audience? Either way, they can take a joke, so long as it’s delivered in a spirit of ingratiating bonhomie.
And it’s all for charity. If Prince Charles can’t reach out to disenfranchised youths, raised on vast estates, surrounded by guns and having no hope of worthwhile employment, who can? And look at all those teenagers getting Iron Crosses as part of the Duke of Windsor’s award scheme.
Do we really want the bother of an elected president? Isn’t a Windsor a familiar and convenient alternative? In the same way, I’d rather my funeral were moderated by a vicar than have my corpse exploited by the humanists. However irrational religion might be, I prefer the diffident mumbling of a cleric to the outpourings of people so unrelentingly pleased with themselves. I’m serious about that.
Perhaps abolition of the monarchy isn’t a priority right now. We could get round to it when we get round to abolishing capitalism. Which reminds me…
Marienna Pope-Weidemann explains why decades of occupation and oppression have lead some people to call Israel an apartheid state.
International Women's Day is set to be marked by strikes from "paid work in offices and factories, or unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms."
Laurie Laybourn-Langton writes that measuring the economy is political - and economic measurement dominates politics.
David Scott argues that our prison system represents a human rights disaster, and reformist solutions can't tackle the root problems.
A deeper engagement with culture can strengthen our democracy, taking political projects beyond electoral impact and festival memes into a whole new world of radical, lasting change.
Ruth Tanner writes that revelations about Oxfam's behaviour in Haiti are shocking, but not surprising.
The actions of Oxfam officials are horrendous - but gutting foreign aid funding just puts more people at risk, writes Daniel Gibson.
Dr Laura Basu explains that the media allowed politicians to re-write history, erasing the true causes of the economic crisis.
Outsourced cleaners are on the front lines of the battle for workers' rights. By Emiliano Mellino
Power to our beloved comrade and friend, Mehmet Aksoy, a hero of Kurdistan and the internationalist struggles against capitalism, colonialism and fascism. This tribute was authored by Mehmet’s family and friends.
For All, By All
The latest issue of Red Pepper asks - how do we invite, support and nurture greater public participation so that our cultural capabilities are empowered beyond the crushing logic of market fundamentalism?
‘We are hungry in three languages’: The forgotten promise of the Bosnian Spring
Ruth Tanner looks back at a wave of protests which swept through Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
It’s time for a cultural renewal of the left
Andrew Dolan writes that we need to integrate art, music, films and poetry into our movement, creating spaces where political ideas are given further room to breathe.
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes