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April 30 2011

Johann Hari: The British Royal Wedding Frenzy Should Embarrass Us All (Democracy Now!) Part 1 of 2

DemocracyNow.org - Up to two billion people around the world tuned in to watch the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a story which has dominated TV news for weeks. The wedding buzz, however, provides an interesting time to look at the monarchy, Britain's domestic policy, and how its colonial legacy around the word affects foreign affairs today. While all eyes were on the wedding procession and the first kiss, Democracy Now! talked instead with Johann Hari, a columnist at The Independent of London, who says that royal wedding frenzy should be an embarrassment to us all. Watch Part 2: www.youtube.com For the video/audio podcast, transcript, to sign up for the daily news digest, and for our complete news archive, visit www.democracynow.org Read Johann Hari's article in The Independent of London www.johannhari.com FOLLOW US: Facebook: www.facebook.com Twitter: @democracynow Please consider supporting independent media by making a donation to Democracy Now! today, visit www.democracynow.org
Views: 190
19 ratings
Time: 13:42 More in News & Politics
Reposted fromVideosDemocracy VideosDemocracy

Johann Hari: The British Royal Wedding Frenzy Should Embarrass Us All (Democracy Now!) Part 2 of 2

DemocracyNow.org - Up to two billion people around the world tuned in to watch the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a story which has dominated TV news for weeks. The wedding buzz, however, provides an interesting time to look at the monarchy, Britain's domestic policy, and how its colonial legacy around the word affects foreign affairs today. While all eyes were on the wedding procession and the first kiss, Democracy Now! talked instead with Johann Hari, a columnist at The Independent of London, who says that royal wedding frenzy should be an embarrassment to us all. Watch Part 1: www.youtube.com For the video/audio podcast, transcript, to sign up for the daily news digest, and for our complete news archive, visit www.democracynow.org Read Johann Hari's article in The Independent of London www.johannhari.com FOLLOW US: Facebook: www.facebook.com Twitter: @democracynow Please consider supporting independent media by making a donation to Democracy Now! today, visit www.democracynow.org
Views: 166
4 ratings
Time: 08:08 More in News & Politics
Reposted fromVideosDemocracy VideosDemocracy
It’s no coincidence that as genuine social mobility in broken Britain is eroded, so commoners turn to the National Lottery, The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Winning them represents the only chance real people have to change their circumstances significantly. It could be you. And, like some giant illuminated penis flying over the rooftops of suburban homes and frothing at random passing women, William has pointed himself at Kate Middleton, the Susan Boyle of social mobility. In declaring her his princess, he brings hope of real change to millions of people denied a decent education and the means to better themselves, to millions of tiny babies denied even books, that one day they too could be randomly rewarded with untold wealth and privilege.
Stewart Lee
Reposted fromjhnbrssndn jhnbrssndn

April 28 2011

It is a theoretical possibility, but in my opinion an extreme improbability, that Britain would be rid of its monarchy short of a social convulsion on a par with, or close to, revolution. The British capitalist state has been defined by its successes as an imperialist state. It was the world’s first capitalist empire, and it is as an imperialist state that it has most tightly embraced the monarchical principle - in victory against republican France, for example, and in its colonial conquests, from the Opium Wars, to the Raj, to the Mandates. It was as Empress of India that Victoria re-invented a previously ramshackle and endangered monarchy in the face of a rising mass democracy. It was flush with the wealth of the colonies that the British royal family, itself always a very successful family of capitalist entrepreneurs and not just rentiers, regained its lost exuberance and vitality. Even if our biscuit tin monarchy (as Will Self has called it) is no longer riding a wave of colonial success, it remains at the apex of an imperial matrix whose ‘role in world affairs’ (as our professional euphemisers would have it) relies heavily on the accumulated cultural capital embodied in the Commonwealth. Windsor has also entrenched itself as a domestic power. It has assiduously courted a popular base, which perforce requires it to act as a silent partner in the class struggle - a source of legitimacy for the bourgeoisie, by dint of its apparent (only apparent) disentanglement from the daily grind of capital accumulation. And British capitalism has not run out of uses for these sojourners from the German low-lands. That this is so can be easily checked: no significant pro-capitalist political force in the UK is interested in republicanism. The bourgeois modernisers of Blair’s court, for all their initial constitutional radicalism, never had any desire to challenge monarchical power, least of all its residues in parliament which guaranteed Number Ten such strong executive powers. Blair, who went weak at the knees in the presence of the rich, is said to have been genuine in his sentimental, star-struck adoration of the royals. The monarchy still functions as the guarantor of a caste within the ruling class, which any good bourgeois wants admittance to - give an old chief executive an OBE, and he will consider himself to have truly lived. It still bestows social distinction - more than that, it upholds and perpetuates the superstitious belief in distinction, in meritorious ‘honour’ as well as ‘honour’ by birthright. Its systems of ranking still structure hierarchies within the state, notably the police, the navy, the air force, and the army. It is still the major patron of ‘Britishness’, the myth of a temporally continuous and organically whole national culture, which every legislator in search of an authoritarian mandate invokes. It is the sponsor of martial discourse, inviting us to believe that the British ruling class and its stately authorities, notably its armed forces, cleave to ‘values’ other than those of egoistic calculation. Its festivals of supremacy still mediate our experience of capitalism, suggesting that beneath the daily experience of conflict and confrontation, there is a more essential, eternal unity in the British polity. They still summon deference, in an era of political secularism. Windsor is susceptible to secular decline in that respect but this decline is, if I may say so, taking an awfully long time. Longer than is reasonable.
LENIN’S TOMB: Note on a wedding
Reposted fromjhnbrssndn jhnbrssndn
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