Brian Forbes address to to the Anti-Monarchy, ‘We serve Neither King nor Kaiser, but Ireland!’ Rally at Lifford Bridge, on the Tyrone/Donegal Border. Brian is a Socialist Republican, with a long established career in the Trade Union movement defending workers rights;
Thank you to the 1916 Societies for the opportunity to speak at today’s important anti-monarchy rally.
To paraphrase a line from a famous manifesto, it seems a spectre is haunting Ireland – the spectre of Socialist Republicanism. The subservient protectors of monarchy – political opportunists, Freestate counter-revolutionaries and the British establishment have joined in holy alliance to attempt to exorcise the spectre of Socialist Republicanism. Our presence here today challenges the very existence of monarchy, of empire and of counter-revolution.
Monarchy is immoral and a scandalous waste of money. It is an antiquated system of oppression which serves to perpetuate class division. Royalty is incompatible with Republican principles of equality and democracy. Workers, North and South, find themselves in the deepest cost of capitalism crisis in living memory. They are forced to fight tooth and nail to secure even a basic inflationary pay rise.
The amount of taxpayers money hovered up by royalty swelled from £30 million in 2012 to £863 million in 2022. As workers and their families struggle to eat or heat, the core grant for royalty from taxpayers hammered the cost of inflation by over £1 million in every single year from 2012 to 2022. There is no cost of capitalism crisis for the British royal family.
Republicanism is not an a la carte choice for those of us who believe in a 32 county socialist republic. We must put an end to hereditary privilege, therefore, the eradication of royalty as a system of governance and oppression must become the express aim of all working class communities and all socialist republicans.
Royalty coins it in, living long lives of luxury and opulence while teachers, nurses, council workers and NHS staff are forced to go on strike to try to secure enough to eat and enough to heat their homes. The British royal family are not a benevolent tourist trap. They are a morally bankrupt, malevolent, corrupt and evil business. A tax dodging corporation headed up by the colonel in chief of the parachute regiment.
By ending monarchy we put an end to the honours system which helps perpetuate class divisions. Slurping on the royal soup by accepting an OBE or a knighthood helps to legitimate monarchical legitimacy. Attending a royal coronation isn’t the decent thing to do. It is a contrived political act. They do not represent me. But even worse, it is a dishonest and disrespectful act towards those who gave their lives for a free independent 32 county socialist republic.
Royalty is parasitic in nature. Nationalists attending Westminster Abbey today for the holy anointing of a heredity king will be willing participants of a circus which will eventually cost the taxpayer anywhere between £250 million to £1 billion – dividing £1 billion between the 26 million households in the UK would mean a windfall of £38,000 for each and every household. Wouldn’t that be something worth celebrating.
All working class communities, from Donemana to Dublin and from Strabane to Kerry, are being ravaged by poverty and a lack of public services whilst hundreds of millions is being squandered on a god-ordained sectarian orgy of power. Their king has private wealth of over £2 billion along with in excess of £22 billion in assets. As those nationalists mingle today in London amongst 2,000 subservient lickspittles who hold unimaginable wealth and privilege, people in the communities they purport to represent are being decimated by the colonel in chief of the British armed forces and his proxy right wing government.
Children are going to school hungry and families are shivering from the cold in their homes as the cost of capitalism crisis continues to cripple all our working class communities. If they want a coronation, then the parasitic British royal family can well afford to pay for it themselves. Many will suffer excruciating pain on a hospital waiting list, many will lie on a hospital trolley in a corridor, while others will die before NHS treatment becomes available. I hope the quails eggs and the pheasant linguine at the coronation was worth it for those Nationalists attending.
Royal coronations are rooted in hereditary power, empire, aristocracy, feudalism and the military. Today will see the largest military ceremonial show of strength in 70 years. The British armed forces exist, “to destroy the kings enemies.” The high commander of those same armed forces is ultimately responsible for Bloody Sunday, the Ballymurphy Massacre and all the atrocities perpetrated on this island in the name of the British monarch.
On 29th March 2023, Lord David Frost, former British diplomat and Minister of State at the cabinet office told a gathering in Lisbon that, “In time, the Irish will be part of our British future.” The Free State broadcaster RTE will today air four hours of live coverage from the coronation obscenity in the hope of convincing people that a return to commonwealth might be a good idea. Here’s a message for all monarchists, British and Freestate – WE REJECT ROYALTY. WE REJECT THE COMMONWEALTH. WE REJECT THE FREE STATE. WE REJECT THEIR NEW IRELAND BULLSHIT. WE DEMAND A 32 COUNTY SOCIALIST REPUBLIC FOR ALL.
Attending the coronation of a foreign king does not provide a beacon of hope towards the restoration of a failed partitionist state. It does not give hope or succour to working class unionist communities. What it does though is signal to Dublin, London and Washington they want a seat at the rich man’s table.
From April 2022 to March 2023, close to three million emergency food parcels were issued in the UK. More than a million of those parcels were issued to children. The north has seen the largest increase in receiving emergency food parcels on these islands over the past five years. Demand in Scotland increased by 50% and in Wales by 85% but in the six counties demand increased by 141%. Twenty five years after the Belfast Agreement where is the much promised peace dividend for working class communities in the six counties?
Partition remains and despite the claims that a united Ireland is a much closer reality, it really isn’t. Their new Ireland under capitalist state control is simply more of the same. Occasionally, I get accused of being “the hurler on the ditch” and of being a dissenting voice of republicanism. Let me make this clear, we here today are not the dissenting voice of republicanism on this island. We are the only voice of true republicanism on this island.
The recognition of British monarchy and British imperialism coupled with the continuing partition of our country and acquiescence to British capitalism is a betrayal of the ideals of people like James Connolly and Liam Mellows. In the words of Mellows, “If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money and the soil of the country then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever controls the wealth of a country and the processes by which wealth is attained, controls also its government.”
£830 million was spent on celebrating a platinum jubilee in June last year and close to £1 billion for a coronation this year. It is difficult to rationalise working class communities who are suffering at the hands of a monarchs government yet are excited to celebrate, at their own expense, the reign of a man born into opulence and privilege. Working out how to unite working class communities on the class issues that really matter is well beyond both the capabilities and imagination of those politicians attending that coronation today. When Ireland eventually reunites it will not be under any form of bastardised monarchail control. It will not be a cold place for people of faith and none. It must be a 32 county socialist republic – the peoples republic.
Message for republicans not here today:
The choice for republicans, of all faiths and none, is quite simple. Be part of the capitalist status quo and continue to live in a place subservient to the British monarchy and its government. Or, join with us here today in the struggle for the hearts and minds of all working class communities on this island. I know what side I’m on, do you?