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Why we won't mourn the Queen's death

Bradley Hughes

September 19, 2022
The mainstream media have covered the Queen’s death non-stop since she died. Reactions from politicians from all parties, interviews with people in the street and the taking heads on the news paint a picture of a planet that is united in its support for the monarchy and devastated by the passing Elizabeth Windsor.
But the monarchy is a horrible institution, based on violence and Elizabeth's rein was drenched in the blood of colonial violence on behalf of the British Empire and the Canadian State. Instead of discussing this the news media are filled with people’s memories of Elizabeth waving and smiling at ordinary people as she passed through or while they preformed for her.
The British Empire has always relied of violence to keep it’s control of other nations. The British trade in enslaved people forcibly displaced 3.5 million people from Africa. These crimes brought over £80 billion back to British “investors,” including the royal family.
When Elizabeth’s father died, she was on a royal tour of Kenya that was still occupied by the British. Over the next few years the British would murder 50,000 people in Kenya to try to keep the country’s riches for their own. Many of those were tortured to death. Despite this, Kenya won its freedom in 1963.
The British inflicted several famines on the people of India during their long occupation. As John Newsinger wrote, “During the Orissa Famine of 1866, for example, which cost the lives of some million and a half people, India exported 200 million pounds of rice to Britain. Ten years later, the Great Famine of 1875-1876 cost the lives of over eight million people. British famine relief on this occasion saw the poor doing hard labour for less food than the inmates at Buchenwald camp received from the Nazis.  . . . Mass starvation as a feature of British rule in India climaxed as late as 1943-1944, with the wartime famine in Bengal that cost perhaps as many as five million lives altogether.“
The Queen never publicly objected to these crimes, or the many others committed by Britain and Canada in her name. Rather than mourn her passing, we should mourn her empire’s millions of victims, who, unlike the Queen, never saw their children and grandchildren grow up, nor got to meet their great grandchildren.
Even if the Queen wasn’t the figurehead for racism, colonialism and violence, her position is inherently backwards. The monarchy is all about unearned privilege and power. Her son will now inherit her position and all that wealth from the slave trade and other brigandry. Despite the good that could come from using those billions for education, or healthcare, or reparations to the nations that that wealth was stolen from in the first place.
Why are all of the Canadian establishment and the media outlets that help prop them up so united in mourning the Queen? Unearned privilege is at the heart of capitalism, and the monarchy plays a role in normalizing that. Colonial violence made the fortunes of many of the current Canadian ruling class, just like it did for the British rulers. Which is why the Canadian ruling class has always been an enthusiastic participant in, and defender of, the British Empire. This country fought two world wars to try to keep the British Empire intact. And, of course, Canada itself is built on the theft of indigenous land and the genocide needed to keep that land.
The Queen’s death comes at a time that more and more people are questioning the legitimacy of a nation built on genocide. In 2019, rail traffic was brought to a standstill across the country as thousands joined road and rail blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en nation’s right to control its own land and protesting the RCMP attack on them.
After last year’s publicity of the thousands of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who perished at the hands of the people running the residential “school” system, thousands joined Cancel Canada Day rallies on July 1st. Add the housing, healthcare and cost of living crises on top of that, and more and more people are questioning if we are all in it together, or if Canada as a nation is just there to enrich the 1%. Pretending we are united in the loss of the Queen is part of the attempt for Canada to regain some of the legitimacy it has lost over the last few years.
For Trudeau the Queen's death is a gift. It allows a whitewashing of Canada's colonial past even as the Canadian state continues to destroy the unceded land of Indigenous people. 
Picture: Queen Elizabeth statue toppled during the Cancel Canada Day rally in Winnipeg

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