No. 5May 11, 2023
Abolish the Monarchy
No to the Monarchy!
Shame on the Canadian Official Circles!
On Saturday morning, May 6, CBC broadcast the official celebrations held in Ottawa in conjunction with the coronation of England’s monarch Charles III and his wife, Camilla.
In the name of the people of Canada, officials presented a new Canadian stamp featuring Charles III and unveiled a new coin bearing the King’s face. A “Canadian Coronation Emblem” for “His Majesty King Charles III” was created to mark the first coronation of a monarch in seven decades. The design for a “modernized” version of what is called the “Canadian Royal Crown” was also revealed. It is similar to the English Royal Crown in the Tudor style, to which Charles has reverted to represent his kingship, but incorporates what are said to be distinct Canadian elements — the former, known as St. Edward’s Crown, is shown here on the left, with the Canadian Royal Crown on the right. The religious symbols (cross and fleur-de-lis) are replaced by maple leaves and a snowflake. The rim of the crown is decorated with a triangular pattern to represent the mountains and the river valleys while a wavy blue band is to evoke the country’s rivers and the oceans that border it.
Speeches of submission to the Crown were delivered. Words uttered throughout the ceremony spoke of “our sovereign,” “for a change of reign,” “for the coronation of our new monarch,” and of illustrating “our sense of belonging.” Belonging to what is the most pertinent question and about this there is no official discussion, just gushing about the pomp and splendour of the coronation and “the importance of tradition.”
The performance of the royal anthem, God Save the King, was said to “seal the bond” between the monarch and the Canadian Armed Forces, and was followed by the national anthem, O Canada.
Nothing was spared in holding this shameful performance to ensure the crying need for renewal is blocked and extinguished. It was a nauseating spectacle. It had nothing to do with the aspirations of the people of Quebec and Canada and the Indigenous Peoples who are fighting everything that is retrograde, outdated, archaic and anti-people, and moving forward to create a modern society that defends the rights of all.
On Coronation Day, the Government of Canada also donated $100,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This is said to be “in recognition of His Majesty’s longstanding commitment to environmental protection and conservation.” According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) the NCC “is Canada’s leading land conservation organization and works to protect our lands and fresh waters across the country, and often works in close partnership with Indigenous Peoples toward these shared priorities.” What in fact the NCC does “to protect our lands and fresh waters” and its “close partnerships with Indigenous peoples” bears looking into. So long as the relations between Canadians and “the Crown” mean the former have no say over the decisions made in the name of the latter, it is private interests which are protected, not the natural or social environments.
The symbolism of the new “Royal Crown, Royal Flag, Canadian stamp, and collector coins in honour of His Majesty’s Coronation,” also raises the issue of how these things are decided and by whom. It is the prerogative of the PMO to do all these things but the Palace in London, England and the trappings of the Governor General in Canada have a lot to do with saying what is “wanted.” For instance, the Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA) was created in 1988 “when the governor general of Canada was authorized by Letters Patent to exercise the Sovereign’s powers related to heraldry in Canada. The governor general is the head of the CHA, and appoints its officers, who are called heralds.” And it is presumably all above reproach because it is “approved by His Majesty the King.” Of course, it is Canadians who pay.
This is how the statement issued by the PMO puts the relevance to Canada of these expensive “symbols”:
— The new Canadian Royal Crown incorporates uniquely Canadian elements, including stylized maple leaves and a wavy blue line representing the country’s lands and waterways. The design also includes a nod to Indigenous teachings about the importance and connection to water and to the land. The Crown was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority as a symbol of the Canadian monarchy and was approved by His Majesty the King.
— The new flag of the Sovereign was also recently approved by King Charles III. It is a rectangular representation of the shield of the coat of arms of Canada, featuring maple leaves and royal emblems of the United Kingdom and France. The flag emphasizes that the Royal Arms of Canada are also the arms of the monarch of Canada and will serve for all future sovereigns. The flag was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
— The first definitive stamp issued in Canada honouring King Charles III will be revealed by Canada Post, continuing the tradition of issuing stamps featuring Canadian monarchs that spans 170 years. The new stamp features a portrait of the then Prince of Wales, taken by photographer Alan Shawcross.
— Special collector coins will be released today from the Royal Canadian Mint in celebration of His Majesty’s Coronation, which features His Majesty’s Royal Cypher as the symbol to commemorate this historic moment.
The PMO further informs that it has “tasked the Royal Canadian Mint to design and place an effigy of His Majesty King Charles III on Canadian circulation coins. An effigy of the reigning monarch has appeared on Canadian coins since the Mint started production in 1908.” It also confirms that “the Bank of Canada will replace “the late Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait on the $20 bank note … by that of His Majesty King Charles III during the next design process.” As if it justifies having the portraits of kings, queens on Canada’s bank notes, the lame excuse is that the “reigning monarch has appeared on Canadian bank notes since the Bank of Canada began production in 1935.”
To add insult to injury, the PMO in its statement making all these announcements says, “The Commonwealth is now headed by His Majesty King Charles III” and follows this by making declarations about what the Commonwealth stands for which deliberately deny the role of the peoples in making history and turn truth on its head. Referring to the Commonwealth, the PMO says:
“Member countries will continue to work together to advance shared values of democracy, peace, and prosperity. They collaborate to make life better for people and advocate for the representation of small and vulnerable nations on the global stage. The Commonwealth has made strides in promoting democratic governance, environmental protection, education, and sustainable development.”
No matter what is said and done, the abolition of the monarchy is the order of the day. Opposing what it stands for, especially the system of representation called a representative democracy, in favour of democratic renewal, will open a path for a modern society that vests the people with the power to decide all matters that concern them.
1. St. Edward’s Crown featured above in its heraldic form is “the centrepiece of the coronation of monarchs in England for more than 350 years,” since the coronation of Charles II in 1661 after the monarchy was restored following the 10-year republic of Oliver Cromwell. St. Edward’s Crown replaced a medieval version, thought to have dated back to the 11th century reign of Edward the Confessor which was melted down by Cromwell in 1649.
St. Edward’s Crown is made up of a solid gold frame set with rubies, amethysts, sapphires, garnet, topazes and tourmalines, all stolen by the British empire. It has four crosses-pattee and four fleurs-de-lis. It has a velvet cap with an ermine band. Charles III also wore “the Imperial State Crown” during the coronation. Promotion of Empire is a constant in everything the monarchy does, such as the gems they wear and the honours they bestow, such as the Order of the British Empire of various ranks worn by those in attendance during the coronation.
Scottish Independence March and Other Protests
An estimated 20,000 people joined a Scottish independence march in Glasgow on May 6, condemning the coronation of Charles III. Former first minister Alex Salmond addressed the participants saying, “The independent Scotland we seek will be based on equality not aristocracy and on human talent and ability not entitlement of birth.” “We are not looking backwards with Britain but forwards to a better Scotland,” he added.
In Edinburgh, Our Republic, an organization which opposes the monarchy and calls for an elected head of state, gathered some 500 people chanting “Not My King.” One of the speakers informed that 3,000 activists had already signed the “Declaration of Calton Hill” in support of a democratically-elected head of state instead of a monarch.
Meanwhile in Liverpool at a soccer match, when the club played God Save the King at the Premier League’s request ahead of their Premier League clash with Brentford, Liverpool fans loudly booed the national anthem, drowning out God Save the King with chants of “Liverpool!” Newspapers said that Liverpool fans “have a long history of booing the national anthem and expressing their disrespect for the monarchy.” They also made their views known when Liverpool played Fulham on May 3, where the crowd sang, “You can shove your coronation up you’re a**e!”
Demands for the Return of Stolen Gems and Artifacts
Said to Belong to the Crown
Petitions and demands from South Africa are growing for the return of the “Great Star of Africa” (also known as the “First Star of Africa”) — the largest clear-cut diamond in the world. It was unearthed in 1905 at a time British mining interests were taking measures to form a unified colonial administration. It was also the year the report of the South African Native Affairs Commission, appointed to provide comprehensive answers to “the native question,” was released. The report proposed territorial separation of Black and white landownership, systematic urban segregation by the creation of Black “locations,” the removal of Black “squatters” from lands stolen by white landlords and the like.
The Great Star of Africa, which rightfully belongs to the people of South Africa, has not been returned because the British official circles say it was “donated” by the colonial administration in South Africa to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday. It was cut up into several pieces, the largest of which is in the sceptre Charles held during his coronation. Another large piece adorns the front of the Imperial State Crown, and the rest were given to other royal family members.
Over 8,000 people have signed an online petition urging Charles III to return the diamond, discovered at the Premier No. 2 Mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on January 26, 1905. Named after mining magnate Thomas Cullinan, it weighed 3,106 carats (621.20 g) before it was cut and today its estimated worth is more than USD$2 billion.
“The diamond needs to come to South Africa. It needs to be a sign of our pride, our heritage and our culture,” Mothusi Kamanga, a lawyer and activist in Johannesburg behind the petition, told Reuters news agency. “I think generally the African people are starting to realize that to decolonize is not just to let people have certain freedoms, but it’s also to take back what has been expropriated from us,” he added.
Vuyolwethu Zungula, who heads the African Transformation Movement, an opposition party, said the diamond belongs to the people of South Africa. “People had to die, blood had to be spilt for those diamonds to find their way to Britain,” he told news agency AFP on May 4.
Another gem stolen during the British Raj is the Koh-i-Noor diamond. “Indian politicians have long urged the 105-carat treasure’s return,” DW reported. “India’s ruling BJP party has made it clear that any plans for Camilla to wear it at the coronation would bring back ‘painful memories of the colonial past,'” DW added. British officials say they gained it legitimately when the Maharaja Duleep Singh was sequestered by the East Indian Company following the British conquest of the Punjab, 1849. He was subsequently taken to England where he had to convert to Christianity. Queen Victoria “took a liking to him and fondly called him ‘my black prince.’ Records show he became an exotic presence at royal parties, even holidayed with the sovereign and her consort Prince Albert.” That is the British notion of acquiring the diamond “legitimately.”
The palace announced that in an attempt not to offend “political sensitivities,” Queen Camilla would not wear the Koh-i-Noor in her crown for the coronation.
The British go to great lengths to argue in court that the UK and the Crown have legitimate claim to the gems and artifacts acquired through plunder and conquest. The official position on such things is that they lie in the past and have nothing to do with the present and were acquired legally, legitimately. The verdict of the peoples of the world is very different and they will continue to demand the return of what belongs to them by right until they are returned.
(With files from Deutsche Welle)
Letters to the Editor
Images from London
The images from London, England, on the day of the coronation which showed the police taking away all the signs that say Not My King, if that is what they are doing, shows that it is the message they want stifled.
Adrienne Arsenault of the CBC conducted an interview with the Princess Royal. One of the main points Anne communicated was that the monarchy and its traditions are important to ensure the stability of the constitutional order. It is interesting that while this is repeated from all official quarters over and over again, there is no discussion on how this is the case. At most some equivalent statements such as saying that tradition provides continuity and the like. It’s an admission that the monarchy is not just a symbol without content but its perpetuation is designed to maintain the status quo of power and privilege in the hands of the few. Trudeau’s remarks corroborate this as he says he is fine with talk of abolishing the monarchy, but because there is no unanimity on what the alternative is, nothing can be done. Until then, it is maintained in order to keep stability. He said the same thing about electoral reform which amounted to saying that unless the parties can agree on an alternative which keeps them in power, no change can happen. He would not tolerate any change except the one he has advocated on behalf of one section of vested interests over another, thus there was no unanimity!
New “Canadian” crown
Canadian officials have revealed a new Canadian Royal Crown, “described as similar to the English Royal Crown in the Tudor style, to which Charles has reverted to represent his kingship….”
If this is what Charles hopes to achieve, then it is a lame and arrogant dream. In the 16th century, his Tudor ancestors, notably Henry VIII, ruled by absolute dictate and held the power over life and death in their hands, to the extent that Henry ordered people beheaded to suit his interests, including two of his wives. However, the Stuarts did not fare so well. In the 17th century, Charles I faced an armed insurrection and was himself tried and beheaded, thereby putting an end to “the Tudor style” of absolutist rule forever.
It is disgusting to see representatives of the Canadian elite presenting a new style of Crown in the “Tudor style” as an icon of idolatry for Canadians, suggesting that it represents a modern way of thinking. It is a futile and disgusting affront to Canadians, who are constantly struggling to empower themselves by employing modern thought in order to achieve a democratic society suited to today’s level of advancement. Abolition of the archaic monarchy would be a welcome step forward.