U.S. and World Politics

The Queen

Circulated on Facebook by Jerome Small

Karl Marx observed that under capitalism, “labor produces for the rich wonderful things—but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces—but for the worker, hovels.” I thought of this a lot during my years working in construction.

What does this have to do with the Queen? Well it’s human labor—the labor of construction workers, of miners (look at that gold and those jewels!), of cooks and cleaners, of gardeners and so many others—that created, and continues to create, all the wasteful pomp and splendor of the Monarchy, and with it the illusion that it’s an institution that somehow naturally stands above us and deserves our respect (or, currently, our outpourings of grief.)

And the flipside of that world, the one that we build and maintain, but which is inhabited and enjoyed by the Monarchs, the business elites, and the politicians who loyally serve their interests, is the world of privation still suffered by all too many workers. Of the daily struggle just to earn enough for the very basics: a secure place (even just a hovel!) to shelter from the elements, some food on the table, an education, healthcare when we’re sick.

The ruling class are mourning one of their own. Not me. Our task is to organize and strengthen our ranks for the struggles ahead. For a world without kings and queens and without the dog-eat-dog system of capitalism too. One where it’s the construction workers, the cooks and cleaners and everyone else who keeps our society working, that get to decide what our priorities should be.

A world where if we want to build palaces, they’ll be palaces for us.