The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back

Schoolchildren are going to be indoctrinated with Imperial history when studying A-level history. The sinister sounding “Government curriculum advisory body” will force sixth formers to spend at least a quarter of their time studying the history of Empire, such as the rape of Africa, the Boar War with its concentration camps and the subjugation of India.

The changes follow a call by Gordon Brown for a day to be set aside every year to celebrate “Britishness”. He urged more open expressions of patriotism “to restore public unity and traditional values” (THE DAILY MAIL 15. 04.06).

Britishness is a meaningless and empty abstraction like “God”. The working class have no country to celebrate. You cannot have “public unity” in a class divided country where competition, unemployment, poor housing, and social alienation create the conditions for racism. And if you look at the behaviour of the Labour Government with its pernicious mendacity, bribes, cronyism and moral bankruptcy it reflects the “traditional values” of all British governments; “we and the class we represent will think and act one way but we want you to act another”. The traditional values of the ruling class: “hypocrisy and self-interest”.

Imperialist History (what Schoolchildren will not be taught).

1 In the late 17th century the British government licensed the pirates as “privateers”, legalizing their operations in return for a share of their proceeds.

2 Henry Morgan was the pirate who set the basis for the British Empire by raiding Gran Grenada.

3 Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor of Virginia began the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the territory as early as the 17th century: “Our first work is expulsion of the Savages to gaine the free range of the countrey for encrease of Cattle, swine &c which will be more than restore us, for it is infinitely better to have no heathen among us”. (Niall Ferguson: EMPIRE p. 10).

4 Three and a half million Africans were forcibly sent to the New World as slaves transported in British Ships.

5 Rhodes’ monopoly of African diamond production was secured by his friends in the City of London and in particular, the Rothchilds Bank. The death of African workers matched those in the coal mines of China today.

6 By 1914, the gross nominal value of Britain’s stock of capital invested abroad was £3.8 billion, between two-fifths and a half of all foreign-owned assets. The majority of workers in Britain lived and died in miserable squalor.

7 THE DAILY MAIL claimed to be the “Voice of Empire”. THE DAILY MAIL’s contribution to Imperialist racism was its attitude to “economic migrants”.

Lord Northcliffe, the owner of THE DAILY MAIL, had this simplistic political view “The British people relish a good hero and a good hate”.

In 1900, THE DAILY MAIL wrote indignantly of the Jews escaping pogroms in Russia as “so-called refugees” a consistent view they continue to this day when claiming Britain is being “swamped” by “bogus asylum-seekers”.

In the 1930’s, Lord Rothermere, owner of the DAILY MAIL, was a supporter of the fascist Sir Oswald Mosley and an admirer of Adolph Hitler.” (REFUGEES IN AN AGE OF GENOCIDE, T. Kushmer). Here is the MAIL’s contribution to the Empire: “the way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring into this country is an outrage” ( cited in the INDEPENDENT 20.04.06).

8 Dr James Hunt’s laid the basis in the mid 19th century for the mis-use of science by asserting that the “Negro” was a separate species while George Combe, author of a SYSTEM OF PHRENOLOGY (1825) set out to fraudulently portray racial differences in a highly derogatory way (EMPIRE, N. Ferguson p.262-263).

9 Karl Pearson wrote “National progress depends on racial fitness and the supreme test of this fitness was war. When war ceases mankind will no longer progress for their will be nothing to check the fertility of inferior stock” (loc cit p. 264).

10 Lord Roberts introduced a “scorched Earth policy” to the Boar War.

11 27,927 Boar men, women and children died in the British Concentration camps 14,000 blacks, 81 percent of them children, died in separate camps.

12 Who profited from the British Empire? “Most of the huge flows of money from Britain’s vast stock of overseas investments flowed to a tiny elite of, at most, a few hundred thousand people” (loc cit p. 285)

13 How much did Gladstone personally make from the British Empire? “In late 1975…he had invested £45,000 in the Ottoman Egyptian Tribute Loan of 1871 at a price of just 38 (19th century bond prices were quoted in percentages of their nominal value). He had added a further £5000 by 1878, and a year later invested a further £15,000 in the 1845 Ottoman loan…By 1882 these bonds accounted for more than a third of his entire portfolio…the price of the 1871 bonds rose from 38 to 57 in the summer of 1882…by December 1882 the price of the 1871 bonds had risen to 82. In 1891 they touched 97-a capital gain of more than 130 per cent” (loc cit p. 287-288).

14 What lessons can be learnt from the British Empire? The British Empire had nothing to do with the working class. It was a period of plunder which enriched a few. Its impact was rape, pillage and plunder. The colour representing the British Empire on the world atlas was pink. It should have been blood red.

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Object and Declaration of Principles


The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

Declaration of Principles


1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.

2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.

3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.

4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.

5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.

6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.

7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.

8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.