MARX says in his 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte that ‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.’
In 1169 – at the invitation of Dermot MacMurrough – Strongbow, followed by Henry II visited Ireland and claimed it as their own. Almost 900 years later, and after a struggle that has cost millions of lives, the English monarchy and its parliament now rules only a fraction of the island.
The overwhelming majority of this period constituted a historical tragedy for the Irish people.
This week the English monarchy, now the front for some of the most rapacious business interests on the planet – the equivalent of a permanent plague of locusts – has been invited back for four days in a frantic orgy of Anglo-Irish ruling class friendship.
That this whipped-up mutual adoration is limited to just a tiny circle of Anglo-Irish bosses and bankers can be seen by the fact that to ensure the safety of the royal person, the whole of central Dublin had to be emptied and kept empty of people, by thousands of Irish police and troops, and hundreds of armed UK police officers.
After all, it is only 39 years since the British army massacre of Bloody Sunday in Derry, and 37 years since the Loyalists, so called because of their adoration of the crown, bombed Monaghan and Dublin.
This is history repeated as a farce, with the mass of the Irish people still seen as the enemy, to be ejected from the centre of the capital, and kept at arm’s length.
The first visit in 1169 had traumatic consequences for Ireland that last to this day – this week’s visit will also have its consequences for the Irish people.
What the visit was really about was only hinted at by the British queen.
She remarked: ‘The challenges of the past have been replaced by new economic challenges which will demand the same imagination and courage.
‘The lessons from the peace process are clear — whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load.’
‘Sharing the load’ is another version of ‘we are all in it together’, the lie which the Irish people are currently experiencing, as are the citizens of the UK.
They are being cut and savagely attacked by austerity programmes so that the bosses and the bankers, and in the case of the UK the monarchy, can live opulently at the expense of the people.
In fact, while the Irish and British workers have everything in common, they have nothing in common with the Irish and the UK ruling classes.
When she states that ‘the challenges of the past have been replaced by new economic challenges’, she is alluding to the fact that the Irish ruling class is bankrupt and the British ruling class is not far behind.
Her message on behalf of the British bosses is that in the face of the collapsing EU and the collapsing euro, the Irish ruling class will not survive if it does not take shelter under the UK umbrella, both economically and then politically.
Behind the queen’s visit is a situation where the ruling classes of the UK and Ireland are getting together against the working classes of both countries.
The Irish ruling class wants to return to John Bull’s fold while the UK ruling class wants to return Ireland to a semi-colonial status.
The Irish working class wants the opposite. It wants to see Ireland united and socialist, with the bankrupt bankers and bosses being the ones forced to emigrate.
Their ally in this struggle is the UK working class which can only keep its living standards by getting rid of the bosses, the bankers and the monarchy, and by going forward to socialism.
The working class of Ireland and the UK must unite in this struggle. Then after victory is won, the Irish people can decide what relationship Ireland should have with the UK workers, to put an end to the exploitation of the past for ever.