OFFICIALS in the House of Commons have installed a tamper alarm to stop Labour MP, Stephen Pound, turning a bust of Oliver Cromwell to face the wall in the House of Commons in protest against the Lord Protector’s revolutionary role.
Pound told the Mail Online: ‘The butcher turned up on my doorstep. I am in negotiations with the authorities. His butcher stare gets me every morning when I come in.’ Other MPs are believed to be campaigning for Cromwell’s statue outside the Houses of Parliament be taken down and taken away.
Lying behind this farcical and reactionary protest is the current political crisis over Brexit. The crisis is that while parliament gave the British people the right to decide whether to leave the EU or not, and pledged itself to carry out the decision, the masses however chose to ‘leave’.
Furious MPs are now plotting to undo Brexit by any means necessary, including voting down May’s Brexit deal on January 15th and then going on to impose a second referendum on the people, which they will be determined to win by any means necessary.
In the same way that Charles I believed that he ruled by ‘divine right’, anti-Brexit MPs believe that parliament has this ‘divine right’ to rule over the people regardless of the referendum.
What is creating the furore about Cromwell’s statues is that as an MP he led that wing of the House of Commons that was absolutely determined to end rule by ‘divine right’, and prevent the restoration of Catholicism, and the ending of the rights of parliament.
The ‘moderate’ wing of the parliament entered the civil war looking both ways. They said that they were fighting for both ‘King and Parliament’ and were opposed only to the king’s advisers.
Cromwell would have none of this. He set out to recruit and build a revolutionary army, the ‘New Model’. His recruitment message was that: ‘If I should come across the King in the body of the enemy I would as soon discharge my pistol upon the King as upon any private man.’
He also responded when he was accused of recruiting Anabaptists and Communists that he was not concerned about men’s private beliefs as long as they served the interests of the state. Every section of the New Model Army had ‘agitators’, many of whom were ‘mere’ private soldiers but who were able to harangue officers and others on religious and military matters. He built a revolutionary army that proved to be invincible. He also did everything that was necessary for victory.
He purged parliaments that were not willing to carry out the fight against the feudal monarchy to the end, and when Charles refused any compromise and began a second civil war, Cromwell purged parliament of those who wanted any agreement with the King, and put the King on trial in January 1649.
Charles I was put on trial as a traitor and as an enemy of the people and was condemned to death and executed. Such was the enormity of the act that many of those who signed the death warrant of the King, after the restoration said that Cromwell had taken their hands and forced them to sign.
He also shut down the House of Lords, refused an offer of the Crown and established a Republic. He, however, opposed universal suffrage. Although being a bourgeois landowner and brewer, he said he found the idea interesting and even persuasive. He feared that universal suffrage would lead to the propertyless majority taking the property away from the bourgeois minority. He remained a revolutionary bourgeois.
Such was the effectiveness of his work that after the restoration of Charles the Second, divine right could not be restored and monarchs were fearful that they could be sent back on their travels or executed once again. This is the real revolutionary tradition that the working class inherits from the English Revolution.
In fact Trotsky, in his book ‘Where Is Britain Going’, calls Lenin the ‘Cromwell of Today’, also making the point that Lenin was the great proletarian revolutionary while Cromwell saw in a bourgeois society using all the means that were necessary. What the working class requires today is the revolutionary leadership of the WRP and the Young Socialists. These are going to be built up very rapidly as the working class enters the fight, as it will against a parliament that is seeking to smash Brexit.