Saturday, December 13, 2008

The class struggles in Sark

Sark, one of the Channel Islands, was the last part of Britain to have a feudal system of government with political power in the hands of hereditary landowners. Some years ago two jumped-up capitalists, the Barclay brothers who own the Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and other press titles, moved there and financed a campaign, which went to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg, to get the old regime overturned. It was, and for the first time democratic elections to the law-making body were held on Thursday.

The rich capitalists had their own list of candidates, but they didn’t do well, with supporters of the outgoing feudal Seigneur winning a majority of the seats. Defeated at the polls, the capitalists immediately used the power that money rather than land gave them and shut down their businesses on the island to punish those who hadn‘t voted for them

Which shows that capitalist talk of “democracy” still is, as it was in the 19th century, just a way of trying to transfer political power from the old landed classes to themselves. A change of masters for the common people, just as it was in the French Revolution. But the people of Sark preferred the devil they knew to the devil they didn’t. And we can all see that capitalists believe in democracy only as long as they get their own way.


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