English Liberation

Below are some thoughts about the liberation of English people that I first wrote down about four years ago, in response to where I thought previous efforts at English liberation in RC had become stuck, and then updated with further thoughts and more detailed research.

I am sure there will be many more things to say about the subject. This is just an attempt to move things forward the next step.

OUR GOODNESS

Every English person is inherently good in every aspect of his or her humanness and Englishness.

OUR DIVERSITY

There are many different kinds of English people, including but not limited to the following:

• Northerners, Southerners, and people of other regional identities

• Working-, middle-, and owning-class people

• People targeted by racism

• Women and men

• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people; heterosexual people

• Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants, with each group en-compassing several denominations

• Young people, adults, and elders

People of different identities have distinct ways of being English; they have distinct, whole, and rich cultures. Many English people have several identities and so have several cultures. Any attempt to find a single, definitive English culture is disconnected from the reality of the many distinct English cultures.

A MYTHICAL SELF-IMAGE

The English became one of the most oppressive peoples in the world. In RC we understand that this wasn’t something any of us would have chosen. It was a product of the evolution of class societies and the associated distress recordings, worldwide and over time. However, to move our liberation forward we now have to face and discharge all the distresses that we as a nation acquired as we played our part in that evolution.

To reach for an accurate picture of our current position, we need to look at our full and accurate history, including the oppressive role the English have played over the last several hundred years and how we came to play it.

People in the oppressor role generally feel bad about themselves. This is because they are playing an oppressive role and also because they themselves were hurt and oppressed, at least as young people (which prepared them to become oppressors). However, oppressors generally have the societal power to change the appearance of reality so that they can avoid facing the horrible feeling.

We English have attempted to change reality by writing a false account of our history. We have portrayed ourselves as good and beneficial to the world. We have built up a mythical self-image that obscures the reality. It is a false image of “fair play” and integrity that hides our country’s exploitation, cruelty, and murder. We hold that we are the best in the world and at the same time modest, too.

Of course, as humans we are completely good. But the false image of our “goodness” isn’t the same as our inherent goodness. It’s been built on top of undischarged hurt and oppressive attitudes. We need to face that our false image of goodness is a myth. We need to face the oppressive attitudes we hold and the hurts they are based on. And we need to discharge the hurts so that our true nature, our inherent goodness, can come to dominate our behaviour.

Another myth is that England has always been here. In fact, England has not existed for very long. It was formed from a group of neighbouring kingdoms just over a thousand years ago. The name England comes from the name of a Germanic tribe, the Angles. This island1 has been invaded many times—by the Romans, the Angles, the Saxons (from Saxony, in present-day Germany), the Vikings, and the Normans (from Normandy). It is probably not possible today to find a group of people that is indigenous to England.

THE ENGLISH EMPIRE

Of great significance is the history of the British Empire. It might more accurately be called the English Empire, because England was the actual colonial master. Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Ireland were colonised and subjugated by the English.

The English Empire was perhaps the biggest empire in history. Few parts of the world were unaffected by it. The current major imperial power, the United States of America, was once a colony of England.

In order to control the empire, the English owning class had to turn the English working class into a colonising army. This entailed forming a strong middle class to lead (and mislead and oppress) the working class. It also involved creating a British identity, to help enlist the Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, and other “British” people into the army.

Not only did the English working class become a colonising army, it was given the task of safeguarding England’s colonial possessions and fighting for and acquiring the possessions of other weaker colonial powers. Because England was in continual competition with these other powers, oppressive attitudes about them had to be installed on the English people.

To turn the English working class into the most effective (oppressive) colonising force the world had known, the English working class may have been more oppressed, and then more loaded with notions of superiority, than the working classes of other nations at the time. We can see the depth of this oppression in the difficulties we have with classism in our society today.

RACISM

The English came to dominate a particularly harsh and profitable system: the Atlantic slave trade. And although the English owning class instigated it and was its primary economic beneficiary, every person living in England has reaped enormous economic benefits from it. Racism had to be invented to give the British people a common identity of “white” that could be used to unite them in oppressing the peoples of Africa, India, China, the Americas, and Australia.

CONTINUING EXPLOITATION

The English Empire has collapsed and largely been lost. However, England still exploits the peoples of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall. The South of England still exploits the North.

Along with other Western powers, England also exploits “developing” nations. We prevent them from ever becoming developed nations. We install and maintain puppet governments that oppress their people on our behalf. These governments sell us their country’s natural resources at artificially low prices and then keep the payments instead of all the people benefiting. We make sure the oppressed nation can never develop its own industry and thereby become a powerful force that might challenge us economically or militarily. We turn its resources into products and make money on the added value. Preventing “developing” nations from ever actually developing keeps them acting as a market for the things we produce.

England is the world’s second-largest arms exporter (the largest is the United States). We export arms for profit. We also use them to control former colonies without actually colonising them in the old way. We do this by giving arms to the puppet governments of these former colonies so that they can repress their own populations on our behalf when the need arises. Then we can publicly demonise these governments whilst at the same time privately profiting from the repression.

WORLD WAR II

One of our biggest myths is about World War II, which we still refer to as “the war,” even though we have been involved in many wars since.

Almost everything we think we know about World War II is false.

Firstly, the war was not about fighting fascism, which is how it is usually portrayed. It was about capitalism and imperialism. The capitalist economies of Germany, Japan, and Italy were expanding, but they lacked access to raw materials and had no large markets for their manufactured goods. By contrast, the United States had the huge internal market of its own population, and Britain had the huge market of its colonies. And both countries got raw materials from these same places. World War II was an attempt by Germany, Italy, and Japan to acquire parts of the British Empire and create empires for themselves—Germany in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; Japan in China and Southeast Asia.

Secondly, we English didn’t win the war; we lost it. The United States won the war. As a result, it gained control of much of the British Empire. The United States entered the war “late,” because letting Britain2 and Germany exhaust each other militarily made it easier for the United States to then defeat Germany and dominate Britain. (The Soviet Union was armed by the United States for the same purpose.)

Thirdly, the war was not about protecting Jews from persecution. Adult Jewish refugees were refused entry into Britain (though many Jewish children were allowed in). The pre-war writings of Winston Churchill3 show anti-Jewish sentiment similar to that in the pre-war writings of Adolph Hitler.4 It was a common attitude at the time.

Also, the Nazis and the Japanese were not alone in committing war crimes. English bombing raids targeted large civilian populations, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Churchill deliberately redirected food from Bengal, causing over three million deaths.

The English are portrayed as the “good guys” who went to war to defeat the “bad guys”—the fascists, particularly the Nazis. This deflects attention away from the truth: we were simply defending “our” empire—the source of almost all of our wealth and our military and economic power.

The myth of the “good war” is still used to justify each new war we fight. Each new enemy leader is likened to Hitler, and the option of not going to war is likened to allowing Hitler to rise.

GOOD THINGS

Throughout our history of dominating the world, many English people have acted with love, kindness, courage, and integrity. Some of these acts, for example, troops refusing to carry out massacres, have been hidden from our popular histories because to examine them would expose the oppressive systems they were in response to. Others have been highly publicized, because they distract attention away from our history as an oppressive nation. For example, we pay attention to England’s abolition of slavery but not much attention to the slave trade itself—why it arose, how we benefited from it, and how abolition became the easiest option in the face of increasingly effective slave rebellions.

We need to learn about English acts of love, kindness, and courage. That’s an important part of English liberation. At the same time, we can’t use them to avoid facing the more difficult parts of our history and identity.

CONCLUSION

We need to face and discharge on the myth of our “goodness,” and the oppressive attitudes we hold and the hurts they are based on, so that our true, inherent goodness can become clear and English liberation can move forward.

It is possible to take real pride in being English, distinct from the patriotic pride we have been encouraged to adopt. Real pride comes from seeing reality and doing the right thing.

Karl Lam
Burwell, Cambridgeshire, England


1 This island, called Great Britain, comprises Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and England. It is called Great Britain because it is the largest of the British Isles. The next largest is called Ireland.
2 It’s hard to know whether to say England or Britain or the United Kingdom here. None of them seems correct, because of the complexity of who we are talking about and their relationships.
3 Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.
4 Adolf Hitler was the military and political leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07