Friday, June 03, 2022

Anti-Jubilee Agitprop 1977

The most famous moment of opposition to the Queen's 'Silver Jubilee' in 1977 (to mark 25 years on the throne) was of course the success of The Sex Pistols' 'God Save the Queen' single which got to number 2 in the charts despite a lack of radio play and many shops refusing to sell it - and everyone knows it probably would have been number one without some rigging of the charts.

I still think this is the greatest of the first wave UK punk songs-  'God save the Queen, She ain't no human being, There is no future In England's dreaming...We're the flowers in the dustbin, We're the poison in the human machine. We're the future, we're the future'

Still there were other expressions of anti-monarchist feeling from the radical left in Britain and Ireland. Here's a few examples:

Stuff the Jubilee badge - according to Sherrl Yanowitz:
'I designed this badge with Neil McFarlane. It was my first badge design. When I ordered 4000 badges from the Universal button company in Bethnal Green, they sort of laughed at me. The same company had the order for hundreds of thousands of pro monarchy items. We advertised the badge mainly through a small advert in Private Eye and in Socialist Worker. the badge became a campaign. In the end we sold over 40,000 badges in less than three months. there were stickers too. and Stuff the Jubilee parties in a number of cities'

'Stuff the Jubilee - roll on the red republic'
(front and back cover of Socialist Worker, 4 June 1977 -from excellent Splits & Fusions Archive)

(paper of the International Marxist Group)

Anti-Jubilee Picnic organised by Y Fflam ddu/Black Flame (Swansea Anarchist Group)
Freedom (Anarchist Fortnightly), May 28 1977

Freedom (Anarchist Fortnightly), June 11 1977

'ER Queen of Death 69-77- 1800 dead' - banner on demo somewhere in Ireland 1977
(from  Ireland: The Class War and our tasks, Revolutionary Struggle. RS were a small Irish communist group influenced by the Italian radical left)

Lots more contemporary articles about the Jubilee if you follow the links to the SW, SC and Freedom full papers.

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