I’m a Socialist. I believe that the world should be shared equally and I despise the fact that a tiny minority of super rich people can control everyone else simply because they have money and money is power. Without going too deep into the current political landscape and what is being done by our current government to everyday people and the most vulnerable in our society, I’m firmly on the side of the Socialist Left. In fact, the sharing of land and equal, mutual hard work for the benefit of each other also touches on the ethics of many subcultures such as steampunk and solarpunk.
Despite this, I’m also a Monarchist. The people who frequent the socialist pages I visit are staunch republicans and would quite happily see the Royal Family cast aside to be replaced by some garish, impersonal President, or similar. They would happily have the renaissance pianos and the rich red carpets, tapestries and art nouveau furniture for chrome chairs, grey carpets and office supplies.I can’t imagine a Britain without a Royal Family so I really struggle with this. I believe that the Royal Family make the British people a little bit more British. I believe that they’re not so much a level of class divide, but more a British institution.
Where does steampunk come into this?
We’ve already ascertained that steampunk isn’t just stuck in the past. It can be part of an imagined future or present. However, the binding agent that gels us all together is our universal love of the late 19th century. It was a time when Britain was ruled by Queen Victorian, when the Empire was spreading out across the World, when the Industrial Revolution began and technology expanded at a terrifying rate. All this was done in the name of the Queen. So is it right that socialists can indulge themselves in a past-time so closely intertwined with the Royal Family?
Do they have to? If their beliefs are so strong, they can easily decide to create an alternate universe where the Queen wasn’t in power and a presidential system was in place. They could come from a future where the designs and styling of the late 19th century still remain, but there’s no monarchy. That would make for an interesting novel, maybe?
When I think of Britain I think of cricket, a jolly chap in a straw hat and braces enjoying a brief summer. I think of narrowboats, ale, cheese and the Royal Family. The pomp and splendour is second to none and is always watched throughout the world. I think much of that – images I consider to have been created through centuries of being a quirky, eccentric little island of kings and queens – would disappear if we lost the Monarchy.
As steampunks what must we do? What can we do? Should we bring politics into it and split ourselves into socialist left and Monarchist right? Should we debate our differences or simply ignore it? Actually, there’s a large temptation to do the latter because, as one member (and steampunk) of the socialist page said, steampunk is just a lot of fun and fantasy. Being the accepting, diverse subculture that we are, we accept anyone and that should include political differences.
In the meantime, I’m perfectly happy sitting on the fence desiring equal measures for everyone but also desiring special dispensation for the Royal Family who aren’t just a bunch of freeloading accidental millionaires. They’re a beacon for the country. A centre of focus for keeping the World’s eyes on us. A President wouldn’t be able to do all the things that the Royals do and in such opulent a manner. That’s why I’m happy to be a Socialist and a Monarchist.