In a concerning move, Suella Braverman, the British Home Secretary, is advocating for the categorisation of waving Palestinian flags as a criminal offence under the Terrorism Act and the Public Order Act, comparing them to “swastikas at anti-Israel demonstrations”. This proposal represents a grave infringement on the fundamental democratic right to protest as well as the right for national self-determination. The attempt to suppress the act of raising a flag is deeply concerning and reflective of a broader attempt by the ruling class to silence voices advocating for democratic freedoms.
This initiative reveals the ruling class's increasing aversion to democratic liberties. Under the guise of national security, the government is tightening its grip on public dissent and restricting the right to protest. The crackdown on the display of Palestinian flags is emblematic of a larger trend where bourgeois-democratic freedoms are violated, contradicting the democratic facade that the ruling elite claim to uphold. This erosion of democratic rights demonstrates the ruling class's prioritisation of maintaining their class rule – their dictatorship of capital - over ensuring the rights and freedoms of their “subjects”.
The current trajectory starkly contrasts with history, where the bourgeoisie, in their revolutionary phase, championed bourgeois-democratic freedoms to amass popular support. However, today's ruling class has forsaken the revolutionary ideals they once espoused. The rallying cry of “Liberty, equality, and fraternity,” when finally applied within capitalist society, has dwindled to merely the liberty to own property and the freedom to exploit. In reality, lofty ideals without tangible realisation hold no true value. Communism seeks to dispel the myths of mysticism, race, and other symbolic constructs through which humanity, in its infancy, has obscured its understanding of the true nature of productive relations and the world we live in.
Communists must shed illusions and perceive society not as an ethereal stage for gods, demons, or abstract ideals like liberty and fraternity, but as it truly exists with its real social relationships between people.
“Formerly, the bourgeoisie permitted itself to be liberal, championed bourgeois-democratic freedom and in doing do created for itself popularity amongst the people. Now, not even a trace of liberalism remains. Gone is the so-called "freedom of the individual", the rights of the individual now are recognized only in the case of those who have capital, while other citizens are regarded as human raw material and fit only for exploitation. The equality of people and nations has been trampled underfoot; it has been replaced by the principle of full rights for the exploiting minority and no rights for the exploited majority of citizens. The banner of the bourgeois-democratic freedom has been thrown overboard. I think that you, representatives of the Communist and democratic Parties, will have to pick up this banner and carry it forward if you wish to rally around yourselves the majority of the people. There is no one else to pick it up.” – Stalin’s speech at the 19th Congress of the CPSU