[Marxism] Could Socialists Not Use "Great" before Britain!

Lüko Willms lueko.willms at t-online.de
Sat Nov 3 01:38:18 MDT 2007

On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 17:07:47 +1300, John Edmundson wrote:

> Ireland has never been part of Britain, great or otherwise. The UK is
> the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (now) Northern Ireland. Great
> Britain relates to the whole island, including England, Scotland and
> Wales and predates the existence of those individual nations, or even
> the concept of nations as we understand them. 

  "Great Britain" is the name of Europe's largest island. "Great" 
compared to "Lesser Britain", i.e. "la Bretagne" in French, the half 
island on the north-west corner of France. Both are geographical names, 
and do not describe political entities. Well, in the case of "Great 
Britain", it is something ambigouus, but that is because there is no 
real nation-state on that island. A symptom of that is that most 
politicians on Great Britain speak of their country just as "this 
country", avoiding to give it a name. 

> So I don't have a problem with the term, but I do tend 
> not to use the term UK as that does tend to suggest 
> the legitimacy of British domination of Northern Ireland.

  Yes and no, but "United Kingdom" is the proper name of the state as 
defined by its central government, its bodies of armed men to secure the 
dominance of its ruling class, its borders and customs barriers. 

  So it depends on what entity you want to speak about. The bourgeois 
and imperialist state which is waging war in Iraq, Afghanistan etc, is 
actually the "United Kingdom" (leave aside the "of"), not the island 
Great Britain. 
   I am just looking at the 'Treaty of Canterbury' on the building of 
the Channel tunnel, and there the persons enacting are described as "The 
president of the French republic" (I retranslate from the French text) 
and "Her majesty the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and 
Northern Ireland and her other Dominions and Territories, Chef of the 
Commonwealth" (maybe better "Head of the Commonwealth"); which reminds 
us that "Crown dependencies", entities like the Channel Islands (Jersey 
etc) and the Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea) are not part of the United 
Kingdom, but only federated with it (which finds also its reflections in 
treaties concerning the European Union, where those territories have 
always to be mentioned specially). 

  After discussion for some time about British railway matters with 
British people and learning more about those terms by that, I started 
some months ago to use "Great Britain" mostly in the form of "on Great 
Britain" instead of "in Great Britain". 

  The whole matter is very confusing, since there never came about a 
real nation state on Great Britain. 

  Have a look at the english language Wikipedia disambiguation entry for 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain> and be amused. 

  Let me remind comrades in closing that "Cuba" is also a ambigouus 
term, meaning a) short form for the state "Republic of Cuba"; b) the 
island Cuba, c) the archipelago of that island and its surrounding 
lesser islands and cays. 

Comradely yours, 

Lüko Willms
Frankfurt, Germany
visit http://www.mlwerke.de Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotzki in German

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