I am not a fan of Margret Thatcher.
Most people aren’t.
While you do have to recognize Thatcher’s accomplishment in being Britain first female prime minister (that’s one heck of a milestone, no matter where you stand), you really can’t help but wish the first female prime minister of Britain would actually be a good leader, rather than a nationalistic psychopath.
Beating thousands of coal miners into submission, supporting genocidal dictators around the world, waging a vicious war against Irish sovereignty- this is Thatcher’s legacy. No fleeting 80s boom is ever going to make up for the fact that she was both directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of many, including Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands, who died of starvation while on a hunger strike for basic prisoner’s rights.
Heck, this woman declared Nelson Mandela to be a “terrorist” and unapologetically blocked attempts to sanction South Africa’s apartheid regime.
It’s not hard to understand that right now, across the world, there is jubilation. at the news of Thatcher’s death. People are literally posting videos of the Wizard of Oz song, “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead”.
Now I want you to brace for this.
I’m not celebrating Thatcher’s death.
While I’m certainly not broken up that the “Iron Lady” is dead, I refuse to take part in the celebration.
Because what good would it do?
Whooping and shouting and dancing in the streets isn’t going to turn back the clock. Howling slogans and victory cries isn’t going to bring back any of the dead. It’s not going to save the miners. It’s not going to free those political prisoners or topple Pinochet.
What are we looking for? Justice?
Thatcher died from a stroke in a hotel room. She wasn’t in prison. She wasn’t in exile. She wasn’t doing hard labor in a coal mine in what would be truly kafka-esque irony. She simply died after many years of declining health.
It’s not like she suffered, eye-for-an-eye, for all the suffering she inflicted. It’s not like she was in the process of waging a war against her own people. We can chant the munchkin song all we want, no magical curse has been lifted. The simple truth is that had her death not been reported in the news, nobody would have ever noticed anything different about the world. While we’re still feeling the effects of her reign, Thatcher stopped being a threat ages ago.
So what exactly am I supposed to do with all that? What are any of us supposed to do with that?
I think one of Thatcher’s victim, Bobby Sands, got it right.
Now that right there is some Jedi wisdom on par with “wars not make one great.” You want to get back- really get back? Well, it’s not going to be through posted pictures declaring “Hell will now be privatized.”
It’s going to be by restoring power to poor and working class of Britain. It’s going to be by dismantling the British industrial-military complex. It’s going to be by narrowing the chasm between the wealthy minority and dispossessed majority.
This is how you treat Thatcher’s death- by rebuilding what she destroyed.
Let’s get it together, shall we?