United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia

"England" redirects here. For pre-1707 history of England, see Kingdom of England (927–1707).

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Ruvaneth Unys Breten Veur hag Iwerdhon Gledh
Reeriaght Unnaneysit y Vretyn Vooar as Nerin Hwoaie
An Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainn Mhòr agus Eirinn a Tuath
Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Ireland
Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
Flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Coat of arms of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Coat of arms
Location of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
and largest city
Dominant mode of productionCapitalism
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary bourgeois state
• Monarch
Charles Windsor
• Prime Minister
Rishi Sunak
• Annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England
• Total
242,495 km² (78th)
• 2020 estimate
• Labour force
• Labour force participation
• Occupation
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.5%[4]
• Unemployment rate
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
$3.124 trillion[5]
• Per capita
Exports2019 estimate
• Value
$894.077 billion[6]
• Commodities
cars, gas turbines, gold, crude petroleum, packaged medicines[4]
• Partners
United States (15%),
Germany (10%),
China (7%)[4]
Imports2019 estimate
• Value
$924.69 billion[7]
• Commodities
gold, cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment[4]
• Partners
Germany (13%),
China (10%),
Netherlands (7%)
External debt$8.721 trillion[4] (2nd)
Gini (2018)33.5%
HDI (2019)0.932
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP)

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, often shortened to the United Kingdom or UK, is an imperialist island country located in Europe. It comprises England, Scotland, and Wales and is also currently occupying six counties of Ireland. The UK was a founding member of NATO and SEATO. It has the fourth largest military budget in the world and the second most foreign military bases behind the United States of America. MI6, the British secret police, has connections to the NSA and Five Eyes.[8] The British Empire was a major colonial power and was responsible for over 160 million deaths in India alone.[9]


Great Britain

Following the bourgeois revolution of 1688, the number of capital crimes rose from 50 to over 200, and most of the new additions were minor property crimes. Stealing a single shilling was punishable by death. The bourgeoisie also enclosed and privatized common lands held by the peasantry. Beginning in 1717, Britain began mass deportations of (usually poor) convicts to the colonies.[10]

Slavery was banned within England in 1772 but continued to exist in its colonies. Free Africans fought for the British during the Statesian Revolution, but many were deported to Sierra Leone afterwards.[11]

England suspended habeas corpus for eight years starting in 1794.[12]

Great Britain and Ireland

The United Kingdom suspended habeas corpus again in 1817 and committed the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Between 1800 and 1850, it deported 1,800 dissidents to Australia for political crimes, including Chartists, Jacobins, and Irish people.[12]

Motivated by a fear of the French Revolution, the Whig prime minister Charles Grey passed the Reform Act of 1832, which expanded suffrage from 400,000 to 650,000. It prevented landlords from appointing rural representatives but did not reach the universal male suffrage demanded by the Chartists. Around the same time, the UK repealed the Corn Laws, which had imposed tariffs and set high prices for wheat. The Poor Law of 1834 worsened conditions in workhouses and abolished outside relief for the poor.[13]

During the late 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, despite his pro-slavery views, expanded voting rights to sections of the working class.[14] His 1867 Reform Act allowed non-Anglicans (including Catholics, Jews, and some Protestants) to vote.[15]

Great Britain and Northern Ireland

In 1939, the British made a secret agreement with Nazi Germany to stay out Germany's spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and avoid an alliance with the Soviet Union in exchange for Germany not attacking the British Empire.[16]

Following the loss of its colonial empire, the UK was in a severe economic crisis by the early 1970s. Dockworkers and miners organized large strikes in 1972 and 1974. The Labour government of James Callaghan applied for an IMF loan in 1976 and imposed austerity on the working people.

Margaret Thatcher blamed unions for the crisis and took power in 1979. She introduced mass privatisation and strengthened monopolies while increasing imperialist aggression against Ireland. Under Thatcher's rule, unemployment, crime, and poverty increased. Both the Conservative and Labour parties opposed the 1984–85 miners' strike.

When Tony Blair came to power in 1997, he continued many of Thatcher's policies while creating social democratic reforms to weaken the revolutionary movement.[17]


The British Empire colonized parts of North America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania and controlled nearly 25% of the world's land area at its peak.[18]


During the Boer Wars in South Africa, the British destroyed farms and dumped salt in wells. In the Second Boer War, between 1899 and 1902, they built over 100 concentration camps for Boers and Africans. 30,000 Boers died in these camps, mostly children, as well as 20,000 Africans who were not largely involved in the war.

During the Mau Mau Uprising of 1952 in Kenya, nearly the entire civilian population of the Kikuyu was placed in work camps by the British. Some were dragged across the ground by military vehicles or mauled by guard dogs.[18]


Over five million Indians died in famines during the 1870s under the British Raj. During another famine in 1943, Prime Minister Winston Churchill blamed the Indians for the famine, saying "Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits."

In 1903, the British Indian Army invaded Tibet due to rumors that the Qing dynasty was going to allow Russia to occupy Tibet. When they encountered 3,000 Tibetans blocking a road, they fired on them, killing over 700 people. Parts of Tibet were occupied by the British until 1908.

In Amritsar, Punjab, in 1919, a large crowd gathered to celebrate the festival of Baisakhi. The British Indian Army blocked the exits and fired on the crowd, killing over a thousand and wounding 1,100 more.

During the Malayan Emergency of the 1950s, the British forcibly relocated Chinese people in Malaya into 450 "New Villages." No one was allowed in or out without the permission of the guards.[18]

Hong Kong

The British took control of the Chinese territory of Hong Kong in the 19th century following the Opium Wars. For 150 years, a British-appointed governor ruled the territory without being chosen by the people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 and is administered under One Country, Two Systems.[8]


In 1845, potato blight destroyed the potato harvest in Ireland, beginning a famine. The British appointed Charles Trevelyan to administer Ireland during the famine. Trevelyan adopted a laissez-faire attitude and wrote that the famine was an "effective mechanism for reducing surplus population" and "the judgement of God to teach the Irish a lesson." Exports of food from Ireland increased during the famine and over a million people starved to death.[18]


The UK has 145 military bases in 42 countries and territories, including five countries encircling China. The 15 British bases in Saudi Arabia are contributing the Saudi invasion of Yemen. In 2021, the British government published a document saying it would expand its nuclear arsenal from 200 to 260 weapons, which is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[8]


Until the late 19th century, the landowning aristocracy completely controlled the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. In seven general elections from 1760 to 1800, less than 10% of rural seats were contested.[15] From 1716 to 1911, Parliament members were elected every seven years.[19]


  1. World Bank (2020). Labour force total – United Kingdom.
  2. Trading economics (2021). United Kingdom unemployment rate
  3. World Bank (2019). Labor force participation rate, total (% of total population ages 15-64) (modeled ILO estimate) - United Kingdom
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 CIA World Factbook (2020). United Kingdom – The world factbook (economy)
  5. 5.0 5.1 International Monetary Fund (2021). World Economic Outlook database: April 2021
  6. World Bank (2019). Exports of goods and services (current US$) - United Kingdom
  7. World Bank (2019). Imports of goods and services (current US$) - United Kingdom
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Kenny Coyle (2022-09-28). "British Imperialism – A Threat to World Peace" Australian Marxist Review. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  9. Ben Norton (2022-12-12). "British empire killed 165 million Indians in 40 years: How colonialism inspired fascism" Multipolarista. Retrieved 2022-12-16.
  10. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'White Servants' (pp. 77–79). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  11. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Liberalism and Racial Slavery: A Unique Twin Birth' (pp. 48–52). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  12. 12.0 12.1 Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Crisis of the English and American Models' (p. 175). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  13. "Charles Dickens, champion of the poor" (2012-06-01). Proletarian. Archived from the original on 2023-02-05.
  14. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Liberalism and Racial Slavery: A Unique Twin Birth' (p. 63). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  15. 15.0 15.1 Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Were Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England and America Liberal?' (pp. 117–120). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]
  16. Ludo Martens (1996). Another View of Stalin: 'Stalin and the anti-fascist war' (p. 187). [PDF] Editions EPO. ISBN 9782872620814
  17. Nikos Mottas (2023-04-15). "Margaret Thatcher: Symbol of Capitalist Barbarism" In Defense of Communism. Archived from the original on 2023-04-15. Retrieved 2023-04-16.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Larry Holzwarth (2018-03-17). "10 Atrocities Committed by the British Empire that They Would Like to Erase from History Books" History Collection. Archived from the original on 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  19. Domenico Losurdo (2011). Liberalism: A Counter-History: 'Crisis of the English and American Models' (p. 136). [PDF] Verso. ISBN 9781844676934 [LG]