I started this blog as my Facebook page was becoming swamped with politics and it was difficult to find any old posts and rants. It also annoyed quite a few people, who were more interested in cats, food and where they are at any given moment. It is still full of politics of course and occasionally some good music.
I do of course have a wonderful family, who put up with all my politicking and all other lunacy, without whom I would be nothing 🙂
I will also occasionally remember I am in a band http://www.theothersidefife.com much to the surprise of the other band members. What is missing from this mini bio, is the fact that since 1984 I have played the Guitar and sung in various bands.
So, a wee bit about me and my politics:
From my teens in the late 70’s to the late 80’s I actually adhered to an Anarchist Communist set of political ideologies, some might say Anarcho Syndicalist but having read the works of Peter Kropotkin I think I was an Anarchist Communist, who did lean towards the Syndicalists. This was a result of the whole Anarco-Punk movement, from to begin with, the Clash, The Ruts, Stiff Little Fingers, UK Subs etc then onto Crass, Poison Girls, Flux of Pink Indians, Discharge etc. From the start of punk in 1976 through to 1984, these punk groups opened my eyes politically, kindred spirits searching for a reason for being. Not very politically aware of course and very utopian in outlook with very little political theory. But still an awakening in political thinking and thought outwith the mainstream. Through this I was part of the resurrection of the CND and became a vegetarian.
Very utopian in outlook and very opinionated as I was, I was young and very, very opinionated (some might say that only the young bit has changed), I refused to vote for anything or anyone as all good Anarchist’s usually do. Except in Scotland where Scottish Anarchists actually forgot all political ideology and campaigned and voted for independence, some even now stand in elections.
“School boy sedition backed by big time promoters” (see Crass) is how I view all that now. Especially after correspondence with some “Anarchists” over the recent years. On one occasion I, (and I mean I personally), was blamed for Kronstad and the murder of Anarchists in Spain, because I am in the CPB.
If you do want more info on Anarchism then read, as I still do, Peter Kropotkin, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Emma Goldman, Noam Chomsky and if you must Mikhail Bakunin. Bakunin I did read but found no real affinity with him, I actually liked Marx much more. But I still have a soft spot for Kropotkin, even though he ended up supporting the First World War. I would also urge everyone to read Marx and Lenin of course.
Chomsky is ok at times, Proudhon was in reality debunked by Marx and Goldman like Trotsky fell into nihilistic outpourings akin to a teenagers rage of not getting their own way.
Please note: I still like both Goldman and Trotsky’s early writings. I have no issue. I think Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution to be actually worth a read.
I believed then as I do now that change, real change, can only come from below. That is from the working class taking control and shaping their own lives and future as part of a mass movement, built from and off the working class. So not only had I never voted, I have never flown a flag, neither Saltire nor Union , a black and red one yes and now it is only a red one, but a national one never. Even then as now, I never really saw myself as Scottish or British, only a worker. All power to the Soviets!
From the early 90’s until 2003 I actually became the enemy. I was the most capitalist, middle class boss you could ever meet. I also became totally politically apathetic, but again voted for no one or nothing. Why would I. I was alright Jack and sod the lot of you. Two cars, double garage, the whole enchilada of modern consumerism wrapped up into one very selfish arsehole.
2003 – 2008 Blank part where I did bugger all but surf and drive around Ireland, Wales Cornwall and Devon in a VW camper and go to Australia a couple of times. Also a very, very selfish arsehole part of my life.
Move onto 2008 with consumerism and the me, me, me system of consumption and consumerism now the new god, the new opium of the masses. That, coupled with a form of political apathy that was painful, I started to take notice again. I started to re-read Kropotkin, Proudhon, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Goldman, Crass and even people like Noam Chomsky. This renewed an interest once again in politics.
The total collapse of capitalism in 2007/2008 made me want to channel my very limited energy, knowledge and skills into making a difference. I don’t even know what, “making a difference” means but the intentions in my mind were good. Still very utopian, as I thought right that’s it, I am an Anarchist Communist again.
So the years move on and all of a sudden it is 2011 and still, all I have achieved is to become a keyboard warrior. Ranting from the safety of my couch against the Condem Government. Reams of diatribes, some good some dreadful (as are all my rants now I suppose)
Still in all my adult life I have not voted for a single political party. I now start my search for a political home where I can do more than just rant from my couch. I actually went onto look at the Anarchist Federation and the IWW, as a starting point. What I found did not appeal to me, small, extemely factional and full of people with no real class politics embedded in their outlook. It was still even now just “School boy sedition” etc. Awaiting the great uprising and revolution from below, whilst not offering anyway forward politically. At least the Anarchists of the past actually engaged and worked within the wider movement. There are some in that movement in Edinburgh who are doing very good work though.
Labour at that time, were out straight away, they were just Tories in disguise. To be honest, Labour’s “Socialism” has always been alien to me. It always was and will continue to be a very petty form of bourgeoisie Social Democracy, something I could never agree with or join. Of course, it has always been and is even now, more than ever, populated with some great Socialists, but no where near enough of them.
I do hope the Corbyn effect continues and real change happens within the Labour Party. With Corbyn as leader they might just have a future for the mass of the populace.
The SNP were never even considered, nothing but nationalists, nationalism first and they will always pander to big business. I have always been opposed to any Scottish Independence movement. They have now evolved into a sort of cult, that can do no wrong. They must never be critisised, because they are the true voice of Scotland. If you oppose them in any way, you are just a “yoon” lackey.
So onto the font of all knowledge, the internet, I first look at the SWP and read quite a lot of their ideology and ideas but did not feel that they were in anyway a home for my particular politics. Political opportunists in every way, with what seemed to me even more very naive “school boy sedition” politics, just short of Anarchism, with added opportunism in abundance and a fanatical love for Trotsky. Then when I traced the various splits and factions that have eminated from them, Counterfire, RS21, ISG and countless others, I was so dismayed and almost gave up.
The SSP/Solidarity no way, with them it’s all Scotland first and FREEDOM, Socialism and all else second. I could never ever align myself with a party that looked so inward nationally and abandoned class politics in favour of nationalism. Independence is the only aim, of course they badge it as independence first then socialism second. A Scottish Socialist Republic apparently. Their recent support, collusion and compliance with the SNP should act as a warning to all. They discarded all their own policies in support of the SNP and independence.
The SPS was a possibility I actually considered, so I send a wee request for more information and a couple of questions, result, no reply. Nothing. Of that I am glad, as once again they jumped on the independence bandwagon and are somewhat just another version of the SWP.
So I then revert to type, as a whole host of my family, had been members of the old CPGB. My Great uncle Peter Aird, was jailed in 1926, during the National Strike. I remember the debates I had with my uncles when I was an Anarchist and “Communism” was the enemy of all. Kronstad, Spain, etc, etc. Very good debates but even more learning for me of class politics. This was where I was to originally discover Marx, Engels and Lenin. Where reasoned debate and education from them made me research and up my game politically, so I could counter their arguments. I think were doing no more than educating me as they went (fly auld buggers). But it worked, it forced me to question everything. Read and research before debating. But I could never come to terms with the implied Stalinist stance of the old CPGB.
So I go onto the Communist Party of Britain web site and read through loads of the documents there. I read Britain’s Road to Socialism and actually like what I find. Mind made up I apply to join the CPB. What do I find when I receive a reply. People with largely the same beliefs as myself, a common view on nationalism and self determination, and a bunch of people that actually get out there and work their arses off every day, week and year in the face of all kinds of abuse. A political home for me at last.
Having joined the CPB I thought I had better read some more Lenin as it is after all a Marxist/Leninist party. (Detractors beware, keep your old fashioned Tanky entrenched dogma at bay here) On reading far too much, for anyone’s own good and sanity I began to understand and agree with the philosophy behind the CPB. Whilst still reading Kropotkin, Chomsky and even Trotsky.
At this time, and for the first time since I was in the EIS, I joined a mainstream union, UNITE. Something I am very proud of, as they at least have taken the Anarchist Communist and Marx’s own philosophy of a union actually engaging with the communities outside the working branch environment. I maybe a syndicalist to the core perhaps, but this is also a Marxist idea in action. I joined the Area Activist Committee for Fife and am now very proud to be on the Scottish Executive Committee. I even spoke at both the Scottish and the UK policies conferences.
So there you have it, a very potted history of my politics.
I am heavily involved with the People’s Assembly in Fife, Scotland and nationally, Fife Trade Union Council, Fife Anti Bedroom Tax, Frack off Fife and various other groups close to my heart. Through these groups I have met some great people and work very well with socialists from the Labour party, the SWP, Solidarity, RISE, Anarchists, even SNP members and in fact anyone who is out there campaigning with us on our common issues and campaigns.
In the words of a great Syndicalist, Educate, Agitate, Organise 🙂