“When dawn comes to touch my purple haze
And evening’s drowsiness to carry me away
I know once again that there is nothing we can save,
So I’ll pack up my things, I’ll be on my way.
Here I go again
Off down the road again
Thinking thoughts of days gone by”
Words by: Country Joe and the Fish
This diatribe includes some stuff I have written before, with updates and a bit more editing. But it is largely new and my take on the current situation in Scotland.
Let me be clear straight away. I have never stated that Scotland could not become an independent country. The question is not can. The question is should.
Another General Election and the Tory Party hopes to secure a huge majority whilst the SNP hope to secure enough support for #ScotRef (you are not allowed to call it indyref2 apparently, central committee has deemed that it must be ScotRef). The leftist indy camp are now struggling with a way forward as Corbyn has kinda thrown a spanner in the works. If we want rid of the Tories, there is only one way and that is for a Corbyn victory. So, although the indy left are still hell bent on their one and only campaign strategy for independence as the only way. They are conflicted because indy is not a forgone conclusion and getting rid of the Tories must only be the focus at this point.
I hope that is correct, I hope we are all on the same page here, the Tories must go. I am concerned though as I see far too many spouting’s about Corbyn not getting the independence movement and Corbyn can’t win anyway, so let’s just go for indy. Once again, no real analysis based on class politics or class consciousness only indy at all costs, regardless of the political situation at the moment.
Anyhoo, we are where we are and this election in Scotland is still going to be based on the bloody independence issue and nothing else. All the indy supporters are only concerned with what will bring on ScotRef quicker. Again, they ignore the realities of where the population is politically. Again, independence first, last and always.
Prior to all this GE stuff, I was actually thinking that the SNP were running scared of holding another referendum anytime soon. With over 30% of their own supporters voting to leave the EU, I thought they would have played a longer game than this. I thought they would have let the whole Brexit thing run its course first. But no, the SNP started posturing and calling the bluff of the Tory Government. Or is it that being in the EU is just so important to the SNP, that they view this action as the quickest way to guarantee independence and membership of the EU.
With Brexit sure to play a major part in this GE, they will again be the opportunists they have always been and will link the GE with independence, Brexit and membership of the EU. This will be their mantra, vote SNP to guarantee Scotland has access to the EU. Vote SNP to strengthen the mandate for ScotRef, vote SNP to defend Scotland from the Tories.
All the while they will be fully supported by the indy left. I await pronouncements of vote for indy candidates only. This will be masked as, well you can vote for the Greens and not just the SNP, unless RISE, TUSC and Solidarity are going to put up candidates. But lets be clear, the reality will be that they will be supporting SNP candidates.
Ben Wray, Darling of the indy left on strategy;
“If unionism can be welded in the public’s mind with Toryism, then a big majority for Scottish independence can emerge.
This is the task all independence supporters should dedicate themselves to over the coming seven weeks of campaigning, regardless of whether they support the SNP or not. You don’t have to put on a yellow sticker to say to the public that hard right Tory Brexit rule will be a disaster for the majority of people in Scotland and we need to win an unquestionable, iron-clad mandate for a second referendum on independence.
You don’t have to put on a yellow sticker, no but the implied message is that you need to support those with a yellow sticker to “win an unquestionable, iron-clad mandate for a second referendum on independence.”
So even the left conflates the GE with independence, with Brexit and EU membership or how Scotland will interact with the EU.
Let’s just stick to facts. This GE and any ScotRef will once again be run by the SNP and fully supported by the indy left, to ensure that ScotRef takes place first and foremost. The SNP will pull in the whole EU question and as a very pro-EU party that means membership. This will be supported by the SSP as they are also pro-EU, so I don’t know where this leaves RISE.
Of course, there seems to be a bit of back peddling going on from all side of the #ScotRef side, on the EU. With talks of transitions to EU membership and the inevitable “Nordic Model” so favoured and pushed by some on the YES left. Perhaps the reality of how many of their own supporters voted to leave the EU has finally kicked in.
Of course the SNP who actually stated in the past that the “EU is in the party’s DNA” can do a NATO on us and completely change their minds, do a U-turn on the EU and re-write that as “being in the single market is in our DNA”. This will suit the “Radical” portion of the yes brigade as they know the huge pitfall in tying the referendum to EU membership.
So, what is the general Election in Scotland to be based on?
- EU membership and Brexit
Again we are faced in Scotland with a General election that has nothing to do with class politics. Nothing to do with policies on how this country should be run. It will be based on the constitutional issues of independence and EU membership, all masked as an anti-Tory vote.
But the SNP and the indy left are only concerned with the constitution and all else is secondary. Both will try to ensure that independence is top of the list. The SNP and the Greens will ensure that EU membership is the number 2 issue. The indy left radicals will toe the line as they are either pro indy and the EU as with the SSP or are pro indy and abstained on the EU.
We will have again, the ongoing opportunism and it is nothing but political opportunism, from the “radical left” in the yes movement. Where a leading figure on the EU question states very clearly,
“Of course, I’ll campaign for Scottish independence inside the EU, or outside the EU. I’ll campaign for Scottish independence inside Mordor if I have to.”
I actually had to read this article a few times to believe what I was reading as I just could not get my head around this statement and at first thought I had read it wrong.
At the recent SiC conference, Robin McAlpine conducted a poll of the 800 delegates. Robin asked about the EU. First question, who favours a complete break from the EU, result about 3 or 4 hands. Next who favours a Norwegian type model, a few hands go up possibly 40 at most. Lastly, who favours complete EU membership, all other hands raise in valiant salute for the EU. Almost unanimously voting for EU membership.
This conference included all the left radicals, the vanguard of the Scottish working class, the representatives of the “schemes”. (I use the term “schemes” here as this is their description and their wording for mobilising the indy movement) They will of course do all they can to distance themselves from the EU issue. They will conflate the issues and try to confound the populace with pseudo working class rhetoric, whilst choosing to ignore the fact that at least 700 delegates to their own conference raised their hands to support full EU membership.
I have a wee challenge here for the radicals. Explain to me in real terms, not fantasy or wishful thinking, how independence will, as has been claimed in the past;
- Benefit the working class as a whole and create a climate where we can progress towards Socialism (or are we just aiming for a bourgeois Nordic style Social Democracy)
- Break British Imperialist power, this is the one wheeled out the most by the left.
- Break the inherent power held and wielded by the City of London, the Troika and global finance that Scotland would be faced with.
- Break the power and hold that Westminster will still have over the rest of the UK and thereby Scotland. (Due to the UK being Scotland’s biggest market)
- Rid us of Trident (not just us in Scotland)
There are a few more choice promises I can ask about, but a real, thought out, class based answer to those above might actually change my mind. Because all I have ever heard to date is wishful thinking with no class perspective. Only rhetorical statements as above, with no substantial class analysis to back it up. Give me the analysis based on class and Socialism and I will be very happy, especially the one in bold.
I will be honest here, although I have huge respect for some of the people involved in the Common Weil, the vision they perpetuate at the moment, does not appeal to me personally. I can’t get passed thinking that all it is in reality, is the creation of a bourgeois Nordic style Social Democracy where we tame capitalism and business. Where business and finance carries on as usual with a wee bit more wealth re-distribution to the working class, all the while protecting the current capitalist system. I await the final draft of their White Paper to convince me otherwise and it may do, you never know. What is there now, doesn’t and does not even come close.
Others of course will always wheel out the tried and failed “let’s get independence first and then we will sort out the EU and everything else next”. Just like the last time.
All sections of the radical Indy left are now clearly stating that independence is more important than any issue facing the working class of this country. Independence is now the only tool in their armoury. It has become the Holy Grail of the Radical Left in Scotland.
On the one hand, we have Solidarity who to their credit, did in fact campaign to leave the EU on the Lexit side. They are part of the “let’s get independence first and we will sort out the everything else after”. Ex co-convener Tommy Sheridan actually used that exact phrase to me at his famous meeting in Kirkcaldy. This was his only counter to my questions on how he could achieve public ownership, Socialism etc, etc under the EU rules and directives that are in place to prevent that very thing.
They will of course stick to this view, because Scottish independence to them is the most important thing in the world. The UK and Westminster can never be reformed.
(there are still far too many of their members and supporters with cries of FREEDOM, we are just an English colony, we’re an oppressed Nation, all in too much of a nationalistic way for my liking. Add in the fact that the only flags at their rallies are national ones, it actually scares me a wee bit. Now I stress here I am not aiming that at all Solidarity members, only some of them who should maybe limit what they post on social media in the name of their party).
Does this look like a Socialist gathering or a nationalist one?
Then after independence because the Scottish are more Socialist than the English, we will all start to vote for socialist candidates and a Socialist Republic is going to appear as if by magic. (I know not all Solidarity supporters say this, but this thinking is very prevalent within their ranks again some regulation of what is posted in their name is required perhaps. This is an argument used widely by SNP supporters as well.)
This naive form of politics completely ignores the realities of the true political position and the real demographics within Scotland. Where an, at best slightly left of centre, SNP party will still be in control with a Tory opposition. The SNP at their very own admission are at best, a “Social Democratic” party. Not the social democracy of the past and of Socialism, but the worst kind of social democracy that perpetuates finance and corporate power and panders to private business.
The reality is with the SNP supported by the Greens in power and the Scottish Tory’s who will once again re-discover their own love for the EU as the opposition, coupled with the LibDems who are ultra-pro EU and most of Scottish Labour. Scotland will be entrenched and subsumed by a campaign for EU membership and the rules and directives therein.
All the while Solidarity will be marginalised and left to their own devices as the SNP, RiC and RISE will ostracise and refuse to engage with them yet again. Even though they advocated voting for the SNP on two occasions. From the one time offer of “Lend them your vote” and then to the additional second time offer of “Vote SNP 1”. I do feel some empathy with Solidarity as they did as much campaigning for the YES vote in 2014 than most of them and are still side-lined by the others.
Then we have RISE. One half of RISE is the SSP block (I use half, but think it is probably more like 90%, as I don’t know the actual percentages of the RISE groupings) who campaigned to remain within the EU. This was all put across of course, as internationalism and working for reform and to change the EU from within. They and the SNP can apparently reform the behemoth that is the EU from within but have no chance of ever reforming Westminster or UK politics. How does this even add up? Go on convince me, I would love to know.
Even with the Corbyn rise in the Labour party and a new politics started and being engaged south of the border. This is where Momentum south of the border need to stop the stupid sectarian rubbish they have been involved with recently. They need to do what they set out to achieve. They need to mobilise the 500,000 new members and get out on the streets campaigning and now. With Scottish Labour, now doing what they should have done in the run up to 2014, actually pushing for constitutional change and a form of Radical Federalism.
No, independence the magical incantation that cures all the ills of the world is the only way. Only in this case Independence but within the “reform-able EU”. Then again maybe the SSP will have a road to Damascus revelation and suddenly decide that the EU is not what they want. I await their pronouncements on access to the free market only, with baited breath.
Then we have the ISG/RS21 grouping within Rise. They took no formal stance either way on the EU and most probably, voted leave, remain or just abstained in equal numbers. This lack of clarity from the new political left party, was blamed on the way both official campaigns ran. “How can you choose between both of these horrible campaigns?” They are in fact correct that both the official campaigns for the EU referendum were horrible and based on fear, racism and lies, but what else could be expected from the Tory’s who were trying to out UKiP, UKiP.
They could have joined the Left Exit campaign that was running throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK and had some support, granted not mass support but at least some Unions were very supportive. This put across the positive working class perspective on why we should leave the EU. That a class perspective needed to be pushed by all on the left, if for nothing else, to counter the racist and pro-business bullshit of the official campaigns.
What we have now are these radical left groups scrambling around and clutching at straws. They are once again trying to convince anyone that will listen that #ScotRef is not just about the SNP or the EU. That the SNP should not be using the EU as one of their arguments. They are working overtime on a strategy to counter the argument of EU membership being tied into the indy question. How they can honestly make that assumption is unbelievable to me.
A similar tack was tried and failed with the SNP “white paper” in 2014. The same cry’s and rhetoric that YES was not just SNP, and there was this “mass left wing movement” outwith SNP control. Whilst all the while the SNP ran the show and the Radicals even refrained from any critical analysis of the SNP and the White Paper, for fear of alienating the “mass left movement”.
We all knew that the SNP and the white paper was all that was on offer, no matter how much the radical left cried foul. Time has proven this to be correct.
But of course I quote again the prominent RISE spokesperson who wrote “I would vote for Scottish independence even if we were in Mordor”. Again Independence is the only goal, the only aim. Who cares if the working class lose out when an independent Scotland is subjected to the EU rules on debt and deficit reduction and are forced to endure even more austerity. Who cares if our public services are then put under the EU threat of privatisation. Who cares that public ownership is out of the question, both by the ruling SNP and the EU.
“Independence will smash the British State. We can then vote for who we like afterwards. We can create a new politics in Scotland. Labour can become relevant again. We will then take on the EU issue. We will become a more socialist country. The SNP will lose their hold on power, because their supporters will all turn into socialists and support Socialist party’s (and vote for RISE and Solidarity presumably). We will sort out what Independence looks like after we have it, let’s just get it first.” (I can go on and on with these quotes from those Independence seekers, but you get the gist)
This last one of sorting out what independence looks like after we get it is the most worrying and most prevalent. Of course, the “All of us First” people are preparing their vision of what independence will look like (All of us first is the worry for me, because all of us includes corporate finance and banking, large, SME and small scale corporate business, from billionaires to job seekers and all those in between).
The radicals will of course talk of mass movements and working class power being unleashed, all the while ignoring the realities of the situation. All the while ignoring the real word and thoughts in the “schemes”. They will push this GE as a vote against the Tories and a vote for ScotRef. All the while the SNP will produce their own White Paper that will be unleashed and will be the only blue print on offer and readily swallowed by the “mass left movement” in the “schemes”.
This is the core problem. We have people in Scotland whose only aim is Independence at all costs. It doesn’t matter to them about the realities of what will transpire. It only matters that Scotland gains independence. Whether it is in the EU and subject to austerity or not. Tied to pound or not. Tied into NATO or not. No, independence is the one and only cure for all the ills of the Scottish and therefore the UK, and to some even the EU, working class.
It is the silver bullet that will single handed, destroy the British state and Imperialism, start the downfall of Capitalism. It will spur us onto a Socialist Scottish Republic. Independence transcends any and all “revolutionary” ideology as it is the only revolutionary thing to do in Scotland and therefore the UK.
Who cares that the vast majority of the Scottish populace is politically occupying the exact same centre ground as the SNP and the Scottish Tory’s. Where is the class analysis of the realities? Where is class perspective and political outlook? Where is this class mobilisation for a socialist outcome?
In the eyes of RISE, SWP, SSP, SPS, Solidarity and even stranger the Anarchists, it is what ScotRef and now this GE, is all about. It is to them the uprising of the working class in the “schemes”, it is the revolutionary beginning. They choose to ignore the realities of where the populace is politically sitting and it is not on the left by any means. The vast majority of the population of the “schemes” and Scotland is based around the pseudo Social Democracy of the SNP and the Greens. Whilst the radical 1% of the voting populace insists it speaks for the whole class, the same class that follows blindly the SNP.
But let’s look at the reality;
The facts are. The Yes movement, whether the radical left chooses to believe it or not, is overwhelmingly supported and run by SNP and Green members and supporters. They will continue to dominate as they portray themselves, and were even portrayed by the same radical left, as the working-class alternative to the “Red Tory’s”. Will this be the mantra this time around, probably?
What these radicals actually fail to acknowledge is that Independence is being sold, by them, to the masses as the silver bullet. Whether they accept that or not does not change that fact. What they are missing is the fact that if Independence is achieved, these same masses will then revert to type and will be subsumed by the mainstream and will happily accept the bourgeois social democracy they were told they would get.
I wonder if we will have the same lack of critical analysis of SNP policy and in fact the SNP in government this time around. Because the last time there was a deathly silence from the radical left against the SNP, while cuts are being inflicted on councils, education, Fire Services, the Police and the NHS.
The radical indy left from all camps in Scotland will have no real say on any policy or direction of the ScotRef campaign or an independent Scotland. The SNP will happily accept their help in mobilising the schemes of course. But it will be the SNP and the Greens that dictate policy, with the Tory’s providing the opposition. The SNP will dictate the terms of the GE and ScotRef and thereby dictate that Scotland remains tied to the EU. Why? because the SNP and the Greens are so intrinsically tied in to the EU construct, it is in fact in their DNA.
If we choose to ignore the ramifications of an independent Scotland tied to the EU then we are playing with fire. We will be in the EU there is no question as the SNP hold the balance power and will be supported fully by the Greens, LibDems, and most of the Labour and Tory parties. It might be through EFTA first, but full membership will be sought. “it is the will of the Scottish People” apparently. They will use this GE to secure that thinking and policy.
We will after independence be left with our share of the UK debt. Unless of course we do what SiC advocated. At the same conference there was another poll about Scotland’s debt and if an independent Scotland should accept its share of the national debt. “All of us First” voted overwhelmingly to sod that, we will not accept the debt. “All of us First” appears to be, all of us in Scotland first and to hell with the rest of the working class in the UK, they can hae oor debt as well and hell mend them, they’ve made their bed, it’s no oor faut.
Do these people really believe that Scotland reneging on its debt will work out when the newly formed nation is trying set up a new currency and to borrow money on the international markets. Where is the thought process in this? Where is the real analysis? Again this is nothing but smoke and mirror opportunism, pandering to the masses. Westminster created the debt and they can keep it. (Please don’t even think of fobbing me off with Iceland)
The ruling parties of, SNP, Tory, Labour, LibDem and Greens, in an Independent Scotland will drag us back into the EU. 68% voted remain remember and of course about 750 of the 800 SiC delegates support this view.
We will have debt and we will be subject to the Stability and Growth Pact. SGP requires each Member State, to implement a fiscal policy aiming for the country to stay within the limits on government deficit (3% of GDP) and debt (60% of GDP); and in case of having a debt level above 60% it should each year decline with a satisfactory pace towards a level below. This is where all Austerity stems from in the EU. This is what has destroyed Greece, and created austerity in Ireland, Spain, Portugal etc, etc, etc. (The UK who have an opt-out chose to implement this same austerity as it fitted in with the Tory ideology).
“Countries that fail to respect the SGP’s preventive or corrective rules may ultimately face sanctions.
For Member States sharing the euro currency, this could take the form of warnings and ultimately financial sanctions including fines of up to:
0.2 % of GDP, if they fail to abide by either the preventive or the corrective rules, or
0.5 % of GDP, if they repeatedly fail to abide by the corrective rules. In addition, all Member States (except the United Kingdom), could see a suspension of commitments or payments from the EU’s Structural and investment funds (e.g. the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund).” (We currently have an opt out, will Scotland have that same opt out?) http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/index_en.htm
No amount of postulating and snake oil can cover up this fact. No amount of “revolutionary” grass root, bottom up postulating can prevent the SNP from dragging Scotland out of the UK and into the arms of the EU.
So what is this EU that some can’t seem to find an answer to one way or the other. What is this thing that we will be asked to vote for? What is this thing that we want independence so badly that we are prepared to run into the waiting arms of this beneficial social construct of the EU.
The EU’s origins stem from The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and was an international organisation serving to unify European countries after World War II. It then became and the European Economic Community (EEC). The European Union was formally established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force on 1 November 1993.
The EU is in fact a construct and a continuation of NATO policy. One of the three main strands that NATO stated in its founding, was the creation of a united European body. The EU is intrinsically link with NATO, hence the drive eastwards towards the Russian border. Even if that means supporting governments that have Fascists within their governing bodies. Of course, the SNP are now fully supportive of continued membership of NATO, having had a “Road to Damascus” moment before the last referendum.
“It is often said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. This is only partially true. In fact, the Alliance’s creation was part of a broader effort to serve three purposes: deterring Soviet expansionism, forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent, and encouraging European political integration.”
NATO and the EU are constructs that were created to prevent the expansion of the Soviet Union. To protect western capital at all costs from Socialism. NATO the real Imperial force from 1945 until now. But very little is mentioned about this and an independent Scotland remaining part of this, the ultimate Imperial force. An Imperial force pushing as far eastward as possible. Or is this another Imperialist entity that will suddenly crumble and end when we get independence?
The EU’s main mantra and raison d’être is, for the free movement of goods, labour, services and capital. Which happens to be the raison d’être of Neo-Liberal Capitalism, defended and expanded by NATO.
This is the sole purpose of the EU, it is for the ultimate liberalisation of all finance and corporate power. Where the free market is given complete free reign, has no regulation and where Government and public services are reduced to cash cows for transnational corporations.
Case in point. I worked as the Operations Manager for a company in Northern Ireland and when I started it was a family owned business. Within 2 years it was bought by an American corporation. Within a year this corporation was taken over by an even bigger corporation. Who at the time bought a few more companies in Scotland. These Scottish companies were closed and all the machinery and work was relocated to Hungary, within 6 months. I left this company and 2 years later I was contacted to see if I wanted to go and work in Hungary for a year, as they had closed the company in Northern Ireland and yes, you guessed it, moved all the work to Hungary. This is the free movement of services and capital in action.
This free movement is to allow corporations to move their services (that’s jobs and industry to me and you) and capital to a country where the wages and taxes fit their corporate outlook. (That’s lower wages, less tax and less regulation to you and me)
The free movement of capital is where companies like Starbucks, Google, Vodaphone, Facebook and Amazon can have headquarters and pay tax anywhere it is most favourable for them. Where spivs in the city can move money all over the continents to maximise investor profit and enhance their bonuses.
The free movement of labour is the opposite of the free movement of services. Where a service is moved to a country with lower overheads (lower wages, taxes and regulations). The free movement of labour is a Capitalist construct that is designed to move cheaper labour to countries with higher wages and greater regulation. This is designed to force down the wages, terms and conditions and force deregulation within these countries. It also restricts the free movement to only EU nationals and puts up barriers to anyone from the rest of the world. (Fortress Europe anyone)
The whole process drives a race to the bottom for all working-class communities across the whole EU. (Anyone remember Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Because that is as much a reality, as I, Daniel Blake) You only need to look at the corporations complaining about not having enough workers. Fruit and Veg farmers, Hoteliers, warehousing and all sectors of the service industry. These are the industries that are crying foul about not being able to recruit.
Free movement of people can only really be achieved through Socialism. Where the working class is in control of the means of production. Free movement, real and meaningful free movement can never be free within Capitalism. Because within a Capitalist system it can only ever serve capital at a cost to the people it is supposedly freeing.
As socialists, we must want Nationalised industry, transport, energy and banking.
If the EU is such a wonderful social construct why was Scotrail not nationalised? Why were the Northern Ferries privatised? Why was Calmac put up for privatisation? Why won’t we nationalise the steel industry, or Grangemouth or even North Sea Oil. Why no national banks, why no energy regulation or better still nationalisation. Why do we not change the procurement rules for public contracts, to ensure companies pay the real living wage, are not using companies that were involved in blacklisting?
Well according to our Government it is because under Article 106, the EU prohibits public monopolies exercising exclusive rights where this violates EU competition rules. The SNP are so intrinsically linked to corporate power, but have used the excuse of EU rules to blame anyone else but themselves.
Of course Germany, France and to an extent Holland and Spain can and do flout their own rules on this, that is why they have transport, some industry, Energy subsidised and in reality nationalised. Whereas in Ireland, Portugal, Greece etc, they are forced to privatise and open all their public services to the free market. (Irish water is a good case in point here.)
It is Neo-Liberal free market ideology that states that nationalised industry cannot be allowed in a free market economy. It is nothing to do with efficiency or cost. It is purely to do with the fact that the free market cannot allow nationalised industries or services. There is no dividend for their investors after all. The SNP are intrinsically wedded to this neo-liberal agenda.
You only need to look at Greece, for the true face of the EU. What is the price the Greek working class have to pay, to remain a part of that great socially just institution of the EU.
In Greece the culling of their public services with the forced privatisation of public industry, transport and services. Crippling debts and even more austerity. What was their crime? Electing a social democratic government, that’s all. Not electing a socialist government, no. SYRIZA is nowhere even close to being a socialist government, they are a social democratic construct only. Imagine the fate that will befall a truly socialist government.
Is the EU really something that an independent Scotland could survive in? Because that is what the SNP and the Greens offer us.
Is independence at all costs worth this?
Enough of that why not “project fear” stuff. Why do I resist independence, apart from all of the above?
So what do I advocate? To be very clear I am a member of a party that is just as small and some would say just as insignificant (at the moment) as all the other “radical left” party’s in the UK and Scotland.
We are all currently on the margins and will all remain in the wilderness unless we start to analyse the realities of where we currently stand and start to provide a real alternative that people can rally around. Not quick fixes or silver bullets, class consciousness does not work that way. Radical political change can and does happen very quickly when the circumstances and the political situation align to cause that change.
But thinking that a manufactured independence referendum, is going to somehow bring on those circumstance that will totally change politics within this country, is either naïve, or the ultimate in political opportunism.
I, like all the others of the left do believe that the status quo is completely broken. Unlike them I don’t believe that replacing one neo-liberal form of government with another Scottish one is the way to create a real and lasting change for the betterment of the working class. I actually don’t think that any of our parliamentary so called democracy works in the interest of the working class or ever can. We need an alternative. This alternative needs to be based on class politics, with class interests at its heart.
I will and do, annoy the majority of people, as my views are not main stream. I think our democracy is a complete and utter sham and needs real radical change. All power to the Soviets is the reality of my beliefs. That is where real democracy begins.
I will also annoy some others on the left, because they think and accuse me of having an entrenched ideology. That may be the case of course, I do have long held ideologies and beliefs that I will not give up easily and change just to garner influence and support.
I am still struck by the complete lack of “class” in any of the arguments for and against. There are those of course who state, that “class politics” has no relevance in the 21st Century. They are of course the ones who are actually gaining and increasing their personal wealth and profits from the current class struggle, or class war as I would argue. They are the ruling elite, the Government, the Financiers, Global Corporations, Land Owners, Landlords, etc, in fact the capitalist class, or the Bourgeois class if we look to Marx.
Whilst they will continue to ridicule the notion of class and tell us there is no class, there is only the individual and the free market. That there is only the requirement for perpetual economic growth, to provide for us all. A system of capitalism that portrays a false Social Democracy as the only way forward, where scraps from the corporate table will trickle down to redistribute wealth to those that create that very wealth. They do not talk of class or even want us to now think in class terms.
Class is not a social order, but a struggle or in fact a war. A war between the workers, the unemployed, single parents, homeless, retired who have to sell or have sold their labour against those who control the means of Production, Industry, Transport, Energy, Banking and our democracy.
We are continually sold a false hope from successive governments, both Labour and Tory, and now with the SNP in ascendance doing exactly the same.
We are sold a democracy that was in fact created by rich overlords who owned land and worshiped at the table of kings and queens. A democracy that was created to usurp the power of the existing ruling monarchy and give it to the new ruling class who owned the land and wealth at that time and who wanted complete control over everything.
Our democracy was created by this very rich ruling elite to take control from the Monarchy of that time. Our democracy and parliament was originally created by the wealthy to serve their needs and their class only. That was their class struggle, a war between the monarchy with their own appointed local Fiefdom Lords. Through civil war and usurpation, they wrested powers from the monarchy and into the hands of lords and land owners. This class was then later expanded to include the Industrialists of the 1700/1800’s. The very industrialists who would go on to create the class that they are now at war with, the working class. The class, that only has their labour, through hand or mind, to sell. The class that owns nothing but their bodies, minds and their skills. The class, that is the majority in numbers, but the minority when it comes to the control of either democracy or the means of production.
Universal suffrage under this system actually did not come to pass for all until 1928. It took until 1948 to actually create the current system of one person one vote. (It was not until 1968 that this was actually fully implemented in Northern Ireland)
So for only 88 years have the working class been able to fully exert the very limited power that voting gives us. I emphasise the very limited power statement. We are now able to cast our one vote for a system that was created by the ruling elite to protect and enhance the control of the ruling class. One vote that is given to us to placate our natural rights. One vote to perpetuate a ruling class system of pseudo democracy. A democracy that is unquestionably weighted in favour of the ruling class. A democracy that is there to act as a buffer and a sop between the created wealth and wealth creators. A democracy that actually stifles and replaces any real working class democracy.
What is required is a democracy that is for the benefit of all. Where the majority controls the means of production and finance and therefor the democratic process. Utopia I know but we all have dreams.
So to the good old UK. I go back to origins of the working class and therefor the Labour movement. I think the way forward is through co-operative federal structures. I suppose that also goes back to my early Anarchist Communists ideology.
From the early days of the organised labour movement, Federalism was entrenched within that movement. It was a bed rock of the early Labour movement, that has been continually buried within a Parliamentary class. They will at times bring it forth and give it an airing, but there has never been the political will to actually push this as a main focal point. There have never been plans or campaigns to win over the populace. The Labour party very quickly in their life fell under the spell of the Parliamentary status quo.
This lack of clarity, lack of planning and complacency, gave rise to the National party’s in Scotland and Wales. It has over the decades, brought us to where we are now, with the SNP in virtual control over Scotland. The Labour party themselves that sowed this SNP seed and due to complacency and laziness on their part, they have themselves become marginalised in Scotland. They forgot that federal bedrock of the labour movement. In the run up to 2014, they offered nothing but the status quo.
Of course, others will point out that federalism won’t work because the English have never wanted it. There is no appetite for federalism within England. This might be the case now. But without political party’s and people campaigning for such a structure, then nothing will ever change. Only by campaigning and educating people of the benefits such a federalism could bring, will people be won over to that thinking. Look how quickly the SNP and the independence movement grew. Change happen in politics very quickly, even after decades of stagnation. Most often when we very least expect it.
So why am I so opposed to independence? It is because I want to progress to Socialism. Argh, I hear you scream that is what we want. That is what independence can bring us. Socialism in Scotland first then the rest will follow. I know there are many comrades within the indy left movement that believe this.
There is the issue for me. Scotland a small country, and yes with large resources and potential wealth, in NATO and the EU will never be allowed to progress towards Socialism. It will at the very best be allowed to propagate a very petty bourgeois Nordic social democracy, but Socialism never. Not without being part of a wider movement.
Only with the size, resources and potential wealth of the UK as a whole, can Socialism ever hope to be initiated. Only a united UK wide labour movement could fend off the attacks that any country trying to implement Socialism will inevitably face. The UK is large enough to cope with these attacks on its economy and structures that will surely come from global corporate power, backed up by NATO and the EU. Scotland on its own in the EU will just vanish into the neo-liberal void of a NATO alliance controlled EU.
More screams from the Trotskyists. That is just the usual CPB dogma.
Or I quite like this one from a follower of Trotsky and independence; “Federalism? An idea whose time came and went around 200 years ago, the Britnat bootlickers of the CPB demonstrate, yet again, the collaborationist, bankruptcy of the ‘British Road to Socialism’, and their contemptible betrayal of the Scottish working class interest.” Quote from a facebook comment. (The historical reference here of 200 years ago is spurious enough, but the betrayal of the SCOTTISH working class reeks even more of petty nationalism, from someone who claims to be a Socialist)
Please note; I have held these federal ideas since the late 70’s, a very long time before I joined the CPB in 2012.
The only hope for the working class of the UK and Europe is a move to this form of Radical Federalism. The right are beginning to make inroads everywhere. The EU is close to imploding. National protectionism is on the rise. Being independent and sucked into the void that the EU is becoming is a recipe for disaster.
Only a united working class can hope to create the change our class needs. Only by removing ourselves from the shackles of NATO and the EU on a UK and then European scale can the working class ever hope to gain and hold onto the power and control over our democracy and wealth.
The only hope for the UK working class is a Corbyn victory in this GE. From there we will still need to be campaigning for a real and a radical change. We need to change our democracy, not just accept a smaller version of the bourgeois Scottish one ScotRef offers.
As with all change it is down to numbers. Those who can mobilise the greatest numbers wields the power and influence. The UK has those numbers, they only need to be won over to that ideology.