Sep 09 2016

IRELAND EXITS UK

Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance comments on the meeting on James Connolly and the 1916 Rising held by the Wakefield Socilaist History Group in the Red Shed on Saturday, September 3rd.

IRELAND EXITS UK

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Last Saturday the Wakefield Socialist History group held a very interesting and informative meeting on James Connolly and the 1916 Easter uprising. A range of speakers, Rayner O’Connor Lysaght, Allan Armstrong, Robin Stocks, Bernie McAdam and Adam Buick, highlighted different perspectives on these events.

Connolly is usually seen in an Irish context. His roots and involvement in the Edinburgh working class movement is either forgotten or ignored. Allan Armstrong’s research and talk was rebalancing our appreciation of Connolly’s politics for Scottish republican socialism today. Nevertheless it was in Ireland that republican socialism established its credentials. The declaration of the Irish republic on the steps of the Dublin post office was the trigger for the Irish democratic revolution. For Connolly, achieving a republic was the beginning of the revolution not its final act.

Republican socialism is the republican road to socialism. The relationship between republicanism and socialism is transitional. Achieving a republic opens the door to social transformation. Winning a republic is not a single event but a highly contested battleground which does not guarantee the victory of the social revolution. This much connects Connolly to Lenin. In 1916 Connolly tried to establish a republic and failed. In February 1917 the republic was won by Russian workers and Lenin returned to Russia determined to make a republic capable of moving towards socialism.

Republican socialism is alien to the left in England. ‘Labourism’ or British reformism is connected with the Fabian idea of gradualism. A republican break with the old order is not necessary. The present political laws and institutions of the Crown-in-Parliament are not a barrier to socialism but the means of achieving it. Hence Keir Hardie was not a republican socialist. Like Jeremy Corbyn today, he was a republican and a socialist. In England these are two separate and disconnected policies. In Ireland Connolly fused them into a single strategy.

Connolly was accused by Fabians and ultra left sectarians of abandoning socialism for national revolution. They labelled him a petty ‘nationalist’. Lenin rejected that. He understood the internationalist implications of the 1916 Easter uprising. In the middle of an imperialist war, in the year of the mass slaughter on the Somme, the Irish rebels were beginning a European democratic revolution which would spread to Russia and Germany.

The Irish uprising was not just an Irish event or even the start of a European revolution. It was a revolt within the UK. Marx saw a direct link between revolution in Ireland and in England. Ireland was not simply a British colony like India, or those in the Middle East and Africa. Ireland was directly part of the UK state and constitution. Democratic demands and struggles in Ireland, like Scotland today, are therefore destabilising and dangerous for the ruling class.

James Connolly’s republican socialism, like Connolly himself, is a bridge between Ireland and Scotland today. In 2014 the Scottish people were mobilising for democratic change. The referendum result halted them in their tracks. Two years later nothing is resolved. But the rise of the SNP, support for Corbyn and the Brexit vote has made it game on once again. What kind of sovereignty do we need, where are we going to find it and how can we get our hands on it?

The EU referendum promised sovereignty for the people. But it has served to highlight divisions in a broken Westminster system. England and Wales voted to leave the EU and Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. The right to self determination means that the Scottish and Irish people have a right and a reason to leave the UK and negotiate to remain in the EU.

Prime Minister May emphasised that “Brexit means Brexit”. Yet the unintended consequences of Cameron’s EU referendum gamble may be that Brexit comes to mean ‘Exit from Britain’. In 1916 Ireland was the first place to try this kind of ‘Brexit’. Today Northern Ireland and Scotland may join the queue to the exit door. It would be ironic if the triumph for UK Independence turned the UK into Little England and Wales. It is not what Cameron, UKIP or the Tory Party intended.

 

First posted at :- http://www.republicansocialists.org.uk/blog/?p=227

 

 

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Sep 09 2016

APPLE AND IRELAND – WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?

We are posting this article from Socialist Democracy (Ireland) about the conspiracy between the Irish government and Apple to avoid paying taxation.

 

APPLE AND IRELAND – WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?

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The details of the criminal conspiracy between Apple and the Irish government may be utterly shocking, as is the brazen defiance shown by Dublin and the computer giant in opposing the European ruling. We knew they paid little tax, but essentially zero? Who would have thought it?
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Aug 29 2016

THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE CONVENTION MARK 2 – ANOTHER COVER FOR THE SNP LEADERSHIP?

The Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) is to be relaunched in Glasgow on Sunday, September 18th. This body was first constituted on November 30th, 2005, on the initiative of the Scottish Socialist Party. The SNP gave its support, but then ensured that it was kept firmly at arm’s length whilst the party developed its own links with big business, and further accommodated to US and British imperial interests.

When the  SNP leadership eventually launched its own front campaign, ‘Yes Scotland’, in Edinburgh on 25th May 2012, the SIC took no part in this decision. For the SNP, the main purpose of SIC had been to tie up the Left and to prevent a republican alternative from emerging  – although the split that had occurred in the SSP certainly helped them in this endeavour.

Below we are republishing a pamphlet published in 2006 in response to the first SIC. This was produced by the RCN Platform in the SSP. The article anticipates some of the retreats the SNP went on to make to gain respectability, e.g. the climbdown over NATO.

Although today’s political situation is not the same as in 2005, there are still many things to be learned from this particular attempt to subordinate any independent class initiative to the political requirements of an SNP leadership, which represents a wannabe Scottish ruling class in the making.

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 THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE CONVENTION –

COMMITTING THE SSP TO A NATIONALIST STRATEGY?

 

Introduction

The RCN has been pushing the SSP (and its predecessor the Scottish Socialist Alliance) to adopt a republican and internationalist strategy in Scotland since its inception. We initiated the 2005 SSP Conference motion, which was passed by a large majority of delegates.
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Aug 29 2016

OPEN LETTER FROM THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE TO JEREMY CORBYN

Category: UncategorizedRCN @ 5:52 pm
Jez and Kez allied to save the UK or parted to promote democracy in these islands?

Jez and Kez – allied to save the UK; or parted to promote democracy in these islands?

OPEN LETTER TO JEREMY CORBYN

PLEDGE TO THE SCOTTISH AND IRISH PEOPLE

 

The majority in England and Wales voted to leave the European Union whilst the majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. This shows different constituent parts of the UK want a different relationship with Europe. That is why a future Labour government must guarantee that Scotland can hold a referendum on ending the Union with the rest of the UK; and that Northern Ireland can be given the opportunity of ending partition, as the best way to ensure the majority desire to remain part of the European Union.

 

To: Jeremy Corbyn MP

Leader of the Labour Party

House of Commons

 

25 August 2016
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Aug 29 2016

NEW RCN STATEMENT

 

Following our AGM held in Glasgow on May 29th, the statement below was agreed at the RCN aggregate held in Edinburgh on Sunday, August 28th.

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RCN banner showing Eleanor Marx, James Connolly, John Maclean and Mary Brooksbank

 

 

NEW RCN STATEMENT

At our AGM on 29th May 2016 on Glasgow there was unanimous acknowledgement that the RCN is no longer an interventionist political organisation, but should continue as a forum to encourage political debate amongst the Left. This means we will no longer affiliate to political organisations as the RCN, but individual members may continue to do so. We will still give donations to other organisations, which themselves encourage debate, e.g. the Republican Socialist Alliance, and those that are involved in important campaigns. Such donations would be agreed at RCN-called meetings. This status may change in future if a majority of RCN members agree that we should again intervene as RCN in a political situation.
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Aug 26 2016

SCOTLAND IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE REFERENDUM

Eric Chester warns of the dangers of linking a call for Scottish independence with support for the EU.

SCOTLAND IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE REFERENDUM

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In Scotland, the result of the recent referendum has reinforced the widespread belief that its political framework is significantly different from that of the rest of the UK. As the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, Scotland voted by a substantial majority to remain. This result has provided an impetus to the call for a second independence referendum.
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Aug 05 2016

REPORT OF THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE MEETING IN WAKEFIELD – 23rd JULY

Allan Armstrong (acting convenor of RSA-Scotland) attended the RSA meeting in Wakefield on 23rd July. Steve Freeman (RSA-London) has written the following report of this meeting.

 

REPORT OF REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE MEETING IN THE RED SHED IN WAKEFIELD, 23rd JULY

The Red Shed, Wakefield

                    The Red Shed, Wakefield

Brexit

The meeting had a thorough discussion on future perspectives for republican socialism in the light of the Brexit vote. It began with a general discussion about the meaning a consequences of the Brexit vote. In terms of the voting all three options of remain, leave and abstain were reflected in the discussion. There was general agreement that this was significant event with revolutionary implications, not least because of the situation in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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Aug 03 2016

DAVID HOPPER AND THE DURHAM MINERS GALA

David Hopper died on July 16th. He was the General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association and last spoke on Saturday July 9th  the Durham Miners Gala. This was attended by 150,000 people. David Hopper was central to the revival of this major working class political and social event, after the defeat of the heroic miners struggle in 1985. Dave Douglass, an ex-miner from County Durham and a member of the IWW and NUM has written the first piece posted here about David Hopper. This is followed by David Hopper’s own last speech given at the Gala.

 

1. DAVEY HOPPER , 1944-2016

Davey Hopper addressing Durham Miners Gala

Davey Hopper addressing Durham Miners Gala

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the role played by the ‘two Davies’ – Davie Guy and Davey Hopper, respectively the late president and general secretary of the North-East area of the NUM and Durham Miners Association.
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Aug 03 2016

IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

The RCN has been debating the EU referendum both amongst ourselves and in wider arenas.  Here Murdo Ritchie provides an argument in favour of voting ‘Leave’. This was first posted as a Comment after the article by Allan Armstrong at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/07/03/an-open-letter-to-lexiters/

This is followed by an extensive commentary by Steve Freeman (RSA and LUP) 

1, IF NOT NOW – WHEN?

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Firstly, I was always clear about what the issues were in this Referendum. The issues in the forthcoming referendum have little to do with wider issues such as immigration, European unity, greater trade and economic co-operation, more mobility, and the right to work and study in other European countries, but are:-
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Jul 27 2016

2 RESPONSES TO CHAKRABHATI REPORT

 

Julia Bard and Tony Greenstein have written their own responses  to the official Chakrabhati Report into Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Julia Bard is a freelance journalist, a member of the NC of the Jewish Socialists’ Group and the Editorial Committee of Jewish Socialist magazine. Tony Greenstein is a log standing Jewish anti-Zionist and currently suspended member of the Labour Party. Julia Bard’s article was first posted at http://www.chartist.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Chartist-281-spread.pdf and Tony Greenstein’s at http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1114/a-marred-report.

Shami Chakrabati and Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of the report

Shami Chakrabati and Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of the report

 

1. CYNICISM BEHIND ANTI-SEMITISM ROW

Julia Bard dissects the issues in the recent anti-semitism furore in the Labour Party and finds the issue is being instrumentalised for other political purposes.
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