Oct 17 2017

THE CATALAN REPUBLIC

In the aftermath of the Catalan referendum, Steve Freeman emphasis the republican aspect of the struggle.

 

THE CATALAN REPUBLIC

 

The demonstration organised by the Radical Independence Campaign at the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh on October 1st.

 

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, took a cautious line on Catalan independence. She hoped that “dialogue will replace confrontation”. She called for a way forward that “respects the rule of law” and also “respects democracy”. She refused to say if the Scottish government would recognise the result of the disputed referendum. She told Andrew Marr: “I consider myself a friend of Spain”.

Spain is nothing in this context but its ruling class exercising political power through its crowned, unionist, ‘Francoist’ state. Sturgeon is giving comfort to the enemies of the Catalan people in the hope they will be more favourable to the Scottish government’s quest for independence under the crown. The leaders of the Scottish National Party want to keep friends with the queen of England and the king of Spain.

The parallels with the 2014 Scottish referendum are significant. The national democratic movement in Catalonia has declared in favour of a republic and this was spelt out on the ballot paper. In a Spanish context, the Catalan republic is revolutionary – not least because it goes back to the 1930s, when the Spanish republic was overthrown by Franco. In 1934, the Catalan president Lluís Companys was jailed after declaring a Catalan republic. Later he was captured by the Nazis and shot by one of Franco’s firing squads in 1940.

Spain is a unionist state and constitutional monarchy like the UK. The national question is the lever for republicanism and democratic revolution. There is no right to self-determination in a unionist state like Spain. The Spanish constitution is against it. The attempt to hold a referendum was thus illegal.

Naturally, the Spanish government sent in the national police to uphold the law by closing down the polling stations and beating up those trying to vote. They could have sent in the army and tanks the stop the ballot. But they chose a more moderate option. Liberal opinion was outraged, but did nothing.

British unionism is no better. The Scottish people have no right to self-determination. They have no more legal right to referendum than the Catalan people. The British crown, acting through its prime minister, David Cameron, decided to grant a referendum because he calculated he would win it. The queen kept a low profile, whilst letting it be known what every loyal subject should do. The Spanish king was not so reticent and came openly in support of his ‘Tory’ government.

The democratic forces in Catalonia had to face the full weight of the Spanish state, the banks and major corporations, and the European Union. The threats of economic sabotage and expulsion from the EU followed the Scottish example. If Catalonia became a republic, hell, fire and damnation would rain down on them.

We must support the right of the Catalan people to hold a referendum on independence. The Catalans, like the Scots, are a politically oppressed nation because the union with Spain is not voluntary, as the violent intervention of the Spanish police showed. But supporting the right to hold a referendum does not mean supporting the republic.

The second issue is whether a Catalan republic would be a progressive, democratic step forward from the unionist monarchy. The answer is yes. A republic is a democratic and revolutionary break with the Francoist-monarchist state. This is why all the reactionary forces in Spain and the EU are opposed to it.

British unionists are worse than their Spanish imitators. They like to pretend that Scotland has a legal and constitutional right to self-determination. It has no such right. Neither the Scottish people nor a Scottish government can hold a legal referendum. If they hold an illegal one, they have to organise the forces necessary to defend the polling stations.

Steve Freeman
Left Unity and Rise

 

This article was first posted at:- http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1173/letters/

 

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For further articles on Catalunya see:-

SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF CATALUNYA

 

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/09/21/catalunya-prepares-for-independence/

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/11/17/catalunya-the-freedom-come-all-ye/

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/11/12/when-will-we-see-tanks-in-barcelona/

 

 

 

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Oct 16 2017

BEFORE AND AFTER NATIONALISM

With the emergence of Scottish and Catalan self-determination as major political issues, some on the British Left have reacted against what they dismiss as the rise of nationalism. Ironically they usually completely fail to recognise their own Left unionist British nationalism. Their failure to organise any solidarity with Catalans at the receiving end of  Spanish state repression, shows they do not see the upholding of democracy as important.

Such thinking is widely held by  the supporters of  Jeremy Corbyn. They sometimes argue that  nationalism is an ideological problem which can be overcome with consistent propaganda against nationalism, coupled with prioritising economic and social issues.

The article below, written by Allan Armstrong, looks to the material roots of nationalism, showing that ideological struggle alone will not address the problem. Other articles on this blog have highlighted the importance of the struggle for democracy, including the right of self-determination when opposing the UK state and wider imperialism.

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Today, it is often difficult to think outside of a framework of the fetishisation of nationalities, which makes nation-states appear to be the ‘natural order’ of things. However, we can go back to the early days of capitalist development, when nation-states were still far from being the ‘natural order’, and far more people used religious terms to explain and understand the world they lived in. It took several centuries of social and economic change, and of wider social and economic developments, before the one-time, near universal link between religion and the state was broken in enough places to allow constitutionally secular states to emerge. States, which were exclusively linked to a particular religion or denomination, gave way, first to tolerant, and then eventually to secular states. Yet religions still existed and, indeed, proliferated within a new, increasingly secular, public world. Is there a possibility of an analogous development, which could bring about a break in the connection between ethnic group, nation and the state in the future? Continue reading “BEFORE AND AFTER NATIONALISM”

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Sep 25 2017

SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF CATALUNYA

 

NATIONAL RALLY on the day of the Referendum

SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER 1PM

SPANISH CONSULATE, 

63, NORTH CASTLE STREET, EDINBURGH EH2 3LJ

 

BRING BANNERS/FLAGS

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The ongoing shift to the Right in European politics is highlighted by the attempt by  Rajoy’s right wing Popular Party Spanish government to stop the Catalonian independence referendum through resort to repressive measures, including the mobilisation of the Civil Guard, a tactic regularly used by Franco. MSPs from the SNP, Labour, Lib-Dems and Greens  have all signed a letter condemning the actions of the Spanish state. The significant absence of any Tory MSP signatures shows that in the party’s post-Brexit move further to the Right, they are measuring up the possibilities of resorting to such measures in the future, in the event of another Scottish independence referendum. 

Below we are posting two articles. The first is written by written by Chris Bambery of Counterfire, and a supporter of RISE, assessing the current situation in Catalunya. The second is written by Sean Bell for Common Space. Continue reading “SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF CATALUNYA”

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Sep 22 2017

WHAT’S BEHIND THE ESCALATING CONFLICT BETWEEN THE USA AND NORTH KOREA

Category: Russia and ex-USSR,US imperialismRCN @ 1:48 pm

Below we are posting an analysis of the North Korean state, written by Mike McNair, first posted at:-  http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1170/not-enforcing-juche/ 

 

NOT ENFORCING JUCHE

 

On September 11 the United Nations security council adopted a new set of sanctions against North Korea (formally the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with the aim of forcing an end to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development. These are extended from the very extensive, already-existing sanctions, and now ban North Korean textile exports and the sale of natural gas to the country. But they are substantially less that the United States’ original proposals, which would have banned all exports of petroleum products to North Korea, imposed a full naval blockade, and authorised the use of force to enforce this blockade (1). Donald Trump said on September 11 that the new sanctions are “nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen” (2).
Continue reading “WHAT’S BEHIND THE ESCALATING CONFLICT BETWEEN THE USA AND NORTH KOREA”

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Sep 20 2017

THE CROWN CORPORATION AND THE ROYAL FAMILY LTD.

John Tummon of the Republican Socialist Alliance takes us through the distinction between the Crown Corporation and the Royal Family Limited, and shows how together, they perform a key role in maintaining the power of The City and the imperialist interests of the British ruling class.

 

The Coat of Arms of the City of London

 

THE CROWN CORPORATION AND THE ROYAL FAMILY LTD.

    1. The UK’s unwritten system of government, which was once for many a source of pride, has become a source of confusion and embarrassment. It is not just that the rules can be changed or even ignored by any government with a bare parliamentary majority, but that the adequacy and appropriateness of those rules – even, at times, their continued applicability – has come into question. Theresa May’s proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and the Miller judgment’s interpretation of the Sewel convention (which in normal circumstances prohibits the UK Parliament from legislating on devolved matters) show the fragility and inadequacy of an unwritten constitution. Opportunistic manipulation of the Fixed-term Parliament Act only adds to the sense of a system of government in disarray.

 

Continue reading “THE CROWN CORPORATION AND THE ROYAL FAMILY LTD.”

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Sep 20 2017

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL and DON’T ABANDON THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE

In the first posted article article Pink Floyd performer, Roger Waters, highlights the attempts being made to close down the increasingly successful Boycott, Divestment and sanctions Campaign in the USA.

In the second  article, Tony Greenstein provides an analysis of what is going on the Labour Party over Palestine. Despite the change of leadership under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s desperate record when it comes to internationalism, appears to be holding up. This is becoming ever clearer, as Corbyn backtracks on support for Palestinian self-determination, in the face of Israeli state and right wing pressure. This does not augur well for any future Corbyn government. In the first article, Tony Greenstein provides an analysis of what is going on.

1. ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL – CONGRESS SHOULDN’T SILENCE HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES 

 

Roger Waters at Israel’s apartheid wall

Members of Congress are currently considering a bill that threatens to silence the growing support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian freedom and human rights, known as BDS. This draconian bill, the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act threatens individuals and businesses who actively participate in boycott campaigns in support of Palestinian rights conducted by international governmental organizations with up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Continue reading “ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL and DON’T ABANDON THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE”

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Aug 17 2017

A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 3

 

This is the third part of A Critique of Jeremy Corbyn and British Left Social Democracy, written by Allan Armstrong. The first part can be read at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/08/09/a-critique-of-jeremy-corbyn-and-british-left-social-democracy/and the second part can be read at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/08/11/a-critique-of-jeremy-corbyn-and-british-left-social-democracy-part-2/

 

3. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, OFFICIAL AND DISSIDENT COMMUNISM

AND A POLITICS BASED ON EMANCIPATION, LIBERATION AND SELF DETERMINATION

 

Contents of part 3

 a.     The limits placed on social democracy during a crisis of global capitalism

 b.     From revolutionary democratic social democracy to existing state-accommodating reformist social  democracy

 c.     A further shift in the meaning of social democracy; the brief emergence of an alternative revolutionary democratic communism; and the descent to state-backed official communism and dissident communism

 d.     Social democracy and official communism morph into social neo-liberalism

 e.     From social liberalism to populism

 

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a.     The limits placed on social democracy during a crisis of global capitalism

i.       We are living through a period of unprecedented global crisis – political, economic, social, and cultural. This means that ideas will be tested continuously. A democratic party used on the exploited and oppressed will have people from a whole number of tendencies – communist (as outlined 2.f.iii), republican socialist, social democratic, movementist, green socialist, socialist feminist, environmental, etc. Continue reading “A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 3”

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Aug 11 2017

A BRIEF HISTORY AND THE CONTEXT FOR RECOVERY IN MENTAL HEALTH

Bob Goupillot writes about organising against discrimination, oppression and exploitation, and how this affected the Movement for Recovery in Mental Health.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY AND THE CONTEXT FOR RECOVERY IN MENTAL HEALTH

 

 

The Recovery movement has several roots these include

  • The various historical movements for greater Civil rights.
  • The evidence from experts by experience those who have survived mental illness.
  • Evidence from non-western cultures.

1)      Movements for increased Civil Rights

One of the lessons from history appears to be that it is only when people who are discriminated against, oppressed or exploited organise themselves and raise their own demands that real material improvements in their situation are brought about. Continue reading “A BRIEF HISTORY AND THE CONTEXT FOR RECOVERY IN MENTAL HEALTH”

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Aug 11 2017

A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 2

This is the second part of A Critique of Jeremy Corbyn and British Left Social Democracy, written by Allan Armstrong. the first part can be read at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/08/09/a-critique-of-jeremy-corbyn-and-british-left-social-democracy/

 

2. EMANCIPATION, LIBERATION AND SELF-DETERMINATION AND INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW

IN RESPONSE TO NATIONAL SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, AND OFFICIAL AND DISSIDENT COMMUNIST

INTERNATIONALISM FROM ABOVE

 

Contents of Part 2

 a.     Why did Corbynism and Left social democracy appear in the UK?

 b.     The rise and fall of proto-parties outside Labour

 c.     To party or not to party, that is the question

 d.     Autonomous organisations

e.      International organisation

f.       Labour bureaucracy or dissident communist sects – a false choice 

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 a.      Why did Corbynism and Left social democracy appear in the UK?

i.      One thing that needs explained is how did Corbynism and Left social democracy make a revival which nobody predicted? If we look to Greece, Spain, Portugal, France and Ireland, we can see well-supported independent Left organisations, which have developed outside the traditional social democratic parties. One answer to this question is the sheer resilience of conservative organisational forms in a state like the UK with such a long and deep-rooted unionist and imperial history. Continue reading “A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 2”

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Aug 11 2017

HOW TERRORISM CREATED MODERN ISRAEL

At a time when the Israeli state, backed by the US and UK,  likes to project itself as being part of the War on Terror, a book, State of terror – how terrorism created modern Israel, has recently been published. This book, written by Thomas Suarez, is reviewed by here Tony Greenstein. This review first appeared at:- http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1166/what-zionists-want-suppressed/

HOW TERRORISM CREATED MODERN ISRAEL

Ben Gurion declares the state of Israel beneath a portrait of Zionist found er, Theodor Herzl

The state of Israel prides itself on being at the forefront of the ‘war against terror’ and the war on Islam and it is this which makes Israel the darling of Europe’s far right. But this book documents how the Israeli state was born in a wave of terror that makes Palestinian guerrilla groups seem like children at play. Continue reading “HOW TERRORISM CREATED MODERN ISRAEL”

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