The Republican Communist Network’s motion to 2010 SSP Conference

Preamble – not for voting on

The issue of Scotland’s relationship to the UK remains a key political issue, whatever happens to the SNP’s proposed referendum bill at Holyrood. However, the favoured referendum option being advocated by the SNP – ‘independence under the Crown’ – would not offer full political independence, but would leave the British state with extensive Crown Powers to politically interfere in the running of any future Scottish state. Furthermore, there are strong indications that the SNP leadership will make further concessions to US and British imperial interests (continuation of NATO bases, and even possibly of Trident), in an endeavour to maintain and win over support from sections of the ruling and business classes in Scotland. The SNP has always given strong support to Scottish regiments within the British Army, and its one-time opposition to imperial wars in Kosova and Iraq, is in the process of being jettisoned over Afghanistan.

The SNP has already demonstrated its full acceptance of the British government’s bail-out of the bankers, and its readiness to implement the ensuing public sector cuts, both through Holyrood and the local councils it runs (or jointly runs). The maintenance of the existing capitalist order is its first priority. Its continued overtures to US corporate capital have been highlighted by the Scottish Government’s capitulation to Donald Trump. The SNP has also shown its willingness to flirt with reaction, particularly in relation to gay rights and abortion.

The British ruling class, at present, has thrown its political weight behind ‘Devolution-all-round’ to maintain its control over these islands, and views any attempt to break-up the UK as being against its fundamental interests. It will therefore resort to whatever powers it needs to ensure the defeat of the SNP proposals. Therefore, the strategy adopted by the SNP to win a referendum and a ‘Yes’ vote is very unlikely to succeed, even on its own limited terms. Since the SNP is totally unwilling to contest the UK state’s Crown Powers (this is the real significance of its newfound open support for the British monarchy), it will be quite unprepared for the type of measures, sanctioned under these powers, which will be used against its proposals.

Those sections of the Scottish business class, which have given support to the SNP, would quite happily settle for ‘devolution-max’, to increase the power of Scottish business interests, both within Scotland and the current global corporate order.

The two popular front organisations, Independence First (with its petition for a referendum) and the Scottish Constitutional Convention (supporting the SNP’s favoured referendum option), are tied to the SNP’s strategy and to its leadership’s beck and call. Given the SNP’s wholesale political, economic and social retreats, the current SNP initiative is likely to follow in the footsteps of the earlier failed 1979 Scottish devolution referendum.

There is a clear need for a republican socialist alternative, which can win over those who will inevitably be disillusioned by the SNP’s failure to deliver. These are the people who want to support the demand for an independent Scotland because they are anti-unionists, genuine democrats (i.e. republicans) and antiimperialists (i.e. oppose all imperial wars). These are also the people who wish to challenge the current assaults on our jobs, pay, conditions and services by all the mainstream political parties, including the SNP.

Motion – for voting on

This Conference declares its support for the following principles and democratic demands:-

  • a) its complete opposition to the British Union (UK) and British imperialism, its alliance with US imperialism through NATO, and its continuous wars to defend and extend the existing corporate world order.
  • b) its complete opposition to all attempts by the British ruling class and the mainstream parties (including the SNP) to offload the costs of the current economic crisis and the bankers’ bail-out on to the working class.
  • c) the democratic demand of a referendum on Scottish self-determination.
  • d) a critical ‘Yes’ to the ‘independence’ option, if a referendum bill is passed.
  • e) relaunching the Calton Hill Declaration, with the aim of building a wider campaign for genuine self-determination through the struggle for a democratic, secular republic in Scotland.
  • f) extending this campaign, on an ‘internationalism from below’ basis, to England, Wales and Ireland through the Republican Socialist Convention, and also into the European Anti-Capitalist Left.
  • g) a critical engagement with others campaigning for Scottish independence, highlighting the SNP’s anti-working class nature, continued retreats in the face of imperial and unionist pressure, and its ties to corporate (including finance) capital.
  • f) producing a pamphlet (or website publication) highlighting the links between the SSP’s ‘breakup of the UK and British Empire’ and its aim of building a society based on ‘people not profits’ with ‘citizens not subjects’, in a Scottish Socialist Republic within a European {followed by World} Socialist Federation.